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May 18, 2022
Changes at Museum of Russian Icons, Jewish Federation

April 16, 2022 — The leader of the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton is retiring after serving as the inaugural executive director for 16 years, while the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts in Springfield named a new chief executive officer.

Executive Director of Museum of Russian Icons Stepping Down after 16 Years

Kent Russell

The Museum of Russian Icons, a nonprofit which aims to inspire appreciation and study of Russian culture through icons and related objects, this week announced its founding executive director, Kent dur Russell, will retire next month after leading the organization for the last 16 years.

The museum is conducting a search for Russell’s replacement. In the interim, deputy director Lynn Philbin will oversee day-to-day operations.

“Thanks to the vision of our founder Gordon Lankton and the exceptional efforts of our staff and supporters, our team created an American Alliance of Museums accredited organization in record time. Establishing this organization has been the capstone of my 45-year career in the museum field, which started in 1977 as a research fellow at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin,” said Russell. “

“I am very proud of our collective achievements and thankful to everyone whose creativity, vision, and hard work made them possible,” he added. “The museum is in great shape and ready for a seamless and smooth transition to new leadership.”

Jack McCabe, president of the museum’s board of trustees, said, “The Museum of Russian Icons has seen tremendous growth and development during Kent’s sixteen-year-long tenure. Kent's years of hard work, dedication, and dynamic leadership have helped make possible considerable achievements, earning the appreciation and gratitude of the local and museum communities. We are grateful for his commitment to ensuring that the museum is positioned for continued organizational growth, financial stability, and limitless potential.”

The museum, established in 2006, grew from icons collected by Gordon Lankton, who an a plastics manufacturing plant in Clinton. with Russell accompanying Lankton on trips to Russia and Europe to organize international exhibitions for the museum, search for icons, and attend auctions.

An icon is an image of a holy person or event created by an iconographer who follows strict standards of the Orthodox Church. Most of the museum’s collected objects are created with egg tempera paint on wooden boards. Icons can also be made in other materials, including mosaic, fresco, embroidery, and metal.

Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts Names Nora Gorenstein as CEO

Nora Gorenstein

The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts (JFWM), a nonprofit which supports educational and social service programs to help those in need and advances Jewish life in western Massachusetts, recently announce the appointment of Nora Gorenstein as its new chief executive officer.

Gorenstein had been serving as interim executive director of JFWM.

“Nora Gorenstein brings needed years of experience within our Jewish community to help us lift and amplify the voices of everyone in our Jewish community,” said Robyn Newhouse, president of the federation’s board of trustees. “We look forward to working with her in supporting the specific needs of our community and collaborating with our local and global partners.”

As part of her role, Gorenstein will work to strengthen the western Massachusetts Jewish community's relationship with other minority communities.

Prior to joining the federation, Gorenstein was an engagement associate with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and earlier was a middle school math, science, and English teacher. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Education from Simmons University and a Master of Arts degree in English from Brandeis University.

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