Press Release

Evelyn Rubenstein JCC Honors Emerging Leaders at Annual Meeting
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
by M Groogan

Evelyn Rubenstein JCC Honors Emerging Leaders

Houston, TX – Evelyn Rubenstein JCC of Houston will hold a special 80th anniversary celebration during its Annual Meeting Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Kaplan Theatre. In addition to electing new members to the Board of Directors, and highlighting the last program year, organizers will honor volunteers including awarding the Reuben Askanase Past President Leadership Award to Jeremy Samuels and Jennifer Haikin Zach.

Jeremy Samuels and Jennifer Haikin Zach are dedicated lay volunteers at the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC.  They both serve on the Board of Directors and have been involved at the J since a very young age.  Both Jeremy and Jennifer grew up at the J and watched their parents be active volunteers.

“Here at the J, we are incredibly blessed to have many generations of families who are intimately involved with our organization,” said Joel Dinkin, Executive Vice President at the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC.  “Jennifer and Jeremy are part of two of such families and are passionate and experienced volunteers that greatly deserve this award.”

Jeremy is a member of the executive committee at treasurer and currently serving as chair of the budget and finance committee.  Over the years, Jeremy has been involved in the JCC Maccabi games when Houston has been host as well as traveling to other cities as a coach.  Jeremy started his career as a staff member at the J and has gone on to be the Regional Vice-President of Victory Packaging, one of the largest distributors of packaging supplies in North America.

“The J is a fabulous organization with many dedicated and outstanding volunteers so I am beyond grateful to be acknowledged with this honor,” said Jeremy. “Looking at past recipients of this award, many of the key leaders of the JCC today have received this award and to now be among them is very humbling.”

Jennifer is currently Chair of the Children and Camping Committee as well as a 2016 co-chair for the Children’s Scholarship Ball, the J’s biggest fundraiser for Scholarships.  Jennifer has been an integral part of the Children’s Scholarship Ball for many years as her mother is one of the founders of the Ball.  Jennifer also started her professional career working at the J after college.  Jennifer’s children now attend J Camps.

“I love that the J is an agency from infant care to seniors and that there is something for everyone. It is the bridge with all the different temples, schools, neighborhoods and more; the J's doors are always open and ready to accommodate the needs of our community,” said Jennifer.

As part of their honor, Jennifer and Jeremy will be participating in the Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders track at the Jewish Community Centers Association Biennial in Baltimore, Maryland May 15-18, 2016. This institute is designed to assist newly emerging leaders in enhancing the skills needed to assume top leadership in JCCs.  Esther Leah Ritz Emerging JCC Leaders are crucial to the JCC Movement, and the Biennial is considered a starting point in a long-term relationship among the future leaders of the movement.  Jeremy and Jennifer will spend time alongside other emerging leaders from JCCs across the country for idea-sharing, learning and networking.

“I am beyond eager to attend at JCCA Biennial,” said Jennifer. “I am always looking to further my JCC knowledge and hearing more information on a national level is very exciting.” 

“This will be my third biennial that I have attended and I am always amazed at the quality of the program and the networking opportunities,” said Jeremy. “In addition, to be a part of the Emerging Leaders track will help me in future volunteer roles as well as professionally.”

The community is invited to the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC’s 80th Annual Meeting on Tuesday, May 3, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. to help honor Jeremy and Jennifer. A reception will follow the meeting.  Please RSVP to Melanie Beltram at or 713-551-7223 ext. 3214. Visit for more information about our programs and services. Find us on Facebook. 

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