Debra Bucksbaum
Incoming Chair Deborah Bucksbaum (right) with CEO Michael Hopkins and outgoing Chair Emily Jennewein. Courtesy JFS

At Jewish Family Service of San Diego‘s annual meeting and awards luncheon at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the nonprofit announced its next board chair, Deborah Bucksbaum, along with new board members, while honoring key staff for their contributions over the past year.

Bucksbaum has served as a JFS board member for nearly a decade. She succeeds Emily Jennewein, who served as chair for the past two years.

Bucksbaum’s background includes 28 years of business litigation. During her tenure as a JFS board member, she has advocated for affordable housing in the community and formed a JFS housing committee, which will be further developed during her term as chair.

New board members sworn in at the June 27 meeting include:

  • Nadia Farjood, litigation associate, O’Melveny & Myers 
  • Seth Krosner, trauma and critical care surgeon, Scripps Mercy Hospital 
  • Adam Rosenthal, partner and employment attorney, Sheppard Mullin

Outgoing board members Kira Finkenberg, former board chair Adam Welland and Karin Toranto were also acknowledged.

Awardees at this year’s luncheon included:

Henrietta Rubenstein Staff Award: Tania Garcia Aguirre, Safe Parking Program site supervisor. Aguirre oversees two safe parking lots where 120 individuals and families find shelter.

Henrietta Rubenstein Staff Award: Luis Gonzalez, directing attorney of Immigration Legal Services. Gonzalez oversees a team of attorneys that has helped tens of thousands of asylum seekers with legal support and guidance as they navigate the U.S.’s complex and challenging immigration system. 

Charles Zibbell Board Leadership Award: Sheldon Derezin, board member
As JFS board treasurer, Derezin provides fiscal oversight and works closely with JFS CFO Bernadette Griggs to keep all facets of the organization running smoothly.

Board Chair’s Award: Welcome the Stranger Department. This department includes the San Diego Rapid Response Network, Immigration Legal Services and the refugee resettlement program. The department has helped over 142,000 asylum seekers in the past 4.5 years by providing them with shelter, case management, food, financial and travel assistance and legal support.

To get help, volunteer or support JFS, visit or call 858-637-3000.