2018 Chai Society Community Mitzvah Awards

The Chai Society is proud to continue in its support of Wagner College’s Holocaust Education & Programming Center and its mission to educate future generations about prejudice, anti-Semitism and racism as well as create a space for exhibits, learning and reflection.

This year’s Wagner College Chai Society Community Mitzvah Awards dinner honored the following community members:

Joe Delaney, Spirit of Courage Award
Jack Chernak, Courage Award
Jennifer Straniere, Civic Leadership Award
Cameron Haffner ’18, Next Generation Award
Jack Kliger, Monroe J. Klein ’66 Humanitarian Award

_________________________________________________________________________________

 

About the Honorees:

Joe Delaney, Spirit of Courage Award

Joseph Paul Delaney, a resident of Pleasant Plains, Staten Island has been an active leader and volunteer with several community service, faith based, and voluntary organizations on Staten Island and throughout New York City for the past 40 years. Mr. Delaney currently serves on the Board of Directors for several Not-for-Profit and voluntary organizations.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Jack Chernak, Courage Award

Father, entrepreneur and native Staten Islander, Jack Chernak is a community leader with a passion to change social ills in challenged neighborhoods—notably by advocating for or providing services to organizations on Staten Island and their members. Jack committed himself to change starting in 2009 by becoming part of the National Fatherhood Initiative—a project initiated by President Obama to help stop absentee fathers.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Jennifer Straniere

Jennifer Straniere first came to Staten Island in 1969 when she enrolled at Wagner College. In spring 1970 she met her husband, Philip, when they were both involved with student led social justice issues sweeping the campus. They were married in 1971 and Jennifer immediately started volunteering for community organizations.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Cameron Haffner ’18, Next Generation Award

Cameron has created a series of mini-documentaries about Holocaust survivors that have been showcased at the SI JCC and at Temple Israel Reform Congregation to huge acclaim. He is a senior Arts Administration major from Southwest Florida. This will be his fourth year working in the Wagner College Holocaust Center, inspired by the work of Steven Spielberg in Schindler’s List and then through USC’s Shoah Foundation.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Jack Kliger, Monroe J. Klein ’66 Humanitarian Award

Jack Kliger was born in Italy to young Holocaust survivors from Hungary and Poland. His mother survived the Budapest ghetto and met his father soon after the war. With the assistance of the Jewish Brigade, they traveled to Florence, where Jack and his baby sister were born. At age 3, Jack immigrated with his family to the United States.

He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City.  He is also a member of the Board of Directors of a charitable foundation, The Circle of Generosity, whose mission is to deliver random acts of kindness to families in need.