The Jewish Federations of North America awards Jay Feinberg a $25,000 grant and the title of Jewish Community Hero for his efforts to grow and diversify the bone marrow donor registry
NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) today awarded Jay Feinberg, from Boca Raton, Florida, the 2010 Jewish Community Hero Award. The award marked the culmination of the second annual Jewish Community Heroes contest, in which more than 300,000 votes were cast online to recognize the selflessness and courage of those who are helping their communities through volunteer service.
Jay's own struggle to find a bone marrow match, after being diagnosed with leukemia, inspired him to found the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, which is the only registry in the world founded and directed by a transplant recipient. Jay has made it his life's work to save people in need of transplants by increasing the representation of Jewish people in the worldwide bone marrow registry, in order to overcome the devastating effects of the Holocaust which severed so many family bloodlines.
"We are delighted to award Jay Feinberg this year's Jewish Community Hero Award for his inspiring service to both the Jewish community and all those in need of bone marrow transplants," said Jerry Silverman, President and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America. "All the nominees for this year's Hero Award are inspiring community leaders, working hard and often thanklessly to support their communities. The Jewish Federations is thrilled to recognize their efforts through the contest."
The Jewish Community Heroes contest is part of the Jewish Federations' commitment to promote public service in communities across the United States and Canada. A total of 311,265 votes were cast in this year's contest, which made use of social media, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to recognize the thankless work of more than 200 nominees from across the continent.
More than 65 organizations supported the initiative, which also honored four additional finalists: Mordechai Tokarsky, Dmitriy Salita, Stephen Kutner, and Zvi Gluck. In addition, five honorees were recognized for the work they do in conjunction with the Jewish Federations: Coby Engelhart, Bonnie Friedman, Eden Siskind, Robert Zwang and Emily Briskman.
"I often tell people that I am not a hero," said Jay Feinberg. "The people who save lives are the heroes – the bone marrow donors, the volunteers who organize the recruitment drives – they are remarkable people. I may be the one facilitating that process, but as a transplant recipient, I have a different perspective on matters – I am giving back to the community that saved my life – the Jewish community. I am forever grateful for that gift, and proud to be Jewish."
The Jewish Federations of North America honored the 2010 honorees and unveiled the Jewish Community Hero of the Year at this year's General Assembly (GA) in New Orleans. A panel of judges, heroes in their own right, selected Jay as the Jewish Community Hero of the Year from among the 20 nominees who received the most online support. This year's judges included scientist Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway and other innovations); filmmaker Tiffany Shlain (The Tribe); actor Elliot Gould (M*A*S*H, Friends); screenwriter and director Etan Cohen (King of the Hill, Idiocracy, Tropic Thunder); four-time Olympic gold medal swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg; and last year's winner Ari Teman, founder of JCorps, a program that connects young people to volunteer opportunities around the world.
Jewish Community Heroes is sponsored in part by Tulong llc, makers of Repair The World® apparel (www.repairtheworldnow.com); a portion of the proceeds from Repair the World® clothing supports global, sustainable development through livelihood training, by creating employment opportunities, and by improving underdeveloped community infrastructure.
To learn more learn more about the contest and this year's Jewish Community Hero of the Year, visit the Jewish Community Heroes Website.
The Jewish Federation movement is the largest Jewish philanthropy collective in the world and The Jewish Federations of North America are dedicated to promoting awareness and involvement among the Jewish community in the United States and Canada.
SOURCE Jewish Federations of North America