STAMFORD — Rita Appel and Jon Fraade of Westport, and Meryl and David Gordon of Stamford have been named recipients of the 36th Annual Mitzvah Award presented by Jewish Family Service in Stamford. Robin Fischel of Stamford will receive the JFS Young Leader Award. The awards will be presented at a reception celebrating JFS’ 40th anniversary to be held on Sunday, May 3, 5:30 p.m. at Temple Beth El, also in Stamford.
Rita Appel has served on the Board of Trustees at Temple Israel for 12 years as both vice president and president. Since 2013, she has been the chair of the Southern New England URJ Community. She was recently elected to the Board of Directors of Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County, a not-for-profit that provides arts education to children at risk and those with special needs in Bridgeport. She serves as a speech/language pathologist at Staples High School in Westport.
Jon Fraade has served 15 years on the board of The Conservative Synagogue in Westport, as well as the boards of Bi-Cultural Day School and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. In 2005, he received the Anti-Defamation League’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award and co-chaired Connecticut’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. He currently serves as development chair for AIPAC’s Fairfield County region and the vice president and treasurer of Camp Ramah in New England. Professionally, Fraade is managing director at JP Morgan Asset Management.
A JFS board member, Meryl Gordon also serves as chair of its marketing committee as well as the JFS Ambassador Forum. She is a long-time member of the Stamford chapter of Hadassah, where she served as vice president of education, and a member of the Bi-Cultural Day School Parents’ Association. A member of the board and executive committee of United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien, she is currently chair of The New Jewish Voice.
David Gordon served on the board of Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford, where he chaired several committees. He was co-founding member of Chavurat Am Echad, and still serves on its steering committee. He also served on the board and as vice president of the executive committee of Temple Beth El, where he and his wife initiated several children’s and teen programs. The Gordons were among the co-founders of the community’s Etgar Hebrew High School. He is currently a managing partner at the law firm of Gordon & Jacobson, P.C.
A JFS board member, Robin Fischel serves on its brain fitness program and nominating committees. She was one of the first participants in Friendship Circle, which provide programs and services for children and young adults with special needs, and has served on the board of Temple Beth El’s Young Jewish Professionals. She currently serves on the JFS’ Jewish Twenties and Thirties (JTT) steering committee. She represented JFS in the Federation’s Behrend Institute for Leadership Program, served on the Federation’s allocation committee and on the Board of its Young Leadership Division. Professionally, Fischel works as a speech language pathologist at Burke Rehabilitation in its inpatient Traumatic Brain Injury Unit.