YAD's Milestone Gala Honors Jerrod Kogut and Samantha Tugentman February 18

YAD's Milestone Gala Honors Jerrod Kogut and Samantha Tugentman February 18

The Jewish Federation of Greater Austin's Young Adult Division has announced Jerrod Kogut and Samantha Tugentman will receive the 2017 Hineni Award at the eighth annual Milestone Gala on Saturday, February 18.

Hineni means “Here I Am.” This award is given to someone of YAD age (21-40) who has emerged as a leader within the Austin Jewish community. ‑e recipients are typically philanthropic to the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin Annual Campaign, currently or formerly involved in YAD leadership and possibly have taken interest in other ways to connect in the Austin Jewish community such as JLEAD, the Shalom Austin Board, and/or other Jewish communal organizations.

Kogut, originally from Dallas, attended the University of Texas, and remained in Austin ever since. While attending UT, he was an active member of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity where he held many leadership positions, following the legacy of both his father and grandfather in this chapter.

Kogut is a long-time member of the YAD board, and has enjoyed every opportunity to help strengthen Austin’s young adult community while also welcoming newcomers. He is a graduate of the third JLEAD leadership program, and participated in every YAD mission trip which included visits to Cuba and Morocco.

Kogut is a founding member of the Congregation Agudas Achim Brotherhood Board of Directors where he is instrumental in assuring the continued success of the Annual Austin Kosher Chili Cook-O. He is especially proud of the awards his team of Chili Ninjas has cooked up over years, which includes a First Place Judge’s Choice trophy.

Kogut served on the 2015 planning committee for Anti-Defamation League True Colors event, as well as participated in the ADL Glass Leadership Institute program.

Living in Austin allows Kogut to have fun with friends while boating on the lake and trying new restaurants, but he realizes how special Austin truly is because his grandparents, Reuben and Estelle, his aunt Beverly, brother Ben, and sister Sara, all live here, too.

Kogut is currently the Senior Solution Consultant for Vyze Inc, which is a leading financial technology provider for retailers & manufacturers.

Tugentman is originally from Houston and has called Austin home for the past 11 years. Growing up in Katy, Texas, Tugentman found she missed being part of a young Jewish community and became involved in United Synagogue Youth during high school. The feeling of belonging to a community propelled her to become active in Texas Hillel, and then after graduation, she joined the Young Adult Division of Austin.

Tugentman has served on the YAD board for seven years and was honored to co-chair two Milestone Galas. Tugentman is a graduate of Austin’s first cohort of the JLEAD leadership program and participated in the Anti-Defamation League Glass Leadership institute as well. Additionally, Tugentman was the adviser for the USY chapter at Congregation Agudas Achim, AAUSY, for six years. Tugentman was proud to guide the young teens in USY and help them find appreciation for being Jewish, just as USY did for her during her own high school years.

Most notably, Tugentman is the founder and leader of The Chosen Weekend, an annual weekend of events connecting Jewish young adult communities from across the region - providing a new way to experience being Jewish in Texas. In its fourth year, The Chosen Weekend has brought more than 350 people together to celebrate being part of the Jewish community, "no matter what kind of Jew you are.”

Tugentman resides downtown with her adorable pup, Farfel, and her several Bruce Springsteen posters. She works as an Account Executive for Favor Delivery and loves the Austin start-up life. In her spare time, you can find Tugentman taking pictures of all of her food, dancing at Barbarella, singing to The Boss, and giving kisses to Farfel.

Tickets for Milestone are available for $45 at www.shalomaustin.org/milestone. The price increases to $60 on February 4. Can’t attend the event but want to show your support? Make a tribute gift in honor of the Hineni Award recipients at www.shalomaustin.org/milestonetributes.

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