The 2014 Cohon Memorial Foundation Awards will be presented at Temple Emanu-El at Shabbat services on Friday, Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Rabbis Baruch J. Cohon and Samuel M. Cohon will present the awards to this year’s winners, Jonathan Ornstein and Rabbi Benji Levene. Both recipients are being honored for their contributions to Jewish unity.
Ornstein is the founding executive director of the Jewish Community Center of Krakow, Poland. His open, pluralistic JCC welcomes everyone, regardless of mixed parentage or local politics, and provides them with courses in Judaism, Hebrew and a host of secular and religious subjects, as well as weekly Shabbat dinners with guests joining them from all over the world.
Levene is the vice president and educational director of Gesher, a group that brings together religious and secular Israelis in a common cause. A highlight of his 35 years of work with Gesher is his one-man show “The Four Faces of Israel,” which transforms the theater into a safe place for discussion and healing, allowing audiences to see beyond stereotypes to build mutual respect and unity among Jews.
Established by their children and grandchildren, the Rabbi Samuel S. and A. Irma Cohon Foundation presents awards to individuals for accomplishments that benefit Klal Yisroel, the entire Jewish people. The foundation gives awards to individuals who excel in one of four areas: unity, education/information, rescue or creative arts.
For more information, call Temple Emanu-El at 327-4501.