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Jewish Community Heroes: Our Choices

Less than a week left to vote!

This year’s Jewish Community Hero contest is winding down and I trust you’ve all been voting for your favorite candidates. Last year, the Jewlicious community rallied massively behind our own Rabbi Yonah Bookstein, delivering the most votes of any nominee. This year, we have no horse in the race, per se, so we spared you all the incessant calls to vote. And thank goodness for that! Looking over the nominees, it seems like our Jewish community does not lack for some impressive heroes. We’d hate to have to compete against them!

Thus, I’d like to urge you to go and vote NOW and all week for whoever floats your boat. I know Eli Valley thinks our biggest Jewish hero is Helen Thomas’s head (it’s funny! Read the comic!), but as that part of her anatomy has not been nominated, let’s look at a few of the nominees, almost at random, followed by who I’ve been voting for.

First there’s Rabbi Yisroel Bernath from my hometown of Montreal. Rabbi Bernath runs the Chabad House in NDG. You can read all about his accomplishments but suffice it to say, my friend Stephen is convinced that Rabbi Bernath will find him a shidduch if he makes it to the finals.

On the opposite end of the religious spectrum, we have Jewlicious Festival alum Patrick Aleph, founder of PunkTorah.org and OneShul.org. Patrick is helping redefine Jewish identity, culture, community and spirituality for unaffiliated Jews. Rock on!

How about a Jewish tough guy in the form of Orthodox Jewish boxer Dmitriy Salita? I’m pretty sure our first post on Jewlicious was about him. Furthermore, he’s doing all kinds of outreach regarding fostering positive Jewish identity and who can argue with that?

I could go on and on… David Weinberg has done great work, particularly in these trying economic times. There’s also Sarri Singer who survived a terror bus bombing in Israel and now helps victims of terror around the world. There’s also Idit Klein who works on making the Jewish Community a friendlier place for its LGBT members and also runs Keshet an organization for special needs children (!!).

Like I said, I could do this all week! There really are SO many impressive people nominated this year that I already know who the winner is – the Jewish community that has so many impressive people working on its behalf.

I’ve been doing a bit of voting myself and as promised, I’ll let you know who the recipient of my attention has been – it’s none other than Shmarya Rosenberg, the creator of the Failed Messiah Blog and one of the most prominent Jewish bloggers out there. Here, allow me to quote from his profile:

Rosenberg’s impact is significantly positive. In addition to aggregating malfeasance, crime and corruption, Rosenberg’s own reporting, scoops, and his significance have been cited in the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, and of course, all over Jewish media (sometimes credited, sometimes not). Rosenberg began fighting as a Jewish student activist, fighting against Reagan’s honoring Nazi graves in Bitburg, for the freedom of Russian Jews, and for the safety and rescue of Jewish-identified Ethiopians. Today, he fights for justice within. For all of these reasons, please vote for Shmarya Rosenberg for Jewish community hero.

Now I don’t know if this post will help Shmarya make it to the finals, but what the heck. OK! Now go find a hero!

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10 Comments

  1. Stephen

    10/3/2010 at 11:13 pm

    David, imagine if I got married. Your mother would stop saying that I am a bad influence on you.

  2. Rich

    10/4/2010 at 11:46 am

    I’m just trying to figure out where you say, “On the opposite end of the religious spectrum, we have Jewlicious Festival alum Patrick Aleph, founder of PunkTorah.org and OneShul.org”.
    Other end of the religious spectrum? PunkTorah and OneShul and 3xDaily.org have done more to get me to express my Judaism both religiously and in my daily life more than any Chabad rabbi has, or probably will. I don’t agree that they are on the other end of the religious spectrum at all. So the Chabad rabbi is more Jewish than the people like me who enjoy learning about how to live my Judaism with honesty and openness at Punk Torah?
    False.
    It is “divisionist” attitudes like this that create divided Judaism.

  3. dlevy

    10/5/2010 at 6:58 am

    I love Idit Klein – in fact I nominated her for the Heroes award – but you’ve got the details wrong. The organization Keshet that she runs is not affiliated with the other Keshet that provides services for special needs children.

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  6. Patrick Aleph

    10/5/2010 at 11:05 am

    Hey Rich – thanks for posting that! You’re a real inspiration. Keep learning about Torah, dude! And hey, are we friends on Facebook yet? http://www.facebook.com/punktorah

    Let’s talk 🙂

    -Patrick

  7. ck

    10/6/2010 at 2:21 am

    Good grief. Rabbi Bernath is Orthodox. Patrick’s initiatives aren’t. Rich, do you even know what a spectrum is? Did I imply that Rabbi Bernath is a better Jew than Patrick? Or vice versa? There isn’t even such a thing in Judaism as one kind of Jew being a better Jew than another. One either is or isn’t Jewish. That’s it. Don’t read into this more than is there. Sheesh.

    dlevy: I took those details off of the Jewish Heroes site. What does Idit’s Keshet do?

  8. Blemish

    10/6/2010 at 6:22 am

    Sadly the wonderful Jewish Hero’s Program has been poked in the eye. Sadly a group has focused on voting against a Hero Nominee – Vicki Polin – by blemishing the good name and respect of Zvi Gluck, Dmitriy Salita, & Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel. How sad !

  9. Randi

    10/6/2010 at 3:08 pm

    Bonnie Friedman is the only Executive Director of a Federation that has been nominated. She deserves votes as well. She does an amazing job for her community and has been active in JFNA for many years.

  10. moshe yukel

    10/9/2010 at 9:08 pm

    Sadly jewish heros has picked a person like vicky polin on its list a person who went on oprah and said she is a member of a jewish group off hundreds of years who sacrifice kids now what kind of jewish hero is she to say such a lie on jewish people not only she can’t be trusted but she belongs in a mental institution

    But the blogspire even such a woman can get her attention

    But its a shame she is on a list of Jewish heroes

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