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June 1, 2003     Jewish News
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June 1, 2003

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BETH SHOLOM Southeastern Virginia Jewish News 17 ViLIII 500GE 'Y""'"'-- On June 29, Frances Levy Bir- NBormal Korel, Volunteer of 2003, with ryan Mesh, Executive Vice President. Milton and Florence Goldin with Bryan Mesh. Volunteers who received pins at the Volunteer Tea, Annual Volunteer Recognition Frances Levy. Birshtein to be installed as president year's Volunteer Recog- for The Berger-Goldrich at Beth Sholom Village flace on Thursday, May of construction at Home. the tea was held in at Temple Israel. OVer 75 volunteers and enjoyed sweets, punch of course, tea, provided by Adler. Bryan Mesh, Execu- Vice President, and Harris Sloane, President of the of Directors, brought Rabbi Aaron Baer the D'var Torah. Harvey, Director of the Resi- and presented the award to Norman Korel. award is voted upon by the • Norman's name will on a plaque located Home. Leslie Legum, of Community Rela- as, then presented 'pins to who have achieved 250, 500, 1000, and 2000 of volunteer service. In Joe Garcia received an ur pin and is the volun- the most hours record- past rear. of the Year went to Norman Korel OUtstanding service in areas of The Home. "I my mother I wouldn't years after her fn'st visit to The Home she becanae president of the auxiliary. "When they In'st approached me to be president of the Beth Sholom Home Auxiliary, i was flattered but unsure. I did- n't think that I knew enough about the organization to say yes. But I did and that was the begin- ning O f my leadership role at Beth Sholom." Frances admits it is a long road to the presidency of Beth Sholom. She sat on the Executive Board and has learned much from her predecessors. "So many of the past presidents of The Home have stayed on mad continue to be involved. I have always been interested in good senior Jewish health care and that has led me to this next step - what we call the continuum-of-care." Frances served as 3rd Vice President with responsibilities to Beth Sholom Sands, as 2nd Vice President with responsibilities for The Home and as 1 st Vice President which is the training ground for the presiden- cy. And what are her goals for her presidency? "First and fore- most," she says, "is to continue to improve resident care and rela- tionships with families so we will remain the premiere nursing care facility in Virginia." Other goals include education and involve- ment for board members, devel- opment of a five year strategic plan for The Village and making certain that The Sands develops into an integral part of The V'd- lage. "I would like to turn board members into volunteers. I will be a hands-on president and I never ask anyone to do anything that I wouldn't do myself," says Frances. She wants to see how many people she can get to "walk through the door" the way Oscar quit", he said, "and I will always honor her wishes." In an emotional thank you, Nor- man (who also received his 500 hour pin) explained how impor- tant it is to him to volunteer at The Home. "This is a wonder- ful place doing wonderful work and I am proud to be a part of it," he said, "and I thank you for this honor." Those who would like information on the many volunteer opportunities at The Home, may call Leslie Legum at 420-2512. shtein will be installed as Presi- dent of The Berger-Goldrich Home at Beth Sholom Village. Frances considers herself a "pro- fessional president" having served in the top position of Sigma (BBYO), Hillel at William & Mary, Hadassah (twice), Hebrew Ladies Charity, Beth Sholom Auxiliary (twice)-and Beth El Sisterhood. "I guess I'm not afraid of lead- ership," she says. Frances has been an active force in the Jewish community for many years. "My Jewish involvement started early," says Frances. "I remem- ber walking to Beth E1 with my father from the time I was 4 years old. I grew up at Beth El. To this day I love to daven." Birshtein's involvement with The Home began in 1986. Her husband, Oscar Birshtein (of blessed memory), was an active volunteer who spent every Friday evening at The Home lighting candles, singing the kiddush and feeding residents. Early in their marriage they agreed to spend Friday nights apart while her youngest children were still living at home. After her children left home, she decided to join Oscar for Shabbat at The Home. "He walked me through the door," she says. "He bequeathed his ability to interact with resi- dents to me. .Oscar taught me how to talk to them - to see them as whole people no matter what their current capabilities were. That was his legacy." Frances continued as an active volunteer. In addition to Shabbat visits, she participated in sing-along and founded the very successful chal- lah baking program. Several BETH SHOLOM SANDS SALUTES ITS VOLUNTEERS On May 1, The Sands at Beth Sholom Village honored its volunteers at a dinner party. During the year volunteers donate their time and talents by helping with parties, creative crafts, singing, sewing, crocheting and fund raising for a variety of organizations• This year each volunteer received a cer- tificate of appreciation as well as a tote bag to mark the occasion. Dinner at The Sands. Volunteers strike a pose, France,, Levv Birshtein Birshtein did for her because "you always get back more than you give." Frances was born in New York and moved here when she was three years old. She attended Taylor, Blair and Maury. "I was fortunate to be able to have a scholarship to William & Mary. I felt obligated to succeed and managed to finish undergrad- uate and law school in four and 1/2 years." She practiced law in Norfolk for 15 years. Frances was married to Dr. Donald Levy (of blessed memory) for 20 years. They had five children - Jeff, the oldest, teaches English and Eng- lish as a Second Language in New York. Michael, a Major in the Marine Corps Reserve, is an attorney in Washington, DC with Covington Burling. His fiancee, Gina, is a captain in the Marine Corps. Son number three, Stephen, is in medical school in Portland, Oregon and son num- ber four, Douglas, is law clerk for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of V'uginia. Her daughter, Susan, works in finance with a French bank in New York City. On a trip to Israel a few years ago, Frances met Stanley Weigen. "It was a volunteer trip" she says. "We were clearing forests and teaching kids. The commitment to volunteerism was the ftrst thing we discovered we had in common. We were mar- ried and I inherited two wonderful daughters and their spouses, as well as five instant grandchil- dren." Today they spht their time between Norfolk and Toronto. Frances enjoys tennis, golf, travel and spending time with her family. Other officers to be installed on June 29 are Jerry. Kantor - 1st Vice President, Helen Sonenshine - 2nd Vice-President, Dr. Bernie Grablowsky - 3rd Vice President, Lawrence Siegel, Treasurer and Dr. Robert Bemstein, Sexetary.