JFS awarded $30,000 grant from the Selma and Ernest Rosenblum Foundation

Posted on: June 10th, 2012 by The Jewish Observer

Ernest and Selma Rosenblum’s engagement picture in Russia

Marvin Rosenblum M.D., wanted to honor the memory of his beloved parents, Selma and Ernest Rosenblum. He did this in a  significant way, prior to his death, with the establishment of the Selma and Ernest Rosenblum Foundation.

The Board of Trustees is made up of five of Marvin’s nieces and nephews and Selma and Ernest’s grandchildren. Their mission is to fund nonprofit organizations that day in and day out fulfill the values that their grandparents, and in turn, family hold dear. It is not a requirement of the foundation that the nonprofit be based in Nashville, but the board looked in the Nashville area since that is where their uncle and grandparents built their lives, family, and community.

Selma and Ernest Rosenblum were born in Chausy, Russia, in the late 1800s, and immigrated to Nashville in the early 1900s. They had eight children together. The values of caring for those in need, the elderly and music were some of the strongest in the family. Ernest and Selma had a general store in East Nashville and were very active in the Jewish community—they belonged to all three synagogues. Ernest died from cancer in his forties and Selma was left to raise eight children and run the store on her own. One of the eight children, Eva Rosenblum Mendelsohn, is alive and lives in Nashville.

In January, Pam Kelner, director of Jewish Family Service, met with two of the trustees to discuss the goals of the foundation and the programs and services of Jewish Family Service. “It was quickly discovered that there was a perfect synergy between JFS and the foundation,” said Kelner. “The values that JFS is founded upon are values that were lived out by Selma and Ernest.” 

The trustees were most impressed with the Helping Hands Volunteer Initiative. JFS’ new addition to the Helping Hands program of matching musicians with people living with Alzheimer’s and/or other dementias also piqued their interest, since music was such an integral part of the Rosenblum family.

JFS’s history of assisting families from Russia immigrate to Nashville also impressed the foundation’s board as this was a strong interest of the Rosenblum family. The Rosenblums were deeply involved in the ’60s and ’70s bringing their own family over from Russia and helping acclimate others.

In the words of Foundation President Ellen Rosenblum Rubesin, “Everything about this organization was impressive to our trustees — its mission, its efficiency, and the impact that it has on the people of Nashville — it seemed like the perfect fit.”

After submitting a proposal to the Foundation, Jewish Family Service was awarded a $30,000 unrestricted grant.  “A grant of this size makes a tremendous impact on the work of JFS in our ability to serve the community,” said Daniella Pressner, JFS Board president. “We are so grateful that the Foundation recognized JFS as an agency they wanted to partner with and invest in.” •