Valedictory moment

Bob Silver joked that at the end of the second annual meeting of the Jewish Community Association of Greater Phoenix he would have the most coveted title in the organization – immediate past chairman.

Indeed, while the Jan. 16 event held at Congregation Beth Israel in Scottsdale was held to honor many volunteers – Berry Sweet, who received the Medal of Honor; Debbie Berkowitz, who received the Lee Amada Young Leadership Award; Hillel Jewish Student Center at ASU, which received the Belle Latchman Community Service award for its Pink Friday breast-cancer awareness event; and Roslyn Vinnik, who received the Valley of the Sun JCC’s Volunteer of the Year Award – the evening was a victory lap for Silver, who had the reins of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and its successor the association through a turbulent financial crisis and eventual consolidation with the VOSJCC.

During his tenure as chairman of the federation/association, Silver has exemplified the theme of the event – “The Power of You,” the power of a single individual to improve things in this world. He deflected such praise by acknowledging the help he had through the federation’s financial meltdown and the rebuilding effort that led to the association’s establishment last year: “There were so many people who gave. I asked and they gave.”

Yet his successor, Joel Kramer, who now takes the reins, praised Silver succinctly and pointedly: “People told me, ‘You’re going to have some big shoes to fill.’ … A volunteer should never, ever, ever, ever be expected to sacrifice like Bob did.”

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