2023 Shem Tov Award Recipients

The Shem Tov (good name) awards were created by the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire to recognize volunteers from organization across New Hampshire who have provided outstanding service to the Jewish community. The recipients below were nominated by their respective organizations.

Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation: Lucy Goodhart


Lucy Goodhart is a political scientist who teaches at Brandeis University and conducts research on partisan polarization in US politics. She is also the co-Chair of the Ritual Committee for Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation (BHC), where she has been an active volunteer since joining the synagogue with her husband in 2015 and serving on the Board since 2019. In her role as co-Chair of the Ritual Committee, Lucy helps lead the committee charged with maintaining warm, engaging, and meaningful services for the community. Lucy also serves on the Security Committee which she leads with Melissa Potter and more recently on the Membership Committee, so that she has a well-rounded perspective on the management of BHC! When she is not enjoying her time in the White Mountains, she can be found teaching at Brandeis and studying how primary elections affect the partisan makeup of the two major parties in Congress. She is also a keen gardener, enjoys cooking and eating, and loves the opportunity to watch the bears at dusk near Cannon Mountain.

Chabad Center for Jewish Living, Manchester: Jay Hochman


Jay was born in Canarsie, Brooklyn NY and lived there until he was 5. He and his family moved out to Commack, New York Long Island, where he graduated high school at Commack South. Jay worked in the family kosher deli and catering business most of his life. He went to school for hotel restaurant management. Growing up, he was always involved in the local shul. He attended Hebrew School and Jewish youth groups. Jay was introduced to Chabad in his twenties.

He has lived in many places in the state of NY, in Baltimore, MD, in CT, and now Manchester, NH with his wife of six years, Kim. Jay has a son, whom he is very proud of. His mother and sister live on Long Island. He now drives limousines and has been for more than twenty years. Jay enjoys bowling, going to the Manchester firing range, swimming, and spending time with family and friends. “I do not have the catering business anymore. Cooking is still one of my passions and I do all the cooking for my family for the holidays.” 

Congregation Ahavas Achim – Risa Keene


Risa was born in Queens, NY and her childhood was spent in Huntington, NY. She presently lives in Sullivan, NH with her husband Doug. They have 3 adult daughters, Alder, Kendra, and Woodra.

From 1978-2019 Risa was a speech/language pathologist and worked in a variety of settings including schools, the Farnum Rehabilitation, and finally an early intervention program. Prior to living in NH, she worked in rural Alaska, north of the Arctic Circle in primarily Inuit Communities.

Risa presently writes an article for the Sullivan Newsletter entitled Meet Your Neighbors. She previously volunteered on the Cemetery Expansion Committee as well as the school board in Sullivan. Several years ago, Risa and her husband Doug spent two years in Lesotho, Africa. While there she did volunteer work with a non-profit organization. She led workshops for preschool teachers helping them nurture language and reading development, helped organize workshops for deaf students to learn about HIV/AIDS and pregnancy, presented a workshop to the staff about learning and she developed book and theater clubs for students in grades 1 through 6. 

Etz Hayim Synagogue: Andrea Meyer


Andrea Meyers and her family have been members of Etz Hayim since 2010, at which time Andrea quickly became devoted to her sons’ religious education by getting involved as a Class Parent and proud Lobby Lady, instilling in them a love for their religion. Jack and David memorialized their deep bond with the Temple and congregation by creating two custom plasma cutouts of our logo which proudly hang in our vestibule today. More recently David completely renovated the Temple library as his Eagle Scout project, and his Court of Honor was celebrated at Etz Hayim in March of this year.

A former human resources director, Andrea re-invented herself as the boys got older, returning to school to receive her teaching certificate and is currently a Technology Teacher at the David R. Cawley Middle School in Hooksett. Etz Hayim has been very fortunate to be the beneficiary of her many skills and talents, with Andrea playing a key role in prior Rabbi searches, contract renewals, hiring of teachers and our Education Administrator, and as current Chair of the Rabbi Search Committee.

Andrea began serving as an Etz Hayim Director in 2018, then accepted the position of secretary in 2020, expressing her wish to join the executive team to play a more direct role in leading the temple. Her organizational skills and drive continue to make her an invaluable partner to the President, Vice President and Treasurer, documenting motions, and discussions, clarifying inconsistencies, and imparting important historic perspective. Andrea also assumed responsibility in 2020 for managing the synagogue’s online calendar, and took the lead in revising our Education, B’nai Mitzvah and Building usage policies.

Andrea is an outspoken advocate and cheerleader for all things beneficial to Etz Hayim Synagogue. Her take charge attitude and keen judgement, and enthusiasm make Andrea a tremendous asset to the Board and congregation.

Andrea and her husband Jeff live in Epping with their sons Jack and David.

Jewish Federation of New Hampshire: Jeff Crocker


Jeff has been a lifelong resident of New Hampshire’s Monadnock region. He grew up in Jaffrey and has resided in Peterborough with his wife, Martha, for the past 43 Years.

Jeff graduated from Vermont Academy in 1971 and the University of New Hampshire, cum laude, in 1975. Following Jeff’s graduation from the University of New Hampshire School of Law in 1979, he practiced law at the law firm Tower & Crocker in Jaffrey for 39 years before joining the Peterborough office of the Upton & Hatfield law firm in 2018 in an “of counsel” capacity.

Jeff and Martha have one grown child, Alexandra, and two adorable grandchildren, Lily (age 4) and Nora (age 1), courtesy of Alex and her husband, Bruce.

Recognizing the importance of public service, Jeff has served in many volunteer capacities which have included serving on many non-profit, professional, and government boards and committees, including the New Hampshire Bar Association Ethics Committee, New Hampshire Department of Employment Security Appellate Board, Monadnock Community Hospital Board, River Meade Retirement Community Board, Scott Farrar Assisted Living Board, Park Theatre Board, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Monadnock Region Board, Peterborough Planning Board, Peterborough Economic Development Committee, as a member and Chair of the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire Board, and currently as a JFNH Foundation Trustee.

Jeff is also a member of the New Hampshire Estate Planning Council, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, The New Hampshire Bar Association, and the Cheshire County Bar Association.

A past member of Temple Adath Yeshurun, Jeff currently is a member of two synagogues: Congregation Ahavas Achim in Keene of which his grandfather, Harry Crocker, was a founding member, and Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation in New Hampshire’s North Country.

Jeff’s commitment to community earned him TEAM Jaffrey’s Outstanding Community Volunteer Award in 2002, and the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award in 2019.

Jeff spends as much time as possible outdoors in New Hampshire’s Monadnock Region and North Country, hiking, Nordic skiing, kayaking, and gardening.

Kol Ha’Emek, The Upper Valley Jewish Community: Sam Zucker


Sam Zucker is the 2023/5783 Shem Tov Awardee for Kol Ha’Emek Upper Valley Jewish Community, located in Hanover. He has unofficially served as a Gabbai for Shabbat and holiday services for years; reads Torah frequently for the services, which has the added bonus of giving the Rabbi a welcomed breather; and Sam has often led portions of the services as well. For years, he has helped with rolling the Torah to the right place for upcoming services. He has also prepared and led d’vars and is an active participant in Torah learning. He has also helped to shape our religious service practices by his service on the Temple’s Ruach (Spirituality) Committee.

Temple Adath Yeshurun: Jonathan Baron


Jonathan Baron grew up in Manchester, the son of the late Sheldon “Bud” Baron and Natalie Baron. He is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, having majored in Communication with a Business Administration minor. Upon graduation, Jonathan’s professional interests focused on the technology services field, and he worked for New Hampshire Insurance, Coopers & Lybrand, International Data Group (IDG) and Gartner. Taking the skills and knowledge he amassed from those positions, Jonathan set out on his own and became co-owner of Northeast Computer Services, LLC in 2009. Northeast Computer Services, based in Haverhill, MA is a full-service IT Company geared toward small and medium sized business. Jonathan is an active member of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, where he serves on the Membership Committee. He is a member of the Greater Haverhill Democratic City Committee.

Jonathan joined TAY choir in the Spring of 2012. Jonathan’s interests include singing, hot yoga, reiki, and biking/skiing. He resides in Haverhill, MA with his partner, Attorney Thomas J. Sullivan. Jonathan joined the TAY Board in 2013 and served for 10 years. He chaired the Ritual Committee and served on the Security and Technology committees. He became TAY President between 2020-2022 In 2022, Jonathan was elected a Trustee of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) North American Board where he serves on the Board of Engagement and Racial, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committees.

Temple Beth Abraham: Ruth Weiner Harris


Ruth has been an active member of Temple Beth Abraham for over 40 years. She has contributed to the community in many ways including teaching in the TBA Hebrew School for over 30 years. She is a founding member of the Raymond Street Klezmer Band, in which she plays the accordion. The band plays at Jewish smachot as well as at public events such as at the Smithsonian Folk Festival in Washington and the Lowell Folk Festival. As a member of the TBA Interior Committee, Ruth has designed many pieces of Judaic art including two series of stained-glass windows in the sanctuary, one depicting the six day of creation and another representing the twelve tribes. She also designed the beautiful Shibat HaMinim carpet in the gallery. As a long-term member of the TBA Program Committee, Ruth has initiated many cultural and musical programs including speakers and concerts. Ruth is a member of the TBA Sisterhood and past president. She was previously a volunteer contributor for the JFNH Reporter and served on the board of the New England region of Women’s League. Ruth’s passion for helping to enhance Temple Beth Abraham has always been in the forefront.

Ruth lives in Hollis with her husband Michael where she is a member of Women’s Club and the local chapter of the League of Women Voters. Ruth and Michael have two sons, Baruch and Avraham and six grandchildren. Ruth was born in pre-state Israel and is a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem where she majored in graphic design.

Temple Beth Jacob: Bobbi Blades


Bobbi Blades has been a TBJ Member since 1994. During that almost 30-year span she has made an impact in so many aspects of Jewish life. She has been a religious school classroom and library assistant, and a substitute teacher. She has taken the lead with our teens in being an advisor and chaperone for the Concord Teen Youth group (CONTY). Bobbi has been a Temple lay representative on the Greater Concord Interfaith Council for 7 years and an Interfaith volunteer for all events including Interfaith seders. She has been President of the Interfaith Council. Bobbi created the first Social Action Committee at TBJ organizing programs to help Homeless individuals and refugees. Through a joint program with Families in Transition. The SAC received a Spirit of NH Award. She worked with various Interfaith representatives for 5 years to bring Family Promise to Concord and co-coordinated week-long commitments for housing and feeding participants. She ensured Friday night Oneg success by calling and coordinating congregants. She in an active member of Sisterhood, Membership, and other temple committees. She is a singing member of TBJ’s Jammers at temple and community events. Bobbi cooks and bakes for temple functions and for families observing Shiva. She ensures congregants have transportation by driving them to their appointments, services, or temple functions. Temple Beth Jacob is honored to recognize Bobbi Blades for her endless commitment to volunteerism and helping those in need. 

Temple B’nai Israel: Steve and Jane Bogursky


Stephen Bogursky was born in Bronx, NY and was raised in the Catskill region. He has been a physician for thirty years. Jane, his wife, was born in Newark, NJ and raised in Rockland County, NY. She is a mental health therapist. They relocated to NH in 1992 and began a family several years later. They have wonderful children and two terrific dogs and enjoy the quieter lifestyle since moving north to the Lakes Region.

Temple Israel Manchester: Rachel Spierer


Temple Israel nominates Rachel Spierer for the 2023 Shem Tov award in honor of her exceptional character and unwavering dedication to Temple Israel. Despite her own recent challenging battle with cancer, Rachel consistently participated in the many meetings of the Rabbi Search Committee this year to help us find the perfect spiritual leader. Her commitment to Temple Israel is evidenced by her active involvement in leading services. She directed our choir during its active years and taught many of us in the congregation to sing the traditional melodies of old, while sharing new ones. She contributes to special services and holiday events. She warmly shares her love of Temple Israel and her knowledge of Judaism with us all, as well as with her lovely daughter, Cantor Sarra, her son Jonathan, and her devoted husband, Mel. Rachel’s resilience, strength, and unwavering support of Temple Israel has touched the lives of countless individuals within our community. Her tireless efforts, even in the face of personal adversity, serve as an inspiration to us all. She is deserving of this esteemed recognition whose selflessness and dedication epitomize the values of the Shem Tov Award.

Temple Israel Portsmouth: Marjorie Wachtel


Margie and her husband, Morey Stetner, relocated from Washington, DC, to Portsmouth in 1997 and have been Temple Israel members for over twenty years. Among her numerous volunteer contributions, Margie has served on the Board of Directors, chaired the Membership Committee, and played a key role on the Website and Marketing committees. She has organized many gatherings for new and prospective members, including onegs, brunches, and “Havdalah at Home.” She designed the Community Engagement Survey so that congregants could more readily find those who might share their own interests and talents, and she played a major role in website and “branding” redesigns. When Margie takes on a project, you know it will be completed with both efficiency and care!