47-Year Volunteer Receives Federation's Eisenman Award

Tags: Federation, Leadership

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Gary L. Gross accepts the 2024 Charles Eisenman Award. CJN Photo / Courtney Byrnes


Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News

After decades of serving the Cleveland Jewish community, Gary L. Gross was honored with the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s highest civic honor, the Charles Eisenman Award for Exceptional Civic Contributions.

Named for one of the Federation’s founders and first president, Charles Eisenman, the annual award is given to individuals and organizations making significant contributions to the community. Gross received the award at the Federation’s 120th annual meeting on May 23 at The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood as he shared lessons from the Torah and spoke of the current rise in antisemitism.

“I first volunteered for Federation 47 years ago and never regretted it, quite the opposite,” Gross said in accepting the award. “Federation has enhanced my life as I’ve been privileged to do what this week’s parsha says, namely to help others in need, people who are less fortunate than I.”

Over the years, his involvement with the Federation has included a term as chair of the Campaign for Jewish Needs in 2011 and 2012, a term as board chair from 2016 to 2019 during which the Federation saw a leadership transition as Stephen H. Hoffman retired and Erika B. Rudin-Luria took over as president, and was chair of the COVID Fund Oversight & Distribution Committee, among other committees.

Gross has also been a champion for Jewish day schools, serving as a past chair of Gross Schechter Day School, which was named for his family, and the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland. In the Greater Cleveland community, he and his family established the Gross Melanoma Fund at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in honor of his late father, Mort, and he has supported the United Way and The Cleveland Orchestra.

In presenting the award to him, Federation board chair Daniel Zelman thanked Gross for all he’s done over the years and will continue to do for the community. He was honored with a plaque and a donation given in his name to a charity of his choice, of which he chose Gross Schechter Day School. A video was also played with congratulatory messages from community leaders and Gross’ family and friends.

“I couldn’t be prouder of living in this community, this extremely generous community, in a way that follows this Torah mitzvah,” Gross said, referring to the Torah’s commandment of taking care of the less fortunate.

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