Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame 2015

“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.”

Julie Budd
Julie Budd
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik
Elizabeth Holtzman
Elizabeth Holtzman
Fyvush Finkel
Fyvush Finkel
Mordecai Tokarsky
Mordecai Tokarsky
Alan Dershowitz
Alan Dershowitz
Joseph Shamie
Joseph Shamie
Iris Wienshall
Iris Wienshall
Hon Marty Markowitz
Hon Marty Markowitz
Henry Foner
Henry Foner
Charles Diker
Charles Diker
Charles Schumer
Charles Schumer

Photo Gallery

Event Coverage

Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame Celebration
Julie Budd

Julie Budd

Julie Budd is considered to be one of the most exciting singers on the scene today. Winner of the Broadway World Award for Best Show – “They Wrote The Songs” – Julie Budd has enjoyed a very multi-faceted career that ranges from television to film, along with the New York stage and symphonies all over the country. The New York Times raved with a full two page glowing retrospect of Julie’s career, declaring Ms. Budd “The Consummate Performer.” She appeared on over 100 Merv Griffin’s shows, The Tonight Show, Entertainment Tonight, and every major TV show in the country. She co-starred with such legendary performers as Frank Sinatra, Liberace and Carol Burnett. Julie’s concerts have included performances at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The London Palladium, Tel Aviv’s Israel Performing Art’s Center, venues in Las Vegas, and major Symphony Halls all over the United States. Julie also toured as Guest Artist for seven years, with the late great Marvin Hamlisch. She has also had an amazing career as an actress. www.juliebudd.com

Hon Elizabeth Holtzman

Hon Elizabeth Holtzman

Hon Elizabeth Holtzman is a former 4-term member of the US House of Representatives (US 16th District). She was the first woman to hold office as the New York City Comptroller, and the District Attorney of Kings County, NY. A daughter of Brooklyn, she drew national media attention in 1974 as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, which recommended three articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. A graduate of Radcliffe College and Harvard Law School, she is now a private practice attorney and author on politics. She published a memoir in 1996, Who said it would be easy: one woman’s life in the political arena (Cynthia L. Cooper, coauthor).

Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz – an American lawyer, jurist, author, and political commentator. He is a prominent scholar on United States constitutional law and criminal law, and a leading defender of civil liberties. He spent most of his career at Harvard Law School where in 1967, at the age of 28, he became the youngest full professor of law in its history. He held the Felix Frankfurter professorship there from 1993 until his 2013 retirement. A Brooklyn native, Dershowitz has been involved in several legal cases and is a commentator on the Arab–Israeli conflict. As a criminal appellate lawyer, he has won 13 of the 15 murder and attempted murder cases he has handled, and has represented a series of celebrity clients, including Mike Tyson, Patty Hearst, and Jim Bakker. His most notable cases include his role in 1984 in overturning the conviction of Claus von Bülow for the attempted murder of his wife, Sunny, and as the appellate adviser for the defense in the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995. Read More

A political liberal, he is the author of a number of books about politics and law, including Reversal of Fortune: Inside the von Bülow Case (1985), the basis of the 1990 film; Chutzpah (1991); Reasonable Doubts: The Criminal Justice System and the O.J. Simpson Case (1996); the best-selling The Case for Israel (2003); Rights From Wrongs: A Secular Theory of the Origins of Rights (2004) and The Case for Peace (2005).
Hon Marty Markowitz

Hon Marty Markowitz

Hon Marty Markowitz – A State Senator for 23 years and Brooklyn Borough President for 3 terms, Markowitz is Brooklyn’s most avid cheerleader. Born in Crown Heights, he formed the Flatbush Tenants Council which grew into Brooklyn Housing & Family Services, the largest tenant advocacy organization operating in New York State today. Markowitz used the Boro President’s office to be an aggressive advocate for Brooklyn, promoting mainstream tourism and events, such as his well known summer concert series. Read More

Marty made a pledge to make the position of Brooklyn Borough President the most relevant and important to all Brooklynites. He was successful at getting the stadium for the Brooklyn Cyclones built, the Atlantic Yards, as well as getting ships to dock in Brooklyn. He focused on core issues such as housing, neighborhood preservation and community development. Marty also enacted programs to boost civic pride, promote borough tourism, improve public health, and empower young Brooklynites. He worked for the restoration of Kings Theater, promoted Dine in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Book Festival and so many other events that gave Brooklynites pride. Those who leave Brooklyn face the signs “Fuhgeddaboutit,” one of Markowitz’s signatures. Marty proudly works at New York City’s official tourism and marketing agency NYC & Company as it’s Vice President, Borough Promotion and Engagement.
Charles Diker

Charles Diker

Charles Diker has had wide-ranging experience in the investment advisory field, as well as in the management or on the boards of several operating businesses. He is the Managing Partner and Chairman of Diker Management, LLC. and is a Non-Managing Principal at Weiss, Peck & Greer, an investment management firm. He is a Member of Office of Chairman at Cantel Medical Corp. and its Chairman of the Board. He served as an Investment Manager at Cantel Medical Corp. He is Chairman of Cantel Industries and a Trustee at Brooklyn Academy Of Music Inc. A Brooklyn native, he is a Director of Loews Corp; a Member of the Board of Trustees at WNYC Radio; a Director of International Specialty Products; Director at Chyron Corporation (aka yronHego Corp.) and AMF Bowling Worldwide; Director at Carolina Group and a Director of AMF Bowling Inc., and Beauticontrol Inc.

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik – is a rabbi and radio show host. He currently serves as the Executive Vice-President of the New York Board of Rabbis, the largest interdenominational body of its kind. Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Mount Sinai in Brooklyn Heights, he is co-host of Religion on the Line on WABC 770 AM. Rabbi Potasnik has served as Chaplain of the New York City Fire Department, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the New York Press Club, maintaining a high profile in public affairs in the City. Rabbi Potasnik received a BA from Yeshiva College and an MS from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University. He received rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University in 1972, and a JD from Brooklyn Law School.

Fyvush Finkel

Fyvush Finkel

Fyvush Finkel – is an American actor best known as a star of Yiddish theater and for his role as lawyer Douglas Wambaugh on the television series Picket Fences, for which he earned an Emmy Award in 1994. He is also known for his portrayal of Harvey Lipschultz, a crotchety U.S. history teacher, on the TV series Boston Public. Born in Brownsville, Brooklyn, he adopted the stage name “Fyvush.” Read More

Finkel first appeared on the stage at age 9, and acted for almost 35 years in the thriving Yiddish theaters making his way to Broadway in the original 1964 production of the musical Fiddler on the Roof, joining the cast as Mordcha, the innkeeper, then as Lazar Wolf, the butcher, the lead role of Tevye the milkman. He has appeared in numerous off Broadway shows, as well as on television (Picket Fences, Boston Public, Fantasy Island), and in the theater. Finkel won the American Comedy Award for Picket Fences 1993, an Emmy Award for Supporting Actor in a Dramatic Series, Picket Fences 1993–1994 and an Obie Award for his performance in Cafe Crown 1988–1989.
Joseph Shamie

Joseph Shamie

Joseph Shamie – is a philanthropist and member of Brooklyn’s Sephardic community. He is President of Delta Enterprises, the world’s largest manufacturer of cribs and baby furniture, started by his father Louis Shamie. The company donates tens of thousands of cribs each year. In 2011, Joseph Shamie received the Humanitarian Award from Kids In Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.). Joseph is leading the industry efforts on safety by educating parents on sleeping habits, as well as donating new cribs to children in need worldwide, since forming his relationship with K.I.D.S. over twenty years ago. Joseph serves as treasurer of the Sephardic Community Center and is a Project Education Board Member.

Henry Foner

Henry Foner

Henry Foner is a social activist and former president of the Joint Board of Fur, Leather and Machine Workers Union. A native of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as labor union leader and social activist, he worked on issues from promoting civil rights to protesting the Vietnam War. He served as vice-chairman of the Liberal Party of New York. In 1973, he went to Spain to observe a Carabanchel Ten trial. Foner worked to keep the union free of corruption, and to insulate the union from criticism that it was Communist-led. For many years, he taught labor history and wrote a column for the journal Jewish Currents magazine. He served as president of the Paul Robeson Foundation, on the editorial board of Jewish Currents magazine, and editor of Work History News (newsletter of the New York Labor History Association.

Hon Charles Schumer

Hon Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles “Chuck” Ellis Schumer has dedicated his career to protecting the middle class and helping those working to reach it. Though he has become a leader in finding common sense solutions to national issues, Chuck has built a reputation as a tireless fighter for New York, visiting all 62 counties every year and talking to constituents in every corner of our state. Chuck was born in Brooklyn, NY on November 23, 1950 to parents Selma, a homemaker active in the community, and Abe, who owned a small exterminating business. Chuck grew up the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood and with his siblings, Fran and Robert, attended PS 197 and Madison High School. Chuck has two daughters, Jessica and Alison, and he still resides in Brooklyn with his wife, Iris Weinshall. Read More

After graduating from Harvard College and Harvard Law School in 1974, Chuck returned home and was elected to the New York State Assembly where he soon made his mark with his trademark vigor and tireless advocacy. In 1980, at 29, Chuck ran for and won the seat in the 9th Congressional District. Chuck represented the 9th CD in Brooklyn and Queens for eighteen years, where he established his reputation as a pioneer in the fight against crime and as a consumer advocate. Chuck authored the Omnibus Crime Bill, which put 100,000 new cops on the street. He was the leading sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act, to combat domestic violence and sexual assault, and the Brady Bill, which instituted mandatory background checks for handgun purchases. He co-wrote the Assault Weapons Ban, and sponsored the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which organized data on crimes of bigotry and allowed federal authorities to prosecute these crimes. He also sponsored legislation that required banks and credit card companies to provide greater disclosure to consumers. In 1998, Chuck was elected to the U.S. Senate; he became New York’s senior senator when Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan retired in 2000. Chuck kicked off his first Senate term by announcing he would visit each of New York’s 62 counties every year, a tradition he continues today. Doing so has enabled Chuck to keep in touch with voters from every corner of the state. Throughout his time in the Senate, Chuck has made improving New York’s economy his top priority, bringing affordable air service to Upstate New York and the Hudson Valley and delivering over $20 billion in aid to New York City following the attacks on September 11, 2001. Chuck was the author of legislation that eliminated barriers that delay low-cost generic medications from entering the marketplace and led the charge to make college tuition tax deductible. He also aggressively championed agricultural measures to preserve vital market support programs for New York’s dairy farmers and crop growers. After New Yorkers re-elected him in 2004, Chuck was awarded two powerful posts by his colleagues. The first, a seat on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the nation’s tax, trade, social security and health care legislation. The second honor was the Chairmanship of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). Chuck successfully led the DSCC for two consecutive cycles before stepping down at the end of 2008. Following the elections of 2006, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) appointed Chuck to serve as Vice Chair of the Democratic Conference, the number three position on the Democratic Leadership team and a position he continues to hold. After New Yorkers re-elected him for a third term in 2010, Chuck took on an expanded role in the Senate as Chairman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Center. Chuck also serves as the Ranking Member on the Senate Rules Committee, which oversees federal elections, voting rights, campaign finance, and the operation of the Senate complex. In addition, Chuck sits on the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; the Judiciary Committee, where he is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security; and the Joint Committee on the Library.
Mordecai Tokarsky

Mordecai Tokarsky

Mordecai Tokarsky – Iris Weinshall was appointed Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning, Construction, and Management at The City University of New York in April 2007, after having served the City of New York City for more than 25 years, most recently as Commissioner of Transportation. A Brooklyn native, Ms. Weinshall graduated cum laude from Brooklyn College, and earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. In 2000, she was named Alumna of the Year by the Brooklyn College Alumni Association, the group’s highest honor, in recognition of her commitment to the betterment of the community through her many professional and civic achievements.

Iris Wienshall

Iris Weinshall

Iris Weinshall – is a Jewish Educator and community activist in New York. A Refusnik, he was born in the former Soviet Union and is one was one of the first Jewish Educators from the former Soviet Union to be educated in the US. In 2006, he helped found Russian American Jewish Experience and is currently the National Director of the organization.

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