Press Release

JCC Association announces continental leadership awards

Weil and Heller awards honor outstanding contributions to Jewish life and JCCs


Paula L. Sidman, JCC Association’s organization’s immediate past board chair, and renowned sculptor, Richard Edelman, will each be honored with receiving Frank L. Weil Awards at the JCCs of North America Biennial in Baltimore in May.

Sidman, who chaired JCC Association’s board of directors from 2010-2014, is an active leader both in her community in Boston and the continental level. She will receive the Frank L. Weil Award for Distinguished Contribution to the JCC Field. Edelman will receive the Frank L. Weil Award for the Advancement of Jewish Culture in North America. It is the first time the award has been given by since 1992.
JCC Association will also award Allan Finkelstein, who served as president and CEO of JCC Association for more than two decades, with the Florence G. Heller Professional Award. Mark Horowitz, JCC Association’s vice president for early childhood education and family engagement, will receive the Morton L. Mandel Jewish Educational Leadership Award.

The recipients will be honored at the Biennial convention, which takes place May 15-18 at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore.

“To be able to honor people who have given so much to JCCs and to Jewish life in North America is a real privilege,” says JCC Association

Chair Stephen Seiden. “These awards acknowledge their outstanding contributions to our understanding of what it means to be a Jewish leader and active contributor to Jewish life in the 21st century.”

The Frank L. Weil Awards were established in 1950 in the name of JCC Association’s late leader, who served with distinction as president of the Jewish Welfare Board form 1940-1950.

In addition to serving on JCC Association’s board of directors, Sidman is a past president of the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston, and a member of the board and executive committee the JCC of Greater Palm Beaches. She has extensive leadership experience in Jewish and other non-profit organizations, including Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, the American Joint Distribution Committee and the Dana Farber Cancer Center.

Edelman is an accomplished sculptor whose work has been installed at the Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC and other sites throughout Milwaukee, in Krakow’s old Jewish quarter, and in private collections. Past recipients have included Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, author Isaac Bashevis Singer, cubist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz, and composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.

Finkelstein, who retired in 2015, came to JCC Association after a 20-year career serving JCCs. He was previously the executive vice president of the JCC of Greater Los Angeles and the executive vice president of the Leo Yassenoff JCC in Columbus, Ohio. JCC Association’s board of directors established the Heller award in 1968, to honor the memory of its president and beloved leader, Florence G. Heller. This award is presented at each JCCs of North America Biennial Convention to a JCC professional.

Horowitz, a visionary leader in the field of Jewish early childhood education has developed JCC Association’s new Sheva Center: Innovation in Early Childhood Jewish Education and Engagement, which seeks to instill a standard of excellence across JCC early childhood programs. The program has been awarded grants from both the Crown Family and Covenant foundations. The Morton L. Mandel Jewish Educational Leadership Award he is receiving is given biennially to an individual or an institution that has made a singular contribution to the enhancement of Jewish education in Jewish Community Centers and JCC camps. Morton L. Mandel, JCC Association honorary chair, was the first to receive the award in 1998, in recognition of his efforts to strengthen Jewish education in JCCs throughout North America. In 1981, Mandel chaired the Commission on Maximizing Jewish Educational Effectiveness of JCCs (COMJEE). His leadership helped spur JCCs to strengthen their capacities to deliver effective Jewish educational services. The Award was re-named in his honor in 2000.

Marla Cohen
Communications Manager

About JCC Association
JCC Association is the leadership network for the Jewish Community Center Movement, which comprises almost 350 JCC, YM-YWHA, and camp sites in the U. S. and Canada. JCC Association offers a wide range of services and resources to strengthen the capacity of its affiliates to provide educational, cultural, social, Jewish identity-building and recreational programs to enhance the lives of North American Jews of all ages and backgrounds. Additionally, the movement fosters and strengthens connections between North American Jews and Israel as well as with world Jewry. JCC Association is also a U.S. government-accredited agency for serving the religious and social needs of Jewish military personnel, their families, and patients in VA hospitals through JWB Jewish Chaplains Council.