Bill Glazer enjoys a good challenge. When Sam Greenblatt, chair of the 2007 Campaign for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia asked him to restart Federation's Real Estate Division, he recruited 11 of his peers.
"I asked David Adelman, Dan Bernstein, Andrew Bleznak, Dan Bleznak, Jason Cole, Morey Goldberg, Brad Krouse, Adam Meinstein, Ira Saligman, Gregg Wallace and Rob Zuritsky -- professionals from all aspects of the real estate field -- to help me build upon the extraordinary success that this division achieved under the leadership of Bart Blatstein some seven years ago," he says.
Glazer describes the Jewish Federation Real Estate Division as an affinity group: "It's a forum that allows people with common professional interests to interact with their peers who have common philanthropic interests," he explains.
The group's objective, according to Glazer, is to make "a real impact" on the Philadelphia Jewish community.
They looked for a start-up project to sink their teeth into and met with Susanna Lachs Adler, one of the co-chairs of Mitzvah Mania.
"After our discussion with Susanna, we determined that we should direct our efforts toward Rebuilding Together Philadelphia, a core project during the Oct. 21 day of community service. RTP helps prevent homelessness by partnering with community volunteers to rehabilitate the homes of elderly, disabled and low-income homeowners.
Glazer is thrilled that division members, along with their friends and family, will be among the nearly 500 volunteers on site to help rebuild and renovate 11 properties in the neighborhood surrounding the JCC Stiffel Center at Marshall and Porter streets in South Philadelphia, make repairs to the center and help restore and beautify Mifflin Square, a neighborhood park.
Yet he and his fellow volunteers set another goal -- to raise $50,000 to help underwrite these renovation and rebuilding efforts.
"Each member of JFRE reached out to 10 people to secure their commitments of time, talent and financial resources," says Glazer, adding that "in this way, we are trying to build a community within our community."
Mollie Kleiman is one of the South Philadelphia residents who will benefit from the efforts of Mitzvah Mania volunteers like Glazer. She has been a member of the Stiffel Center for 14 years now and considers it her "home away from home."
Widowed three years ago, Kleiman enjoys the wonderful relationships she has built through the years through her participation in activities like the Friendship Club, exercise classes, health programs and "any other program that the center offers."
And she's simply delighted that her home was selected for painting and repairs, particularly since the folks who will wield hammers, nails, paintbrushes and other equipment are Federation volunteers.
She explains that "my late uncle Albert M. Cohen was extremely active in Federation, and was named a Lifetime Honorary Trustee. He was instrumental in getting my late husband and I involved in the Stiffel Center, a program of Federation."
To volunteer for the Rebuilding Together Philadelphia project during Mitzvah Mania, call 215-832-0564 or visit: www.jewishphilly.org/mitzvahmania .