David Sorkin and Stephen Blumert receive the JCC Allan Weissglass Distinguished Leadership Award – Natural Self Esteem

STATEN ISLAND, NY – On Sunday, May 15, Staten Island’s Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC will present its top honor, the Allan Weissglass Distinguished Leadership Award, to David Sorkin and Stephen J. Blumert.

The event begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Bernikow JCC at 466 Manor Road. The gala, named for the late Allan Weissglass, honors individuals who have supported the JCC’s mission and served as leaders in the Staten Island community.

This year’s honorees have strong histories of leadership within the JCC. Sorkin is CEO Emeritus of JCC and Blumert is a longtime JCC board member and prominent attorney.

“We are so proud to honor David and Stephen with this prestigious award,” said Orit Lender, CEO of JCC. “Both have contributed significantly to the success of the JCC over the past decades.

“David and Steve far exceed the criteria for receiving this award for their dedication, leadership and generosity to JCC and the wider community. They truly exemplify the legacy of Allan Weissglass’ ministry and most deserve this award.”

Proceeds from the gala will support JCC’s memory loss programs – Rosemary’s Place and My Place. These programs are vital to helping people with memory loss and their families as they provide personal services to those in need. Both program options allow individuals to participate in programs that best meet their needs away from the home and allow caregivers to be given a break to attend work or other activities.

“My grandfather held both David and Steve in high esteem,” noted Allison Cohen, director of marketing and communications at JCC and granddaughter of Weissglass. “Our family could not think of two more fitting people to honor in his memory. We hope the community will come together to honor these two distinguished honorees and this important cause by supporting the event.”

To purchase tickets or sponsorship, please visit https://www.sijcc.org/weissglass.html

For her bat mitzvah, Eden Sorkin-Topper, center, reads the Torah flanked by her grandparents Arlene and David Sorkin. (Courtesy of Miriam Friend)

ABOUT HONORED DAVID SORKIN

In July 2020, after a career spanning over 45 years in the nonprofit sector, David H. Sorkin entered a new phase in his professional life as a Senior Advisor and Consultant. David is a seasoned executive with over 35 years of human services leadership experience.

Before moving into his consulting business, he was CEO of the Staten Island Jewish Community Center for 15 years, where he was responsible for the operations and management of one of the largest staffing agencies on the island. In his new role as Senior Advisor and Consultant, David brings deep experience to NFP agencies in need of interim management, fundraising and resource development, executive coaching, crisis management, governance and leadership development, and strategic planning.

In addition to serving as CEO at the JCC of Staten Island, he has also held the position of CEO at the JCC of Metropolitan Detroit and the JCC of Delaware in Wilmington. He has also worked in various positions at JCCs in Cherry Hill, NJ, New Orleans, Louisiana and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. David has also served as a national consultant for the JCC Association of North America.

Earlier in his career, he was director of combined therapies at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. In 2007, during his tenure as CEO of Staten Island JCC, David opened JCC’s 120,000 square foot flagship facility along with the development and implementation of state-of-the-art social/human services, recreational, educational and cultural arts programs and services. Under his leadership, JCC significantly expanded its strategic alliances in the government, non-profit and corporate sectors to advance its mission.

David developed strategic, effective communications to build JCC’s brand identity, created strong, transparent and accountable financial management and strategic, donation-centric fundraising. His sense of planning and evaluation has helped lead the JCC through multiple periods of crisis while supporting the organizational capacity to meet challenges and deliver results.

David received his Associates in Recreation and Parks from Pennsylvania State University and his Bachelors of Science in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation and Masters of Education from Temple University in Philadelphia. He was an Associate Professor and taught Leadership in Business at the School of Business at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. David is a Trustee of the Staten Island Not-for-Profit Association, where he served as Board Chairman and Chair of the Community Organizations Active in Disaster Coalition.

Sorkin is also a board member of Hebrew Public, a NYC charter school, and a past board member of the Staten Island Long Term Recovery Organization and the Association of Jewish Community Professionals. He also serves on many committees and councils, including the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation, the Staten Island Tackling Youth Substance Abuse Steering Committee, and the Staten Island Borough Presidents Health and Wellness Advisory Council.

David was also named co-chair of the NYS Rising Steering Committee by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Climate Advisory Committee by Mayor Bill de Blasio. David has been honored for his service to the community by various organizations including; The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, Louis R. Miller Business Leadership Award; Wagner College, Chai Society Humanitarian Award; Staten Island Jewish Community Center, Star of David Prize; Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame, Unsung Heroes Award; United Activities Unlimited, Edward G. Kepley, Jr. Unsung Hero Award; and the Staten Island Council of Boy Scouts of America, Distinguished Service to Youth Award.

David lives on Staten Island with his wife Arlene. Her daughter Kristi Sorkin, son-in-law Randy Topper, and children Eden and Shana also live on Staten Island.

STATEN ISLAND AHEAD

In this June 20, 2006 photo, the Staten Island Jewish Community Center hosted a “Hard Hat” cocktail party at the construction site of the Aberlin/North Shore Center’s new building, the Joan and Alan Bernikow JCC. Present from left were Louis Stolzenberg, JCC Managing Director; Allan white glass; R. Randy Lee and Stephen J. Blumert, JCC President. (Pre-file photo)

ABOUT THE HONORED STEPHEN J. BLUMERT

Stephen J. Blumert was a lifelong member of the JCC movement. Starting out as a day camper from the Bronx visiting Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds, he worked his way up to become the Board Chair of our Staten Island JCC and a board member for the UJA/Federation of New York and Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds.

They moved to Staten Island with his wife Judy to raise their two children, Matthew and Jessica, both of whom are now married with children of their own. All five grandchildren, Jace, Eloise, Hayden, Blair and Austin are unique and a source of great joy.

When not volunteering with JCC or enjoying his family, Steve is a partner at the Manhattan law firm of Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP, where he practices in the real estate and trusts and real estate practice areas. He is a graduate of Bronx High School of Science, Syracuse University (AB 1976), Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (JD, 1979) and New York University School of Law (LL.M Taxation, 1985). He is admitted to the bar in both New York and New Jersey.

Steve is a two-part transactional real estate attorney and part Trust & Estates Practitioner and provides his firm with insights gained from years of experience. He has worked on a wide range of commercial matters such as condominium offerings, shopping center acquisitions, commercial leasing and business formation and operations. But he can also deal with the very personal family issues that arise with estate planning, drafting a will and supporting the administration of the estate.

Stephen is grateful for the opportunity to serve as a volunteer for the JCC. He considers the many hours he dedicates to JCC matters to be an affair of the heart and is proud of his reputation for conducting good meetings. He is an avid photographer and a passionate golfer.

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