The CJN has received a grant from the Samuel H. and Maria Miller Foundation and to honor the contribution, the CJN will rename its digital archive The Samuel H. Miller Keeping our Words Alive Digital Archive of the Cleveland Jewish News.
The CJN Foundation received the contribution late last month and it will go toward operations during this time of economic challenges due to the pandemic.
Abe Miller, Sam Miller’s son, said his father started a fund for the CJN in the last few years of his life after being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Cleveland Jewish News’ 18 Difference Makers Awards Ceremony in November 2016. Sam Miller, a Jewish community leader and co-chairman emeritus of Forest City Realty Trust, Inc. in Cleveland, died March 7, 2019, at age 97.
Abe Miller said he felt it is important to continue funding what his father started.
“He loved being Jewish – he was a tough Jew,” Abe Miller said of his father. “He had a very strong identity about being Jewish, and he was very proud of it.”
As a “voracious reader,” Sam Miller would always make sure those close to him had good and informative reading material, Abe Miller said.
“He read all kinds of newspapers. He never cared for the internet much, he loved magazines. He would cut articles out, even from the Jewish News – from any newspaper or magazine he read – if it was something he thought was interesting or that another person he knows would find interesting. He would cut it out and mail it off, and he did it every day,” said Abe Miller, who was often on the receiving end of those news clippings.
The Samuel H. Miller Keeping our Words Alive Digital Archive provides access to the past 131 years of Jewish history in Northeast Ohio, as reported by the CJN and its predecessor newspapers. The archive is available at cjn.org/archive.
“That’s the primary mission of what the CJN Foundation was created for, and to support the ongoing digital archives of really Jewish Cleveland dating back (131 years),” said David Kaufman, president of the CJN Foundation board of directors. “It’s a great resource for everybody in our community – and free to the public.”
Kaufman said the grant will help “not only to support the CJN, but to aid our initiative of keeping the words alive, which is to help increase the readership of the Cleveland Jewish News.”
Kimberly Scott, secretary of the Miller Foundation, said support and preservation of Jewish organizations was important to Sam Miller during his lifetime.
“Mr. Miller, in everything he did especially with the foundation, was to preserve and protect Jewish history and to continue a sense of Jewish community, so we felt that (the CJN grant) fit into all of the boxes that we check when we are looking to make donations to various causes,” she said.
Scott, who lives in Brunswick, said she got to know Miller later in his life, and remembers him telling stories about growing up in Northeast Ohio. She said if Miller were alive today, he’d be pleased with the contribution to the CJN as it honors what he cared about.
“He always wanted to make sure everyone understood what their roots were – that they never were forgotten and continued on,” she said.
The contribution adds to previous donations from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, the David and Inez Myers Foundation, and the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation. Those donations were followed by several individual donations received from members of the Jewish community who indicated inspiration from foundation donors, such as CJN Foundation director Barry Feldman.
Abe Miller, a Shaker Heights resident and member of Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights and Pepper Pike, also noted his appreciation for Regina Brett’s biweekly column, and the way the CJN has demonstrated the necessary “energy” to adapt to a challenging world for news organizations.
“The CJN, it’s really important for our community that the paper continues and does well,” Abe Miller said.