Enid Rosenberg Receives 2020 Charles Eisenman Award

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Enid Rosenberg shares her remarks upon accepting the 2020 Charles Eisenman Award for Exceptional Civic Contributions at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland's 116th annual meeting:

I am honored to receive this prestigious award named for Charles Eisenman and representing his ideals, values, and accomplishments.

I am humbled to join the list of previous recipients whose commitment and achievements set the benchmark for excellence in our entire community.

I am grateful to the committee who chose me for this honor knowing that they surely had a large group of very worthy nominees to consider.

And I am blessed with my family and friends who support me, teach me, inspire me, and tolerate me….Allowing me to reach this very special moment in my life.

Over the years, since Charles Eisenman was its president, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland has always stood up for all of us.

As in the past, they are here today in the midst of the havoc created by the coronavirus that threatens not just our health, but our livelihoods and our safety.

We are all fortunate to have the support, resources, and engagement of our Federation, especially in times of difficulties and disruption. I think I speak for everyone "plugged" in tonight when I express our deepest gratitude to our Cleveland Jewish Federation, to its leadership, and to its committed and generous donor base.

This inspires me daily.

It’s so true that life is a team effort and I have definitely landed on the “A Team.”

It means so much to me to be together…well, sorta’ together this evening.

Despite the physical distance right now, I know that there is no real distance between us.

Our strength is and always has been our ability, desire, and commitment to be connected.

“Stronger together” is not a slogan; it’s a recipe.

Listen… I love to drive.

When we used to actually drive to meetings (like in the good old days), I was always the one who wanted to be the driver. Part of the reason is… I love cars.

In fact, when I get dressed in the morning the last thing I put on…….. Is my car.

Yes. Though I love to drive cars, even more I love to drive process.

When my beliefs are consistent with an organization’s mission, I will work together with others to find a way to get from here to there on the most humane and efficient route.

The purpose of driving is to arrive at a destination – achieving our goals, satisfying our missions, executing our vision.

Driving completes me – it literally makes me feel like I am “getting somewhere.”

So why am I sharing this story?

When I do drive, I really like to have passengers along with me. While we are driving, we kibbitz, we laugh, we plan, we re-plan and then we ultimately decide what to do. We jointly make decisions while we are “on the road” that we can then implement together when we reach our destination.

You see – even when I am the one “behind the wheel,” I know that no one gets anywhere alone.

The honor of receiving the Eisenman Award is not all about me – it is far more about us.

This award speaks to: Where we are going, how we are getting there, and what we are all trying to accomplish.

People often ask me “what touches you? What inspires you? How do you choose which organizations to get involved with?” I have thought long and hard about the answer to that question.

First, I have to believe in the mission of an organization.

My heart lies with organizations that support the continuity of universal values (equal access to education, healthcare, food, safety, security, and racial equality). Organizations that literally strive for tikkun olam – to make the world a better place.

Second, the mission of an organization must not only excite my passion, it must also be an organization where I can work together with others to make a meaningful difference.

Throughout my entire life, I have been motivated by working with others toward a common goal.

This inspiration is the “fuel” that drives me and because we are all here together, I suspect that this is the “fuel” that drives each of you as well.

Thirdly there has to be an opportunity – a requirement to take action.

Thinking, hoping, planning, dreaming, praying are all necessary to achieve goals.

But, none of these is enough.

We then have to act.

We have to put our feet on the ground and roll up our sleeves. We have to be willing and eager to provide time, effort, skills, and dollars.

As you all know I am not a passive person.

I am a proactive one and I am drawn to those organizations and groups that lead to action.

The kind of action: that changes outcomes, that improves lives, that strengthens community, that fulfills those hopes, plans, dreams, and prayers.

When people, groups, or organizations come together to share ideas, find inspiration, and support a common purpose, they create synergies that can build a lasting legacy.

Individual strengths join together to influence businesses, non-profits, and cultures to achieve results that can last for decades or even longer.

The combination of purpose and action is a powerful force.

That is how we change the world.

That being said, more often than not, we find ourselves working with limited resources, whether they be monetary resources, human resources, or even the resource of time.

(There are only 24 hours in each day. I’ve applied for an extension and have not heard back yet…)

It has been said that, “people do not care about how much you know until they know how much you care.”

One of the greatest joys of my life has been the opportunity to help others find the same level of connection that I have found in my community work.

I sincerely hope that my legacy will be that I cared, I drove, I acted.

Whether in the driver seat, the passenger seat, the front seat, or the back seat – riding together, sharing the journey to make the world a better place is how my GPS is set.

As we are told, “you are not obligated to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it”


I truly hope that our legacy is that those who come after us will continue: that drive, that task, that commitment to our community and to our future.

Be safe. Be well. God bless.

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