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Springfield JCC Recognizes Volunteers, Program Participants, and Staff at Annual Meeting

GREATER SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Jewish Community Center held its annual meeting May 30. The J remains a vibrant hub for both the Jewish and broader community. In the past year, program participation has increased in many areas, from preschool to adult life and cultural programs, as well as in the J’s Health and Wellness Center.

Four awards were presented to people who live the mission of the Springfield JCC, and who lead by example through their active participation in various J programs: Katie Santarelli, recipient of the Paul Smith Award; Katie Olmstead, recipient of the Robert Orenstein Award; Michael Wcislo, recipient of the Marcia Rosen Award; and Glenn Baevsky, recipient of the Sivek Family Award.

J employees who this year celebrated five-year increment milestones were also lauded. There are: Donna Obernesser, 35 years; Lori Asulin, 25 years; Jackie Breault, 25 years; Albert Avadyayev, 15 years; Maureen Marchacos, 15 years; Michalina Malone, 10 years; Abigail Arnold, five years; Lucy Abramian, five years; Sierra Forney, five years; Sean Martin, five years; Abigail Moller, five years; Kimberly O’Neill, five years; Mary Ryczek, five years; Susan Whirty, five years; and Marissa Yeager, five years.

For more information about the J and its programs, visit, or stop by for a tour, 1160 Dickinson St.


Around the bonfire

More than 150 people from the Central Massachusetts Jewish community celebrated Lag B’omer at Central Mass Chabad in Worcester. The celebration included a grand bonfire, a barbecue and lots of outdoor activities for both children and adults.


Anna Smith is Oldest Resident of Longmeadow 

Anna Smith celebrating sukkot in the JGS sukkah with students from the community.

From left, Mark Gold, Longmeadow Select Board; Marie Angeledes, Longmeadow Select Board; Jim Leyden, Longmeadow Council on Aging; and Lindsay Gill, Longmeadow Council on Aging, present the Golden Cane and certificate to Anna Smith.

LONGMEADOW – On May 8, 104-year-old Anna Smith, a resident in JGS Lifecare’s Leavitt Family Jewish Home, was presented with the Golden Cane as the oldest resident of Longmeadow. Smith was presented with the cane — a longtime tradition in New England towns -by Mark Gold, Select Board Chair of Longmeadow. 

Anna celebrated the occasion with her son, Norman, friends, and volunteers and staff of JGS. 

Born in Duquesne, Pa. in 1914 and raised in Springfield, VT, Anna and her family moved to Springfield, Mass. during the Great Depression. She and her late husband, Sam Smith, raised their two children in Springfield, and for years she was a volunteer at the Springfield Museum Arts Complex. She is the grandmother of three and great-grandmother of four.

“Anna always has a beautiful smile and is a joy to be with,” said Susan Halpern, vice president of development and communications at JGS Lifecare. “I am so pleased that Anna is receiving this special recognition.”


Spreading Shir Joy

On Thursday, May 9, the Shir Joy Chorus traveled to Worcester to sing at the Israel Independence Day event sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Central Mass. and Israel Bonds at Congregation Beth Israel. The chorus led the attendees in singing both “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Hatikvah” prior to the night’s program. Photo Credit: Bruce Wahle

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