Jewish Home’s Berkowitz receives Saul Schwarz award
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Jewish Home’s Berkowitz receives Saul Schwarz award

In recognition of more than 30 years of Jewish communal work, Charles Berkowitz, president and CEO of the Jewish Home Family, received the 2009 Saul Schwarz Distinguished Service Award from the New Jersey Association of Jewish Communal Service during the organization’s fall meeting last month.

The NJAJCS gathered at the Wilf Jewish Community Campus in Scotch Plains on Nov. 20 for the event, which was hosted by the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey. Berkowitz, a resident of Glen Rock, is also executive vice president of the Jewish Home at Rockleigh.

“I have been in this profession for a long time,” he said. “I was very pleased professional colleagues of mine had thought of me in making the nomination.”

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Charles Berkowitz, president and CEO of the Jewish Home Family, is the 2009 winner of the Saul Schwarz Distinguished Service Award from the New Jersey Association of Jewish Communal Service.

Berkowitz has been with the Jewish Home since 1970, when he arrived after a stint at what is now the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, which was then in Englewood. Berkowitz is proud of the Jewish Home’s growth through the years and looks forward to growing it further.

“We’ve grown … to having two state-of-the-art institutions in Rivervale and Rockleigh,” he said. “We’ve really set a standard for the profession through these facilities.”

Through its Jewish Home at Home program, the organization has begun to focus on homecare alternatives for seniors. The first step in the program is a geriatric care management program, which includes a series of home-based services such as Meals on Wheels and medical day care.

“He’s really the dean of Jewish agency executives and somebody we at UJA always turn to for advice,” David Gad-Harf, associate executive vice president and COO at UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey, said of Berkowitz. “He’s always eager to be helpful and has wise advice based on his many years of service to our Jewish community.”

NJAJCS was founded in 1970 to “serve as a forum for the discussion of programs of Jewish communal service on a professional level, and of the application of general professional techniques to service in Jewish communities,” according to the organization’s Website. The Saul Schwarz award, created in 1984, recognizes a member who has demonstrated a consistent history of professional and personal commitment to the field. Schwarz was the first recipient of the award, which was later named after him. Winners are chosen by Jewish professionals throughout the state from all fields of communal service.

Schwarz, a past president of what would later become United Jewish Communities of MetroWest and one of the founders of NJAJCS, expected a great deal from others in the field, said Judy Beck, director of UJA-NNJ’s Synagogue Leadership Initiative, a past president of NJAJCS, and a past recipient of the Saul Schwarz award.

“He really felt that people who work in the field of Jewish communal service were professionals,” she said. “He was really an unbelievable human being in what he accomplished and expected us to accomplish.”

Schwarz died in August 2001.

“The Saul Schwarz Distinguished Service Award is an honor accorded annually to a distinguished professional who has devoted his career to Jewish life in our state,” said Arthur Sandman, NJAJCS president and associate executive vice president, program services, of the Whippany-based MetroWest federation. “We were very proud to give it to Chuck Berkowitz this year in light of the vision he has given to the care of seniors in our community and the professional example he has set for people in our field.”

Past winners of the award include UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey executive vice president Howard Charish; Joy Kurland, head of the federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council and a regional CRC; and Abe Davis, executive director of Jewish Family & Children’s Services in North Jersey.

“I know everybody who has won the award over the years,” Berkowitz said. “It’s a nice group of people to be involved with.”

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