Levy family steps in to fund Jewish educator award

The Levy family of Brookfield has stepped in to fill a void at the Coalition for Jewish Learning, agreeing to co-sponsor the CJL’s Jewish Educator of the Year award.

It was to be presented at the organization’s annual Salute to Jewish Educators on March 15, but the coronavirus forced a postponement to a date not yet announced.

“The Milwaukee Jewish community is blessed with superb Jewish educators, and CJL wishes to highlight their contributions and thereby elevate the status of Jewish educators in Milwaukee,” said Tziporah Altman-Shafer, who directs the CJL for Milwaukee Jewish Federation. “This award enables our community to show gratitude for all the time, effort and care our best educators give to their students.

“The past three years, the Grinspoon Foundation co-sponsored our award and allowed us to give $1,000 to the winner. This year, the Grinspoon Foundation is no longer funding educator awards. The Levy family stepped up to continue the funding for this award so that it can continue at the same level. Thank you to the Levy family for its generosity.”

Called the Levy Family CJL Jewish Educator of the Year Award, it will be presented this year to Yael Gal-Ben Yitschak, who teaches at Nicolet High School and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Levy family also committed to co-sponsoring the 2021 award.

Mark Levy said he and his wife, Cindy, were “quite disappointed” upon learning that the Grinspoon Foundation was pulling out of its sponsorship.

“We thought that recognition by Grinspoon really put Milwaukee-area Jewish education onto the national map,” Mark said. “We already were aware of the high quality of Jewish education locally, but this award was the cherry on top of the sundae. We did not think that withdrawing the Grinspoon award money should reflect badly on our community and that’s why we stepped up to continue the prize.

“We hope that having this money available to the Jewish Educator of the Year will be inspirational and maintain the high levels of Jewish education we have seen.”