Jared Miller Receives Yanowitz Award
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Jared Miller of Solon has been awarded the 2016 Bennett and Donna Yanowitz Leadership Award by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. The award recognizes and honors an outstanding young individual who has demonstrated commitment, involvement, and leadership within Cleveland’s Jewish community. Miller was presented the award at the Federation’s Board meeting on March 30. Read his remarks below:
When Gary L. Gross, Federation Board Chair, called me up and told me I was awarded The Bennett & Donna Yanowitz Leadership Award, I was deeply moved! Knowing the names and the contributions of those who previously won this award, it is an impressive list of individuals who are still making a difference today.
Thank you to the Yanowitz family and the selection committee for this honor. The entire Yanowitz family are such respected leaders in our community. I had the privilege of being at several meetings with Bennett and I knew then I was in the presence of a great leader. When I look at this award, I will think of the Yanowitz’s as role models.
I accept this award not for what I have done, rather I’ll use it as a motivator to propel me to do more in the future.
I want to say thanks to my parents, Carole and Larry Miller, who are here today from Michigan. My parents raised me – by their example – to be active and to serve in leadership positions just as they had at our temple. That’s the way it was in our home – a home where Jewish identity was fostered, traditions were passed on, and communal participation was encouraged. I know this makes you proud and brings you nachas. Thanks for being here.
And of course, to Stephanie’s family, specifically my in-laws Penni and Steve Weinberg. They have shown us while it is important to financially support organizations, it is more meaningful to roll up your sleeves and actually do the work. Steph’s family never told us to get involved in Federation activities, they just led by example and they have had an impact all around Cleveland, all around the world and certainly in my life.
My greatest and deepest appreciation goes to my wife Stephanie and our children, Ben, Nate, and Jay. Boys – our inspiration comes from you and your going to Mandel Jewish Day School has brought our family closer to Judaism, made us feel more a part of the Jewish community and motivated us to do more for your school. Thanks guys.
Stephanie, there is no way I could be involved as a dad or as a committed volunteer, without your encouragement and support. You have this gift of supporting me gracefully, making a difference in organizations that we both care about, while juggling all the other 'Mom Roles' that come with raising our family. I am grateful beyond words and proud to be your husband.
There are two definitive factors that have led me here today. The first one is Federation and the second one is the decision to send our boys to Jewish day school.
I came to Cleveland in 2003 without knowing too much about the Federation. Coming here was a real eye opener in many ways. In fact, the first Federation event I ever attended was the Founders Dinner – talk about an eye opener!
I credit my involvement in the community to Federation’s leadership programs – these courses broadened my vision, my awareness and made me want to be more active and take on leadership roles.
At the conclusion of one of these courses, I checked off a box that I was interested in Jewish education. Shortly thereafter, Adam Levin, recruited me to serve on the then Agnon Board. Here I am – late 20’s, no kids in the school and I am on a Jewish day school board.
I quickly learned that this was a special place and Stephanie and I decided if we could give our children the giving of living, learning, and growing Jewishly every day, we would be giving them a gift of a lifetime. A gift of academic excellence, a love for Israel and Jewish values and skills that they could take with them wherever they go for the rest of their lives.
This was factor #2 – we had become committed day school parents. This was a direct result of our exposure to and involvement with Federation. We never would have realized the value and importance of a Jewish day school were it not for this journey. And this journey provided us opportunities to make a difference, not only at the school, but with FIDF and other organizations we care deeply about.
My story is a message that Federation can build upon, that when you get involved hands-on, you open new opportunities and networks that come back to benefit you in so many rewarding ways. I sincerely hope Federation has success in spreading this message.
My volunteer work has truly enriched my life and deepened my own sense of purpose and accomplishment. I am proud of this work, but I reiterate with how I opened, that this award is really an inspiration and call for me to do more and that is my commitment to you today.
Again, this is a wonderful honor. Thank you to the Yanowitz family, Federation, my friends & family and all who are present here today.
The Bennett and Donna Yanowitz Leadership Award replaced the Marvin and Milton Kane Award, previously known as the Ed Baker Award. The award has been given annually since the early 1960’s. As recipient of the Yanowitz Award, Miller is invited to join the Cleveland delegation to a General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America.