Thank You Shirlee and Dan!
For the past three years, our community has been blessed to have Shirlee Greenwald and Dan Ravitch as staff members of the Federation and members of our community. Together, they represent the best hope for the future of the Jewish people.
As you know, both Shirlee and Dan served in the Israel Defense Forces. Shirlee served as a Field Observer on the Golan Heights and Dan served as a Lone Soldier in the Iron Dome unit. That was just the beginning of their service to the Jewish people.
In their work at our Jewish Federation, they have contributed so much to the Jewish life of our community. It is thanks to their enthusiasm, creativity and strong work ethic that they have many achievements to their credit.
To mention a few events and projects, we include: the Fall Festival, Kosher Date Night, the annual Chanukah Menorah Lighting, the Purim Carnival, the Holocaust Education Speaker’s Bureau, Yom HaShoah, Yom Haazmaut and Shirlee’s “My Israeli Story.” Add to that list their key roles in hosting “Women Leading a Dialogue,” projects with our teens, and last but certainly not least, reinvigorating and re-imagining Camp Ideal.
As Federation Board President Dr. Alon Shemesh said in his remarks at the Annual Meeting, “They have forever transformed Camp Ideal and created the Shi’Shuk Market, open every Friday afternoon in the summer to sell baked goods the campers made.”
I have personally seen the enthusiasm that Shirlee and Dan brought to Camp Ideal. I have also seen the great pride the campers take in preparation for their innovative project, Shi’Shuk. What began three years ago with a few items has now expanded to almost 30 products. And the profits go to local charities chosen by the campers. This year the campers donated $1,000 to South Bend’s Center for the Homeless.
Federation Board Vice President Cristyne Porile wrote, “Shirlee and Dan have been such a gift to our community. Their programming excellence has been exemplary. In areas of visual appeal, the quality of programs, all the many beautiful tactile items Shirlee in particular designed to complement the program experience, the concept of the Shi’Shuk, and all the many creative “extras” they personally sourced, designed, and created-- Dan and Shirlee have elevated our program and event experiences to exceptional levels. In addition, having Shirlee and Dan as active members of our community has been a joy. These two are very best in class, and we are going to miss them, and all the goodness they have brought to us, so very much.”
The impact that Shirlee and Dan have made here has also gone beyond our Jewish community. Over the past three years, they have given dozens of presentations to local schools on behalf of the Federation’s Holocaust Education Speaker’s Bureau.
Together, they had a major impact on hundreds of students in our local schools.
Patrick O’Malley, a teacher at Discovery Middle School wrote, “Eva’s Story and The Righteous Among Nations presentations that Dan and Shirlee exposed my students to were both unique and insightful and generated rich discussions that deepened and personalized the students’ understanding of the Holocaust. Dan’s and Shirlee’s enthusiasm for the material demonstrated their devotion to the topic and allowed the students to appreciate the importance of continuing to study the Holocaust and the need to confront all forms of prejudice.”
On a personal note, I want to say that it has been an honor and privilege for me to work with Shirlee and Dan over these past three years.
In Israel, the highest compliment that one can give someone is to tell them that they are doing “Avodat Kodesh,” sacred work. On behalf of all of us, we thank you Shirlee and Dan for the countless hours you have dedicated to doing “Avodat Kodesh” for our community. We will miss you.
Please join us at the Federation on September 7th at 7:00 PM to say “lehitraot” (see you again) to Shirlee and Dan. And please RSVP!