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Janet Vickie Sunkin, beloved wife, mother, sister, and friend, passed away on March 21, 2021, at the age of 69.

Janet relished sharing her life with her husband Michael Tanenhaus and children Alex and Kari (Wolf) as well as with her grandchildren Leon and Rosa.  She was a beloved sister to Tom and Rhonda and is a cherished aunt and great aunt. Her loss will be felt by a large community of family, friends and colleagues.

Janet’s generous sense of humor, appreciation of the ridiculous, keen eye for spotting treasures, passion for celebrating holidays and life, and dedication to her family made her the beating heart of her family and community. Janet’s abundant warmth and smile made her a pleasure to be around.  She had a laugh like nobody else. The Judaic concept of “Tikkun olam”–repair of the world– is an aspiration to behave and act constructively and beneficially.  Janet’s professional and personal life embodied this principle.

Janet’s 40-year commitment to Jewish Family Service (JFS) culminated in her 12-year tenure as the President/CEO of JFS.  Janet began as a volunteer, teaching English to newly arrived refugees from the Former Soviet Union. While at JFS, Janet earned a Masters in Social Work from Yeshiva University and worked extensively employment, aging services, clinical counseling, grant writing, fundraising and program and resource development. The personal qualities so admired by family and friends formed the core of her professional contributions. Janet was the voice refugees, parents trying to adopt, adoptees, those living below the poverty line, those who struggled to talk out loud, those who worked with her, those who worked for her. Janet saw people—really looked deep inside whomever she was speaking with and found a semblance of understanding, which she used to advocate with or for them.

Interment will be private.

Donations may be made to the Janet V. Sunkin Fund at Jewish Family Service of Rochester, NY in Janet’s memory.


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