Temple Beth El is honored to present the 2019 Fred Weisman Tikkun Olam Award to Barbara Aronica-Buck at its Annual Membership Meeting on May 22.
The Fred Weisman Tikkun Olam Award is presented in memory of Fred Weisman, z’l, our beloved member, whose life was filled with acts of caring and loving kindness, embodying the spirit of tikkun olam (world repair).
A lifelong member of Temple Beth El, Barb’s roots extend back to her grandparents, who were among TBE’s founders. She remembers attending religious school in the Prospect Street synagogue, and she feels a deep connection to her ancestors whenever she steps into our chapel. Barb’s parents and grandparents taught her that being a good citizen means getting involved in the community.
Barb’s family also helped found ARI of Connecticut, which enriches the lives of people with disabilities and their families by enabling them to achieve their fullest potential at home, at work and in the community. When Barb returned to Stamford after attending Smith College and living in New York City for 10 years, her mother said to her, “Now it’s your turn to help at ARI.” And that’s what launched Barb on a life of tikkun olam.
Barb served for many years on the Board of ARI of Connecticut, including as board secretary, vice president and president. She recently served as the secretary of the Friends of ARI, which raises funds for ARI and other organizations. Twenty years ago, she met her husband Peter at ARI, and together they’ve blended their multicultural, interfaith, growing families. In 2016, they received the United Way Outstanding Volunteer Couple Award.
Most people would say “dayenu” (“it would have sufficed”) after serving as ARI’s president – but not Barb. In 2003, she joined the board of the Stamford Public Education Foundation, where she currently serves as president. SPEF delivers educational programs and resources that elevate student, educator, and parent success by bridging the gap between needs in the Stamford Public Schools and resources in our community. Among its activities, SPEF operates in 21 Stamford public schools, mentoring over 900 students, distributing over 5,000 free books, and providing over 16,000 hours of professional tutoring.
Barb has also served on the boards of the Sarah Walker Nursery School, Roxbury Elementary School, UJF’s Women’s Division, and the JCC’s Center Women. She is a past recipient of the Center Woman of the Year Award. Here at TBE, she has served on the Temple Rock, Cantor’s Concert, and Campaign committees.
Professionally, she is the proprietor of Barbara Aronica-Buck Design, where she has designed books for a president, a congresswoman, an opera singer, a movie star, bestselling authors, and many others – including a very mensch-y rabbi.