Elizabeth Klein, the national development director for the college of arts and sciences at Case Western Reserve University, will receive The Max and Frieda Davis Tikkun Ha’Olam Award Nov. 19 at Temple Emanu El in Orange to recognize her dedication to social action.

Tikkun Ha’Olam, or tikkun olam, is a Hebrew concept that can be translated as “repairing the world.” Its core tenet is to use social action to bring about social justice, thereby repairing the wrongs in society.

“Elizabeth’s passion for Judaism and desire to pass that along to future generations as her grandparents and parents did, her history of working to better communities and lives of those around her, and her spirit of volunteerism were all factors in the selection,” Susan Davis, award administrator, said in a news release.

A native Clevelander, Klein developed a desire to help others at an early age. She and her siblings were taught to love what they do, which guided her along her future professional paths.

“Sometimes our grandparents’ care was visible and sometimes it was anonymous,” Klein said in the release. “It was a sense that we are a part of a larger world and all have a responsibility.”

This drive to help others has guided Klein throughout a successful career in fundraising for nonprofit organizations. Her work started in the early days of the AIDS crisis and led her to positions at the American Red Cross in St. Paul, Minn., and founding executive director of the Hemophilia Foundation for Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Klein returned to Cleveland, working on community projects including AIDS-related groups and agencies serving women and children. For 10 years at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, she helped increase representation and leadership roles for women in the Federation and Jewish community.

Klein volunteers in community nonprofit organizations, including Community of Hope, where she is a mentor for a teen aging out of the foster care system; the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation; and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, where she is a weekly conversation partner (English tutor) with a woman in Beit She’an, Israel.

“Elizabeth exemplifies the spirit of Tikkun Olam that reflects how my in-laws, Max and Frieda Davis, lived their lives,” Davis said in the release.

Frieda Davis lived as an orphan in Russia and never forgot that anguish, leading her to spending a big part of her life fundraising for orphans, according to the release. At a time when women didn’t work outside the home, she also sold dry goods to help friends and clients beautify their homes and was a strong-willed woman who pushed the boundaries of her day, the release stated. Max Davis’ passion for workers’ rights led him to become a union leader and he had a passion for man helping man, according to the release.

“We choose people who exemplify these characteristics for the award in an effort to encourage future generations to carry on tikkun olam,” Davis said in the release.

This award has been presented almost every year since its inception in 1998.

Klein was honored by the Cleveland Jewish News as a member of the 2019 class of CJN 18 Difference Makers. The award ceremony will take place during the in-person Shabbat service beginning at 6:15 p.m. A wine-and-cheese pre-reception will begin at 5:45. The event is free and open to the public.

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