For decades, Congregation Shalom Cantor Karen Berman had her hand in education, from teaching music to coordinating and teaching the synagogue’s b’nai mitzvah tutorial program. For her work, Berman will receive the 2024 Salute to Jewish Educators Lifetime Impact Award.
The award ceremony will be held at Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center on February 25, at 4:30 p.m. Berman is one of several educators who will be honored during the event, sponsored by Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s Coalition for Jewish Learning. RSVP at Milw aukeeJewish.org/Salute.
“We are so honored to have so many talented and wonderful Jewish educators in this community. The least we can do is to honor them once a year,” said Nicole Boico, the coalition’s associate director.
Berman served as the Cantor of Congregation Shalom from 1987 to 2020, when she stepped down and became a cantor emerita. During her three-decade tenure, she directed Shalom’s youth choir and taught music, touching the lives of hundreds of children. She also taught in the synagogue’s department of lifelong learning and coordinated and taught in the congregation’s B’nai Mitzvah Tutorial program.
“She has been a huge part of so many generations,” Boico said. “She is a beacon of light in the community.”
The Levy Family CJL Jewish Educator of the Year is Chava Edelman, director of Milwaukee Community Hebrew School. Since the age of 14, Edelman has worked in Jewish supplementary schools and day schools. She takes great joy in helping students embrace their Jewish heritage, the coalition said.
“She really has really strengthened the curriculum at the school and she makes kids want to come to Sunday school,” Boico said.
This year’s recipient of the Jerry Benjamin Inspiration Award for Informal Jewish Education is Rabbi Dov Ber Smith.
The Gill Incentive for Teachers (GIFT) Award, which recognizes educators who create outstanding classroom projects, will be granted to Cindy Cooper of Congregation Sinai for her handmade Yahrzeit lamps initiative. Also receiving a GIFT award are Yonina Schlussel, Mara Kleiman and Bobbie Ehrlich at the Milwaukee Jewish Day School for their Empowering Successful Jewish Studies Culture project.
Other awards include the Double Chai Award for Gilah Saltzman at Yeshiva Elementary School – Milwaukee, Joyce Gutzke at Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun and Tziporah Altman-Shafer at the Coalition for Jewish Learning.
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The Levy Family CJL Jewish Educator of the Year is Chava Edelman, director of Milwaukee Community Hebrew School.