2021 End of Year Reports From Our Committees

2021 End of Year Committee Reports


Year End Treasurer's Report

The  Jewish Federation has undergone a number of changes this year.  Currently I am writing as the Federation's Vice-President and past Treasurer.  Jeff Farber is our new Treasurer.  It has been a pleasure working with him and reviewing our finances.  He has gone through the budget, he is updating our Bank accounts and is working to insure that we are in a good financial position.  I know he has contacted various chair people and reviewed finances with them.  We are working toward keeping our budget balanced and our accounts accurate.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jeff for taking over the position as treasurer.  I look forward to a successful year at the Jewish Federation of Ulster County.  


Respectfully submitted,

Lally Mozes-Steckman



This past year the Board of Directors decided that in order to grow, we needed to change to a director driven, with board oversight model of doing business (as opposed to a committee driven organization).  So we began this by hiring a new Executive Director, David Drimer, who will be the driving force in expanding our membership and raising more funds, and having interesting programing, as well as continuing with our existing successful programs.   Due to this transition, the Office Operations Committee role at the Jewish Federation will be different.


Mary Ann Ebner, who had been hired to be our social media guru, recently resigned.  However, we owe her a big thank you for organizing the office and overseeing daily activities in addition to her social media posts during the pandemic.


Desiree O’Clair who was hired to organize and promote PJ Library, has recently been promoted to be a full time employee.  In addition to PJ Library, she will take over the social media responsibilities, and assist David Drimer in his endeavors.


Grace Sheaffer continues as our bookkeeper.


Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Blas and Rita Eckstein, co-chairs



Our PJ Library theme for the year is Growing Jewish Community One Book At A Time.


By far, the Farmer’s Market has been our most successful event to date.  By noon, I had spoken with over 50 adults, promoting the Federation and PJ Library.  Six of our local PJ Library families came to our booth, and one family enrolled on the spot.


Lori Stiefel, our Engagement Officer at Harold Grinspoon Foundation, will be sharing my Farmer’s Market experience with my colleagues here in the states, in Israel, and in Canada. The event met each goal of the PJ Library engagement framework:


  1. ACTIVELY REACHES OUT to find and welcome new families raising Jewish children
  2. PRIORITIZES building relationships with families
  3. DESIGNS opportunities for families to develop relationships with one another
  4. OFFERS high-quality, low-barrier, and inclusive Jewish experiences that respond to the needs and interests of families
  5. CONNECTS families with Jewish organizations and opportunities for ongoing learning and community building
  6. EMPOWERS parents to take the lead in their family’s Jewish life — both at home and in their communities
  7. INTENTIONALLY PLANS, reflects, and evaluates its family engagement strategy and activities


My oldest child, Eliot O’Clair, created a character - Mitzvah the Book and Bubble fairy.  Eliot donated their services for the entire day, interacting with the children, and leading them in games. We had a bubble machine and a giant bubble wand. The children enjoyed a fishing game, the ring toss, and a beanbag toss/photo station. We gave away custom printed packets of parsley seeds with the Federation and PJL logos. The seed packet allowed me a segue to talk about the Jewish value Sh’mirat Ha’adamah / Protecting the Earth, the perfect promo tie-in for a farmer’s market.


When talking with the children, I asked if they had ever heard of a Passover seder.

Many were very excited to tell me about their passover seders. They were very thrilled that they would be able to grow their own parsley for their seder plates.


The Kingston Farmer’s market organizer wrote to me that we were a great addition to the market, and we are invited back. I hope to be there again at the height of summer or in the fall when attendance will be high.


Many passersby called out, “We love PJ Library!” and “My children used to get those books. They were great!”


I am waiting for dates to appear at the Woodstock Farmer’s Market and am looking into other markets where we can meet the young families where they are. This has been a year of growth for PJ Library. We started with 121 children in November 2020. We now have 165 children receiving books, and we are exploring becoming a partner with the PJ Our Way program to keep our eight year-old’s families connected to the Federation after they age out of PJ Library.


Respectfully Submitted, 

Desiree O’Clair




We held the Day of Jewish Learning at SUNY Ulster in November, 2019, with Rabbi Rachel Barenblat as keynote speaker. 

Due to the pandemic, we postponed the next Day of Jewish Learning until January, 2021, and were able to hold it via Zoom thanks to Karen Levine and other volunteer hosts. We had 15 presenters, including Rabbi Charna Rosenholtz from Boulder, CO, and an activity for families, presented by our PJ Library coordinator, Desiree O’Clair.

Respectfully submitted, 

Rabbi Ellen K. Triebwasser, chair



Due to the COVID pandemic the Israel Advocacy Committee skipped the Yom Hazikaron/Atzmaut program and attempted to bring to our community a Zoom  program directly from Israel of Israeli speakers from Muslim, Christian and Druze communities. Unfortunately due to several complications, this too had to be aborted.


Publications "THE ISRAEL ADVOCATE" in our KOLENU (High Holidays, Chanukah and Passover). In each edition of Kolenu, we published articles addressing timely and salient issues and events concerning Israel. Seek out these educational articles (“Zionism and the Exodus from Egypt”; “Zionism, Zionism”; and “The Abraham Accords”) available on the UCJF website. Each publication is the result of dozens of articles and subjects investigated.  


Respectfully submitted,

Nathan Borsky, chair



The Jewish Federation of Ulster County continues to be our fiscal sponsor as we await approval of our 501(c)(3).  We appreciate the support the Federation gives us, as we are transitioning to our own organization. The Reher Center has been very busy the past two years, under the direction of our very talented Director, Sarah Litvin, PhD.  We had a Guatemalan Worry Doll program in 3 schools, serving over 700 students.  For the upcoming 9th annual Kingston MultiCultural Festival (KMF), local artists will be creating worry dolls to be sold.  The KMF was recreated this year, to be on June 13th, June 20th and June 27th at Gallo Park in conjunction with the Downtown Farmers Market.


In September, we will have the opening of our gallery with the Sewing in Kingston Exhibit.  We have been raising funds for Grow our Gallery/Build our Bathroom and that construction should be completed in time for the opening.  There are several other programs going on and our tours will be beginning.  Please check our website:  ReherCenter.org for a full menu of activities.


Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Blas, President of The Reher Center


Kolenu Our Voice Celebrates 42nd year!

It’s your newsletter! The Jewish Federation of Ulster County Newsletter Committee (Amy Barash, Barbara Cohen, and Janice Kaplan) continue with pride to be the editors of this quality publication that is mailed and available online.  Copy Hut is responsible for the layout and printing and Cornerstone Printing is responsible for mailing.  


Four newsletters are published each year: Passover, Annual Meeting, High Holiday and Hanukkah. Kolenu is mailed to everyone who contributes $36 to the annual Jewish Federations of North America Campaign. Due to COVID, this year there are only three newsletters. The newsletter features local, national and international news. The goal is to inform, excite and inspire you to feel connected to the Jewish community. KOLENU’s revenue is solely based on our advertisers. Please support them! The prices are so reasonable:


Single Size Ad                                          1.8" High x 3.75" Wide $36 $90
Double Size Ad.                                        3.6" High x 3.75" Wide $50 $140
One-Quarter Page                                     4.7” High x 3.75" Wide $75 $215
One-Half Page                                           4.7” High x 7.5" Wide $125 $355
We also offer One-Page Flyer Inserts~Camera-Ready (per insert): 

Non-profit $125, Business $150

Publication months are: April, September, June, December.


To advertise, contact the Jewish Federation’s office (845) 338-8131; or e-mail  info@ucjf.org

Kolenu is available online. Would you prefer receiving your newsletter only online and not mailed to your home?  Contact info@ucjf.org.



Fall for Art to Celebrate its Silver Anniversary! 

Fall for Art community fundraiser, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Ulster County will celebrate 25 years virtual from 7:00 PM Saturday, October 23 through 5:00 PM Friday, October 29.  Plans for 2021 include an expanded event with more artists, additional shopping days and a larger geographic region in a virtual gallery.

Over the past twenty-four years Fall for Art has raised $430,000!


In 2020, the Fall for Art Committee made the safe decision to host this annual event virtually. For six days (8:00 AM Sunday, October 25 to 5:00 PM Friday, October 30), the online art show & fundraiser was open for browsing & shopping.The 2020 Fall for Art virtual Juried Art Show, Sale and Community Fundraiser produced success raising over $25,000. The virtual platform created by Federation webmaster Mike Rice, owner of Net Prophet and Supatra Samanyapon, graphic artist showcased 37 Hudson Valley artists working in a wide variety of media to include painting, pottery, jewelry, fabric, illustration, wood, glass, photography and mixed media.  Proceeds from this event support Federation causes, the participating artists and local not-for-profits including Circle of Friends for the Dying, Family of Woodstock, Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, Jewish Family Services, Oncology Support Program and People’s Place.


There are 3 components of Fall for Art’s success:

  • Artists - without their talent…there would not be a show.
  • Sponsors & Art Patrons - thank you for your philanthropy.  
  • And YOU… devoted friends of Fall for Art. Thank you to everyone for your support. Enjoy your purchases!


Fall for Art community fundraiser raises needed funds for Federation causes, Hudson Valley artists and local not-for-profits including Circle of Friends for the Dying, Hudson Valley Food Bank, LGBTQ, Oncology Support Program, People’s Place, and Jewish Family Services.  FfA fundraiser has benefited cultural and educational organizations over the years.    The participating 2021 artists will be announced in July.


Fall for Art is made possible thanks to the generous community sponsorship support (to date) Augustine Nursery; Bailey Pottery; Basch & Keegan LLP; benefit counseling associates; Bruderhof; Catskill Art Supply; Chronogram (trade); CoWork Kingston, LLC, Daily Freeman (trade); Farber Brothers / Ophira Sailing; RonDavid & Carol Super Gold; Herzog’s/ Kingston Plaza; Kingston Dental Associates; Lowe Plumbing & Air Conditioning; M & T Bank; Medical Associates of the Hudson Valley; Merrill Lynch, Kenneth K. Beesmer; metafair.com; Mother Earth’s Storehouse; Pine Street Dental; Potter Brothers Ski & Snowboard Shops; Prestige Toyota; Quail Hollow Events; Rondout Savings Bank; Saugerties Animal Hospital; Simpson Hammerl Funeral Home; Elliott Spiegel / Spiegel Bros. Paper;  Lally & Michael Steckman;  Stewarts’s Shops; Ten Broeck Center; The CommunityGuide.Net (trade); The Reis Group; Town & Country Liquors; Ulster Savings; Viking Industries; Wood Dock Foundation.


If you did not read your name, there is still time to be a sponsor! A $500 sponsor is listed on the FfA invite and all print materials.  Please contact the Jewish Federation of Ulster County office info@fallforart.org for Sponsorship Opportunities.


The dedicated and creative Fall for Art Committee includes Sara Beames, Barbara Cohen, Sloane Grubard, Louise Lefkovits, Darlene Levit, and Sue Worthman assisted by Mike Rice, owner of Net Prophet, Supatra Samanyapon, graphic artist and Jewish Federation of Ulster County staff.  


Like and Share FfA’s Facebook Page  https://www.facebook.com/Fall.for.Art/ , Follow on Instagram  #fallforart_ucjf , and Visit Fall for Art website www.fallforart.org  

Looking forward to your participation. Come fall for art at Fall for Art!


Respectfully Submitted, 

Barbara Cohen, chair



The CRC went through several leadership adjustments during the Covid-19 shutdown, and will be reorganizing again with the retirement of current chair, Geoff Miller.  


Pre-pandemic, Ulster County was facing an uptick in anti-Semitic incidents from an overnight rash of anti-Semitic graffiti in Kingston, to a wave of anti-Semitic graffiti in an area middle school, an incident at a local health food store and the public posting on several local college campuses by outside “patriotic” organizations with anti-Semitic agendas.  The shutdown slowed the reporting of anti-Semitic incidents to our committee members and allowed us to look more carefully at plans for a post-pandemic re-opening, especially in creating a more active and visible CRC both to field complaints about anti-Semitism and to educate the broader community to the problem.


On December 15, 2020, CRC member Suzanne Leon represented the UCJF on a Zoom event sponsored by the Human Rights Commissions of Ulster, Orange and Dutchess Counties.  The conference was the third in a series entitled, “Doing More Than Nothing About Hate: We are All in This Together.”  The program consisted of leaders from the Jewish, Black and Latino communities.


Co-Chairs, Neil Millens and Geoff Miller also continued to monitor reports from members of the county-wide community ranging from anti-Semitic slurs at an area restaurant to mandatory teacher conferences and union meetings scheduled in conflict with the High Holy Days.  There was also a tip from an out-of-towner alerting us to the fact that there are several local monuments on private property to national heroes of an Eastern European culture that collaborated with the Nazis during WWII to round up Jews and ship them off to death camps.


The CRC is in the process of regrouping under the new leadership of the UCJF.  Geoff Miller will continue to serve on the committee.  Hopefully other members of the CRC under Geoff’s and Neil’s leadership will continue to serve as well.  


Now that we are reopening with the decline in active Covid-19 cases, we suspect that many of the pre-shutdown problems will resurface, especially in our area schools.  To be effective, we need input from the community, both from the victims and from eye witnesses.  Many incidents go unreported, and as long as they do, the CRC will lack the data to challenge the tendency for government officials and school administrators to dismiss incidents that we deem anti-Semitic as childish pranks.


Respectfully submitted, 

Geoffrey Miller