Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A giving Oldsmar couple find themselves receiving

David and Jean Abelson live in Oldsmar but have spread their goodwill throughout Pinellas County.

Their generosity was rewarded recently when they received the 25th annual Humanitarian Award, presented jointly by the Golda Meir/Kent Jewish Center and the Jewish Community Center of Pinellas County.

David Abelson said that receiving the award was a humbling experience, and that he hopes he and his wife are deserving of it.

"We do work we feel is necessary to the community," he said, "and we want to do more. You can never really do enough."

Since arriving in the area in 1989, the Abelsons, parents of two sons and a daughter, have made nonprofit organizations their vehicle for moving and shaking the community.

A financial adviser, David Abelson has chaired the board of Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services, headquartered in Largo, for the last four years. From that vantage point, he has reached out to fellow citizens in need.

"We basically take care of all the people no one else takes care of," he said.

Among those cared for are people who live on the streets, the mentally ill, abused women and prisoners with mental problems rather than criminal behavior.

"It's really an amazing agency in terms of how many lives it touches," Abelson said.

Michael Bernstein, president of the organization since 1978, said the agency operates on a $32-million yearly budget and provides help for about 50,000 people a year.

He said he is grateful to have Abelson on board.

"He is a great leader and a smart businessman," Bernstein said. "He's available 24 hours a day to help me if I need him."

Abelson put his business skills and energy to work elsewhere as well. He is past president of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas County and the Golda Meir/Kent Jewish Center, both of which provide services to the larger community, regardless of faith or ethnic background.

He has chaired the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce North Area Council, worked to get the Countryside Recreation Center constructed, and served on a Pinellas County Parks and Recreation committee. For many years, he coached youth baseball, football and soccer leagues throughout the county.

Abelson's wife, Jean, has focused on schools and women's organizations. A substitute teacher at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, which the couple's youngest son attends, she chaired the parents' club of both the lower and upper divisions. She also substitutes at the Pinellas County Jewish Day School.

Jean Abelson is a past president of the sisterhood at Temple Ahavat Shalom in Palm Harbor and a member of Lion of Judah, the women's philanthropic arm of the Pinellas Jewish Federation. The money donated to this division goes to numerous local agencies and facilities, including the Menorah Manor, a residence for the elderly and infirm, and the Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services.

The Abelsons, natives of Pennsylvania, were raised with a spirit of giving and have followed their parents' lead.

"My family has always been philanthropic on a large scale," Jean Abelson said, "or just helping a neighbor two doors down."

A giving Oldsmar couple find themselves receiving 12/02/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 2, 2008 8:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Blake Snell shines as Rays beat Mariners to end skid (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell delivered the best outing of his young career and the Rays offense continued its home run-hitting ways for a 3-0 victory Sunday against the Mariners in front of 13,354 at Tropicana Field.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) with starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) after the top of the seventh inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  2. No touchdown, but fun lesson for Bucs' Adam Humphries

    Bucs

    It didn't end up being a touchdown, but one of the Bucs' biggest hustle plays in Thursday's win over Jacksonville saw receiver Adam Humphries scoop up a loose ball just before halftime, after what looked like an incompletion but was correctly ruled a Jameis Winston fumble.

    Bucs WR Adam Humphries runs to the end zone with QB Jameis Winston trailing -- his alert play wasn't a touchdown because teammates cannot advance a fumble in the final two minutes of a half.
  3. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week

    Bucs

    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]
  4. Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91

    Obituaries

    LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. He was …

    In this Sept. 2, 1990, file photo, entertainer Jerry Lewis makes his opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon fundraiser in Los Angeles. Lewis, the comedian whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died according to his publicist. [Associated Press]
  5. Mastermind of lottery rigging scam that netted millions faces 25 years

    Nation

    DES MOINES, Iowa — For a decade, computer programmer Eddie Tipton reliably showed up for work at the central Iowa office of the Multi-State Lottery Association and earned the confidence of his co-workers, a team of technicians entrusted to build computers used to randomly pick numbers for some of the most popular …

    FILE - In this June 29, 2017, file photo, Eddie Tipton, the former Multi-State Lottery Association information security director who admitted to masterminding a scheme to rig lottery games that paid him and others $2 million from seven fixed jackpots in five states, is seen in court in Des Moines, Iowa. Tipton is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, Aug. 22. (Rodney White/The Des Moines Register via AP, File) IADES501