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.

Cleveland Jewish News 18 Difference Makers alumni

Tom Adler, 2016

Devorah Alevsky, 2018

Justin Bachman, 2015

Mitchell Balk, 2016

Samantha Baskind, 2015

Barbara Bellin Janovitz, 2017

Martin Belsky, 2016

Ronald Berkman, 2015

Irv Berliner, 2018

Stanley Bernath, 2018

Patti, Dani and Josh Berns, 2016, Generation Award

Jack Bialosky Jr., 2015

Susan Bichsel, 2018

Seth P. Briskin, 2016

Bart Bookatz, 2015

Mia Buchwald Gelles, 2015

Michael Cantor, 2015

Jennifer Chestnut, 2015

Nan Cohen, 2015

Esther Cohen Hexter, 2015

Steven Dettlebach, 2016

Harlan Diamond, 2015, Lifetime Achievement Award

Gregg A. Eisenberg, 2017

Rabbi Eli Dessler & Rabbi Simcha Dessler, 2016

Art Elk, 2018

David Elk, 2018

Howard Epstein, 2016

Barry Feldman, 2015

Matthew Fieldman, 2015

Brynna Fish, 2016

Roman Frayman, 2018

Peter Freimark, 2015

Debbie Friedman, 2015

Shelly Friedman, 2016

Michael Friedman, 2016

Norma Geller, 2017, Lifetime Achievement Award

David Gilbert, 2016, Civic Leadership Award

Erika Gold, 2015

Judge Francine Goldberg, 2017

Anita Gray, 2015

Roe Green, 2018, Lifetime Achievement Award

Michael Haas, 2016

Irwin and Ida Haber, 2017

Lisa Hacker, 2015

Jill Helfman, 2015

J. David Heller, 2015

Sheryl Hirsh, 2017

Ilana Hoffer Skoff, 2015

Debbie Hoffmann, 2017

Michael Horvitz, 2018

Sara Hurand, 2016

Jerry Isaak-Shapiro, 2015

Gary Isakov, 2016

Adam Jacobs, 2018

Michael Jacobson, 2017

Larry Kadis, 2015

Suellen Kadis, 2017

Eva Kahana, 2016

Noreen Koppelman-Goldstein, 2018

Ruchi Koval, 2015

Joshua Kramer, 2017

Mandy Kwait, 2018

Enid Lader, 2018

Keith Libman, 2016

Ken Liffman, 2017

Rabbi Yossi Marozov, 2015

Marc B. Merklin, 2017

Sam Miller, 2016, Lifetime Achievement Award

Barbara Miller, 2017

Deena Nyer Mendlowitz, 2018

Marla Petti, 2017

Debbie Picker, 2018

Hon. Dan Aaron Polster, 2018, Civic Leadership Award

Jeffrey, Lee and Zac Ponsky, 2017, Generation Award

Margaret Richards-Frankel, 2015

Enid Rosenberg, 2015

Debbie Rothschild, 2015

Fern Ruth Levy, 2018

Mark Sack, 2018

Benjamin Sattin, 2015

Donald Scherzer, 2018

Bradley J. Schlang, 2015

Lane Schlessel, 2015

Lee C. Shapiro, 2018

Michael Siegal, 2016

Harvey Siegel, 2017

Scott Simon, 2017

Heidi Solomon, 2015

Erica Starrfield, 2018

Eleanor Steigman, 2017

The Stein family: Geraldine Stein, Carmie and Todd Stein, Michelle Hirsch, Rachel Weinberg, Abby Diamond and Jodi Meridieth, 2018, Generation Award

Kim Strausser, 2016

Jeanne Tobin, 2016

Rabbi Zachary Truboff, 2015

Roni Wallace, 2017

Steve Weinberg, 2015

Chuck Whitehill, 2015

Darrell Young, 2017, Civic Leadership Award

Jerry Zahler, 2015

Dan Zelman, 2015

Sandra Zieve, 2017

Difference Makers Sponsors