Local women named Song of Miriam honorees

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO / CAMPBELLSALGADO.COM Michelle Minch of West Linn is one of the 19th annual Song of Miriam honorees for the Jewish Women's Round Table.

The Jewish Women's Round Table has announced its 19th annual Song of Miriam honorees. Michelle Minch of West Linn and Lake Oswego residents Evelyn Banko and Mandi Chestler are among those honored.

The women will be honored at the 19th Annual Awards Brunch to be held from 10 a.m. to noon on June 5 at Mittleman Jewish Community Center.

Tickets are $30. Children under 12 are $10 and patrons are $36. for information or to make a reservation contact Jerrie Roth at 503-246-4367.

The Song of Miriam Awards are given to honor women who volunteer their time and energy to ensure the continuity and vibrancy of the Jewish community of Oregon and Southwest Washington. Twenty organizations have chosen outstanding women to be honored for their volunteer activities and dedication to promotion of Jewish life and values.

Minch was honored for her work with Beit Haverim's board of trustees as Marketing Chairperson.Through her efforts several articles have been written in the Lake Oswego Review about the congregation's life and teachings. She has worked with the URJ to take the congregation's website into the new millennium. She serves as a roving photographer at congregation events.

Minch also serves on the Oregon are Jewish Community Board and is the congregation's representative for the Mittleman Jewish Community Center's Honor Rabbis Dinner.

In addition to her work with the Jewish community she volunteers as a Girl Scout leader and at her children's school.

Evelyn Banko, a child Holocaust survivor, has been an active volunteer with the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center for 13 years. She has served on the board of directors and as an officer and co-chairs the Education Committee and Speakers Bureau. Her responsibilities with the Education Committee include contacting and coordinating judges for the Sala Kryszek Art and Writing Competition, which annually receives 400 entries from middle and high school students.

Banko was instrumental in writing a grant for the Portland 100 Organization, which gleaned an award of $20,000 to develop Holocaust themed teaching trunks to disseminate to teachers statewide. She helps develop and deliver teacher in-service workshops that combine Holocaust history with innovative teching strategies to assist students in their moral decision-making.

As co-chair of the OHRC Speakers Bureau she schedules speakers to schools, churches and civic organizations. The program reaches more than 30,000 students and adults each year.

As a docent at the Oregon Holocaust Memorial, she includes her personal story of survival as she guides students in reflecting upon the factual events of the Holocaust.

Mandi Chestler was selected for the work she does in support of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School. She joined the board of directors in 2009 and has taken a lead on the marketing outreach for the organization. Through her efforts the group has seen a noteworthy boost in the recruitment of unaffiliated Jews.

The school's Alumni Association has been invigorated by Chestler implementing the faculty-led Alumni Book Club and in her role as liaison between Melton and Temple Beth Israel, a strong working relationship has developed. She has successfully coordinated sample Melton classes with the Temple's education committee.

Chestler is also a member of the school's finance subcommittee.

She also serves as a Cub Scout and Girl Scout leader, PTA president, Art Literacy team member and participates in various Lake Oswego School District advisory committees.