JFGI Elects New Leadership, Presents Scholarships and Awards


Beth Klapper Elected Board President of Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis
Organization also honors local community leaders with scholarships and awards

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (June 6, 2019) – The Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis (JFGI) elected Beth Klapper board president at its annual meeting on June 5. The board also elected its leadership, including new officers Leo Grabovsky (Vice President) and Jennifer Schwartz and Larry Turow (2020-2021 Annual Campaign Co-Chairs), as well as seven new members.

Beth Klapper has worked in healthcare and health insurance since 1995, and currently works with her husband Steve Klapper M.D. at Klapper Eyelid and Facial Plastic Surgery. She has been a JFGI Vice President, the Chair of JFGI’s Women’s Philanthropy Division, a Co-Chair of the 2015 and 2016 JFGI Annual Campaigns, and is a former President of the Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE) Board of Directors. Beth completed the first JFGI ATID Advanced Leadership Program in 2009 and was honored to receive the community’s distinguished L.L. Goodman Leadership Award in 2010.

Leo Grabovsky is a Financial Advisor and COO at the Grabovsky Group (a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services) and CEO of Apex Realty Group. He is also a current Jewish Community Center (JCC) Vice President, is involved with the Federation’s National Young Leadership cabinet, and is a former Co-Chair of JFGI’s NEXTGen program, Indiana Jewish Historical Society board member, and member of Jewish Family Services (JFS)’ LIFE & LEGACY committee. He received the community’s L.L. Goodman Leadership Award in 2017.

Dr. Jennifer Schwartz is a hematologist at IU Health, where she specializes in bone marrow and stem cell transplantation, and is involved with JFGI’s Women’s Philanthropy program. Larry Turow is a Financial Advisor and Managing Director at the Grabovsky Group, Sr VP at welaunch (a company that brings Israeli innovation to the Midwest), and founder and CEO at Accelerate Israel (binational business development) and Israel Investment Consultants. He is a 2018-2019 JCC board member and former Officer at the BJE, and at JFGI he has been involved with the Israel & Overseas program, a member of the Investment Committee, and received the community’s L.L. Goodman Leadership Award in 2015.

JFGI’s elected Vice Presidents are Brad Gershman, Leo Grabovsky, Karen Rothbaum, and Jim Schwarz. Barry Kroot was elected as Assistant Officer, and Jennifer Schwartz and Larry Turow will serve as 2020-2021 Annual Campaign Co-Chairs after Helen Kurlander Goldstein and Leslie Rubin complete their 2019 term. New members of the JFGI Board of Directors are Erica Abrams, Brent Epstein, Elliott Gold, Steve Klapper, Kevin Krulewitch, Jamie Ratner Rich, and Cynthia Yosha Snyder.

The following community members received scholarships:

Alexandra (Sasha) Matsuki received the Len Perel Memorial Scholarship, which was established in memory of Len Perel and his commitment to community service in order to recognize the academic excellence and volunteer service of foreign-born Jewish high school students.

The Eugene and Betty Friedmann Scholarship supports deserving Jewish high school students seeking to further their education in the fields of science, medicine, or technology. The 2019 recipients are Evan Kenyon, Ethan Moran, and Sigal Tavel.

Established in memory of past JCC Executive Director Jules Dorfman in honor of his years of service, the Jules Dorfman Scholarship supports graduate students focusing on Jewish Communal Service, Social Work, or Jewish Education. Stephanie Dlatt is completing her Certificate of Fundraising Management at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and Matthew Kramer-Morning is finishing his graduate studies in Chicago at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, where he will earn a Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies with an emphasis on nonprofit management.

Jenna Kerschner and Rachel Morrison received the 2018 Dr. Mark Pescovitz Outstanding Volunteer Leadership Award, presented to a Jewish high school junior or senior with a record of outstanding service to the Indianapolis Jewish and general community. This scholarship was established in memory of Dr. Mark Pescovitz, who at the time of his death was a Federation Officer and Co-Chair of the Annual Campaign.

The inaugural Indianapolis BJE Jewish Studies Scholarship was awarded to Jenna Kerschner for her demonstrated commitment to lifelong Jewish learning. This fall, she will attend University of Colorado at Boulder, where she will double major in Leadership/Community Engagement and Jewish Studies.

The Jewish community also welcomed five summer interns through its Samuel Kroot Internship Program, which last year was endowed thanks to a generous gift from the estate of Charles Sydney. Bri Becker, Hannah Smith, and Emily Vetne are working for JFGI, Michael Uretsky will be working with the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), and Rogan Goldblatt will be working for Hooverwood, the community’s Jewish nursing home.

The following community members received awards:

Eric Ratner and Carly Turow received the L.L. Goodman Leadership Award, presented to community leaders ages 50 and younger.

  • Eric, a Sales Account Executive at WTHR, is a current JFGI and JCC board member; at the former, he has co-chaired the NEXTGen program and participated in the ATID leadership development program, and at the latter, he has chaired the Sports, Fitness & Recreation committee and served on the Arts & Education and Membership & Marketing committees. He has also served on the Indiana Repertory Theatre’s Young Professionals Advisory Council.
  • Carly, who is the Director of Industry Engagement at Purdue Polytechnic Institute, serves as secretary on the JCRC board of directors (where she is also Community Engagement & Intergroup Affairs committee chair) and as Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (IHC)’s governance committee chair. She has also participated in ATID, as well as several other leadership programs.

The Domont Award, given to agencies, congregations, and Jewish organizations for outstanding creativity in community service, was given to Stand Up! Speak Out!, a JCRC initiative that proactively prepares young Jews, as well as their families and teachers, for the realities of 21st-century antisemitism.

This year’s recipient of the Melvin Simon Tikkun Olam Award, established in 2002 to recognize unique, special projects that enhance the overall community, is Parents’ Night Out, a JFS program that aids in creating stronger family systems by offering parents of children with special needs a respite opportunity, as well as inclusive programming for children of all abilities in a safe, Jewish environment.

Keith Pitzele received the Kehilla Award, established in 2009 for sustained and outstanding volunteer service in the Jewish community. Pitzele has been a JCC board member since 1982, including two terms as president (1991-1993 and 2016-2018), as well as a JFGI board member.

The Liebert I. Mossler Community Service Award, established in honor of JFGI’s 1967-1970 board president to honor veteran Jewish and general community leadership, was presented to Ernest Lorch. Ernie is a longtime member of the JFGI Board of Directors who has served on the Executive Committee and as an Annual Campaign solicitor. He has also served as Vice President of Park Regency (an apartment community for the elderly formerly sponsored by JFGI) and treasurer for IHC.

The community’s second annual Grinspoon Educator Award for Excellence in Jewish Education went to Rabbi Tzuriel Gluck, a 2nd- and 5th-grade Judaics teacher at the Hasten Hebrew Academy of Indianapolis.

Julie Sondhelm received the Frank H. Newman Award for Professional Excellence, named for JFGI’s 1959-1982 Executive Director/Executive Vice President and presented to one or more outstanding professionals in one of the Federation’s constituent or beneficiary agencies or in the Jewish community, in honor of her work as a JFS community social worker.

This year’s LEV Award, established in 2017 to honor someone who consistently and independently goes above and beyond to help and support the Jewish community, was presented to Lori Schankerman and Ilana Mordoh for their volunteer work (over 1,000 hours each) with JFS’ Popsie’s Food Pantry.

About the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis
The Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis (JFGI) is the central fundraising and community planning organization for the Indianapolis Jewish community. With an Annual Campaign of roughly $3.9 million, JFGI supports and enriches the lives of Jews locally, nationally, in Israel, and around the world. JFGI provides funding to a number of local and regional agencies, many national and overseas partners, and numerous independent programs that provide deeper connection and create Jewish community in Central Indiana. JFGI resides on and manages a 40-acre campus, and programs funded by JFGI create life-sustaining and life-changing impact, while inspiring and engaging members of the Indianapolis Jewish community.



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