Tikkun olam and creating better opportunities for one another are long-held values in the local Jewish community. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, these values have truly been demonstrated in our Northeast Ohio Jewish community.

We knew there was no shortage of individuals doing their part – and more – to improve life for those around them and strengthen Northeast Ohio’s Jewish communal ties.

Today, the world is a vastly different place than it was a year ago. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unimaginable loss that has no end in sight.

Among so many changes to daily life, the pandemic shifted the way Jewish communal life both near and far operates. It has changed the ways in which we are able to serve one another. Nearly all needs have been exacerbated by the pandemic, exposing and deepening problems with how our society functions, for whom it functions, and for whom it doesn’t and maybe never has.

Thus, now more than ever, it is important to recognize those who have long led the way toward making our community better, as well as those tirelessly paving the way to an equitable and healthy new world. It is my privilege and honor to introduce you to the 2020 class of the Cleveland Jewish News’ 18 Difference Makers.

From nominations submitted by readers, we selected 18 – or chai – individuals we believe are making a difference in and around our community, for our community.

This year’s class once again showcases a diverse group of professionals – executive-level personnel, nonprofit leaders, partners, attorneys, a physician, a rabbi and more. They exemplify the mensch-like qualities that define Difference Makers: community-mindedness, honor, integrity and generosity.

The sixth annual CJN 18 Difference Makers will be featured in a special commemorative section in the CJN and at cjn.org. They will also be honored during a virtual prerecorded video celebration, to be released on Dec. 6 in lieu of our traditional in-person celebration.

It is our sincere hope to be able to bring us all safely together in person, sometime in the very near future in 2021, to honor our 18 Difference Makers, in an appropriate, more personal manner.

This year’s CJN 18 Difference Makers is thanks in part to our co-presenting sponsors, Classic Lexus and McCarthy Lebit Crystal & Liffman Co., LPA.

Whether in their synagogue, volunteer, philanthropic or workplace activities, these individuals demonstrate resilience and activism taking on a new meaning in the COVID-19 era. I hope highlighting them shows the good that can come out of difficult situations, inspiring all of us that we, too, can help our community come back stronger than before.

After months of careful consideration, the CJN announces its 2020 class of 18 Difference Makers:

  • Rabbi Avrohom Adler, Executive Director, Gesher & Cleveland Chesed Center; Project Coordinator, SEYEAR Management, LLC
  • Charles Daroff, Partner, Walter | Haverfield
  • Susan R. Hurwitz, Community Activist
  • Kenny Koblitz, Operating Partner, Workforce Training & Corporate Partnerships, Values In Action/Project Love
  • David W. Leopold, Partner, Ulmer & Berne LLP
  • Carol A. Marshall, Proposal Manager and Grant Writer, United Way of Greater Cleveland
  • David J. Millstone, Principal, Millstone ADR
  • James Newbrough, Chief Executive Officer, Menorah Park
  • Miriam Pearlmutter, Attorney, Walter | Haverfield
  • Earl Pike, Executive Director, University Settlement
  • David M. Rosenberg, M.D., MPH, Director of Ahuja Lung Center, University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center
  • Mitchell C. Schneider, President, First Interstate Properties, Ltd.
  • JodiLyn Solomon, Executive Director, Camp Lilac
  • Wendy Spitz, LiveSpecial Coordinator, Independent Consultant for NCJW/CLE
  • Ali Stern, Grantwriter, The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Beverley Uria, Community Volunteer
  • Richard Uria, Business Development/Account Management, ITL Corporation
  • William Wortzman, President, Wortzman & Gingerich Company

We look forward to honoring our newest class of 18 Difference Makers in December. Until then, mazel tov to each of them, for this well-deserved recognition.

Kevin S. Adelstein is Publisher and CEO of the Cleveland Jewish News and President of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company.

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