Nominate a Jewish Community Hero

by | May 25, 2012 | Other News

The next time you’re out in the Jewish community, look to your left, look to your right; look at yourself. Chances are you’ll see a Jewish Community Hero.

The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater wants to recognize these heroes, sharing the passion and dedication they have to helping others and to tikkun olam (repairing the world).

The 2nd Annual UJFT Hampton Roads Jewish Community Hero campaign begins June 1, when online nominations can be submitted on the Federation website, Anyone can nominate a Jewish hero; submissions will be accepted on the website until June 30.

Nominees can win a $500 grant toward a non-profit organization of their choosing if selected as the 2012 Hampton Roads Jewish Community Hero. Last year’s local finalists were also eligible to win the national Jewish Community Hero award and a $25,000 grant from the Jewish Federations of North America.

Similar to the process adopted in 2011, after the nomination period ends, a committee comprised of community members from all backgrounds and affiliations will chose five Hero finalists.

On July 15, the public will be introduced to the five individuals up for the 2012 Hampton Roads Jewish Community Hero award. The community is then invited to vote one time for the nominee of their choice. The winner receiving the most community votes will be announced in September, as the UJFT kicks off its Annual Campaign.

“It was very flattering and very humbling to be named the Hampton Roads Jewish Community Hero,” says Amy Brooke, a Norfolk resident who was the 2011 winner.

Brooke, a mother of three, works as a cardiac discharge nurse educator at Sentara Heart Hospital. She was nominated for her dedication to the founding and promotion of Bina Girls’ High School. The Jewish girls’ school is now celebrating its fifth anniversary and third graduating class. Brooke donated her $500 award to Bina.

“I worked very hard and it was nice to be recognized, but even better than the recognition I got from it was the attention the girls’ school got,” Brooke says. “When I received this prestigious award, Bina’s name was out there too, and people were more interested and aware of its presence in the community.”

Brooke says initially she was hesitant about the campaign because of kavod, a Hebrew word meaning respect, or honor. Brooke quotes Pirkei Avos: “If one seeks his own kavod, his kavod runs away from him.” But as she gave more thought to the recognition, she found many positive aspects of participating in the Hero campaign.

“Very often people don’t like to have the honor—what we call kavod; they shy away from it. But I think there are opportunities where it can be good.

“Sometimes, it’s important in the community for people to know about the hard work and efforts that aren’t necessarily publicized,” Brooke says. “You never know how that information will touch a person, an organization, or ultimately, how it may affect the greater Jewish community.”

To find out more about the 2012 HamptonRoads Jewish Community Hero campaign, and to see guidelines and nomination forms, please visit

by Laine M. Rutherford