JCS honors longtime community supporters


Two families and the longtime head of Tamarisk were honored with prestigious awards at Jewish Collaborative Services’ Fourth Annual Meeting, held on Oct. 21 on Zoom.

The Ruth and W. Irving Wolf Jr. Award for Multigenerational Philanthropy is presented to an individual or family that has shown extraordinary and consistent commitment to the JCS mission through philanthropy and advocacy through the generations. This year, the award was presented to two extraordinary families that go above and beyond these principles: the Weiner/Gerstein/Mutchnick family and the Berkelhammer/Krause/Rossman family.

Marcia Gerstein and her mother, Anabelle Mutchnick, have been involved as volunteers extraordinaire in the Jewish community for well over 50 years. Gerstein was president of the Women’s Association of the Jewish Seniors Agency (JSA) and continued her volunteer efforts throughout the years, as well as passing down the importance of serving the community to her daughter, Niecie Weiner.

Niecie Weiner, a JCS board member, followed in her mother and grandmother’s footsteps early on, taking on the role of president of the Women’s Association from her mom in 2014. Weiner continues to raise funds for the agency in support of Jewish seniors throughout the community. Weiner, Gerstein and Muchnick’s dedication to the missions of JSA and JCS epitomizes the criteria for the Wolf award.

Anne Krause, a longtime volunteer and donor, saw Jewish Family Services/JCS as her prime community involvement.  Having learned from her mother, Silvia Rossman, who established an endowment fund at JFS, Krause instilled this same value in her son, Robert (Bob) Berkelhammer.  Bob Berkelhammer devoted his time, talent and resources to JFS over many decades. As president of the agency, he was a strong leader and spokesperson both internally and throughout the community.

Simultaneously, Mitzi Berkelhammer’s efforts paralleled her husband’s. In the many titles she has held in this community, she has always advocated for JCS – for its work, its programs and its staff.  Furthermore, Mitzi and Bob Berkelhammer passed these values on to their three children.

Bob Berkelhammer’s family’s philanthropy is a significant part of his legacy. Their efforts and generosity have amplified the agency’s mission and set an example for others to follow. The Ruth and W. Irving Wolf Award bestows a well-deserved honor on the Berkelhammer-Krause-Rossman Family and Bob Berkelhammer’s blessed memory.

The Maurice Glicksman Leadership Award is presented to an individual who demonstrates the leadership qualities exemplified by Dr. Glicksman, president of JSA from 2000 to 2003. The award specifically recognizes and honors an exceptional individual for his or her continuing commitment to the Jewish elderly in Rhode Island. This year’s recipient, Roberta Ragge, executive director of The Phyllis Siperstein Tamarisk Assisted Living Residence, in Warwick, embodies all the attributes of this award and more.

Ragge has demonstrated her vision and commitment to our entire Jewish community in keeping with the mission and legacy of Dr. Glicksman. She leads with courage, confidence, objectivity and integrity. In her passion for JCS’ mission throughout her 18 years as executive director of Tamarisk, Ragge continues to motivate and inspire all who work with her and know her.

Ragge, whose moral compass never varies even under the most trying times, was unanimously voted the recipient of the prestigious Glicksman award.

To watch the annual meeting in its entirety, go to JCSRI.org.

JESSICA MURPHY is the marketing and communications manager at Jewish Collaborative Services.