LONGMEADOW – The hard work and dedication of local Jewish educators were highlighted on May 19 at the Educators’ Banquet, presented annually by the Resource Center for Jewish Education, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.
This year four local Jewish educators were honored at the dinner, which was held at Congregation B’nai Torah.
The educators honored this year were:
■ Rabbi Menachem Cohen, second grade and middle school Judaics teacher at Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy in Longmeadow;
■ Katherine Holdsworth, a teacher at Gan Keshet Preschool in Northampton;
■ Helene Shapiro, Kindergarten, first and second grade teacher at the Sandi Kupperman Learning Center at Temple Beth El in Springfield;
■ Rachel Wesley, fourth and fifth grade Judaics studies teacher at Heritage Academy in Longmeadow.
Also honored for Volunteer Leadership at a Jewish Educational Institution was Rebecca Serlin, a volunteer at Gan Keshet Preschool. Richard Renock, director of the Hebrew High School of New England Learning Center, was given the Outstanding Professional leadership award.
Teens Maya Berkman and Juliana Gensheimer received the 2011 Unsung Hero Teen Leadership award.
After the Shehechiyanu and HaMotzi by Felicia Sloin, musical performances by students of Lander-Grinspoon Academy, Heritage Academy and Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy, and greetings from Meredith Dragon, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, attendees enjoyed dinner and the awards, presented by Harold Grinspoon and Diane Troderman.
The final event of the evening was the presentation of the 2011 National Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award Winner by Joanna Ballantine, executive director of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. This year’s Grinspoon-Steinhardt winner was Helene Shapiro of Temple Beth El. A resident of East Hartford, Conn., Shapiro has taught at Beth El for 15 years.