Ronna and Hal Newburger are pictured holding The Book of Life.
At Jewish Community Partners’ Annual Meeting, President and CEO Laura Linder paid tribute to past Jewish Foundation of Memphis President, Ronna Newburger, of blessed memory.
“On April 14, 2008, Ronna Newburger was elected president of the Jewish Foundation of Memphis,” said Laura. “When Ronna came into this important position, she had already established herself as a community leader, having served as president of the Memphis Jewish Community Center and taking on numerous leadership roles across many agencies.”
“It was a pleasure to work with Ronna. She encouraged cooperation, collaboration, and innovation. She was caring, courageous, capable, and had a great sense of humor,” she continued. “These qualities in Ronna benefited our Jewish Foundation and the entire Jewish community, not only during her two years as board chair, but for the decades leading up to it and for the decades that will follow.”
Ronna and her husband Hal helped launch Foundation’s Book of Life in 2002, a program that they also ultimately endowed. With more than 150 signers, The Book of Life recognizes those in the community who have created a legacy gift or made a current gift of at least $10,000 to a permanent endowment fund of the Jewish community.
Laura then quoted from the Newburgers’ entry in The Book of Life: “Our hometowns were both very small and our parents worked hard to give us a sense of Jewish identity. Our ancestors struggled against persecution to maintain their Jewish homes in Romania, Russia, Poland, and Lithuania. Memphis, with its strong Jewish community has been our home. It is a home with institutions and organizations to serve the young and the old; religiously, spiritually and educationally and it provides a wide range of social services. We hope that our endowment gifts, along with the many names that will fill this Book of Life, will nurture that which was planted by those who came before and sustain and maintain our Jewish home for the generations to come.”
“Ronna’s commitment to ‘sustaining and maintaining our Jewish home for generations to come’ as articulated in her statement was her mantra during her tenure as president, and from that she never wavered,” remembered Laura. “In fact, it was Ronna and Hal who provided the seed money for the Foundation to be able to receive Matching funds from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s Life and Legacy program. They were so proud to have been able to provide this gift and be a part of launching what would become a catalyst for raising millions of future dollars for our community.”
“The Memphis Jewish community is stronger because of the leadership of Ronna. And although she is no longer with us – the seeds she planted, ones that all of us continue to nurture and care for – will bear fruit for generations to come,” Laura concluded.