Federation names its annual award winners

By Carl Zebrowski

The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley has announced the winners of its 2023-24 awards and will present them at its community celebration and annual meeting in the JCC Kline Auditorium on Thursday, June 6.

Everyone is invited to attend to celebrate these winners and the other community leaders and volunteers who made possible another successful year of bringing people together and raising funds for Jewish needs. An picnic-style buffet will begin at 6 p.m. Attendance is free. 

The winners of this year’s awards are Lewis Gaines, the President’s Award; Dr. Zach Goldsmith, the George Feldman Award for Young Leadership; and Hank Butler, the Schiff Award for Prejudice Reduction.

The President’s Award, presented for special recognition rather than annually, goes to Lewis Gaines for his work on the investment committee of the Jewish Federation’s foundation. Thanks to his leadership as committee chair and his reimagining of the foundation’s investment strategies, the endowment fund has outperformed the benchmark over the last 10 years in both up and down markets. Heading into the future, he and Goldman Sachs, the fund’s investment advisors, expect above-average returns to continue.

Dr. Zach Goldsmith, president of the Jewish Federation’s Maimonides Society of healthcare professionals, will receive the Feldman Award. Chosen from among the nominees by the past five winners of the award, Goldsmith has followed up on his goal of expanding the society’s membership, making it more diverse and including include more women and other healthcare professionals. He is among the brightest all-around leaders in the Lehigh Valley community.

The Schiff Award will be presented to Hank Butler for teaching and spreading tolerance through words and actions. As executive director of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition, which represents Jewish communities across the state, Butler has helped pass important legislation to fight bigotry and hate. Successes have included legislation to deter violence inspired by hate, to promote religious understanding in schools and society at-large, and to educate government officials on issues of concern to the Jewish community.

During the meeting portion of the event, the Federation’s current board of directors will vote on new nominees. See page 3 for the full list.

Dinner will be served at 6 p.m., and the awards presentations and voting will follow.