Shalom New Haven is honored to recognize the contributions of Dr. Stephanie Green in our latest Honorable Menschen. A Woodbridge resident, she was a staff physician for the New Haven Department of Health for 18 years before becoming an instructor at Yale University School of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine last year. We are pleased to shine a spotlight on Dr. Green’s many years of volunteer work for the Greater New Haven Jewish community. She has been on the Ezra Academy Board of Directors since 2004; chaired and/or served on the PTO, development, nominating, trustees/governance committee and golf committees; co-chaired the Ezra Academy Gala and Auction for 11 years; and so much more. At Congregation B’nai Jacob, she served on the board of directors (2003-2012), including on the executive board as vice president, and on the nominating committee. In addition to being on the board of directors for the JCC for years, Dr. Green is currently serving on the Jewish Federation Board of Directors as well as on the nominating and strategic planning committees, and the women’s philanthropy and campaign cabinets. This year, she has also utilized her medical background to serve as COVID-specific committees for the Jewish Federation/JCC, Ezra Academy and Congregation B’nai Jacob.
YOU HAVE BROUGHT SO MUCH TO THE LOCAL JEWISH COMMUNITY AS A VOLUNTEER.
Growing up Presbyterian and with my dad in the business world, we moved almost every year; I was always in new communities. I began to explore Judaism when my husband and I moved to NY and got engaged. My love for Judaism continued to grow. We moved here in 1998 and I started exploring it locally. Because I moved so many times, I sought stability here.
Judy Cooper was my realtor and an inspiration; she was involved in so many things in the Jewish community and introduced us to the local JCC, Ezra Academy and B’nai Jacob. All four of our kids went to the JCC preschool and Ezra Academy. We joined B’nai Jacob. I wanted to be involved since they were in these places. I was on the JCC board for several years and more years for B’nai Jacob. I joined the Ezra board and I am still on it after 20 years! This is also my second year on the Federation board. It has enabled me to have the privilege of getting to know the institutions from the inside. It is so fulfilling to get to know these great people working to further the community. I admire the work of so many individuals working toward a common goal. I am trying to do my part keeping it vibrant. We all share the same enthusiasm and commitment to the community even though we serve different ways in the community. As you give, you get so much more back.
I like to work in the background and be one of the quiet contributors. As a community, we are all working together.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS OR CHANGES THAT STAND OUT FOR YOU?
Going back in time, on 9/11, we had to figure out how to best tell the kids at Ezra Academy. It was decided at the time that the parents choose what to tell the kids. We brought in a psychologist to teach the teachers how to talk to the kids. With increased anti-Semitism these days, our administration has worked closely with the ADL and the local police as well as received grants to increase security of the building.
With Ezra, so much is driven by volunteer lay leaders working together to hold the golf classic, galas, PTO breakfast and other events. When something needs to be done, they call on the parents.
More recently, as the change in the number of students diminished over the year, we needed to also be fiscally responsible moving forward. We cohorted the kindergarten and preschool students as well as have multi-age learning and integrated lessons. This is very well-suited in these COVID-19 times as we can adapt it easier now. We have picked up more kids this year!
WITH COVID-19, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO GIVE BACK?
More recently, the COVID aspect and how it has impacted all the institutions has enabled a lot of medical people, including myself, to volunteer in a new way. Because of my training as an infectious disease specialist, several of the committees I serve on have been tasked to safely reopen organizations in the community. Because of the fluidity of the pandemic, we have done a great job so far of keeping our people safe as we open the institutions. We have been reviewing the most up-to-date guidelines from the governing agencies to create science-driven policies that follow best practices. We have to continually reevaluate guidelines as new information comes out; committees will continue to deal with it and we all need to be flexible. Fluidity of the pandemic is a given. The bottom line is we need to make sure that the organizations and community are safe and, at the same time, still deliver programs and services to the community.