JAA names 2010 Eight Over 80

JAA names 2010 Eight Over 80

The Jewish Association on Aging will hold its annual Eight Over 80 celebration Thursday, June 3, at Weinberg Village.
The 2010 honorees are:
• Professor Joe Eaton — a refugee from Nazi Germany, Eaton joined a U.S. Army Special Forces unit during World War II through which he collected intelligence, reported news and preserved sites critical to future historians of the war. Eaton interviewed German prisoners of war and residents of occupied villages and cities; he wrote Allied leaflets that were dropped over enemy lines; he edited the Regensburger Post, a German newspaper published by U.S. Armed Forces to replace a Nazi paper; collected a list of liberated prisoners from Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, and persuaded officials in Braunau, Austria, to turn Hitler’s birthplace into a museum to his war crimes and tyranny. After the war, he became a professor of sociology and social work at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Haifa and has written 12 books.
• Ruth Ganz Fargotstein — After growing up in Squirrel Hill, Fargotstein became an active member of Congregation Beth Shalom. She managed its yahrzeits, helping to establish the annual Book of Remembrance and serves as honorary president of the congregation and sisterhood. She also assists with the Philanthropic Fund. She also is a life member of Hadassah, NA’AMAT and the Ladies Auxiliary of Weinberg Village.
• Irene Jacob — Another refugee from Nazi Germany, Jacob attended boarding school in England, which she completed at age 16. An ardent Zionist, she worked with Friends of Hebrew University; part of her job was to show London to visitors, one of whom happened to be Martin Buber.
She immigrated to Israel six months after independence was declared in 1948. After marrying Rabbi Walter Jacob and coming to America where the couple established Horizon Homes — a group home — and Irene Jacob became a docent at the Carnegie Museum.
An avid gardener, she started The Plant Hunter, a business that designed and set up indoor gardens. In the 1980s, though, she, her husband, and Joel Kranich, established the Biblical Botanical Garden at Rodef Shalom, which has garnered local and national media attention. The Jacobs also taught botany at Chatham University and co-wrote books about gardening.
• Rabbi Walter Jacob — The rabbi emeritus of Rodef Shalom Congregation, Jacob has a new career as president of the Abraham Geiger College in Pottsdam, Germany, which trains liberal rabbis and cantors for service in Europe. In that capacity, Jacob ordained the first rabbis in Germany since the Holocaust in 2008.
Descended from a family of rabbis, Jacob was born in Germany. He fled with his parents in 1939 after his father was detained in Dachau concentration camp. He was ordained by Hebrew Union College at age 24 and spent his entire active rabbinate at Rodef Shalom, where he also became a noted expert on end of life issues, writing several responsa (legal opinions) on the subject. He is also a prolific author, having written 39 books. He’s currently working on the 40th .
• Judge Lawrence W. Kaplan — A retired judge of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Kaplan was first appointed to the bench in 1978 and subsequently won election to two 10-year terms. He retired from the bench in 2008 after 30 years as a jurist.
A past chair of the Family Court Section of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, Kaplan went on to become a lecturer and write several articles about child advocates, divorce mediation and gender bias.
He has served on many local boards including those of WQED Multimedia, the Synagogue Council of Greater Pittsburgh, Jewish Family & Children’s Service and the Allegheny County Bar Association.
• Dr. Bernard Klionsky — a graduate of Harvard and Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia, at a time when it was difficult for Jews to even get into medical school, Klionsky became a pathologist, attracted by the research into clinical problems.
He moved to Pittsburgh in 1961 to become director of laboratories at Magee- Womens Hospital. He was there for 25 years before leaving to become vice chairman of the Department of Pathology for the Health Center Complex.
On one sabbatical in Israel, he helped plan the curriculum for the new medical school in Beer Sheva. Since his retirement, a $250,000 endowment has been established at the medical school in Klionsky’s name, enabling him to hire medical students for summer jobs in the field of pathology.
• Estelle Kruman — A Pittsburgh native, Kruman was a music teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools and a choir assistant at Rodef Shalom Congregation, where she remains a life board member. A longtime community volunteer, she supports the Rauh Jewish Archives, Israel Bonds and the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh, to name a few.
• Sam Weinreb — A Holocaust survivor, Weinreb escaped from a death march in 1945. He came to the United States at age 16 and was placed in a Bronx orphanage until a Jewish immigration placement service found relatives of his living in McKeesport. Weinreb went to live with them; he worked in the family jewelry store and learned the watchmaking business.
Thirteen years ago, he began telling his story to schoolchildren across the region and has become a sought after speaker through the Holocaust Center of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh; he makes four to five appearances a week.