Don & Rhoda Mains and Mickey Greenberg & Shelley Kornblum

Don and Rhoda Mains

It’s tremendously fitting that every visitor to the St. Paul JCC enters through the Mains Welcome Center. There are few figures who have shaped the JCC the way Don and Rhoda Mains have, serving our community for over forty years to ensure that every person has the opportunity to be cared for, enriched, and welcomed.

Don and Rhoda’s leadership goes beyond their deep involvement at the St. Paul JCC, where Don served terms on the Board of Directors, and as Vice President. Between the two of them, they have served on 19 boards, including Jewish Family Service, JCRC, Hillel at the University of Minnesota, Mount Zion Temple, Harry Kay Foundation, Science Museum of Minnesota, and Minnesota Jewish Theater, to name a few. In addition, both have served terms as Campaign Chair and President of the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul. They were co-chairs of the Capital Campaign for the Sholom St. Paul Campus. Don and Rhoda have received many honors and accolades including the Susie Selcer Leadership Award from the Sholom Alliance, Jewish Family Service’s Community Service Award, and being included in Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine’s Volunteer Hall of Fame.

Don’s working career was with Tradehome Shoe Stores Inc. for over 50 years, serving as president for 25 years. Yet, in spite of their busy lives, the JCC remained a constant fixture as a place to gather with friends, take in lectures & cultural events, and stay fit.

Since Don’s retirement, the Mains travel extensively, but always return to their home away from home – the St. Paul JCC.

“The JCC has truly enriched our lives and perhaps more importantly, the lives of many others in our community. A community center can be many different things for its members – a place to stay fit, to learn, to find connection with others. We’re proud that our JCC is a gathering place for people of all ages, beliefs, lifestyles, and walks of life. When we walk through those doors, we feel connected to something larger.”

Mickey Greenberg & Shelley Kornblum

Decades of volunteerism, leadership, and finding ways to make a difference are a hallmark of the dedication to community of
Mickey Greenberg & Shelley Kornblum, J Event Co-Honorees.

Shelley’s connection to the JCC began as a child, including serving as a counselor at the JCC’s summer camp. While living in Israel, Shelley volunteered teaching children English and worked at the Weizmann Institute. When she returned to Minneapolis, she continued working on behalf of Israel with our community Shaliach. Shelley also served as Assistant Director of Herzl Camp and is so gratified when she sees that former campers have become active in our community. When she and Mickey lived abroad, Shelley volunteered as an English teacher in Sarajevo. Shelley said that her greatest contribution has been passing down to her children and grandchildren the importance of volunteering and working on behalf of the Jewish community to better the society in which they live.

Mickey, a well-known judge and now mediator, is a popular figure at the JCC’s Golf and Games Event each year, where he “holds court” at the “Here Comes the Judge Hole,” raising money for scholarships for children. He has also been a Sabes JCC Board Member. Mickey has served on the Beth El and Herzl boards, and as a perpetual volunteer and Past President of Herzl. Additional volunteer roles include giving time to Ronald McDonald house, JFCS, and as a performer at the JCC and other community theaters, where he has been featured in over thirty shows. In a professional capacity as an attorney and judge, Mickey has impacted thousands of people’s lives, including while serving on the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and as a wedding officiant of over 2000 ceremonies.

“The JCC has played a central role in the life of our family for decades, so we have seen its impact first-hand on our children and grandchildren through the Early Childhood Center and Camp Olami, as well as how the JCC touches the lives of so many others –people of all backgrounds, ages, abilities and interests. We so appreciate that the JCC is where everyone walking through the doors will feel welcomed and find many ways to connect and feel part of our community.”