The Jewish Star Award is given to a member of Congregation Beth Israel who shows outstanding effort both in the CBI and Northern Berkshire communities. The 2013 award goes to Grace Bowen.
You may know Grace best as CBI president. When she first stepped up, she faced one of the most difficult transitions in our history, struggling greatly with finances and morale and the transition between Rabbi Goldwasser and Rabbi Rachel Barenblat. Ultimately, Grace created a new financial paradigm for CBI: we have a positive bottom line for the first time in recent memory.
Our current financial status wasn’t easily achieved: Grace checked every cent we spent, and vetoed all expenses that she, the executive committee and the board found not absolutely necessary.
Grace, on her own, took on the responsibility of checking the condition of the CBI building and grounds. She and the building committee scouted out the most competent and least expensive contractors to make building repairs.
Grace has served as cook for the Take and Eat Program since it started. She seems undaunted at making meals (with her helpers) for 180 home-bound people. I think of Grace as “The Mistress of Meatloaf.”
Grace is a dear friend of mine. She often stepped in to encourage me and cheer me on when I was president of CBI. Her sardonic chuckle always makes me laugh. Grace has a wonderful sense of humor, and can see the ironies in all aspects of life. She’s a great companion on road trips, and has shown me many sights and eating venues in eastern New York. Through all our fun and serious moments, I most cherish Grace’s constant loyalty and support.