New Orleans Jewish Community Center

New Orleans Jewish Community Center - News

NOJCC is a non-profit organization serving the greater New Orleans area, with a main campus on St. Charles Avenue and a satellite facility in Metairie. The NOJCC is the center of Jewish life where recreation, education and culture thrive. While steeped in Jewish tradition, many of their 9,600 members are non-Jewish individuals. There is something special about the NOJCC where people from diverse backgrounds visit daily participating in an array of programs and services reaching all age groups.

Their programs include a premier nursery school and pre-k, summer day camp, year round youth and adult sports, fitness and wellness offerings for all ages, social and educational programs for seniors, community-wide cultural events and an award winning Alzheimer’s respite program.

NOJCC is embarking on a Capital and Endowment Campaign to enlarge and enhance their St. Charles Avenue facility. Plans include a new Aquatics Center with a heated lap pool for year-round use and separate, state of the art recreational pool and splash pad for family use. This will be known as the Oscar J. Tolmas Aquatics Complex. “We are excited to honor Oscar’s memory and charitable interests with this donation to NOJCC,” stated Trustees Vince Giardina and Lisa Romano. “Oscar’s legacy and generosity will be remembered by many in the Jewish community and the community at large. We encourage others in the New Orleans community to also support this worthwhile cause.”

Kingsley House - Oscar J. Tolmas Drive

A Dream Realized – November 2016

The Patrick F. Taylor Campus allows Kingsley House to expand its high impact early childhood development and education for vulnerable infants and toddlers and compassionate daycare for medically fragile adults and seniors. The new 24,000 square foot facility will provide specialized programs in a loving, nurturing environment to more than 200 of our city’s youngest and oldest at-risk residents. The street that runs through the new campus is named Oscar J. Tolmas Drive.

Volunteers of America, Greater New Orleans

APRIL 2016

The Oscar J. Tolmas Veterans Center is the most recent addition to Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans transitional housing program, enabling the program to provide an additional 20 beds to homeless Veterans in the area. The program provides access to housing, along with the full continuum of rehabilitation services offered to Veterans by Volunteers of America. These services include substance abuse and mental health counseling, educational services, comprehensive employment training and placement, permanent housing placement and supportive services for Veterans families. The building is dedicated in honor of Oscar J. Tolmas, a lifelong resident of New Orleans and Veteran of WWII. Video by Taylor Terrebonne.

Congregation Beth Isreal

The Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust has given Congregation Beth Israel a significant gift to fund the Oscar J. Tolmas Rabbinic Chair. Through this partnership, the Trust is helping ensure the vitality of Beth Israel's spiritual leadership for years to come. A meaningful way to memorialize Oscar, a lifelong member of Congregation Beth Israel, and a fitting tribute to his commitment to tzedakah, community, and enrichment through Jewish values. Pictured above are Rabbi Gabriel Greenberg, Synagogue President Bradley Bain, Trustee Lisa Romano, Trustee Vincent Giardina and Rabbi David Posternock at the 10 Years Forward community dinner held August 23, 2015. In appreciation the Trust was presented with a special Tzedakah Box created in the likeness of New Orleans' famous street cars, designed and signed by sculptor Gary Rosenthal.

Jewish Community Day School

Jewish Community Day School - News

March 2016
Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust Funds Jewish Community Day School Head of School Chair!
Significant gift demonstrates vote of confidence in future of JCDS.

The Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust has given the Jewish Community Day School (JCDS) a significant gift to fund the Oscar J. Tolmas Head of School Chair for the next five years. Through this partnership, the Trust is helping to ensure the vitality of Jewish Community Day School educational leadership for years to come.

According to JCDS President of the Board of Directors, Lis Kahn, this will be a meaningful way to memorialize Oscar Tolmas, and a fitting tribute to his commitment to tzedakah, community, and enrichment through Jewish education and values.

"The Head of School position is fundamental to the school's success," Kahn said. "This generous gift will ensure the Jewish community continues to have a skilled administrator, strategic leader, strong educator, accomplished fund raiser and communicator, and inspiring visionary.

JCDS Head of School Sharon Pollin joined JCDS in 2013. Sharon holds a Bachelor's degree in elementary education, a Master's degree in education supervision and administration, has engaged in advanced Jewish learning at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, and is currently a doctoral candidate in education leadership. Sharon comes from generations deeply committed to Jewish community. She was a Federation Young Leadership member and was fortunate to participate in the Wexner Leadership program. She has been Director, Principal, and Head of School throughout her career as a passionate, Jewish day school leader.

Over the past three years, Pollin has grown the number of students to the school by 22 percent. JCDS reopened its Pre-kindergarten classes and Kindergarten classes. A Young Baby Program for infants aged 3 - 15 months was successfully launched this year. She has helped to build a rejuvenated and dedicated board, new professional staff leadership, an excellent faculty and a robust curriculum. JCDS was also accepted into the Governance and Fundraising Academy, a prestigious program of the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education, and funded by the AVI CHAI Foundation. Community connections have also been revitalized as Pollin has reached out to agencies and institutions through a variety of collaborations and sponsorships.

"With this game-changing contribution from the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust, Jewish Community Day School is on an exciting path for a sustainable and successful future," Pollin said. "We so appreciate the outstanding efforts of Vincent Giardina and Lisa Romano, trustees of the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust, who are devoted to the mission and committed to the philanthropic responsibilities placed upon them by the late Oscar J. Tolmas."

Upturn Arts

Summer 2016 - Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust awards Hope Stone New Orleans donation for summer camp scholarships!

Caring, educating and providing a safe environment for children to express their creativity is an important and vital mission. Now, thanks to a generous donation from the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust, Hope Stone New Orleans is able to further achieve this mission.

Upturn Arts is a fun and creative program that teaches children in the New Orleans community to explore and build confidence in themselves as artists. We believe in providing arts enrichment opportunities for all children, and never turn students away due to financial restraints. Upturn Arts provides a day-long summer camp at our main site, Nola Spaces, opening our doors to all children in the New Orleans community.

We distinguish ourselves from other arts education programs by offering programming, using a sliding scale model, welcoming all students without auditions, and focusing on individuality and creative expression within our students. Skilled master teachers and artists train students in dance, music, theater, improvisation, creative writing, drumming and yoga, providing young participants with an arts education that builds self-esteem, confidence and the skills that children need to be the next generation of creative thinkers and problem solvers. The students also gain a greater knowledge of New Orleans’ rich arts culture and heritage while expanding their own individual creativity and self-expression.

We are currently hosting our seventh annual summer arts camp, located at Nola Spaces (1719 Toledo St.). WE reach out to a diverse population and provide an enriched arts experience to many New Orleans children and youth. Thanks to help from the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust, we are able to continue our mission and increase camp attendance. All of our students are provided with healthy meals and receive daily classes in music, dance, theater, and visual arts from professional artists and educators. We encourage uniqueness and individuality, and our instructors guide campers to discover each art form in a new way.

Hope Stone New Orleans is now accepting applications for summer programs. If you are interested in enrolling your child in Upturn Arts register @ or call: (504) 390-8399.

WWL Bridgehouse Interview

Menorah Display

Menorah Display - News

A Display in honor of Oscar J. Tolmas was prominently exhibited in City Park for the 2016 Celebration in the Oaks. A beautiful lighted Menorah in between two lighted dreidels could be viewed from the main entrance to the park. Photo by Ali Coates.

New Orleans City Park - Oscar J. Tolmas Center

November 2015
New Orleans City Park announces the Oscar J. Tolmas Center. One of the major improvements in City Park is a new garden entrance across from the Goldring / Woldenberg Great Lawn at the location of the former C.T. Parker building, which will become the Oscar J. Tolmas Center.

With all the new developments in this area, including the Great Lawn and Miniature Golf, this new entrance will attract more visitors to the Garden and Storyland and allow easier access to the Garden Study Center, where most education programs are held.

The Oscar J. Tolmas Center Renovation and Expansion – The Oscar J. Tolmas Center will serve as the main entrance for the Botanical Garden and Storyland, with ticketing for both venues accommodated. The building will serve as an information center for Park visitors and will include access to light refreshments and expanded restroom facilities. An addition houses the expanded gift shop and an adjacent exterior retail area includes space for plant sales, garden accessories, and novelties.

A's & Aces

Twelve A's & Aces Scholars Selected as Oscar J. Tolmas Scholars

In 2016, the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust is funding 12 student-athletes in the A's & Aces program to participate in rigorous, year-round academic and tennis programming. This scholarship will allow participants to take part in after-school, holiday camps, Saturday clinics, and summer programming, as well as compete in tournaments across Louisiana. Scholars from the A's & Aces program were chosen to be Oscar J. Tolmas Scholars based on their commitment to academic achievement as well as fully exploring their potential as a competitive tennis player.

Executive Director and Founder, David Schumacher, expressed his excitement to see their players receive this wonderful opportunity to grow in school, improve their tennis games, and develop into great members of the community. The Oscar J. Tolmas Scholars will participate in community service projects, compete in the National Arthur Ashe Essay Competition, and maintain strong academic standing at their schools. A’s & Aces coaches will work with the scholars to come up with individually appropriate academic and athletic study, practice and tournament schedules to help each student reach their goals.

"We are honored to receive this generous support from the Trust and look forward to partnering together to improve children’s lives in our community." stated A's & Aces Board President and Co-Founder Anna Monhartova, Ph.D.

Visitation to Oscar J. Tolmas Gravesite

Visitation to Oscar J. Tolmas Gravesite - News

Memorial Day 2015

Judge Sol Gothard, Commander, Jules Lazard Post 580 New Orleans Jewish War Veterans of America, Rabbi Gabe Greenberg, Congregation Beth Israel and Lisa Romano, Trustee placing an American flag at the gravesite of Oscar J. Tolmas in Beth Israel Cemetery. Oscar served in the Navy during WWII.

Dress for Success

Dress for Success  - News

May 2015

Dress for Success New Orleans 6th Annual Suits and Salads Luncheon Friday, May 15, 2015 was attended by Trustee Vince Giardina. Dress for Success is a non-profit organization that works with local agencies to identify disadvantaged women who need help gaining employment. They provide business attire and accessories to women interviewing for jobs.

Folds of Honor Foundation - Oklahoma

April 2015

The Folds of Honor provide educational scholarships for children and spouses of military service men and women killed or disabled while serving our great nation. Oscar served in the Navy during WWII. A scholarship in his name will be awarded by the Folds of Honor organization.

Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust sponsors Jewish Children’s Regional Service Hanukkah Gift Program

Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust sponsors Jewish Children’s Regional Service Hanukkah Gift Program - News

March 2015

For 2015, and beyond, the Hanukkah Gift Program of the Hewish Children’s Regional Servce, which provides holiday gifts to the neediest and easiest overlooked Jewish children residing in the seven-state service district of the agency, will now have its major expenses underwritten by a generous grant from the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust.

The Hanukkah Gift Program, which is entering its eighteenth year of operations, at the 160 year-old children’s agency, currently serves approximately 200 Jewish minors and residents of state institutions. Each recipient receives eight small gifts, one for each night of Hanukkah. Thousands of gifts are annually wrapped by hundreds of volunteers. Before Hanukkah, gift boxes are shipped to the homes of families and to state institutions, while other packages of gifts are delivered by volunteers or picked up at the JCRS offices.

“We are quite pleased to be able to honor the memory and charitable interests of the late Oscar J. Tolmas by underwriting the costs of valuable programs such as this,” explained Trustees Vince J. Giardina and Lisa Romano. “Oscar Tolmas wanted his legacy to serve those with the greatest of needs, and these individuals, like our veterans, need to be remembered and served.”

Read the entire press release

WYES TV New Orleans Channel 12 "Breaking New Ground" Capital Campaign

WYES TV New Orleans Channel 12 "Breaking New Ground" Capital Campaign - News

May 2015

Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust is making a donation to WYES-TV New Orleans Channel 12 “Breaking New Ground” Capital Campaign. The new WYES Media Park will include a $20 million complex for production and educational outreach. The second floor of the new building, known as then Creativity Hub, will be devoted to the creation of content for the productions. The Creativity Hub will be named after Oscar J. Tolmas.

One of their new programs coming in the spring of 2016 is New Orleans Cooking with Kevin Belton. WYES recently held a “Sneak Peek and Tasting” event Saturday May 16, 2015 which was attended by Trustees, Vince Giardina and Lisa Romano.

New Transportation Van for Shriners Hospitals for Children

New Transportation Van for Shriners Hospitals for Children - News

January 2015

The Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust made a donation to Shriners Hospitals for Children for the purchase of a new transportation van.

The local Jerusalem Shriners, headquartered in Destrehan, LA volunteer many hours of their time to transport area children to Shriners hospitals in Galveston, TX and Shreveport, LA for medical appointments.