Every other year, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore pays tribute to the legends of Jewish Baltimore.
The JCC Hall of Fame honors individuals who have excelled in their careers and made significant contributions to the Jewish community and beyond in such fields as science, education, business, medicine, law, politics, community service, sports and the arts.
The induction ceremony gives the JCC an opportunity to raise funds for scholarships for need-based families for Maccabi Games travel, Jewish camps, special needs and Jewish education.
The 2017 induction ceremony will be held on Wednesday, May 24, at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts in Owings Mills. The reception begins at 7 p.m., with the induction ceremony — which will incorporate short videos about each inductee — following at 7:45 p.m.
“We are very proud to build a strong sense of Jewish pride and community through honoring such exceptional Jewish individuals,” says Alyson Friedman, the event’s co-chair with Sandy Shapiro. “Raising money for need-based scholarships at the JCC is part of who we are and what we do as a philanthropic community that serves those in need with dignity and respect.”
This year’s will be the sixth class of inductees. The 2017 inductees will be:
An immigrant and founder of the century-old Attman’s Delicatessen in East Baltimore, Attman emigrated from Russia. Like many immigrants, he started out with little money. Established in 1915, Attman’s Deli has become synonymous with Baltimore’s “Corned Beef Row” and is the oldest deli in the U.S. still operated by the original family.
“It’s a tremendous honor, really well-deserved recognition for somebody who means so much to us,” says Ron Attman, the late inductee’s grandson. “He contributed to the culture and history of Baltimore over the years. He came to this country as a teen, earning money on the ship on his way over by cutting people’s hair.
“My grandfather is unique in that he didn’t own a mega-business, he owned a delicatessen. He was able to contribute a lot to the city. It’s really special for our family, and it will be a night that all of us will remember.”
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin
Cardin, who has represented Baltimore and Maryland for more than five decades in the Maryland House of Delegates, U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, has been a national leader on health care, retirement security, the environment and fiscal issues. He is only the second Jewish senator from Maryland. Cardin has represented Baltimore’s Jewish community since he was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1966.
“Being Jewish and serving our community have always been a part of who I am,” Cardin says. “Many of the people in the Baltimore Jewish Hall of Fame have helped shape how I define tikkun olam [repairing the world] and the way I think about bettering my hometown, my country and my world. Others have helped shape our collective consciousness about what it means to be a Jew in Baltimore and in America, where we value tolerance, understanding and inclusion. It is an incredible honor to be recognized alongside these men and women, one that I accept with great pride. I share this distinction with my wife, Myrna, and my family, who have endured immense sacrifices and provided me with immeasurable strength for both our Jewish home and my career in public service.”
Howard E. Friedman
A businessman who has been involved with local, national and international organizations serving the Jewish community and Israel for many years, Friedman is a past chair of the board of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and also has served as chair of the annual campaign. Through his involvement, he has encouraged others in the Orthodox community to participate in the federation. He currently chairs the board of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.
Jonathan W. Kolker
A leader who has made a positive difference for Jewish communities both locally and throughout the world, Kolker’s positions of leadership in Jewish organizations include: chair of the board of The Associated; president of Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital; and president of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee from 1996 to 2000. He also has helped support and served as a board member of the Jewish Museum of Maryland, Baltimore Hebrew University, Sinai Hospital and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
“It’s quite an honor,” Kolker says. “It’s recognizing 57 years of service to the Baltimore Jewish community. I have worked with the Jewish community all over the world. This is recognition of a lifetime of support of the Jewish community everywhere. It’s quite an honor, and it’s wonderful.”
An ardent legal professor who has championed the rights of children, families and the disadvantaged, Leviton is professor emeritus at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. She is founder and honorary chair of Advocates for Children and Youth, a statewide child advocacy organization. She is a former chair of the Maryland Human Relations Commission.
Currently, she is on the board of the Open Society Institute, Baltimore, the Aaron and Lillie Straus Foundation and FreeState Legal Project, which provides free legal services for low-income LGBT clients. Her areas of expertise include child abuse and neglect, special education and juvenile delinquency.
Rabbi Morris Lieberman
The late rabbi and early advocate of racial equality and social justice served as spiritual leader of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation for 33 years, overseeing its move from downtown to Park Heights Avenue. He served on many boards in the community and was the first president of the Baltimore Jewish Council. An early advocate of racial justice, he was part of the civil rights movement from its inception and a lifelong member of the NAACP. He was among several clergymen who were arrested when they attempted to integrate Gwynn Oak, an all-white amusement park, in the early 1960s.
“Racial prejudice and discrimination are not evils of a physical nature like earthquakes, tidal waves and tornadoes, about which human beings can do little or nothing preventive,” he told the Baltimore Sun. “Prejudice and discrimination are evils of human nature, and these are capable of cure almost instantaneously if the determination to remedy them is strong enough.”
Gov. Marvin Mandel
As the state’s first and only Jewish governor, the late Mandel transformed state government and created new mass transit and court systems in Maryland. He was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1952, representing northwestern Baltimore City; he was elected speaker of the House of Delegates in 1963 and served until January 1969 when he was appointed as governor to serve out the unexpired term of Spiro Agnew, who was sworn in as U.S. vice president. Mandel was elected governor for two additional terms.
Frank DeFilippo, who was his press secretary, said Mandel’s hallmark was reforming all three branches of government and creating a system that lives on in Annapolis today.
“Marvin Mandel was a transformational governor who bridged the old and the new,” DeFilippo told The Sun. “What he did very effectively was take what was a backwater state by the back of the neck and drag it kicking and screaming into what was then the 20th century.”
A devoted educator recognized for her leadership in Jewish education, Schorr has served as director of education at the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community Day School for more than 25 years. Schorr has navigated the growth of Beth Tfiloh’s school from 350 students to more than 1,000, including the creation of Baltimore’s first co-educational Jewish high school. Schorr has been recognized by the National Council of Synagogue Youth, the Center for Jewish Education, Bais Yaakov School for Girls, and was the 2003 recipient of the Covenant Foundation Award for Exceptional Jewish Educators. She received the Award for Educational Excellence in the Diaspora in 2013 presented by the World Council for Torah Education and was named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 2011.
Shale D. Stiller
A well-respected attorney and fixture in Baltimore’s legal and civic circles for decades, Stiller is a trial attorney who is a partner at the firm DLA Piper. In 2016, he received numerous awards including an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by Johns Hopkins University, the highest honor a university can grant to anyone. He also has been an adjunct legal professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law for the past 47 years, where he has taught federal estate and gift taxation, constitutional law, federal jurisdiction, and the law of nonprofit organizations. He has been named in every edition of The Best Lawyers in America since it was first published in 1987. Stiller served as the president, CEO and chair of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation from 2001 to 2010. He serves as a board member on six private foundations, in addition to the Weinberg Foundation. Stiller also has served as national vice president of the American Jewish Committee for many years. He is married to retired Judge Ellen Heller, who was inducted into the JCC Hall of Fame in 2009.
For information about the Hall of Fame event, contact Esther H. Greenberg at 410-559-3545 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit jcc.org/halloffame.
Top photo: JCC Hall of Fame
Lisa Shifren is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and photographer.
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