Community leaders receive scholarships and awards at JFGI Annual Meeting


INDIANAPOLIS, IN (June 14, 2018) – The Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis (JFGI) presented scholarships and awards to local leaders in the Jewish community at its annual meeting on June 13. The board also elected its leadership and five new members.

The following community members received scholarships:

Julie and Ellen Hanania received the Len Perel Memorial Scholarship, which was established in memory of Len Perel and his commitment to community service in order to recognize the academic excellence and volunteer service of foreign-born Jewish high school students. The Hananias will attend IU Bloomington in the fall.

The Eugene and Betty Friedmann Scholarship supports deserving Jewish high school students seeking to further their education in the fields of science, medicine, or technology. The 2018 recipients are Alexandra Levinsohn, Sandi Levine, and Molly Foster.

Established in memory of past Jewish Community Center Executive Director Jules Dorfman in honor of his years of service, the Jules Dorfman Scholarship supports graduate students focusing on Jewish Communal Service, Social Work, or Jewish Education. This year’s recipients, Matthew Kramer-Morning and Zachary Greenwald, both recently began their graduate studies in Chicago at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership.

Emma Nisonson and Isabel Silverman received the 2018 Dr. Mark Pescovitz Outstanding Volunteer Leadership Award, presented to a Jewish high school junior or senior with a record of outstanding service to the Indianapolis Jewish and general community. This scholarship was established in memory of Dr. Mark Pescovitz, who at the time of his death was a Federation Officer and Co-Chair of the Annual Campaign.

A special JFGI Scholarship was awarded to Noah Cohen for his enthusiasm and involvement in Jewish communal life on his college campus.

The Jewish community also welcomed six summer interns through its Samuel Kroot Internship Program, which this past year was endowed thanks to a generous gift from the estate of Charles Sydney. Madeline Anderson, Taylor Guba, and Leah Zukerman are working for the Jewish Federation, Jenna Solomon will be working with the Jewish Community Relations Council, and Kelly Adams will be working for Hooverwood, the community’s Jewish nursing home.

The following community members received awards:

Jamie Ratner Rich and Brad Gershman received the L.L. Goodman Leadership Award, presented to community leaders ages 50 and younger. Ratner Rich serves as Vice President of the Jewish Community Relations Council, on the Federation’s Endowment committee, and on the board of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful; she is also involved with the Black-Jewish Partnership, Dress For Success, Young Professionals of Central Indiana, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Girls, Inc., and Indy Hub. Gershman, founding member and Principal of Gershman Partners, is a former member of the Jewish Family Services committee and the Federation’s Working Group committee, and currently serves as a Federation Vice President and as co-chair of its Planning and Allocations committee.

The Domont Award, given to agencies, congregations, and Jewish organizations for outstanding creativity in community service, was given to PJ Library, a program that in the past ten years has delivered more than 37,720 books to families raising Jewish children in the Indianapolis area, reaching over 1,130 children and 730 community families. PJ Library is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and is supported locally by the Alan and Linda Cohen Family Foundation; the Cohens along with Indianapolis PJ Library Coordinator Leah Aft accepted the award.

This year’s recipient of the Melvin Simon Tikkun Olam Award, established in 2002 to recognize unique, special projects that enhance the overall community, is the 2017 Jewish Community Study, the first comprehensive demographic report on the Indianapolis area’s Jewish population in approximately 80 years. Gigi Marks Felsher, Chair of the Jewish Community Study, and Offer Korin, co-founding partner of Katz Korin Cunningham and JFGI President 2015-2017, accepted the award.

Sheila Greenwald and Paul Kraft received the Kehilla Award, established in 2009 for sustained and outstanding volunteer service in the Jewish community.

·         Greenwald, a member of the JFGI Endowment committee and Board of Directors, current president of the Bureau of Jewish Education, and immediate past president of the Indiana Jewish Historical Society, has been involved with Jewish youth group BBYO for over 40 years.

·         Kraft, co-founder and senior Principal of Frank & Kraft, is a past JFGI Board President, past Annual Campaign Chair, past Endowment committee chair, past Nominating committee chair, a previous recipient of the L.L. Goodman award, and a current active member of the JFGI board and its Executive, Endowment, Finance, Investment, and Legal committees. He is also incredibly involved at Hooverwood as a past president and current Hooverwood Foundation and Capital Campaign chair, and almost single-handedly raised more than $25 million for Hooverwood’s renovation and new assisted living residence, known as the Residences at Kraft Commons.

The Liebert I. Mossler Community Service Award, established in honor of JFGI’s 1967-1970 board president to honor veteran Jewish and general community leadership, was presented to David Resnick. Resnick is the managing partner of Katz, Sapper & Miller and currently serves as a member of JFGI’s audit/tax and finance committees (previously Budget/Allocation co-chair) and on the boards of United Way of Central Indiana (previously serving as board chair), University of Indianapolis, Arts Council of Indianapolis (previously serving as chairman), IU Health Foundation, Beth-El Zedeck Foundation, Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, Simon Hillel Center (previously serving as chairman), Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, and WFYI Foundation (currently serving as chairman). He is past president and a lifetime member of the board of directors of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck and was a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization/World Presidents’ Organization. He has also served on the Jewish Family and Children’s Services and American Cancer Society boards and as treasurer of Broadmoor Country Club, WFYI, and the Indiana University Sigma Alpha Mu Corporation.

Rabbi Sue Laikin Silberberg received the Frank H. Newman Award for Professional Excellence, named for JFGI’s 1959-1982 Executive Director/Executive Vice President and presented to one or more outstanding professionals in one of the Federation’s constituent or beneficiary agencies or in the Jewish community, in honor of her work with young adults at Indiana University Hillel. She began in 1989 with 500 Jewish students on campus and currently works with a Jewish student population of 4,000-4,500.

This year’s LEV Award, established in 2017 to honor someone who consistently and independently goes above and beyond to help and support the Jewish community, was presented to Boris Gorlin for his significant impact on the Indianapolis Russian Jewish community. He has edited and published the Russian-speaking community newsletter since 1998, plays a key role in planning and carrying out several Russian events (including February’s “Crossing Boundaries” program discussing the early ‘90s resettlement of immigrants from the Former Soviet Union), and was very involved in preparing the Indiana Jewish Historical Society’s accompanying book Journey to Freedom: Russian Resettlement in Indiana.

Members of the board of directors present at the meeting also elected officers for the organization. Mike Rubin will continue to serve as President of the Board, and the elected Vice Presidents are Brad Gershman, Beth Klapper, Karen Rothbaum, and Jim Schwarz. New members of the JFGI Board of Directors for a three-year term are Jennifer Berday, Jack Cotlar, Sheila Greenwald, Eric Ratner, and Reva Weiss.

About the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis
The Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis (JFGI) is the central fundraising and community planning organization for the Indianapolis Jewish Community. Since 1905 the Federation and its agencies – Jewish Family Services, the Jewish Community Center, the Bureau of Jewish Education, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and Hooverwood, a residential nursing home – have played a vital role in providing programs and services to support roughly 2,000 individuals in central Indiana every day—Jewish as well as non-Jewish. The Federation, with an Annual Campaign of $3.9 million, resides on and manages a 40-acre campus, but its impact enriches the lives of Jews locally, nationally, in Israel, and around the world.



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