'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!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • 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.