Since its inception last year, the Cleveland Jewish News 18 Difference Makers has been a highly anticipated event. As soon as nominations opened for the 2016 class, the CJN was overwhelmed with exemplary nominees from all walks of life.

Educators, attorneys, CEOs, activists, physicians, community volunteers and many other professions represent the CJN’s second annual class of 18 Difference Makers. Narrowing the list to just 18 was a challenging task. Last year, there were so many outstanding nominations that the CJN couldn’t settle on 18, or “chai,” so an inaugural class of 36, or “double chai” was announced.

“One of the greatest strengths of our community is the passion, dedication and giving that comes from within our own people. To have so many deserving individuals to choose from is indicative of why the CJN felt so strongly the need to create this event,” said Kevin S. Adelstein, CJN publisher and CEO and president of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company. “This class of honorees represents  remarkable individuals who truly personify what this award symbolizes.”   

In addition to this year’s class, the CJN is pleased to announce a Civic Leadership Award, which will be presented to David Gilbert of Solon. In addition to his two full-time leadership roles as President and CEO of both Destination Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Gilbert took on an additional position as the chairman of the RNC Host Committee for this summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Under his leadership, the city received much praise, admiration and accolades from around the world, thus impacting the greater community in which we all live.

Additionally, the CJN has created the Generation Award, a new annual award that recognizes a family that has instilled the values of tikkun olam – a tenant of Judaism – across generations. The inaugural Generation Award will be presented to the Berns family of Hunting Valley.  “In honoring David Gilbert with this Civic Leadership Award, we felt there is no more appropriate time than now to pay tribute to his leadership and community impact we all experienced this summer,” Adelstein said. “In presenting members of the Berns family with our new Generation Award, we hope to emphasize how crucial l’dor va dor really is. They truly epitomize setting and carrying out the example of tikkun olam from one generation to another.”

The event will be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 2 at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights. Kosher dietary laws will be observed. Tickets for the event are $72 each and can be purchased online.

The award winners will be featured in a special pull-out commemorative section in the Oct. 28 issue of the CJN and as well as on

The criteria for Difference Makers were as follows: They had be at least 18 years old by July 30, 2016, and have ties to Northeast Ohio; they should be making a difference in Northeast Ohio’s Jewish community by being active through a nonprofit organization, volunteer group or professional endeavor; and they must demonstrate the “mensch-like” characteristics of honor and integrity.

Difference Makers do not have to be Jewish, but their efforts must help better the Northeast Ohio Jewish community.

Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland and Classic Lexus are co-presenting sponsors and Ganley Volkswagen, Subaru and Fiat is a supporting sponsor of the event. 

For sponsorship opportunities and other information, contact Events Manager Gina Lloyd at 216-342-5196.

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