Photo of Robin Rosenau and Audrey Nolte

Robin Rosenau, JFS Board President, Passes the Gavel to Audrey Nolte

I am honored to have served as JFS’s president for the past two years and sincerely thank both the board and the staff for their trust and collaboration.

JFS fights food insecurity, provides older adult case management, offers counseling, facilitates accessibility and inclusion planning for many Jewish organizations, and combats social isolation. Our amazing executive director, Debbie Zoller, together with a small but mighty staff and 80+ tireless volunteers, continually strive to provide these social services and more. I particularly am proud of the agency’s ability to pivot and adapt in real-time. Two examples are the post-pandemic transition from remote to primarily in-person provision of services and the offering of both individual counseling and group sessions to help Jewish community members process the pain of the October 7th attacks.

The Jewish Family Service Board of Directors consists of 20 dedicated community leaders. These men and women hail from many parts of the Lehigh Valley, from Allentown to Easton, Bethlehem, Orefield, Hellertown, Emmaus, Palmerton, and beyond. Our board members bring a wide range of skill sets, experiences, and perspectives, strengthening the agency. Together with our staff and community, this fiscally responsible group also raises much needed funds for programming.

Throughout my time on the board, Debbie and I focused on improving internal processes. Best practices and efficiency promote continuity, regardless of who occupies a specific board or staff position at any one time. This work will allow JFS to continue to best serve the community.

I first joined the board in 2004, and after two years resigned to become the JFS coordinator for the BenefitsCheckUp project. When I was invited to rejoin the board in 2015, I did not envision ever serving as president. I have always believed in the power of JFS to improve the lives of members of our community. I am delighted that my friend Audrey Nolte will soon become the next president of JFS. She brings a wealth of experience and is incredibly dedicated. I look forward to continuing my service on the executive committee as immediate past president.

In a recent interview, journalist Dan Rather was asked to explain his productivity during the past 20 years of retirement. I believe the format of his response will clarify my motivation to lead JFS as its next president. Every day Rather asks himself three questions:
“Who am I?
Why am I here?
What can I contribute?”

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, twin sister, educator, and the daughter of two Holocaust survivors. My parents of blessed memory taught me that every life matters. Each individual is responsible for pursuing social justice and that I am accountable for making the world a better place through Torah, worship, and deeds of loving-kindness.

As a lifelong learner, I am a hospice volunteer, active member of KI, and believe in the vision of JFS that no one should suffer hunger, isolation, abandonment, emotional or physical distress, lack of community support or caring. My goal is to strengthen programming, outreach, and communication between our hardworking staff, generous volunteers, and talented board members.

If you see me attempting to play golf or pickleball, biking or practicing yoga, cuddling with my grandsons, knitting or reading a book, feel free to say hello. You’re invited to join JFS as we advance from strength to strength.