Jewish News Supplement - Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus Celebrates 20 Years (May 2024)

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Dear Readers,

Among the many positive outcomes of the establishment of The Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community was the actuality of three words in the campus’ name: Tidewater Jewish Community.

For those who worked on the building’s creation, that sense remains and was demonstrated by each person I asked to recall those pre-campus days. It was amazing how often people mentioned others. . . “You’ve got to talk to so and so.” “Please include this one in the article.” “Don’t forget that she coordinated that.” It was a constant refrain. Though we couldn’t possibly include or mention everyone who had a hand in the development and creation of the Sandler Family Campus, it was heartwarming to hear that 100% of those contacted relayed how many people were involved. . . not one person tried to grab more credit. Instead, it was the opposite. . . total shared community.

And that’s what the Sandler Family Campus has been about for the past 20 years.

In this section we look back at how it all got started, what’s taking place now, and even glimpse a bit into the future. . . but not too far.

Whether the move was spurred by a vision for a cohesive Jewish community or to consolidate services or to simply follow where people were moving, it really doesn’t matter. What matters now is that Jewish Tidewater has a beautiful Campus to call home.

Mazel Tov to all who played and now play a role in the Sandler Family Campus! | May 13, 2024 | |
the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus on 20 years of magnificent programming and service to the Jewish community. May you continue to go from strength to strength. S andle R F amily C ampu S 20 T h a nnive RS a R y
The Cindy and Ron Kramer Family congratulates
This beauty perches on the flagpole outside my window every day, as if he’s guarding the Campus.

S andle R F amily C ampu S


The idea of a central Tidewater Jewish community campus had to start somewhere. That place might be traced to Charlotte, N.C. when a then 39-year-old Art Sandler, who was serving as president of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, visited that community and saw their recently built campus.

“I thought it was cool and came back to town with the concept. We had a series of focus groups,” says Art, with people discussing the model over several years. Other federations around the country, he says, were bringing things together.

“Enough people thought it was a good idea and that we should have a campus,” he says.

One of the incentives to think about moving, says his brother Steve Sandler, was driven by the fact that the JCC at Wards Corner had passed its prime. “Many saw a need as Jews had moved away from Norfolk and the old facility was in disrepair and needed work.”

Both are quick to add that it was a collective vision of many community leaders.

“Marvin Simon found the property and seeing the need, asked Bobby Copeland and Bob Josephberg and myself to work with him. It turns out the property was perfect, and the results were wonderful,” says Steve.

As the lead donors, the brothers chose to name the campus after their parents and the community.

“Our parents loved our Jewish community,” they say.

“They defined themselves by first their family and then their religion and work ethic. Being Jewish was special for Reba and Sam. We loved our parents and couldn’t do enough to honor their commitment to the community, Jewish community, and name.”

“This (campus) did not belong to the Sandler family,” say the Sandlers. “Rather, it belongs to the Jewish

community. We just named it.”

Both men say they are satisfied with the outcome of bringing the agencies together. In fact, Steve says “VERY” in call caps. “It worked.”

Steve also believes it could be done again. “We have wonderful energy and caring leadership in our Jewish community.”

“I think it is as beautiful today as when it opened,” says Art. His only regret is that more people don’t go to the Campus. “There are so many wonderful things going on there that we should have more people attending.”

Steve agrees. “I can’t imagine anyone not thinking that the Campus has been a resounding success.”

As far as the future is concerned, Steve believes “it will be what the community wants it to be. Nothing is static and the world and Jewish world is ever changing. Nothing stays the same. But we have a central place for Jews in Tidewater and hopefully it will always be our central address and central place to meet. We can do anything and everything Jewish here.

“We are fortunate to have the professional leadership and lay leadership we have,” says Steve. “We have a wonderful community. Many helped with the success of our Jewish campus. Marvin Simon, of blessed memory, Bobby Copeland, and Bob Josephberg and many, many others. We owe them much. So many helped to build this wonderful facility. We need to thank them all.”

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Reba and Sam Sandler.

Congratulations to the Sandler Family Campus on 20 years of success in bringing our Jewish community together!

L’Dor V’Dor Renee and John Strelitz | May 13, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 23

Andrew Fink: Finding the land to choosing art

Twenty years ago, Andrew Fink was instrumental in the land acquisition, construction, and completion of the Sandler Family Campus. His involvement with the Campus continues today as he serves on several committees and boards.

Jewish News: You were instrumental in the land acquisition for the Sandler Family Campus. Please tell us how you got started and a little about the process, including the development of the concept of a shared Campus.

Andrew Fink: For many years, many of us had been looking at demographic changes in this region. A shift towards Virginia Beach and Chesapeake appeared. Additionally, finances and operations were analyzed, and we found that there could be economic efficiencies of co-locating some of our agencies. Several of us, including Ben, Britt, and Marvin Simon, and myself started searching through maps and driving around looking at vacant land as well as at existing buildings. “Location, location, location” is what we were looking for. We analyzed numerous spots including the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater location in Chesapeake. Leadership decided upon the current location only after a complicated negotiation with the then owner. Marvin, Bobby Copeland, and I negotiated with that owner and consummated the purchase.

Family Service. This concept was presented to each board, and we were off and running. In addition to forming their own committees, agencies were interviewed for space needs – both for at that time, as well as for future projections. While that was happening, architects were interviewed. A building committee was formed, and we tried to please everyone! Means for financing were explored. Paul Turok was chosen as the architect, and we worked closely together.

interior design, art, and signage of the building. What were the challenges of combining agencies, the opinions of community leaders, and adhering to a budget when doing all of this?

AF: Challenges?!? There were thousands of decisions to be made regarding construction, materials, adjacency of agencies, security, computer networking, phone systems, longevity of materials, maintenance of such items as flooring, lighting, and heating/air conditioning equipment, kosher kitchens, what amount of funds could be raised, and how to finance, etc. We had hundreds of community lay persons along with staff working to put all this together.

JN: How and where did you research approaches to design of the building?

AF: The start of the building began with Bob Josephberg and I sitting down and ballparking costs of the various components anticipated for a co-located campus. Those components included classrooms, offices, activity, health, fitness, and meeting rooms, as well as associated services, courts, and fields.

A group of us then travelled to many campuses in the United States, gleaned ideas and noted what could work for our community. It was decided that our campus would encompass Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, Jewish Community Center with camp, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Tidewater Jewish Foundation and Jewish

The site layout really dictated much of what went where regarding parking, pool, playing fields, classrooms, the pond, etc. We decided on Jerusalem stone for much of the common areas. Paul designed the people-mixing area “the Cardo” after the cardo in Israel. Marvin insisted, among other things, that the entrance look substantial, hence the two large pillars holding up the canopy. We wanted a facility that was accessible and inviting for young and old, for all people in the region. Once a concept master plan was determined, the fund-raising brochure was designed, and the community went to work on funding the campus and its endowment.

JN: You were also involved in the construction,

Opinions?!? There were hundreds! Our building committee, along with UJFT leaders, took those into consideration and then made decisions on what we felt was best for the entire community. We HAD to make decisions and move forward, or the campus would never have gotten built. We interviewed and chose contractors, interior designers, furniture companies, signage companies, and landscape designers to name a few – they all had input into the designs and materials. We worked with many agency sub-committees, including those choosing the permanent artwork to display. Sample selections were delivered, reviewed, and decided upon.

It was a wonderful collective group process, and I stayed in the middle of it along the way and still give input today (through the Campus committee and UJFT board).

JN: Does the Campus meet your vision?

AF: Yes and no. Yes, from having a wonderful facility standpoint. No, as I envisioned many more people using the wonderful programs and facilities.

JN: What else would you like the community to know about the creation of the Sandler Family Campus?

AF: I am so glad we built this campus and benefitted from the co-location of these services for the community. I only wish we had more land so that we could build other facilities.

24 | JEWISH NEWS | May 13, 2024 S andle R F amily C ampu S 20 T h a nnive RS a R y
Steve Gordon, Andrew Fink, Harry Graber, and Bob Josephberg at the construction site of the Sandler Family Campus. | May 13, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 25 Congratulations to our friends at UJFT on two remarkable decades at the Sandler Family Campus. Here’s to many more years of building a brighter tomorrow together. NORFOLK: 1700 Wells Fargo Center | 440 Monticello Avenue | Norfolk, VA 23510 | 757.627.8611 RICHMOND: 7200 Glen Forest Drive | Suite 300 | Richmond, VA 23226 | 804.320.7600

Bobby Copeland and Bob Josephberg, co-chairs of the Simcha Campaign, recall good times

Jewish News staff

The epitome of distinguished and versatile leaders, it was no surprise that Bobby Copeland and Bob Josephberg took on the roles of co-chairs of the Simcha Campaign. As co-chairs, all aspects of the Sandler Family Campus project – fundraising, design, construction, promotion – were ultimately overseen by these two volunteers.

“We had a great extended leadership team who worked well together, and that synergy led to success,” Copeland says.

“Bobby Copeland worked in finance, and I worked on development and getting the campus built. I was building apartments at the time; I had the resources available in my office.”

Great team or not, the project had its share of bumps. “We experienced every challenge you could imagine – community challenges, the needs of each agency, spacing, planning, and budgets,” says Josephberg.

Still, Josephberg says it was a “100% positive experience — one of the most rewarding and satisfying things I’ve ever done.

“Along with Paul Turok and Andrew Fink, we met with the professionals and lay leaders so that all agencies got what they needed and wanted.”

Both men agree that the process was rewarding, as was the result.

“I was totally satisfied with the outcome,” says Josphberg. “Creating the JCC pushed everything else. And the school was a prime mover and central piece around which everything was planned.

But could such a massive project happen today?

Sheila (Josephberg) and Andrew co-chaired the art committee – the whole design created a warm and inviting place.

“I loved working with Steve (Sandler), Art (Sandler), and Bob. Andrew Fink was tireless. There were no ego problems.”

“Sure, it could happen today,” says Josephberg. “I don’t know the players in Tidewater right now, but it comes down to money and ideas. Marvin Simon wanted a campus, and we had Steve, Art, and Bobby – all forces of nature.”

“The combined energy of the Campus has helped grow the commitment to Tidewater,” says Copeland. “The people who participate in activities at the Campus, along with their children and grandchildren, are all part of something that is bigger than just a building.

“In name and in truth, it’s not just a building; it’s a Community Center. So Jewish life in the community is perpetuated by the fact that people can gather to learn, to work out together, to meet and to make decisions to benefit the community and the greater Jewish World,” says Copeland.

Josephberg’s concern: “I hope I’m not forgetting anyone!”

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Bobby Copeland Bob Josephberg


The Christian Broadcasting Network honors the twentieth anniversary of the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community.

CBN is grateful for our years of partnership with the Jewish community. We are and always will be proud to stand in solidarity with the Jewish people and the State of Israel. | May 13, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 27

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Graduation season is almost here, and Jewish News is ready to celebrate Jewish Tidewater’s students as they graduate from high school, college, and graduate schools. To help us do so, please submit, along with a photo, the following information by Friday, May 17 about your graduate:

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Send to with Graduate in the subject line. You will receive an email acknowledging receipt. If you don’t, please call 757-965-6132. Thank you!

28 | JEWISH NEWS | May 13, 2024 Mazel Tov!
We are thrilled to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Reba and Sam Sandler Family

Secrets to senior fitness success for longtime members of the Simon Family JCC

Stephanie Peck

The Simon Family JCC is an invaluable resource for many people, especially for those who frequent the aquatic and fitness areas. Several longtime members explain their commitment to exercise and how joining the JCC has improved their physical and mental well-being.

And how they’ve made a friend or two along the way…!

Beth Blake Davis

When Virginia Beach City Public Schools promoted a new wellness program in 2004 offering teachers a free initial membership fee, Beth Blake Davis found the Simon Family JCC. She had always believed in the benefits of being fit, and now, at 80 years old and retired, she feels that being fit has been invaluable.

Davis was raised Catholic, and it never crossed her mind that the Norfolk JCC would be a place for her. Through genealogy, she has since uncovered that a great-grandmother on her mother's side was born Jewish, named Elenora Hyman Drake, and a great, great-grandmother on her father's side, Katherine Jacoby Kessler, was also Jewish.

She has tried most of the classes at the Simon Family JCC, beginning with Life Fit, Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, and Stretch. Davis has even tried most of the equipment. Classes are her favorite because of the camaraderie with the other participants. In fact, participating for 20 years has encouraged friendships that she cherishes. Davis also enjoys the speakers who visit as part of the Lee and Bernard Jaffe Family Jewish Book Festival, the nutrition classes, Wellness Day, art showings, and book sales.

Twenty years of good exercise has contributed to her staying healthy. When Davis started coming to the Simon Family JCC, there was a lovely woman in her Life Fit class with white hair. She thought, “If she can do it, then so can I!” Recently, on the way out of her Stretch class, this same woman was coming in for Pilates.

“So, Lonnie, thanks. You were my first inspiration!”

Walt Evans

As a young man, one of Walt Evans’ neighbors, Bernard Jaffe, offered him an open invitation to play basketball on his home court. In 1973, Evans joined the Norfolk JCC for this same purpose, playing pick-up ball with John Strelitz and Lonnie Slone, to name a couple. While he was disappointed at first that the facility was moving, the Simon Family JCC was actually closer to his home in Cypress Point. Evans has continued his membership.

“I call it the Taj Mahal – it’s unbelievable how wonderful it is,” says Evans, when comparing the old site to the Virginia Beach location. He stopped playing basketball at age 55; now, at 70 years old, he walks on the treadmill for over an hour, four days per week for his cardio work-out. “You can’t get injured walking on the treadmill.”

During the last two decades, she has seen the JCC grow into a valuable community enterprise. Davis regards it as a bit of a hidden gem – out of sight in this little cul-de-sac. However, for many years, at school and other situations, she has been one of the JCC’s best ambassadors, bringing many friends to the center to enjoy what the JCC has to offer.

“The friendliness of the staff, from Jason at the front desk, Leigh and others in the lobby, to the great custodial staff, they all combine to make this a lovely place to be,” adds Davis. “I've seen many changes – Ray and Tony in the gym were always friendly and helpful instructors, and now Tom, too. The classes have expanded (my favorite is still Yoga) as has the equipment on the floor.”

Evans says that the JCC fitness space is always clean and accessible, and the staff are passionate about what they do. “Ray is an outstanding employee, and Tom is the best fitness director you’ve had. I’m not interested in going anywhere else.”

Through Renew Active, Evans gym membership is covered by his health insurance.

Debbie Johnson

In 2004, Debbie Johnson joined the Simon Family JCC. Her grandchildren were very young at that time,

ages one, four, and seven. The JCC was perfect, because it also provided daycare when the adults worked out.

Her grandchildren enjoyed the pool and participated in basketball, Yoga for children, and gym activities. Johnson has enjoyed Yoga, Pilates, swimming in the pool, Step, Zumba, water aerobics, Stretch, and Life Fit classes. Not only has the JCC been a source of fitness for her, but Johnson has met and made many friends there, too.

Prior to COVID, some classes included young parents whose children either attended Strelitz International Academy or whose younger children could be dropped off at the childcare center. However, since childcare is no longer available, most classes are attended only by seniors. Johnson says she prefers a more diverse age group.

A fan of water exercises, Johnson wishes there were more classes in the pool, though she understands that the availability of teachers is scarce. She adds, “The JCC does a good job providing daily classes and activities for seniors, and the dedication of our trainers, Tom and Regina, is greatly appreciated.”

Lonnie McLeod

A member of the JCC since the Norfolk days, Lonnie McLeod and her first husband joined when her sons were young. At 85 years old, recovering from a stroke and hip replacement, McLeod continues to work out at the Simon Family JCC twice per week, hoping to gain back enough strength to return to her five-day, weekly regimen.

Prior to her health set-backs, McLeod came to the JCC Monday through Friday, for one to two hours each day. While she used to attend Yoga classes, she has switched to Pilates, since it puts less pressure on the joints while also increasing her strength. “Pilates builds the core,” she adds. “At physical therapy, they call me ‘ballerina’ because I stand so straight!” Exercising, breathing in oxygen, and just plain moving are the secrets to her fitness success. “Otherwise, people just freeze up.” | May 13, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 29
Beth Blake Davis and Debbie Johnson Walt Evans
S andle R F amily C ampu S 20 T h a nnive RS a R y
Lonnie McLeod


One of the crown jewels of the Sandler Family Campus sports a blue shirt and an easy smile – on a daily basis. Cecilio Brathwaite, better known as “Jaime” (pronounced Hymie for a Jewish reference), has been employed by the Tidewater Jewish community for 42 years, having started at the JCC on Newport Ave. in Norfolk on May 24, 1982.

Born and raised in Panama, and the youngest of six children, Brathwaite was working as a travel agent in 1981 when he traveled to the United States for a visit to New York. From there, he took a trip to Tidewater to visit his brother, who was in the Navy. Upon his brother’s deployment, Braithwaite agreed to house sit and care for his two young nephews.

A neighbor in the Navy housing community worked for the JCC and asked Brathwaite to help with the twice-yearly JCC yard sale. While he expected the work

to be temporary, Brathwaite eventually rose to the position of superintendent. Since 2004, he’s worked for the Sandler Family Campus – connecting the years from the JCC in Norfolk to the Campus in Virginia Beach and serving as a friendly reminder for long-time JCC members.

Living in Norfolk, Brathwaite enjoyed the family atmosphere of the old location. “I enjoyed the job, the staff, and the people, and I liked the place,” he says.

He says he’s had enlightening conversations with several Holocaust survivors and even the youngest survivor of the Titanic. However, he adds, “there are tons of people here from all walks of life, from members to co-workers. I meet more people here.” Brathwaite shares that, with some families, he’s meeting the third generation.

Aside from his wife, who Brathwaite met at The Foxtrap (“I trapped that fox!” he laughs), he has one daughter and a sevenyear-old granddaughter in Georgia.

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Stephanie Peck Jaime Brathwaite

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32 | JEWISH NEWS | May 13, 2024 S andle R F amily C ampu S 20 T h a nnive RS a R y | May 13, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 33 S andle R F amily C ampu S 20 T h a nnive RS a R y

Sandler Family Campus evolves with the times

Stephanie Peck

After 20 years, most buildings experience at least minor updates and refreshes. . . painting, repairs, some renovations. The Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus, however, has added features, revamped spaces, and updated technology, security, and environmental practices. Plus, all the basics.

Glenn Saucier, facility director of the Sandler Family Campus, oversees the 20-acre campus, including its 127,000-square-foot building. He has maintained a capital reserve study since 2010 for this very purpose, and he says he revises it every year.

“The biggest challenge when you get to this age is keeping the campus looking good,” he says.

Physical changes to the outdoor campus have enhanced its beauty and use. The Marty Einhorn Pavilion, for example, was built in 2022 in memory of a beloved community member. The pavilion has been used for special agency events, private parties, Camp JCC, and Strelitz International Academy, and is considered by

Saucier to be the biggest benefit to the campus.

Laderberg Lane, a walking trail that surrounds a fenced-in pond and measures just shy of ¼ mile around, was dedicated in 2019 in memory of Alma and Howard Laderberg. Walkers and runners can be found daily circling the pond. . . enjoying the fresh air and a bit of exercise. Also adjacent to the pond, one memorial garden honors Veterans, while another commemorates the Holocaust.

Saucier shares that the biggest financial investment was moving Jewish Family Service from a building on Grayson Road to the main campus in 2015. To support this relocation, 18 internal moves were required – all without disrupting daily operations. The Zone became

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S andle R F amily C ampu S 20 T h a nnive RS a R y Congratulations to the Sandler Family Campus for 20 years of outstanding service to our Jewish community L’Dor V’Dor Beth and Nathan Jaffe

Strelitz International Academy’s music and art room, the first-floor cafeteria morphed into The Zone, and SIA’s previous art and music room became office space for Freda H. Gordon Hospice and Palliative Care (a joint venture between Beth Sholom Village and JFS). In 2023, when SIA needed more space, JFS’ clinical services returned to Grayson Road.

“Basically, what I put in place, I pulled back out,” says Saucier.

Other facility changes continued. When Freda H. Gordon Hospice and Palliative care was purchased, it could no longer stay in the building due to its new, for-profit status. United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s accounting department took over this office space and the previous accounting offices became The Fleischmann Lounge, in memory of Joe Fleischmann (an active member in the JCC Senior’s club) and dedicated to seniors and other events. Glass doors were built to separate the neighboring Moss Room and Fleischmann Lounge so the two rooms could combine for a larger space when needed.

Saucier adopted the Raptor ID system, a visitor management program that enhances school security. This system is also used in Virginia Beach public schools, where visitors’ IDs are recorded and run through a sexual predator database before an individual can enter the premises.

Other noticeable upgrades to the

campus include a removable Gaga pit that can convert to a stage, indoor and outdoor pickleball courts, LED lighting throughout the facility, repainted walls to brighten the indoor pool area, resurfaced floors and parking lot, and new carpets in the Fleder Multipurpose Room and the offices of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

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When Saucier first joined the Sandler Family Campus in 2007, campus security topped his list of changes. He discontinued the contractual agreement that was in place at the time and added training, as well as several full-time positions to the security staff. “There’s been very little changeover since I brought security in-house.”

At Strelitz International Academy,

Less visible improvements include a recycling program throughout the campus and increased catering through the Cardo Café. The café even caters kosher events at the Marriott and Cavalier hotels. While the campus footprint remains the same as in 2004, evolving changes and enhancements continue, with ongoing conversations to meet the needs of the future.


Graduation season is almost here, and Jewish News is ready to celebrate Jewish Tidewater’s students as they graduate from high school, college, and graduate schools. To help us do so, please submit, along with a photo, the following information by Friday, May 17 about your graduate: Name School Awards, special notes What’s Next (college, grad school, job) Parents

Send to with Graduate in the subject line. You will receive an email acknowledging receipt. If you don’t, please call 757-965-6132. Thank you! | May 13, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 35
Scan the QR code! Wondering what your home is worth? Mazel Tov Sandler Family Campus on 20 years! S andle R F amily C ampu S

Marketing the Simcha Campaign to build and introduce the Sandler Family Campus

Jewish News staff

Developing a marketing campaign for the fundraising of the largest infrastructure endeavor Tidewater’s Jewish community had ever attempted was a huge undertaking. Without hesitation, the challenge was met with creativity, collaboration, and commitment.

The committee for what was to be The Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community was chaired by Bobby Copeland and Bob Josephberg. They quickly acknowledged the need for a well-coordinated marketing effort to support a fundraising campaign of this magnitude.

“What I remember most about that time was there was an amazing synergy happening in our community and a great sense of collaboration,” says Beth Jaffe , then Tidewater Jewish Foundation’s marketing director, who took on the additional role as marketing director for the Simcha Campaign. “We formed a fantastic marketing committee, chaired by Lonnie Slone, and hired outside professionals including Joel Rubin to craft our message. Joel recommended the name “Simcha,” and we hired Grafik, a talented design firm in Northern Virginia to create our campaign logo and collateral materials,” says Jaffe.

“Our tag line was ‘Build Together –Celebrate Together,’” says Rubin.

“The image we wanted to convey was the uplifting scene at every bar/bat mitzvah party and Jewish wedding where the child or couple is hoisted up onto a chair. With the guests out of their seats and dancing the hora, it is the essence of a ‘simcha’,” he says.

“Relocating and combining critical agencies (United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Tidewater Jewish Foundation, Jewish Family Service, Hebrew Academy of Tidewater and the JCC) from other locations in Norfolk and Virginia Beach to a more central one off Witchduck Road in Virginia Beach was never going to be easy.

That’s why this needed to be more than a fundraising operation. It had to be a Simcha… and it was!” adds Rubin.

UJFT professional Hal Sacks and architect Paul Turok (both of blessed memory). “These men were such an inte-

“I called upon Zeke Panitz, my favorite songwriter and son of Rabbi Michael Panitz, to work with local producer Michael Goldberg and me on an ‘anthem’ of sorts. We had kids at Hebrew Academy record the song with Zeke,” says Rubin, “and they performed it at a very successful Grand Opening, co-chaired by Ann Copeland and Marilyn Simon.”

Jaffe recalls working with longtime

gral part of this effort and were both very interested in whatever we were creating in the marketing arena,” she says.

“I also remember that Andrew Fink and Sheila Josephberg assisted in the creation of a series of new logos for the agencies,” says Jaffe. “We needed graphic continuity since we were emerging as a Jewish campus, so each logo had the Star of David as its common

denominator, yet they still maintained their own unique identities.”

Jaffe and Rubin both say that working on this campaign was one of the highlights of their respective marketing/ public relations careers. “The best news of all is that we reached our financial goal, and our beautiful campus is still thriving today,” says Jaffe.

“Every time I drive down Corporate Woods Drive and walk into the stunning building that our community brought to life, I smile,” adds Rubin. “What an accomplishment.”

Song celebrates the new Campus

Zeke Panitz wrote Celebrate the Moment, the song that was used throughout the Simcha Campaign.

Celebrate the Moment

A time of growth

And a time of joy

Joining together to better one another

Looking at tomorrow

The day is bright

And filled with hope

May we be blessed with God’s eternal shelter

As children are growing up, they need a helping hand

Teachers to guide them in our ways

And help them understand

Nothing is done all alone

So take the love that's in your home...

...and celebrate community Together.

36 | JEWISH NEWS | May 13, 2024
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Lorraine Fink turned Campus discards into sculpture

One afternoon in 2014, as Lorraine Fink took down her art show at the Leon Family Gallery on the Sandler Family Campus and loaded it into her car, she was drawn by “a silent vibrant cry from a small mountain of metal and plastic at the edge of the loading dock,” according to an article in a May 2016 issue of Jewish News.

To her artistic eye, “these identical pieces stood paralyzed before the jaws of the garbage truck, which was soon to crush them into a mangled heap and toss them to a future as landfill pollutants. I

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could not ignore their cries,” she said of the discarded Jaffe Gymnasium’s metal halide light fixtures. The gym had just been upgraded with more environmentally friendly LED lighting.

After loading her paintings, she loaded the lights, too, taking them home, where they began their journey to their new destiny: The Tribe.

Fink adorned and enhanced the cast-off lights with other discarded, no-longer-needed, no-longer-usable relics such as architects rendered samples, drywall bead, 90-year-old

Approved by all area Rabbis and Chevrah Kadisha

penicillin bottles, remote controls, used cds, letterpress, telephone coils –among other items creating a series of sculptures.

The Tribes emerged with headpieces, facial features, decorative ornaments, weavings, and whimsy. They acquired body paint, feathers, and unique markings. Each

became its own tribe. . . complete with names.

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The central address of the Jewish community: A conversation with Harry Graber

As United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s executive vice president/CEO, Harry Graber was involved with the development of the Sandler Family Campus, as well as with its various changes.

Jewish News: What was your role with the building/move-in for the Campus?

Harry Graber: I became United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s chief executive officer at the onset of the planning, fundraising, and construction of the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus. I had the honor to serve as the primary staff person assigned to the Sandler Family Campus Committee and worked collaboratively with Philip Rovner, then CEO of Tidewater Jewish Foundation and Commander Harold (Hal)

decision led by Steve and Art Sandler and seconded by Bobby Copeland and Bob Josephberg to reject the bank’s offer of arbitrage and fluid interest rates related to the terms of our loan. This decision proved to be correct and saved our community hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Bobby Copeland, Hal Sacks, Philip Rovner and I met almost on a weekly basis for almost 12-18 months to review our fundraising strategies and assignments. The group considered individual, family, corporate, and foundation fundraising and we were incredibly successful in all the aforementioned areas.

Sacks, Sandler Family Campus fundraising consultant.

The committee was co-chaired by Bobby Copeland and Bob Josephberg and had such notable members as Paul Turok, the architect who designed the Campus, Gene Ross, who led the financial analytics team, and Marvin Simon, honorary chairman, who worked tirelessly to put together the original land acquisition(s) for the establishment of the Campus.

The committee was incredible and worked in complete conjunction with UJFT’s board of directors, chaired by Toni Sandler and later, Ron Kramer. It was all very remarkable and many intricate challenges potentially costing the community tens of thousands of dollars were handled by seasoned leaders who welcomed the responsibility. I remember that the contract of the national fundraising consultant was terminated, and the produced plan was cast aside. The committee thought that our community was being underestimated and decided to hire Hal Sacks to coordinate the professional and lay fundraising results. The result was a determined fundraising effort by those who knew our community best, and which exceeded the consultant’s projected total by about $12-15 million.

Another example of collaboration between the UJFT board and Sandler Family Campus committee was a

JN: Please describe the excitement about moving into a new facility.

HG: The excitement was amazing as it was the culmination of years of discussion, investigation, planning, and fundraising on the part of so many leaders in our community. Everybody felt that it was a monumental effort to make sure that we took the necessary courageous steps to serve our changing community in the best possible manner. Each agency had tremendous input in creating what became an idealized but yet realized space for themselves.

JN: What about the challenges?

HG: The challenges were many but manageable because of the outstanding lay and professional talent that existed at the resident agencies. It is often very hard for organizations to give up what was comfortable, welcome change, and learn to live and solve problems together. However, the commitment was omnipresent to make the Campus the best possible communal home imaginable. The physical plant was beautiful, and all were awed by what was created. A governing body and UJFT subsidiary organization were created to manage the Campus. Walter Camp was the hired professional and Alan Frieden was the chairperson. Their collective efforts and dedication were matched by the participating agencies in reaching to make every problem solvable and every vision a reality.

JN: Once in, what were the growing pains?

HG: There were the usual growing pains of moving

into a newly built home and work orders were submitted and acted upon. The major adjustments involved building up the Simon Family JCC membership and making sure that the Strelitz Pre-School and Konikoff Center for Learning achieved a net gain of students in the first years after the move. Lastly, we had to make sure that those Norfolk Jewish residents who may have felt abandoned by the move to the new Sandler Family Campus were the beneficiaries of an enhanced outreach and welcoming process.

JN: The Campus has a lot of art. Were you involved in any of its purchase and placement?

HG: The art of the Sandler Family Campus owes its existence to a selection committee chaired by Sheila Josephberg and Andrew Fink who were responsible for the acquisition of most of the art that hangs in the Cardo. Some years after the opening of the Campus, the committee dissolved and a large role in selecting art fell to me. I worked very closely with UJFT’s Holocaust Commission to establish the Holocaust Memorial Garden and then with Nolan Fine to secure the works of Holocaust survivor, Samuel Bak. Local artists like Arlene Kesser, Telsa Leon, and Lorraine Fink were approached and agreed to hang their work on the walls of the Campus. Ohef Sholom Temple contributed some beautiful pieces for our Kramer Board Room. I love art and enjoyed securing works for the Campus which ranged from representational to abstract pieces, but they were always either Jewish themed or by Jewish artists.

JN: Twenty years on, do you feel the mission was accomplished?

HG: It was definitely accomplished, and after 20 years the Campus, because of the hard work of Walter Camp and his long-term successor, Glenn Saucier, looks more beautiful than ever. The initial successful fundraising efforts allowed us to establish a fiscal reserve that has met the repair and replacement needs over time. I can also clearly see and understand from many that Betty Ann Levin, current UJFT executive vice president and CEO is doing a wonderful job in making sure that the operations and funding of resident agencies are well managed and provided.

I believe that the overwhelming majority consider the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus the central address of the Jewish community. I firmly believe that our community beams with pride with all that has been accomplished with and on the Campus. | May 13, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 39
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Harry Graber in the Cardo.

Celebrating 20 years: Sandler Family Campus and TJF's legacy

This year, the Sandler Family Campus celebrates its 20th anniversary, marking two decades as a cornerstone for Tidewater’s Jewish community. Tidewater Jewish Foundation has been a partner from the outset, playing a critical role in the campus’s development and fostering a spirit of unity and collaboration among various Jewish organizations.

The vision for the Sandler Family Campus was to create a space where local Jewish organizations could be housed under one roof, establishing a central point for the region’s Jewish community, which was migrating from Norfolk to Virginia Beach. This strategic consolidation has strengthened the Jewish community and ensured a more efficient and cohesive approach to serving its needs.

to strategically rethink what we were doing and where we wanted to go,”

remarks Philip Rovner, past CEO of TJF.

“Tidewater Jewish Foundation became the endowment arm of the entire community, focusing our fundraising on the interests of the donors without bias, raising money for everybody. This strategic approach not only strengthened our financial foundation but also aligned with our commitment to serve the Tidewater and global community.”

In its current location, the campus is perfectly positioned to be accessible and convenient, enhancing the delivery of services and community engagement.

Betty Ann Levin, executive vice president/ CEO of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, speaks to the partnership with TJF: “Our collaboration with the Tidewater Jewish Foundation has been elevated by our work together on the Sandler Family Campus over the last 20 years. It is a wonderful partnership as we have a common goal of building and sustaining Jewish life today while securing the future of the

Without a team, you can’t play together and succeed. The campus should be congratulated for forging ahead and making us a stronger Jewish community.

Over the years, TJF’s leadership in this initiative has seen the campus grow into a vibrant community center that acts as a refuge and a place to celebrate Jewish heritage.

“The Sandler Campus really gave our Jewish community an opportunity

with other organizations. This collaborative approach contributes to a more cohesive and supportive community environment centered at the Sandler Family campus.

responsively,” says Naomi Limor Sedek, TJF president and CEO.

Tidewater Jewish community for future generations.”

TJF not only supports lasting financial resources through endowment building with UJFT and the community’s agency system; it also supports congregations and forms partnerships

Charlie Nusbaum, TJF board chair, says, “Together, everyone achieves more! TEAM—This is the vision I have seen for the campus, where all of the local Jewish organizations are housed, and it is the central point for all Judaism in Hampton Roads. Without a team, you can’t play together and succeed. The campus should be congratulated for forging ahead and making us a stronger Jewish community.”

“The Sandler Family Campus embodies our shared commitment to preserve and enrich Jewish life. Our proximity enhances our ability to serve the community effectively and

TJF was instrumental in encouraging the concept of legacy as a meaningful exercise in philanthropy, creating endowments that could be used at a ratable amount, ensuring a sustainable future. This approach isn’t just about funding; it is about building a legacy that indefinitely supports the community’s needs, reinforcing the importance of both immediate impact and long-term sustainability.

As a partner on the Sandler Family Campus, TJF looks forward to the future, building upon the foundation laid over the past 20 years, which is a testament to the power of community and shared goals.

40 | JEWISH NEWS | May 13, 2024
Hal Sacks and Philip Rovner Charlie Nusbaum Naomi Limor Sedek
S andle R F amily C ampu S 20 T h a nnive RS a R y | May 13, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 41 Explore Summer at the Academy camps in academics, arts, athletics, and more. Register today at Norfolk Academy  Grades 1 - 12  757-455-5582  t Norfolk Academy, we appreciate that the beauty of the built environment has an elevated impact on learning and offer celebratory CONGRATULATIONS on this important milestone, the 20th anniversary of the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus. Since 2004, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater has been honored to lead our community in strengthening and perpetuating Jewish life, both in Tidewater and globally, on the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community. We’re proud of our collective accomplishments and look forward to a bright future on the Campus

Mazel Tov to our entire community on the 20th Anniversary of the Sandler Family Campus! from your friends at Beth Sholom Village

Congratulations on 20 years from VaDM HerMan anD PatriCia sHelanski

Merging and moving two schools on the Campus

Alene Jo Kaufman

I can’t believe that it has been 20 years since we moved into the Sandler Family Campus!

The opening day of school is kind of blurry, but the memories of the events that occurred before moving day are still crisp.

It was my honor to be selected to be the director of the Strelitz Early Childhood Center (Gan Ami) and to work along with my professional peer and friend, Beth Kinnear, who was the Beginnings program director.

Building and design discussions took place with Paul Turok and Andrew Fink – talks that resulted in storage areas, indoor activity rooms for physical education and JCC supplementary classes, and our unique cooking center where students could combine “subjects” like math, science, and Jewish holiday foods. I met with the marketing team to help firm-up the preschool division names, logo designs, and Pantone colors, followed by helping to write copy for a full-color brochure that included mission, philosophy, and program descriptions. Beth and I had the fun responsibilities of meeting with professional playground designers – I worked on the designs and equipment for the outdoor playground while she worked on the indoor playroom near the fitness center.

Once everything was designed and planned, we inventoried our current supplies and equipment and decided what to take to the new building and to which classroom it would be assigned. We packed, labeled, and numbered boxes ad nauseum, certainly a bit nervous that everything would end up where it was supposed to be. Not sure why we worried – Walter Camp had everything under control!


serve our students and plan for the future. Beth said on many occasions that in estimating future enrollment, “we were making plans for students who haven’t been born yet,” and she was right! We needed to create an entity that encouraged parents from both programs to enroll their children in a new environment. As enrollment opened, we met with parents in small groups in private homes

to create an intimate and caring atmosphere and share our vision. We interviewed current faculty and created teaching teams. Trying to keep friend groups together while integrating students from both schools in each classroom was a challenge. We must have done something right because we opened with 125 preschoolers, ages 2 to 4. Beth quickly started planning classes and programs for children ages 0 to 2 and their parents. I started to learn all the ins and outs of taking 3- and 4-year-olds swimming and how long a day care day really is!

There were challenges and concerns. Things were different and even adults are resistant to change. Over time, we settled into our new lives. Teaching teams coalesced, students made new friends, parents bonded and created an active preschool parents’ program. Traditions morphed into newer traditions. Everyone gradually learned to “play in the same sandbox.”

These were the building pieces, but the intellectual and emotional pieces were the harder part. Beth had built the Shalom Children’s Center, a successful preschool/day care program at the JCC in Norfolk. I had developed a preschool and extended day program at the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater in Virginia Beach. Now we were being charged with creating a single program to

I still spend a lot of time at the Sandler Family Campus and marvel at how fluid this building is. The school cafeteria is now a place for JCC vacation camps. The old senior room now holds cribs for a full infant program. The indoor playground became, for a time, childcare for parents in the fitness center. The preschool offices have been moved and toddler classrooms and an art room have taken their place. Classrooms became JFS offices and are now classrooms again. But, as our first class of two-year-old students prepare to graduate from college, I am sure of one thing – the sounds of happy, creative, inquisitive, loved, children fill these spaces. After 20 years, that hasn’t changed.





It is our privilege to stand with Israel and support the local Jewish community. ank you for allowing us to serve JCC and partner in making it one of the cleanest and finest facilities in Tidewater.

Contact Daniel Garrett sales consultant or Birsch office at 757-754-0045 (Daniel) 757-622-0355(Office)

Open Monday thru Friday 8am to 5pm | May 13, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 43
Paul Turok gives a hard hat tour to teachers. Adam and Sam Zelenka on the first day of school at the campus.
S andle R F amily C ampu S 20 T h a nnive RS a R y



K L E B A N O F F L o o k i n g G o o d a t T w e n t y Y e a r s !



J O D I + J A Y

44 | JEWISH NEWS | May 13, 2024
R E N +


It’s almost here! The Humusiya’s digital catering menu will be online through the website (www. shortly after Israel Fest.

With photographs and detailed descriptions, customers will be able to put in a catering order with just a few clicks. With discounts of 10-15% on larger orders, it will also be possible to put in orders for just hummus or baba ganoush to compliment a Shabbat meal (minimum servings of 10).

Pick up will be at the Sandler Family Campus, where the Humusiya is located. Transportation could also be arranged for a fee.

For those who need something outside the scope of the menu or for an event that is large, email to discuss options.

Beyond the new catering menu, additional exciting new operations for The Humusiya are taking place, such as possibly having food available for weekends at the pool and much more, so stay tuned!

At work, I often walk by a sculpture in front of the Campus with a chasidic saying engraved, “Forgetfulness leads to exile while remembrance is the secret to redemption.” It is my hope that this food will help the community identify with its Middle Eastern roots as well as show the wider public that we are not strangers to the area.

Just a few weeks ago at seder we opened our doors and said, “next year in Jerusalem.” Although aliyah applications from North America have increased by nearly 50% from the annual average since 2020, I don’t think a complete return to Israel for the community is going to happen this year. But, how about a spiritual aliyah? Getting in closer touch with the culture of Israel is a start. So, if you won’t go to Israel this year, I will bring Israel to you.

Stay tuned for the final announcement and consider The Humusiya for your next event or meeting. With your support, I am looking forward to doing great things to boost Jewish life in the area. Am Yisrael Chai!

We were there at the beginning and are happy to celebrate
campus 20 years later. Wilks, Alper, Harwood & McIntyre, P.C. | May 13, 2024 | JEWISH NEWS | 45
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a thriving
46 | JEWISH NEWS | May 13, 2024

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