Janie Respitz

President of the Jewish Public Library (JPL), 2004-2006

As a Bialik High School student, in the mid-1970s, I was invited to join a brand new initiative at AJCS called Young People’s Division (YPD). This was the first effort to bring high school and university students onto the board at Federation. It was an amazing community and learning experience; those of us involved in the early years were hands on in bringing this division to Federation status. The new Young People’s Federation was the precursor of today’s YAD.

While still a student, I was invited to sit on the board of the Jewish Public Library. This proved to be a great fit as I was immersed in Jewish Studies and culture. I sat on various committees, most importantly for me the Yiddish Cultural Committee of the JPL (of which I am still a member), and rose through the ranks, having the privilege of serving as President of the JPL.

As Past President of an agency, I was invited to chair the President’s Council of Federation CJA, which allowed me to sit on the executive for a few years.

Today, I still sit on the Yiddish Cultural Committee of the JPL and actively help to plan and run programs. However, most of my community volunteer work today lies with serving meals at Le Café.

I began as a lay person at Federation CJA as a high school student. These early years of involvement helped me learn the importance of community. I recommend this type of experience to everybody, of any age.

Back to top