The Jewish Star Award
The Jewish Star Award originated during Joanne Ranzer's presidency. Joanne always encouraged members of the Congregation to get involved in the organization. Whether it was to use special skills, or to fill in where there was a need, volunteering and especially a willingness to try out a leadership position brought her both gratification and pleasure.
The idea for the Jewish Star award came as a result of being sure to recognize and honor those individual members who over time, gave freely of their best selves, both at CBI and elsewhere in the community. The contributions might often be a less than glamorous task, in order to get a job done. A Jewish Star recipient would need to bring creativity and an outstanding showing of character and good judgment to their participation and contributions on a regular basis. The award would not necessarily be given annually, but the annual meeting would be a good time to publicly present it.
This year’s Jewish Star qualifies in every category mentioned above.
Dr. Len Radin and his wife Darlene joined CBI soon after they arrived in North Adams in 1973. Then in 1976 and 1983 came three beautiful daughters — Lens personal accomplishment he is most proud of: Michelle, a teacher of the deaf in Alaska, Chaya, a teacher of English as a second language in NYC, and Katie Rose a student at SUNY Buffalo, School of Dental Medicine.
The community activity Len is most proud of is the Drury Drama Team. What started out as a casual, voluntary extracurricular activity has morphed into a nationally known academic department of theatre with a reputation for innovation in educational theatre. He is very proud of his alumni who have used the arts to help make themselves more creative and interesting people. Len’s creation of Drury’s theatre program earned him numerous awards along the way, including the The Governor's Points of Light Award, the highest honor bestowed on a volunteer in Massachusetts. After 20 years of teaching drama, Len was considering retiring, until he was offered, and accepted another challenge. Len is now the paid District Drama Coordinator for all the North Adams public schools.
Len’s contributions at CBI are far-reaching. If he could manage the time, he would agree to serve when others could not. He has been a coordinating member of the Hevrah Chadisha Committee for 25 years. He has been a board member, treasurer and financial secretary for the past 8 years and has served willingly as a member of the executive committee. He created the naming opportunities for new trees and shrubs as we began the costly job of landscaping the grounds of our new building and he set up the process to make it happen. He, and wife Darlene, wrote an original Purim Play, which they both produced and Len played a hilarious leading role! Len has been our resident “facepainter” for CBI celebrations for as long as I can remember.
His most recent grand accomplishment, (and it is on-going) is the total revamping of the CBI website. When Len became aware that the site was poorly maintained, he challenged himself again, and re-organization was initiated. It seemed that within days, we had a user friendly, relevant, updated, creatively designed website, and a new webmaster. The most gratifying change was that hundreds of pictures became easily accessible to our members and guests.
Believe it or not, I could go on, but I think you get the jist and I now proudly present our 2007 Jewish Star Award to Dr. Len Radin.