With Our Thanks:

-Former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz
-Former NY City Councilman Michael C. Nelson

Councilmembers: -Darlene Mealy, Stephen Levin, Chaim Deutsch, David Greenfield

-Jim Goldman, Charles Diker, Lloyd Handwerker, Hon Alice Fisher Rubin, Lowell Rubin, Raoul Felder bhs-logo2

Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame 2017

 Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative (BJHI)

Third Annual BJHI Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame Celebration

View Photos of the 2017 BJHI Hall of Fame

Class of 2017 Inductees:

_______Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative (BJHI, Inc) is a 501c3 organization incorporated in New York State and located at 3603 Quentin Road, Brooklyn, NY 11234

Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative (BJHI)

Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame Celebration

“BJHI was created to tell the extraordinary story of the Jewish community of Brooklyn, so the world would know’ said Howard Teich, BJHI Founder and Co-chair, “and the BJHI Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame will recognize the leading Brooklynites who have truly made a difference in the world, and there are many.”

“We wanted to be sure that the first class had a representative balance,” said Sarina Roffé, BJHI Co-chair.   “So we have someone from the Russian community, the Syrian community, etc., as well as business leaders, social activists and entertainers.”

Find out more about previous Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fames

View Photos of the 2017 BJHI Hall of Fame

  • Judith Clurman

    Emmy and Grammy nominated conductor, educator, and choral specialist Judith Clurman’s performances are marked by dynamic interpretations and effortless panache. As music director for Essential Voices USA, Ms. Clurman collaborates with the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. She has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, NYC Ballet, and the Mostly Mozart Festival, and in Europe, with the Österreich Festival Orchestra at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. Read More
    • She has commissioned, premiered, and recorded works by over sixty American composers. She directed Macy’s July 4th Fireworks Spectacular, served as associate music director for Sesame Street (season 39), and has recorded for New World, Sono Luminus, Albany, and Delos. She is a member of the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and has taught the Juilliard School (Director of Choral Activities), Harvard University, NEA/Columbia University Institute of Classical Music, Cambridge University, Curtis Institute of Music, and Princeton University. Her music and arrangements are published by G. Schirmer, Hal Leonard, and Schott. Judith Clurman was born in Brooklyn and grew up both in Brooklyn on Ave U with her grandmother. She is a major composer and conductor of Jewish and Hebrew music.
  • David Dubrow

    David Dubrow emigrated to New Jersey from the former Soviet Union in 1978 with his wife and baby daughter. As a civil engineer, he landed his first job working in an architectural firm in Newark shortly after coming to the U.S. In the 1980’s, he founded Dubrow Management Corporation, a successful real estate development and management company. David moved from the suburbs to the city and came to Brighton Beach in early 2000, making an impact on the vibrant Russian-Jewish community that has made its' home in this once-depressed district of Brooklyn. Read More
    • David Dubrow was actively involved in the Jewish world over the years, leading him to take on the role of President at Elite Academy of Science and Technology High School in Bensonhurst in 2006. Elite Academy of Science & Technology (EAST) is a coed Jewish High School located in Brooklyn, New York. They welcome students who seek a rigorous college preparatory program and want to learn in an environment that is committed to educational excellence and Jewish values, and where the academic talents of each student are nurtured and enhanced.David is now a proud grandfather to 4 grandchildren, who all reside in Jerusalem.
  • Merle Feld

    Merle Feld, widely published poet, award-winning playwright, educator and peace activist has been called “the poet laureate of Jewish feminism.” Her signature poem, We All Stood Together, “brings us back to Sinai, where the women are carrying babies while the men are taking notes, evokes Talmud and midrash, is a political call to action, and a celebration of our shared potential.” “Capturing the feelings, frustrations and hopes of a generation of American Jewish women, her words will forever be the anthem, the emblem, of the Jewish feminist movement.” Read More
    • Feld’s memoir in poetry and prose, A Spiritual Life: Exploring the Heart and Jewish Tradition, (State University of New York Press, 1999; revised edition 2007) broke new ground in spiritual autobiography with reviewers remarking on her distinctive voice characterized by “a simplicity and honest humility that makes the profundity of her insights all the more startling.” “She has a gift for making that which may seem esoteric, accessible; and that which may seem ordinary or mundane, transcendent.” “Her writing is full of heart and intelligence, rich with humor and emotion, no punches pulled. Honoring the past, her pioneering work has turned our faces finally toward a future – hopefully – of change and growth in Jewish life.” Feld’s poetry and prose are widely anthologized and also appear in numerous prayer books, including the groundbreaking Mahzor Lev Shalem and Siddur Lev Shalem, and The Torah: A Women’s Commentary. A recent volume of Feld’s poetry, Finding Words, is published by Behrman House. Feld’s award-winning play, The Gates are Closing, has offered hundreds of congregations from Brooklyn to Beijing a powerful and moving introduction to the themes of the High Holidays. In another play, Across the Jordan (published by Syracuse University Press in the first anthology of Jewish women playwrights, Making a Scene), Biblical characters share the stage with contemporary Israelis and Palestinians who struggle together for recognition and rapprochement. A popular scholar-in-residence nationally, Feld has made important contributions abroad, facilitating Israeli-Palestinian dialogue on the West Bank during the first intifada, and later at Seeds of Peace. She has also traveled extensively to collaborate with and support Jewish women activist leaders in the former Soviet Union through Project Kesher. The Russian translation of A Spiritual Life enjoys a wide audience in the FSU where its publication occasioned a unique three-week book tour of Ukraine for the author. Both her experiences facilitating dialogue on the West Bank and visiting diverse communities in the FSU are detailed in the revised edition of A Spiritual Life. Since 2005 Merle has served as Founding Director of the Albin Rabbinic Writing Institute, mentoring rabbis ordained in all denominations and guiding rabbinical students at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, the Rabbinical School at Hebrew College, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College to develop and deepen their own spiritual lives and to serve more effectively as spiritual leaders. Merle and husband Rabbi Edward Feld have recently launched an online non-profit learning institute, DEREKH: Pathways to the Heart and Jewish Tradition, to continue making their gifts and experience available to rabbis, congregations and seekers of all backgrounds. (Look for the DEREKH website launching soon; meanwhile visit www.merlefeld.com.)
  • Ira Glasser

    Ira Glasser served as Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1978 until 2001. Previously, he was Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Prior to his affiliation with the ACLU, Mr. Glasser was a mathematician and a member of the science and mathematics faculties of Queens College and Sarah Lawrence College. He was also editor of Current magazine, a monthly of political and social affairs. For the last two decades, he has chaired the Board of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading nationwide organization opposing the so-called war on drugs... Read More
    • Mr. Glasser is the author of Visions of Liberty: The Bill of Rights for All Americans, (1991 Arcade Publishing: New York), an insightful historical analysis of how our rights developed. Visions was written to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. A widely published essayist on civil liberties principles and issues, his writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, Harper's, The New Republic, The Nation, Christianity and Crisis and Huffington Post, among other publications. He is co-author of Doing Good: The Limits of Benevolence (1978 Pantheon). Mr. Glasser received a B.S. degree in mathematics and graduated with honors in literature and the arts from Queens College in 1959. He has a master's degree in mathematics from Ohio State University and also studied sociology and philosophy on the graduate level at the New School for Social Research. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, until his parents moved him against his will to what they told him was Long Island, but which he later discovered was Queens.
  • Malcolm Hoenlein

    In June 1986, Malcolm Hoenlein became Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the coordinating body on international and national concerns for 52 national Jewish organizations. Previously, he served as the founding Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater New York, the central coordinating agency for Jewish organizations in the metropolitan New York area. Prior to that, he was the founding Executive Director of the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry. Read More
    • Malcolm Hoenlein received his B.A. in Political Science from Temple University and completed his Master’s degree and doctoral course work from the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of International Relations. A National Defense Fellow in the University’s Near East Center, Mr. Hoenlein taught International Relations in the Political Science Department and served as a Middle East specialist at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. In addition, he served on the editorial staff of ORBIS, the Journal of International Affairs. Mr. Hoenlein has traveled throughout the world meeting with world leaders and Jewish communities. He has written and lectured across the US and abroad on international relations, Israel and Middle East affairs, Soviet and World Jewry, terrorism, the American Jewish community, and intergroup relations. Based in Brooklyn, NY, Mr. Hoenlein serves as an advisor to many public officials and is frequently consulted on public policy issues. He appears regularly in the media. Mr. Hoenlein has been the recipient of many awards and tributes. Among recent honors, he was conferred a Doctorate of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa) by Yeshiva University and a Doctorate of Laws (Honoris Causa) from Touro College and was honored by, among others, State of Israel Bonds for his “valiant and extraordinary service to Israel and the Jewish people,” the Private Sector Initiative Award from President Ronald Reagan, American ORT honored him with a special “Man of the Millennium” Tribute, the first Quittman Award for Jewish Professional Excellence, the Defender of Jerusalem Award, Millender Fellow at Brandeis University, Fellow of the Jerusalem College of Technology, the Jack D. Weiler Award for Jewish Communal Service, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations National Service Award. Mr. Hoenlein played a key role in organizing the massive National Solidarity Rally for Israel in Washington, DC. The Mayor of Jerusalem announced in 2007 that the City Council had designated Mr. Hoenlein recipient of the city’s highest tribute, the “Neeman Yerushalayim” (Trustee of Jerusalem) award. Mr. Hoenlein was appointed by three Presidents as a U.S. delegate to the Organization for Security and Conference in Europe, most recently in June 2007. He also served on the New York State Ethical Standards Board. Mr. Hoenlein is associated with and serves on the boards of many communal, educational and civic organizations including the Council on Foreign Relations. He is Chairman of America’s Voices in Israel and Co-Chair of the Secure Community Network. He serves on the Boards of Directors or Advisory Boards of several companies. Hoenlein received his B.A from Temple University and his Ph. D from the University of Pennsylvania. While he was at college, Hoenlein helped found the North American Jewish Student Network and served as its chairman. NAJSN was the North American affiliate of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS).
  • Rabbi Simon Jacobson

    Rabbi Simon Jacobson is the author of the best-selling book Toward a Meaningful Life, a William Morrow publication that has sold over 300,000 copies to date and has been translated into Hebrew, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, German, Hungarian, Polish, Czech and Croatian. Rabbi Jacobson heads The Meaningful Life Center(MLC), which bridges the secular and the spiritual, through a wide variety of live and on-line programming... Read More
    • The Meaningful Life Center presents to people of all backgrounds the universal teachings of Torah as a blueprint for life. MLC, called a “Spiritual Starbucks” by the New York Times, is an outgrowth of Rabbi Jacobson’s teachings which have captured the hearts of thousands of participants over the last 25 years with their spiritual message and profound insights into the human condition. For over 14 years Rabbi Jacobson, as Editor-in-Chief of Vaad Hanochos Hatmimim, was responsible for publishing the talks of the late Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Beginning in 1979, he headed a team of scholars that memorized and transcribed entire talks that the Rebbe gave during the Sabbath and holidays, as writing and tape recording are not permitted on holy days. In this position, Rabbi Jacobson was privileged to work in close association with the Rebbe and published more than 1000 of the Rebbe’s talks. He also headed the research team for Sefer Halikutim — an encyclopedic collection of Chassidic thought (26 volumes, published 1977-1982). Brooklyn born and raised in the Hasidic community, Jacobson is a scholar and sought-after speaker in the Jewish world. He has lectured to diverse audiences on six continents and in forty states on psycho-spiritual issues and applying Jewish thought to contemporary life. His voice is rooted in the timeless teachings of Torah, yet at the same time is profoundly timely, relevant, unique, and cutting edge. He has been interviewed on over 300 radio and TV shows, including CNN with Larry King, the Charlie Rose Show, and the CBS News Show “The Best of Us.” He is also the publisher of The Algemeiner Journal, filling the position of his father, esteemed journalist, Gershon Jacobson. Rabbi Jacobson studied in the United Lubavitcher Yeshiva and the Rabbinical College of America, and did his post-graduate studies in Central Tomchei Tmimim. While still in yeshiva, Jacobson began working extensively as a choizer for the talks of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson the seventh Chabad rebbe.
  • Eli Miller

    Known as the “Seltzer man”, an iconic Brooklyn figure, Eli Miller lives and breathes seltzer. He has been lugging 70 lb seltzer cases across Brooklyn his entire life. After six decades, he retired, selling his route to Alex Gomberg, the youngest of the seltzer boys and founder of Brooklyn Seltzer Boys. Miller is the subject of Seltzertopia: The Effervescent Age by Barry Joseph, who spent a day with him on his route. Jewish Broooklynites are passionate about their seltzer, noting the cool liquid really quenches the thirst... Read More
    • Before the age of plastic bottles, seltzer was delivered to individual homes in glass bottles. Miller calls seltzer in plastic bottles ‘dreck.’ Typically, seltzer from the siphon at the top of the bottle have more froth and have bubbles that are fresher and springier. Seltzer is used as the basic ingredient in an egg cream, another iconic Brooklyn drink. Made with a little chocolate syrup (traditionally Brooklyn made Fox’s U-bet), a splash of milk, the rest of the glass full of plain seltzer. The milk and soda give an egg cream the froth of a root-beer float, but it isn’t too sweet.
  • Judge Judy Sheindlin

    Hon. Judith Sheindlin '65, is a distinguished jurist, a Supervising Judge of the Family Court in Manhattan and the star of JUDGE JUDY, which premiered in 1996 and ha been the #1 program in syndication for the last eight years. In 2006, she and her daughter Nicole Sheindlin '93 co-founded "Her Honor Mentoring." The program pairs high school seniors with mentors from all disciplines and has thus far graduated 375 women. "The Sheindlin Forum" at USC Annenberg was dedicated on September 12, 2017... Read More
    • Its goal is to create a space for public debate and advancing intellectually rigorous, civil and healthy discourse. She was honored for her trailblazing work with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She’s received the "Gracie Allen Tribute Award" from American Women in Radio and Television and the "Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award" named after the late broadcasting pioneer. In 2012, Judge Sheindlin was inducted into the prestigious Broadcasting & Cable "Hall of Fame," for her contributions to the TV business. She is the recipient of the "VP/Law Society" award from the University College of Dublin. She has been honored with the “Distinguished Alumni Award” from New York Law School and the “Woman of the 21st Century Award from The Women's Guild at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Judge Sheindlin has authored seven books including best sellers Don't Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It's Raining" and "Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever. Judge Sheindlin's third book for adults, "Keep It Simple, Stupid: You're Smarter Than You Look (2000)," also on the New York Times best seller list, shares her wisdom and opinions on solving everyday family squabbles.Her first children's book entitled, Win or Lose By How You Choose was published in 2000, followed by You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover, the next year. Both books were designed as tools to help parents interact with their children and teach fundamental moral values. Sheindlin was born Judith Susan Blum in Brooklyn, James Madison High School before going on to American University in Washington, D.C., where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in government. She finished her law school education at New York Law School, where she earned her Juris Doctor degree in 1965.
  • Norman Siegel

    Norman Siegel is a civil rights and civil liberties lawyer. He is best known for his work as director of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), New York's leading civil rights organization, under the umbrella of the nationwide American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Siegel served as director from 1985 until 2000. He worked on cases challenging the systemic exclusion of African Americans and women from jury pools in counties throughout South Carolina, Florida, Virginia and Alabama and voting rights cases... Read More
    • It was this immersion in civil rights and civil liberties that helped forge Norman's abiding commitment to insure the rights guaranteed in the United States Constitution extend to all Americans, regardless of race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender. Joining the Youth Citizenship Fund, Inc. as Executive Director in 1972, Norman led the effort to register thousands of young, newly eligible voters. In 1973-76, as the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) Field Director, he spearheaded the historic New York campaigns for both the impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon and passage of the New York State Equal Rights Amendment. He served as co-counsel in the historic Holtzman v. Schlessinger United States Supreme Courtcase, an attempt to halt the bombing of Cambodia. As Executive Director of the ACLU, Norman was on the frontline in some of New York City's most critical civil rights and civil liberties struggles; the creation of an independent Civilian Complaint Review Board; the successful defense of the Brooklyn Museum's right to exhibit controversial art; the fight for citizens' access to the steps of City Hall; the battle against involuntary hospitalization of people with mental illness; the struggle for improved community-police relations and greater accountability on the part of the NYPD. Since ending his work at the NYCLU, Siegel entered private practice representing activist groups such as RodStarz and G1 of Rebel Diaz, Critical Mass, and residents fighting the expansion of Columbia University. He frequently wrote op-ed columns at major New York City newspapers, such as the New York Times, Newsday, the New York Daily News, and the Amsterdam News. Siegel has taught a class at New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn, NY and has served on the boards of many foundations. Norman advocated for and represented: families who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001, in their successful quest to obtain the public record of materials, including 911 emergency tapes and transcripts, arguing the case in the New York Court of Appeals in February 2005; Skyscraper Safety Campaign and Firefighters Families, advocates for enhanced safety programs and tested, reliable, state-of-the-art communications equipment for firefighters; Republican National convention arrestees held for more than 24 hours; the World Trade Center Families for A Proper Burial; the bicycle riders of Critical Mass; online journalists obtaining NYC press credentials; and Occupy Wall Street participants. In 2010, Siegel negotiated a settlement with New York City, ensuring that online journalists would receive access to official press credentials. In 2012, Siegel, along with colleagues Herbert Teitelbaum, Saralee Evans and Emily Jane Goodman, formed a new law firm, Siegel Teitelbaum & Evans, LLP. In 2015 Siegel joined YAFFED in bringing a lawsuit against 40 yeshivas, private Jewish schools, for inadequate secular studies. Raised in Brooklyn, NY, Siegel attended public schools, graduating from New Utrecht High School, Brooklyn College and NYU Law School.
  • Assembly Member Helene Weinstein

    NY State Assembly Member Helene E. Weinstein was first elected to the Assembly in 1980. Ms. Weinstein was educated in the New York City public school system, received her Bachelor's degree in economics from American University and received a law degree from the New England School of Law. A full-time Assemblywoman, her district includes the Sheepshead Bay, Midwood, Flatlands, Canarsie and East Flatbush communities in Brooklyn. Ms. Weinstein chairs the Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary... Read More
      • She is the first woman in New York State's history to be appointed to this position. The Judiciary Committee presides over virtually all legislation affecting the state's judicial system, Family and Domestic Relations Law, Trusts and Estates, as well as civil practice in the courts. Ms. Weinstein has sponsored major reforms in the state's jury system and is the leading proponent of ensuring civil legal services for low-income New Yorkers. Ms. Weinstein led the successful effort to increase 18B and Law Guardian rates. Ms. Weinstein is also a member of the Court Facilities Capital Review Board. In addition, she is recognized as the Assembly’s leading advocate for women and children, having served as Chair of the Assembly Task Force on Women's Issues for seven years. He long history shows a concern for family and senior citizen issues, such as advocating for laws to protect victims of domestic violence, the funding of shelters and the enforcement of child support, and standards for nursing homes. From children to seniors, veterans and rape victims, Ms Weinstein’s record shows a care for the people she serves.She has been recognized with a long list of awards including the Legislator of the Year Award from the NYC Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association; an award from the Public Employees Federation for her outstanding contributions in protecting the interests of PEF members; and the Legislative Leadership Award presented by the Kings County Council of Jewish War Veterans. Ms. Weinstein currently serves on the Governor's Commission on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and previously served as an appointee to the New York State Child Support Commission.