Moving Forward Together

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Jewish Family Service of San Diego Announces New Board Chair at Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon

Deborah Bucksbaum to Serve as Incoming Board Chair; New Board Members, Award Recipients Recognized

SAN DIEGO (July 7, 2023) – At Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS)’s 2023 Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon, held June 27 at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Jacobs Hall, the nonprofit announced its next board chair, Deborah Bucksbaum, along with new board members, while honoring key staff for their contributions in the past year.

Bucksbaum has served as a JFS board member for nearly a decade. She fills the position of outgoing board chair Emily Jennewein whose guidance over the past two years has been essential to the organization’s success. Bucksbaum’s background includes 28 years of business litigation. During her tenure as a JFS board member, she has advocated for affordable housing in the community and formed a JFS housing committee, which will be further developed during her term as chair.

New board members sworn in include:

  • Nadia Farjood, litigation associate, O’Melveny & Myers
  • Seth Krosner, trauma and critical care surgeon, Scripps Mercy Hospital
  • Adam Rosenthal, partner and employment attorney, Sheppard Mullin

Outgoing board members Kira Finkenberg, former board chair Adam Welland and Karin Toranto were also acknowledged for their significant and impactful service.

“JFS would not be able to carry out its mission of building a stronger, more resilient community if it wasn’t for the dedicated board members and staff that we are recognizing today,” said CEO Michael Hopkins. “Their exemplary performance is seen through the service they provide to JFS and our clients and the praise they receive from their colleagues. It is an honor to work with such purpose-driven and empathic people.”

Awardees at this year’s luncheon included:

Henrietta Rubenstein Staff Award: Tania Garcia Aguirre, Safe Parking Program Site Supervisor
Aguirre began her work at JFS four years ago in the Positive Parenting Program, which trains parents to find solutions to common childhood behavior issues. Now, Aguirre oversees two Safe Parking Program lots where 120 individuals and families find shelter, safety, hope and a plan to move forward with her compassionate care.

Henrietta Rubenstein Staff Award: Luis Gonzalez, Directing Attorney of Immigration Legal Services
With more than seven years of immigration law experience, Gonzalez oversees a team of attorneys that has helped tens of thousands of asylum seekers with legal support and guidance as they navigate the U.S.’s complex and challenging immigration system.

Charles Zibbell Board Leadership Award: Sheldon Derezin, Board Member
As JFS board treasurer, Derezin, CPA, CFP, provides fiscal oversight and works closely with JFS CFO Bernadette Griggs to keep all facets of the organization running smoothly.

Board Chair’s Award: Welcome the Stranger Department
The Welcome the Stranger Department includes the San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN), Immigration Legal Services and Refugee Resettlement – all facets of JFS. Welcome the Stranger has helped over 142,000 asylum seekers in the past 4.5 years by providing them with respite shelter, case management, food, financial and travel assistance and legal support, as well as COVID-19 testing and overall medical screenings and support. The JFS resettlement staff has also made the necessary preparations to welcome 380 refugees into our community since October 2022. During their initial 90-day period, the team provides core services to assist them on their journey toward self-sufficiency, such as finding them housing and furnishings/basic necessities, employment assistance and translation services.

The event concluded with a panel discussion on affordable housing featuring subject matter experts Stephen Russell, president and CEO of the San Diego Housing Federation, and Simonne Ruff, director at the Corporation for Supportive Housing San Diego.

About Jewish Family Service of San Diego – Moving Forward Together
Founded in 1918, Jewish Family Service (JFS) is one of San Diego’s most impactful nonprofit agencies – providing resources and support to over 70,000 people every year. Through integrated services, the organization empowers people of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds to overcome challenges, set goals, and build more stable, secure, and connected lives. JFS is committed to helping individuals and families move forward, while developing innovative strategies to break cycles of poverty and strengthen our San Diego community.   

To get help, volunteer or support JFS, visit or call (858) 637-3000.


Media Contact:
Ashley Bendas / Sandy Young, J. Walcher Communications
[email protected] / [email protected], (619) 295-7140