The iconic Hanan ‘Bean’ Sibel will be the recipient of Jmore’s first ‘Legend Award.’

For decades, Hanan Y. “Bean” Sibel has been a pillar and respected member of both Baltimore’s business and Jewish communities. As a philanthropist, Sibel, 87, has spent his life looking out for others.  

“I think when you are able, there is an obligation to give back,” says Sibel, a Pikesville resident and Beth Tfiloh congregant. “It’s been a personal commitment of mine to support causes, especially ones that help the Jewish community.”

A father of three and grandfather of seven whose late wife, Carole, passed away in 2015, Sibel’s latest philanthropic endeavor focuses on teaching younger generations the importance of giving back through a children’s book called “The Little Penny and the Pushke.

“The pushke [tzedakah box] has been a tradition for many Jewish families,” says Sibel, who co-wrote the book with Allan Charles, founder and chief creative officer at TBC. “I have always had pushkes in my home and office, and I wanted to reacquaint these young children with that tradition.”

Along with the book comes a colorful tzedakah box for children to collect their own charitable donations.

“I hope kids will put pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters in their boxes and realize they can help people even though they don’t have large sums of money. Every penny counts,” he says.

A Baltimore native, Sibel graduated from Baltimore City College before going to the University of Maryland.  After college, he was drafted and spent two years in the military before heading back to the University of Maryland School of Law. After graduating, Sibel joined his father-in-law’s business, Chaimson Food Brokerage. When his father-in-law retired, Sibel took over the company and served as chairman of the board, CEO and owner for 43 years.

“Chaimson Food Brokerage was a small company when it started,” Sibel says. “Eventually, I bought a company in Pennsylvania and one in Virginia. I also merged and partnered with a broker in New England, and together we opened in New York, Pittsburgh and the rest of Pennsylvania. By the time the company sold, together we were representing 40 percentage of the national food dollar.”

Sibel was an active board member of First Mariner Bank, the University of Maryland Board of Visitors and has been involved in state politics. In addition, he served as vice president of the Jewish National Fund and chairman of Israel Bonds for the state of Maryland.

He also is a major supporter of Friends of the IDF and co-founder of the Maryland/Israel Development Center, which is now an agency of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore. MIDC’s Hanan Y. Sibel Maryland/Israel Business Leadership Award was named in his honor.

“Israel means a lot to Jews worldwide,” Sibel says. “It’s a safe haven.”

Today, Sibel is an investor in Caves Valley Partners. “You have to do something you want to do if you are going to start a business,” Sibel says he advises budding entrepreneurs. “You have to create something that gives you pleasure and satisfaction while allowing you an opportunity to be creative and make a living.” 

Join Jmore for our 2nd annual celebration of Baltimore’s Jewish Entrepreneurs — JBiz Entrepreneur — on June 4 at the Maryland Historical Society.