Special to the Ledger
WEST HARTFORD – Elliott Tertes and Robert J. Fishman are recipients of the first annual Henry M. Zachs Spirit of Judaism Awards, presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford at the agency’s annual meeting on Thursday, Sept. 11, at The Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford. The award is established to honor two individuals – one volunteer and one Jewish professional – in the Greater Hartford Jewish community, who embody Jewish values, including tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedakah (righteous giving), and achdut Israel (unity of the Jewish people).
The award is established by Federation’s 2015 Annual Campaign and Engagement Chair Eric M. Zachs to honor his father, Henry M. Zachs, upon the occasion of the elder Zachs’ 80th birthday. A Hartford area philanthropist, Henry Zachs is esteemed for his boundless devotion to building and strengthening the Jewish community, locally, nationally and in Israel.
“Whether they are educating, advocating or mobilizing others to do good work, it has been purely to benefit the welfare of people they seek to serve,” said Howard Sovronsky, interim CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, said of Tertes and Fishman. “Their efforts have succeeded in making substantive contributions to our people and to society at large. Their activism and extraordinary acts of kindness have been a catalyst for meaningful change and have moved our community forward on important issues facing world Jewry.”
Elliott Tertes sums up his approach to volunteerism as “an opportunity to lead.”
A resident of Hartford, he is a member of the executive committee of Aim Chai, the Jewish Community Foundation’s initiative to raise endowment funds in support of all of Jewish Hartford. Long active in Hartford’s Jewish communal affairs, at the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford Tertes served as chairman of The Mentoring Project, on the Board of La’Atid, as chairman of the Administrative Committee, and as a Board and community trustee.
Tertes is also a past president of Congregation B’nai Sholom in Newington, and has served on the Board and as a member of the Development Committee of the Jewish Community Foundation, as well as the Hebrew Home and Hospital – now known as Hebrew Health Care.
Professionally, Elliott Tertes is a pharmacist who co-founded Appell-Arrow Corporation and founded Allcare Medication Services.
Tertes and his wife Carolyn plan to relocate to California to be closer to family.
In his role as founding executive director of the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut (JFACT), “Bob” Fishman oversees state and federal public policy advocacy on behalf of the state’s Jewish agencies, including eight Jewish Federations, four Jewish Community Centers, eight Jewish Family Service agencies, three Jewish nursing homes and four housing facilities for independent elderly and handicapped. He also serves as spokesman to state organizations and interfaith bodies and testifies at state hearings on relevant issues on behalf of the Connecticut Jewish communities, the elderly, children, immigrants and refugees. He has succeeded in securing more than $5 million in funds from foundation, state and federal grants for Connecticut Jewish agencies.
Regarded as the “go-to” person for the state’s Jewish communities on matters of public policy, advocacy and more, he has fostered personal relationships with members of Connecticut’s legislature, the governor, as well as the state’s U.S. senators and congressmen.
Fishman, who lives in West Hartford, previously served as executive director of the Connecticut Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, as commissioner of the Connecticut-Israel Economic Exchange, and as a founding board member of Federation Homes.
(l to r) The Henry M. Zachs Spirit of Judaism Award
winners Bob Fishman and Elliott Tertes with
Henry Zachs and his son, Eric Zachs.