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2013 Award Recipients

Congratulations to all our very deserving recipients!


Stephen Brent Jacobson Scholarship Award                                Dylan Farber

The Robert J. Agger Memorial Award                                           Nathan Finberg

President’s Cup                                                                         Daniel Epstein

Karen Lerman Volunteer Award                                                   Gary Berenson

Richard D. Aronson Young Leader Award                                     Eric Kolben

Linda and Joel Abromson Award                                                  Joanne Turnbull

President's Award                                                                      Rebecca Stern           

Director's Staff Recognition Award                                               Terry Olsen    

Community Awards

    Linda and Joel Abromson Award

    Created by Linda and Joel’s friends in celebration of the Abromson's commitment to Jewish communal service; the Abromson Award funds projects that allow adult applicants the opportunity to explore Jewish life in a unique and creative way. Joel Abromson found energy and inspiration in his connection to Jewish life, and this award is meant to provide the same opportunities for other adults in our community. Applicants are encouraged to think ‘outside the box’ in terms of what might light their Jewish spirit – a unique travel experience, artistic project, leadership opportunity, or a completely new endeavor they are looking to create but never had the opportunity to explore. The Abromson Award challenges applicants to find an opportunity in Jewish life that excites them.  To provide inspiration for future applicants, recipients are asked to present to the community at the completion of their project in a public talk, article in the Voice, or any other appropriate public offering.

    Applicants are required to submit a letter of support for their project, a description of the project and how it would benefit the community, project time frame, estimated cost for the project and budget, a resume, and amount you are requesting. The committee will review all proposals and may follow up with applicants with any additional questions. For complete requirements, please click HERE.

    Richard D. Aronson Young Leader Award

    The Jewish Community Alliance is proud to announce that it is accepting applications and nominations for the Aronson Young Leadership Award. The candidates for this award must be between the ages of 25 and 45.  The recipient will demonstrate leadership qualities exemplified by Richard Aronson during his tenure of service to the Jewish Federation and Southern Maine’s Jewish community.  These qualities include a unique dedication of one’s time, ideas, and creativity to benefit our community.  


    This recipient will be honored at the Jewish Community Alliance’s annual meeting. In addition, the recipient and spouse will be awarded the opportunity to attend and participate in the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, the largest yearly gathering of Jewish leadership in the world.


    The recipient of the Aronson Young Leadership award must be a contributor to the JCA Annual Campaign.  The Aronson Leadership Award is funded through the generosity of Linda and the late Joel Abromson through the Aronson Leadership Award Fund.

      The Karen M. Lerman Volunteer Award

      The Karen M. Lerman Volunteer Award was established in Karen Lerman's name to recognize a member of the community who has gone "above and beyond" on behalf of the Jewish Community. Karen spent 16 years as a key volunteer for the JCC, serving in numerous roles and continuing her dedication to the Jewish Community Alliance.

      The Jewish Community Alliance is pleased to accept nominations for the Karen M. Lerman Volunteer Award. If you would like to nominate a deserving community member, please send letter detailing the nominee’s involvement as a volunteer with the Jewish Community Alliance and the community at large.

        The President's Award

        The President's Award is given out from time to time, at the President's discretion, to a person whose service to the Jewish Community Alliance is outstanding.

        COMMUNITY AWARDS Continued

          Fistal Family Nursing Scholarship

          Inspired by a bequest made by a cousin, Mayer and Sheri Fistal decided to fund a scholarship for a purpose close to their hearts. After thinking about their own educational backgrounds, they decided to concentrate on Sheri’s; an A.D. in Nursing at age 35 followed in two years by a B.S. and at age 55, an M.S.


          Sheri always wanted to be a nurse, but her parents thought that nursing was beneath a “nice Jewish girl”. After many hot discussions her parents finally acquiesced and “allowed” her to apply to a nursing school. They certainly didn’t encourage her and suggested she apply to one particular school (probably the most difficult one to get in to). When she wasn’t accepted they convinced her to try another profession. Luckily she got a job at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City as a medical secretary. This job only strengthened her desire to become a nurse. Mayer recognized Sheri’s abilities and encouraged her to go back to school and fulfill her dream.


          Several years ago there was a reduction in hospital nurses who were replaced by other healthcare providers to lower costs. This caused a surplus of nurses and fewer students going into nursing. Subsequent studies showed patient care suffered and now there is a great need for nurses.


          The Fistals feel that a scholarship will help those students who want to make nursing their career choice. The Jewish Community Alliance, which represents the Jewish community in southern Maine, provides a ‘home base’ for the Fistal’s scholarship.


          This scholarship will be presented annually to a Jewish high school senior (or – an individual) who plans to become a Registered Nurse and is applying to a secondary school that awards an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.


          Applicants must write a one hundred word statement on why they want to become a Registered Nurse. Applicants must also provide a high school transcript, a description of their extracurricular activities and letters of recommendation from two teachers and one other person that are familiar with the applicant’s accomplishments. If the applicant is a non-traditional student, recommendations can come from high school teachers OR an employer or professional contact. 

          High School Awards

            Stephen Brent Jacobson Scholarship Award

            Stephen Jacobson was always active in the JCC, from his early days at Center Day Camp through receiving the Robert J. Agger Award and participating on the softball teams. He always displayed a sense of commitment and community. Stephen was not only well liked, but admired and respected. He always had a smile on his face. As many may remember, Stephen's life was tragically cut short.

            Stephen's commitment to both the Jewish and general community went far beyond what one would expect from one so young. In his memory, the Jewish Community Alliance and the Jacobson Family established a scholarship fund and award to be given to a graduating high school senior who best exemplifies Stephen's ideas, compassion, leadership and desire.

              The President's Cup Scholarship Award

              The President's Cup award is presented to a graduating high school senior who has attained the highest grade point average during his or her high school career.

                The Robert J. Agger Memorial Award

                The Robert J. Agger Memorial Award is presented to a graduating high school senior who has displayed sportsmanship, leadership and athletic ability throughout his or her high school career.

                As a student at Portland High School, Robert Agger was an outstanding three sport athlete in the class of 1928. He was a true sportsman and was respected by everyone with whom he played.

                  How to Apply

                  The deadline for nominations/applications for all awards is April 16, 2013. For high school awards and scholarships, please send a resume or letter detailing your achievements and have your school forward a copy of your transcript. Application materials should be sent to Awards Committee, Jewish Community Alliance, 57 Ashmont Street, Portland, ME, 04103.  Please contact us at or 772-1959 with any questions.