Local Jewish Activists to be Recognized at Jewish Federation Gala

Ulster Residents Barbara Blas, Barbara Cohen and Lally Moses-Steckman to be Honored

US Attorney for the Northern District NY Carla Freedman will be Keynote Speaker 

Carla Freedman (L), the US Attorney for the Northern District, is the senior DOJ official in 31 upstate NY counties; she is the first woman and first individual of Jewish extraction to hold that position. David Drimer (R), is the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Ulster County, and a co-founder of the National Holocaust Awareness Initiative. 

Kingston, April 21 The Jewish Federation of Ulster County (UCJF) has announced the local honorees for the upcoming Gala celebration in honor of Israel’s 75th Birthday, Sunday, May 21, 4 – 8 PM at the Senate Garage, Kingston, NY.

Barbara Blas, a financial consultant and Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP), is the founder of Giraffe Capital in Kingston. Barbara  demonstrates  a lifelong commitment to  Tikkun Olam  (Repair the World). A member of the Federation’s board of directors for most of the last 45 years, she chaired the   Israel@50 Jubilee, and coordinated the local appearance of Israel’s   Rehovath   Youth Orchestra. Barbara was instrumental in UCJF’s acquisition of the historic Reher Bakery building and has since has  been active in developing it into The Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History. She is a member of Congregation Agudas Achim and Rotary.

Barbara Connelly Cohen embodies the spirit of Tzedakah (charity) in every sense of the word. She serves on the Boards of the Jewish Federation of Ulster County, Supporting Friends of HealthAlliance, Mental Health Association in Ulster County, Ulster Community College Foundation, HealthAlliance Foundation, and Reher Center for Immigrant Culture & History. Barbara is an associate board member of Children’s Home of Kingston, and a longtime member of Kingston Rotary Club and Ulster County Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of Congregation Emanuel of the Hudson Valley.

Lally Mozes-Steckman’s life story is a testimonial to the resilience and determination of the Jewish people, and an exemplar of Jewish cultural values. Lally’s mother Lola, and her father, Menachem (z”l) were both Holocaust Survivors. That painful legacy drives her lifelong commitment to Judaism and social justice. Lally worked as a speech/language pathologist in the Rhinebeck Central school system for 30 years. Lally has served the Jewish Federation of Ulster County as a board member, treasurer and vice president for the past 35 years. She is a member of Congregation Ahavath Israel.

“These three women are beyond worthy of recognition for their lifetime commitment to the highest Jewish cultural values of Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam, plus advocating for social justice initiatives for all Ulster County residents, regardless of religion,” Rondavid Gold, president of the Federation, said.

“Their election for this signature honor was the result of a unanimous and enthusiastic approval by the review committee. They each embody the spirit of volunteerism and community activism that’s fundamental to the unprecedented growth and vitality of our diverse Mid-Hudson community,” he added.

Carla Freedman, the US Attorney (USA) for the Northern District NY, is the senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official in 32 Upstate New York Counties. She is the first woman and the first individual of Jewish extraction to hold this position. USA Freedman has made combatting hate crime against all marginalized communities a top priority for her office. She will be receiving the UCJF “Hero of the Ulster Co. Jewish Community” award.

The UCJF Israel@75 Birthday Gala will feature a gourmet, Kosher sit-down dinner, live music, both live and silent auctions and a raffle. VIP guests will be in attendance. The net proceeds from the event will be earmarked to assist in immigration and resettlement of Ethiopian Jews in Israel, an impoverished community in dire need of support, and many other UCJF projects.  For more information, visit the Jewish Federation of Ulster County website at UCJF.org or call 845.338.8131.

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The Jewish Federation of Ulster County (UCJF.org) is a decades-old, 501c3 not-for-profit organization headquartered in Kingston, NY. It is dedicated to preserving and promoting Jewish cultural traditions and values, and advocating for the best interests of all Ulster residents, regardless of religious affiliation. UCJF is affiliated with a major philanthropic umbrella organization, the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). Contact development@ucjf.org or call 845.338.8131.