September 29, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Posted in Press Releases | Leave a comment
  • Visiting delegation in Cleveland for educational summit – Interview opportunities available. Call for details.

WHO: Lt. Col. Raz Karny, outgoing commander of the Havat HaShomer army base, chosen as one of the past year’s most influential change agents in Israel.  Under Karny’s leadership there has been an increased success rate (85-90%) in enabling at-risk young men to become Israeli soldiers and enter mainstream Israeli society.

WHAT: Lt. Col. Karny is the commander of a special program for unlikely army recruits – those who have dropped out of school, have police records, have been involved in serious crimes, grew up in environments and institutions surrounded by violence, alcohol, and drugs.  This program, a partnership with the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, has given a second chance to more than 9,000 youth to date and marks the first time a division of the IDF has worked with a community outside of Israel to address a vital social concern within Israel.

WHEN: October 3 – 7

WHY: Through Karny’s leadership ability as a change agent, these troubled young men are given an opportunity to achieve a productive future that seemed impossible. “What sets some of our soldiers apart is that they have no dreams,” says Karny. “The soldiers have ‘deep wounds’. There’s one soldier who saw his father murder his mother. It’s very complex, and the state does not have the tools. If civil society could cope with this challenge successfully, there would be no need to do what we do here.”

SO WHAT: Lt. Col. Karny and 6 officers of the Havat HaShomer army base will visit students and staff at Bellefaire JCB and the Eleanor Gerson School, two local organizations who work with at-risk teens.  The mission is part of an on-going project in which Cleveland psychologists and social workers are serving as consultants to “train the trainers” working at this unique army base with its special populations.

– JFC –



September 14, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Posted in Press Releases | 1 Comment

Lenore Berke, a 102-year-old resident of Montefiore, is signing the Jewish Federation’s Endowment Book of Life at a ceremony at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 15, in the atrium at Montefiore, One David N. Myers Drive, Beachwood, Ohio.  The Endowment Book of Life contains personal messages from those who, through their foresight and generosity, have made provisions for the future of the Jewish community through their estate plan.  Signees have created an endowment of $100,000 or more at the Jewish Federation.


The Jewish Federation of Cleveland, established in 1904, is just slightly older than Lenore Berke.  It is a nonprofit charitable organization that supports social service, educational and humanitarian efforts that improve lives in Cleveland and around the world.  In the past year, it helped 40,000 people in Cleveland’s Jewish and general communities.


The following is Lenore Berke’s personal Endowment Book of Life statement:


My husband, Norman Berke (1916-2007), liked to tell the story of his near-death experience at age 16. After a strange virus put him in a coma, he awakened to hear clergy administering last rites over his St. Vincent Charity Hospital bed. To their shock, he opened his eyes and said, “Stop! I’m Jewish!”  And then he vowed that if God spared his life, he would spend the rest of his earthly days performing acts of tzedakah.

Over the next 75 years, Norman kept that promise. The son of Polish immigrants Mollie and Joseph Berke lived his gratitude every day. And as husband and wife, we committed leadership and financial support to dozens of Cleveland institutions. Much of that support went to Montefiore Home, where we have funded countless patient and staff services, as well as public spaces. In 2010, I celebrated my 102nd birthday as the home’s oldest resident and also dedicated the new Norman and Lenore Berke Orthopedic Annex.

We are honored to include the Jewish Federation in our estate planning. Blessed with long life, security and love, we never forgot how God kept His part of that long-ago bargain. And we proudly link our names in the Endowment Book of Life, sharing our good fortune with future generations.

Lenore Berke



– JFC –

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