Miriam and Josh Stern
Rabbi Israel E. Turner Memorial Award Guests of Honor
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This year, Josh and Miriam Stern celebrated their 10th anniversary in Springfield, and their 25th wedding anniversary. After living in bustling, crowded Brooklyn all of their lives, Miriam and Josh were looking for something different: a community where they could contribute more, forge closer bonds with neighbors, and where their three young children would enjoy the many benefits of growing up in a small town. They made a leap of faith, joining the small-but-growing, kehilla in Springfield… and they’ve never looked back.

After completing courses at NYU and the COPE Institute, Miriam started out as a software developer at Prudential Securities, where her efficiency, gracious yet direct manner and impressive organizational skills did not go unnoticed, and she was quickly promoted, ultimately becoming a VP in the IT division. She is now a COO in the Global Markets Technology Division at Bank of America—and an intensely devoted mother, wife, daughter and sister, for whom family is always the number-one consideration.

Since moving to Springfield, Miriam has yet another vocation, as a very committed member of the shul community. A regular participant in Navi shiurim, Tehillim groups and shul-related extracurricular activities, she has served on Congregation Israel’s Board of Trustees, volunteers at the community mikvah, and readily offers her time and energy wherever needed. Whether it’s contributing to a bake sale, cooking a meal for a family, shopping for someone or spontaneously cleaning up after a shul event, Miriam doesn’t wait to see if anyone else will offer—she does whatever needs doing.

Josh attended high school at Mesivta of Long Beach in New York, followed by several years at Yeshiva Zichron Meilich, studying under Rav Chaim Epstein z”l. After joining the workforce, Josh started a company, WoodWorks, designing and producing an original line of artistic handcrafted mirrors. Other creative ambitions soon beckoned, and he eventually launched The Bold Type, a one-man graphics/ad agency.

Josh also began writing and playing music, and was soon sending songwriting demo tapes (mostly Country, some Jewish) to various music publishers. It was during this time he met the inspiration for his most important composition: Miriam. Several weeks later, at the foot of Brooklyns famed Verrazano Bridge, he performed his proposal song (cleverly titled Miriam”) for an enthusiastic audience of one. She said Yes!

Three years later, when Miriam’s beloved uncle Avremel “Abe” Zelmanowitz died in heroic circumstances on 9/11, Josh wrote What Makes America”—a tribute to American exceptionalism, dedicated to their uncle. Josh recorded the song with a small group of professional musicians, and later performed it at 9/11 commemorative events.

After some 20 years running The Bold Type, Josh decided to focus full-time on another long-time aspiration: writing a fiction novel with Jewish and political themes that is still in the works, but edging toward completion.

Miriam and Josh’s children Lana, Avi and Ben each attended Bruriah/JEC, followed by a gap year in Israel. Lana, a talented painter, has been working at an interior design agency. Avi is a sophomore at the Rutgers School of Engineering Honors Academy. Ben, also at Rutgers, is interested in Political Science, but keeping his options open.

At Congregation Israel of Springfield (CIS), Miriam and Josh were elated to find a welcoming community with lots of opportunities to make a difference. They’ve served on the Dinner/Journal, NOATS and Youth Committees, built custom-made booths for the Purim Carnival and handled the graphics for previous Dinner Journals and various shul events.

Helping clean up after shalashudos—Josh’s longest-running shul gig—was also an opportunity to introduce his sons to shul volunteerism, and indeed, any time they’re home for Shabbos, the boys are back on the job. Josh and Avi have both served on the shul Sukkah construction crew and the whole family has participated in community blood drives, meal packing for JNF and CIS’ Day of Chesed.

Josh and Miriam are proud and grateful to be part of CIS’ dynamic, expanding kehilla, led by a Rav they love and respect. In the past decade, they’ve acquired special friends with whom they’ve celebrated each other’s simchas, and shared some of life’s sorrows. In short, they feel very much a part of something larger than themselves: a community.

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