The 2019 class of 18 Difference Makers

Mindi Axner’s volunteer journey started with a carnival. While growing up in Pepper Pike, a younger neighbor died from cancer, and Axner, her siblings and fellow neighbors decided to join forces to create a carnival in a neighbor’s house and backyard to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Having worked as a real estate consultant for about 10 years, Andrew Brickman decided he wanted to set out on a new mission.

Growing up on Long Island in New York in a Conservative family, Jessica Cohen held a deep desire to go to Israel.

A native of Duluth, Minn., Marc Freimuth said he would not have predicted his level of involvement in the Cleveland Jewish community at the time he became a bar mitzvah.

Michael Davis Hoenig strives to brighten the lives of LGBTQ members of Cleveland’s Orthodox Jewish community through his work with MAKOM, a group he co-founded.

Ira Kaplan said he believes by making a difference in not only the Jewish community, but in the general community as well, he can help make Cleveland better for everyone – no matter their background.

Elizabeth Klein vividly remembers her many visits with her grandmother, Janet, in Peoria, Ill., when she was a girl. She recalls her grandmother’s pride in Judaism, her synagogue, her community and the various volunteer efforts she contributed to. While it would take her years to realize it,…

Tom Lockshin grew up with role models even he couldn’t believe he had. His father chaired every Jewish organization he could in Canton, including the Canton Jewish Community Federation, Israel Bonds campaign, Men’s ORT before it became known as just ORT, Jewish Committee on Scouting and was …

Lawrence A. Mack realized that when he returned to Cleveland after graduating college and working in New York City for an accounting firm, he wanted to give back to the Jewish community he grew up in. He used his family connections and became involved in Montefiore in the early 1980s, and he…

For Michal Marcus, the nonsectarian model of the Hebrew Free Loan Association of Northeast Ohio resonates deeply.

It was Jared Miller’s parents who instilled in him the values of giving back to the Jewish community. Growing up in the Detroit area, his parents were heavily involved with their synagogue, Temple Israel, and other Jewish organizations in their community. For Miller, it was only natural for …

For Augie Napoli, president and CEO at United Way of Greater Cleveland, a turn to Judaism came later in life.

Michele Weiss has worked at the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland in Cleveland Heights for 20 years, but in her “spare time,” she’s also a city councilperson, runs a nonprofit organization and volunteers.

Temple B’nai Abraham Rabbi Lauren Werber tries to engage her community in Elyria.

18 Difference Makers coverage