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Broders to be honored as Jewish Family Service celebrates 100 years

By Stacey Dresner

SPRINGFIELD – Martin Broder says he was urged by a friend to join the board of directors of Jewish Family Service of Western Mass. in 2003.

“I had no previous experience with social service agencies and wanted to learn more about JFS and its programs,” Broder recalled. “I was impressed with the dynamic leadership of Bob Marmor, its executive director at that time, and enjoyed working with him and the other board members, who were all remarkably committed and loyal to JFS and its work. JFS’s programs are run by remarkably talented and committed staff and have resulted in tangible benefits delivered to clients, both Jews and non-Jews, who are in need of a variety of social services.”

On Thursday, Oct. 6 at 5:30 p.m., Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts will celebrate 100 years of delivering these services to the Jewish community and the community-at-large at a centennial celebration at the Carriage House at the Barney Estate in Forest Park.

At the event Martin Broder and his wife Marian Broder will be honored in recognition of their many years of service to JFS, to the Jewish community of Western Mass., and to their professional communities. JFS will also recognize its past presidents and their contributions.

Over the years, since its founding in 1915, JFS has delivered services including Jewish life enrichment, elder care support and aging in place, elder guardianship and conservatorship, caregiver support groups, counseling and family therapy, citizenship and naturalization services and refugee resettlement.

“JFS is an important agency because much of what it does is not done in any significant way by any other agency in our community, for example, its refugee resettlement and guardianship programs,” Martin Broder said. “Many of its clients are very needy and economically disadvanged. JFS is able to get grants from a variety of state and other agencies to help cover the costs of providing social services not available to its clients elsewhere. Its staff is dedicated and extremely competent and provides assistance that is of very high quality.”

“This celebration is a public acknowledgement of the contributions that this powerful organization has made as a successful model of innovation and responsiveness to our communities,” said Maxine Stein, JFS CEO. “We often do not have the opportunity to highlight our achievements publicly. We are thrilled to invite and include the community to share this milestone with us.”

Martin Broder has served on the board of JFS for the past 13 years. A native of Brooklyn. N.Y. raised in Detroit, his involvement in JFS was probably influenced by his upbringing.

“I was raised by parents whose early life in their Polish Jewish ‘shtetls’ depended on Jews sticking together and supporting their local community,” he said. “They continued to do that when they came to this country in pursuit of a better life. In their own way they were community activists, but always with a grounding in Jewish values. They passed that value system on to both me and my brother, and we’ve both tried to do that with our own children.”

The Broders moved to the Springfield area in 1982 when Martin became chair of the Department of Medicine at Baystate Medical Center. He served in that position for many years, where he was known for recruiting talented physicians to the area, educating an entire generation of medical residents and Tufts Medical School students and developing new programs that have improved patient care throughout western Massachusetts. Today, he continues to teach at Baystate. He has also served on the board of Temple Beth El and on the Jewish Federation’s Community Study Task Force.

Marian is just as accomplished professionally and just as involved in the community. A healthcare attorney, she chaired the Jewish Geriatric Service’s board and its committee that planned Ruth’s House. She has also served on the board of Temple Beth El and the Community Advisory boards of the Ray of Hope breast cancer walk and Baystate’s Comprehensive Breast Center. Her passion for oral history led her to found Memories Recorded, an oral history company, and to co-author Memories of Zionism – An Oral History of Residents of Springfield and the Pioneer Valley on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel.

Marian says she is a great supporter of the activities of Jewish Family Service.

“I have never been on its board,” she said, “[but] there are many overlapping areas between the Jewish organizations in the Springfield area, and I hope that  we will continue as a community to see more coordination between programs.”

The Broders say that they feel honored to be recognized as part of JFS’s Centennial Celebration.

“It is a great honor but I feel very humble since there are many, many more volunteers in all of the agencies serving Springfield that are so much more deserving to be honored,” Marian said.

“I am very grateful to my friends at JFS who have chosen me to be honored at its Centennial,” Martin added. “The honor should be equally shared by all the other past presidents and Board members of JFS who have spent so much time being certain that JFS remains one of the most outstanding Jewish social service agencies in the country. But most of all the honor really belongs to the dedicated past and present Executive Directors of JFS and their talented and committed staff, who work so hard to make life better for their clients using traditional Jewish values as their moral and ethical compass.”

Tickets for the event are are $100 and include buffet stations, open bar and a festive program. For more information, visit

CAP: Martin and Marian Broder

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