JFSLA Hosts Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Event

On Wednesday, June 8th, Jewish Family Service LA celebrated its dedicated family of volunteers. The virtual Volunteer Appreciation Event recognized three volunteers for their commitment to helping JFSLA serve the people of Los Angeles.  

“Our volunteers have always played a key role in maintaining that personal connection. Hearing about our three awardees today I was struck, not only by their commitment but by how much they touched individuals’ lives when they volunteered. Every volunteer brings warmth and hope and joy to those who need it,” said Nina Tassler, JFSLA Board Chair. 

The Special Recognition Award was presented to Rita Mazler, who began volunteering at the JFS SOVA Community Food and Resource Program in May 2020 amidst the pandemic. She began by answering calls at the JFS SOVA Van Nuys location once a week. Once a week turned into two and slowly, she became more involved at JFS SOVA by helping with office work, computer input, and translating for Russian speaking clients at the pantry. Mazler is also involved with JFS’s Telecheck Program, where she calls vulnerable clients in their home, and at Café Europa special or occasional events for Survivors of the Holocaust. 

“I’m honored and appreciative to receive the JFSLA Special Recognition Award,” said Mazler. “I’m sharing this award with every volunteer at SOVA who, during the pandemic, continued to show up in-person to help others in need. It was an amazing experience to see volunteers wear face shields and double masks during the hot LA summer, day after day, distributing to hundreds of people facing food insecurities.” 

The Leadership Award was presented to Gregory Kogan, who began volunteering at JFSLA by helping clients connect to CalFresh benefits. Since then, Kogan has worn many hats at JFSLA. From case aide volunteer to Russian translator for clients, Kogan helps clients understand public benefits and community resources.

Jeff Eissenstat received the Charlotte Kamenir Volunteer of Distinction Award in recognition of his commitment to Survivors of the Holocaust in JFSLA’s Café Europa program. Charlotte Kamenir, a JFSLA Board member and long-time volunteer introduced Eissenstat by saying, “Jeff is the go-to person for our Café Europa members. Jeff calls them, drives them, visits them, and stays in touch with their relatives and friends when necessary.” 

Eissenstat, who began volunteering with JFSLA in 2016, is the child of Survivors of the Holocaust. “I’ve found another way to honor all of the memories of those in my family who survived, those we lost in the Holocaust, those who helped us, and honor all of the Survivors at Café Europa who we serve today,” said Eissenstat about volunteering. 

Much of JFSLA’s work is made possible through the commitment of volunteers who care. There are currently 457 volunteers participating throughout 20 programs at JFSLA. As JFSLA Board Chair Nina Tassler told volunteers at the event, “It’s not just our services themselves that improve and even save lives. It’s people helping people. People being kind and caring and compassionate. People like you, who are our family, and who make our clients feel like they are family. That’s what it’s all about. That’s how we build a stronger and more compassionate Los Angeles. Thank you for making all of this possible.” 

To learn more about the JFSLA volunteer opportunities, please visit: