Maimonides Society honors 2 Tampa Bay area dentists
The Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties and the Tampa Jewish Community Center & Federation partnered to honor leaders of the medical community recently, presenting Charlene Wygodski, DDS, with the 19th Annual Alfred M. Schick MD Memorial Award from Pinellas, and Carl Zielonka, DDS, with the Tampa Maimonides Society Leadership Award.
The event corporate sponsor, The Bank of Tampa, hosted the reception and presentation at their downtown St. Petersburg branch.
Guest speaker Perry Brickman, DDS, gave a presentation on the anti-Semitism at Emory University Dental School in the 1950s- 60s, including the time he was a student there. Brickman’s actions brought the discrimination to light and served as the catalyst for dramatic change in the administration and quotas at universities throughout the South. Both Wygodski and Zielonka are graduates of Emory Dental School, attending after the dental school dean who was known for his anti-Semitic attitude had moved on to another university. Several of Brickman’s former classmates also attended, adding to the atmosphere of a multi-generational college reunion.
During the presentation, attendees were reminded that the discrimination that plagued universities in past decades has not completely disappeared. Brickman’s documentary, From Silence to Recognition, shed light on the specific experiences of his fellow dental school students. His message of vigilance was highlighted by the acknowledgement of the recent rise of anti-Semitic events in Europe and he encouraged those present to “say something if you see something.”
While overall discrimination in America declined in 2012, the ADL reports that the internet has become the new voice of hate and Florida ranks fourth in the nation in anti-Semitic incidents. Brickman encouraged attendees to support the organizations that strengthen their community so as to ensure a future for generations to come.
The Maimonides Society members are dedicated supporters of their respective Jewish Federations through financial and volunteer efforts. Membership is open to those affiliated with the medical profession and who strive to promote Jewish values as the famous Jewish doctor and scholar Maimonides did in the 12th century.
Maimonides Society co-chairs are David and Melissa Bernstein of Pinellas County and Dr. David Rosenbach of Tampa.
For more information about the Maimonides Society, contact either the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties at (727) 530-3223 or the Tampa JCC & Federation at (813) 769-4726.