OU West Coast Region and West Coast NCSY Hold Annual Awards Banquet, 6/23

02 Jun 2008

The Orthodox Union West Coast Region and West Coast NCSY will hold their Annual Awards Banquet on Monday, June 23, at the Sephardic Temple, 10500 Wilshire Boulevard, beginning at 5:45 pm.

This year’s banquet honors an outstanding list of people, noted for their contributions to the Region and to the greater Jewish community. They are:
• Rabbi Uri and Aliza Pilichowski, OU Young Rabbinic Leadership Award;
• Jeff Presser, OU Synagogue Leadership Award;
• Howard and Mor Shapiro, OU Community Service Award;
• Dina Muskin, OU Young Leadership Chesed Award, and
• Ian Lurie, Sarah Markoff, and Zach Morrow, NCSY Young Leadership Awardees.

Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, Director of OU West Coast, declared, “The annual banquet is culmination of the year’s activities and enables us to recognize those individuals who have given so much to the community The honorees are people I’ve worked closely with over the years, allowing me to develop special relationships with each of them, and the young leaders are truly outstanding for having accomplished so much at such early ages.”

Rabbi Daniel Korobkin, Director of Community and Synagogue Services said, “The West Coast Region has seen significant growth over this past year with the addition of two synagogues to the OU network and the resurgence of OU involvement of our shuls in Portland and the Bay Area. We are excited about the future and the continued growth of Orthodox communities throughout the West Coast.”

A highlight of the dinner will also feature a Sefer Torah dedication in loving memory of Ahuva Wernick, a”h, the “Matriarch of NCSY-West Coast.” As founder of the NCSY West Coast Region over 30 years ago, Mrs. Wernick devoted herself to instilling a love of Torah Judaism in countless teenagers. When she was honored at the OU’s West Coast dinner in 1994, she displayed her typical modesty by saying, “I am what I am because of what my parents were – my models, my teachers. They showed me how to be a leader in the community and how to give to the community.”

Rabbi Kalinsky said, “Mrs. Wernick was the face of OU and NCSY West Coast for many years, and she was really the driving force behind many activities when I first arrived at the Region.”

The students who recently attended NCSY’s Spring Regional participated in the mitzvah of helping the sofer (scribe) complete the letters of the Sefer Torah, in what was a moving event to all who witnessed it. Rabbi Kalinsky said, “I heard one teenager say, ‘I came to the Regional from Sacramento and if I only came here to write my letter in the Torah, it was well-worth the trip.’” In Mrs. Wernick’s distinct honor, the new Sefer Torah will be “portable” (much like the Mishkan in the desert) and will travel to a variety of OU/NCSY events, such as shabbatons, retreats, and conventions throughout the West Coast.

In addition to the awards and the Sefer Torah dedication, there will also be a video presentation of the year in review. Rabbi Kalinsky explained, “The video presentation will highlight the OU West Coast Region’s activities over the past year, so that people can see the results of their support of the OU. Featured events include the Kashrut Seminar and Halachic Seudah at Prime Grill that took place last summer; the annual West Coast Torah Convention featuring homegrown talent in December; the Synagogue Leadership Seminar in May; and the Emerging Communities Showcase in New York in April, in which several West Coast communities took part.”

For further information, contact Rabbi Kalinsky at rakalinsky@ou.org, or 310-229-9000, ext. 204.