'Heroes' Award Finalists Announced

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published November 03, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Jewish Federations of North America today announced the five finalists in its controversial Jewish Community Heroes Awards — and while 12 of the 20 semi-finalists are Lubavitchers, only two of the finalists are associated with the movement.

They are Devora Benjamin, who raises funds for weddings for lower-income Jewish couples in Crown Heights, and Levi Shemtov, who founded an organization that provides mentors to children with special needs.

Chabad’s dominance in the contest’s semi-final round made the initiative a target for some critics.

The other three finalists are Yonah Bookstein, the executive rabbi of JConnectLA, an outreach and networking organization for young Jewish professionals; Ari Teman, the founder of the Jewish service group JCorps, and Shmuly Yanklowitz, the founder of Uri L’Tzedek, which promotes the ethical treatment of kosher industry workers.

After hundreds of nominees were whittled down to 20 in an online poll, a panel of judges picked the five finalists. The winner, who will be announced November 9 at JFNA’s General Assembly, will receive a $25,000 grant from the federations’ umbrella group.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.