Each year, the Jewish Community Center recognizes teen leaders who have shone as leaders in BBYO and have been involved in other parts of the community with special awards. This year, the Ellen Faye Garmon Award goes to Audrey Nussbaum and the Stacy Marks Nisenbaum Award goes to Jacob Finke.
The Garmon and Nisenbaum Awards will be presented at the Jewish Community of Louisville Annual Meeting, Sunday, June 1, at 10 a.m. at the Jewish Community Center. The community is invited.
Ellen Faye Garmon Award – Audrey Nussbaum
This year’s recipient of the Ellen Faye Garmon Award is 16-year-old Audrey Nussbaum, a student at Kentucky Country Day School who plays field hockey and has a passion for theater.
Since the eighth grade, Nussbaum has been an active and involved teen in the Jewish community – first as a member of the Teen Connection and later as a member of Jay Levine BBG. Freshman year, she ran for a board position and was elected mazkira (vice president of communication and secretary of the chapter’s website).
This past summer, she attended the Chapter Leadership Training Conference (CLTC) at Camp Beber, a time that really changed her views on BBYO. “The friendships I made and the skills I learned made me excited to run for and be elected n’siah (chapter president) in January,” said Nussbaum. Despite her busy schedule, she continues to do community service with her chapter and remains involved with theatrical productions at school.
“I love BBYO,” she said, “and I know it was special to my mom, Halle, when she was growing up. She is still friendly with the people she was in clubs with back then and I can see myself being close with my BBYO friends 30 years from now. It has been a great experience.”
Receiving the Garmon Award is particularly meaningful to Nussbaum since she and her family are friendly with Ellen Garmon’s brother, Joel, and his family. “The award is a big accomplishment for me,” she said. “I feel honored that the work I have done has been recognized in this special way.”
The Garmon Award will enable Audrey to attend BBYO’s International Convention in Atlanta next February.
Audrey’s dad is Jay Nussbaum and she has two older brothers, Brett and Adam. The family belongs to The Temple.
Ellen Faye Garmon was involved in Jewish life through BBYO, the Jewish Community Center and in the general community. The daughter of Estelle and Selwyn Garmon, Ellen died in a tragic accident July 1968.
At the time, the Gamma Kappa Social Club, of which she was a member, established an annual award in her memory to help further the work of high school students who shared her spirit and the ideals that were important to her. The award is given annually and is funded through the sale of all-occasion cards.
Stacy Marks Nisenbaum Award – Jacob Finke
Stacy Marks Nisenbaum loved BBYO and was an active member of her BBG chapter growing up in Louisville. When she passed away a number of years ago, three of her close friends, Stacy Gordon-Funk, Wendy Snow and Sally Weinberg, established a scholarship program to honor her BBYO legacy. Originally begun as a BBG award, in recent years the award’s creators have given permission for recipients also to be young men who have been active in BBYO.
A case in point is this year’s worthy recipient of the Nisenbaum Award, Jacob Finke.
The 16-year-old Manual High School sophomore enjoys chemistry and getting into a good argument. His parents think that perhaps a career in law might be in his future.
In addition to his classes, Finke is a member of Manual’s Key Club, the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society and he earns volunteer hours with all of those groups. He also plays baseball and runs cross-country. His rare spare time is spent reading and sleeping.
When asked about his involvement in BBYO, there’s a definite upturn in his voice. An active member of Drew Corson AZA, he spent 18 days at the Chapter Leadership Training Conference (CLTC) at Camp Beber last summer, which he called “amazing.”
That experience, he contends, “lit a passion inside of me that encouraged me to meet new people and be a better person.” Upon his return, he was elected mazkir (vice president of communication) of his chapter and will soon assume the chapter’s presidency.
This summer he will attend International Leadership Training Camp (ILTC) at Camp Pearlman in Eastern Pennsylvania. “Obviously I’m still not the best leader I could be,” he says modestly, “so I appreciate the opportunity this award has given me.
“I think the training will help me refine my skills and become a better leader among my peers,” he added. It will also put me more in touch with Judaism. I feel we have a good chapter, but I would like us to become more involved with the Jewish community and the Jewish faith that unites us.”
Jacob’s brother, Cole, soon to be a freshman at Colgate University, and his father, David, were both involved in BBYO, Jacob has a younger brother, Max.
The Finkes, including his mother, Helene, are members of The Temple.