Irvington Herald

Smith Honored By Essex County Freeholders At Jewish Heritage Month Celebration

Irvington Herald — July 13, 2017

The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders hosted its Jewish Heritage Month Celebration on Wednesday, May 3, at the Hall of Records. During the event, the freeholders honored Rabbi Clifford M. Kulwin; Rabbi of Temple B'nai Abraham in Livingston; Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action; and Clifford Smith, science teacher at Union Avenue Middle School in Irvington.

Freeholder at large Patricia Sebold of Livingston began the program with opening remarks, stating, "I am filled with many emotions as we celebrate Jewish Heritage Month today. I am excited, proud and honored to be a Jewish American and to be a catalyst for the celebration. "Even though May is set aside as Jewish Heritage Month, we know that everyday Jewish Americans are hard at work making a difference in our communities and, tonight, the freeholders have the pleasure of honoring several individuals who have done just that."

Freeholder President Britnee N. Timberlake also presented remarks, recognizing the vast diversity that exists in Essex County. She shared highlights about the efforts of the Jewish community in aiding blacks during the Civil Rights Movement and expressed how the two groups came together to embrace similar ideals, including peace, prosperity and equality.

During the event, Sebold honored the distinguished rabbi of her synagogue, Clifford M. Kulwin. He graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., and was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religions after completing studies at its Cincinnati and Jerusalem campuses. On ordination, he served in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he was especially active in interfaith and social action efforts. After returning to the United States, he enrolled as a doctoral fellow, specializing in Jewish History at Columbia University, where he published several scholarly and popular articles on the history of Jews in Spanish and Portuguese er they live in Montclair. They are the proud parents of Noah and Molly.

Freeholder at large Lebby C. Jones honored Clifford Smith for his unwavering dedication to the youth of Irvington. Smith earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Rutgers University and started his career as a sports writer for various newspapers in New Jersey before working in Detroit as an associate editor.

With the hopes of becoming a better writer, he relocated to New Jersey and became a salesman in New York City. He worked for the Associated Press at night and made a living selling women's dresses for more than 25 years. After returning to educating youth in Irvington and positively impacting their lives.

Smith and his wife, Amy, have been married for 32 years. They live in South Brunswick and are the proud parents of two boys, Ken and Jordan.

Freeholder President Timberlake presented honoree Phyllis Salowe-Kaye with the board's commendation for her leadership in the Jewish Community and in Essex County at-large. Salowe-Kaye graduated from Boston University in 1969 and began her career as a Newark public school teacher.

After 10 years of teaching, she co-founded the Ronald B. Atlas Tenant Resource Center, where she held the role of director ? 1985 to 1987 ? and assistant director ? 1983 to 1985.

She planned and implemented the first Housing Receivership Program in Essex County to deal with deteriorated apartment buildings. She also designed a "Tenant Leader Training School," a certified eightweek course in leadership development on housing and tenant issues.

In 1987, Salowe-Kaye became the executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action, a statewide coalition that addresses the vital issues of community reinvestment, affordable healthcare and housing, soaring insurance and utility rates, fair taxes, jobs, toxic hazards, human rights and concerns affecting today's working families. SaloweKaye has been married for 40 years and is the proud mother of two children and grandmother of three grandchildren.

During the program, Cantor Rebecca Moses of Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel treated the audience to three beautiful musical selections and Rabbi Daniel Cohen, who is also from Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, presented a prayer celebrating the joyous occasion.

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