Hillel has conferred its Renaissance Award on Leonard and Tobee Kaplan and its Founders Award on Rose and Ed Berman for their outstanding support for Hillel's work.
The awards were presented by Hillel President Wayne L. Firestone at an event at the home of Charna Larkin in Delray Beach, Florida, on March 23.
Hillel's Renaissance Award was given to the Kaplans for their work in transforming Jewish life around the globe. The award is conferred on individuals whose bold vision and transformative initiatives enrich the campus, the Jewish community and the world.
The Kaplans, of Greensboro, N.C., were the driving force in building and sustaining North Carolina Hillel. As one of the founding members of Hillel's International Board of Governors, Mr. Kaplan recognized the critical role of professional leadership in building the Jewish future. Their early support for Hillel's renaissance helped Hillel recruit, train and retain a new generation of highly talented professionals. The Kaplan Campus Transformation Fund enabled local Hillels to achieve new levels of success and to reach more Jewish students. Their son, Randall Kaplan, a former chairman of the Hillel Board, and daughter-in-law, Kathy Manning, also play significant leadership roles within Hillel and the Jewish community.
In honor of Hillel's 85th anniversary, Hillel's Founders Award is given to those who have advanced the vision of Hillel's pioneers by supporting opportunities to engage and empower Jewish students. Founders Award recipients Rose and Ed Berman, of Pittsburgh, inaugurated a new era of Jewish student life in the city with the creation of the Ed and Rose Berman Jewish University Center in 2001. Centrally located between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, the Center attracts Jewish students from other local universities as well.
At the national level, Mrs. Berman served on Hillel's Board of Directors, and she and Mr. Berman have been active members in Hillel's accreditation and planned giving efforts. Their daughter, Susan Berman, is president of Pittsburgh Hillel. The Bermans' generosity and volunteer leadership have enabled countless Jewish students to rediscover and celebrate their Jewish identity.