Annual Tribute Event 2019
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International House, New York City – 500 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10027
Directions to International House:
International House has two entrances. We will be using the main entrance at 500 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10027*
*If you are putting this address into the GPS, please be sure that it is taking you to the entrance on 500 Riverside Drive.
For elevator and wheelchair access, please use the rear entrance at 155 Claremont Avenue, New York, NY 10027.
Parking garages are available in the area:
480 Riverside Dr. (120th St) · 480 Riverside Dr.
GMC Parking · 532 W 122nd St
MTP Park · 635 W 131st St
Hazzan Mike Stein – Hiddur Mitzvah Award
Hazzan Mike Stein has been cantor at Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, Calif. for 20 years. During that period of time he has created music programs and interfaith outreach programs involving many different communities—including the African Jewish communities in Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe. He has written original musical services in musical genres that include jazz, bluegrass/country, rock and roll, reggae, Middle Eastern and with Rabbi Gershom Sizomu, an African service with children’s choir and well known local African musicians.
Hazzan Stein’s community outreach and interfaith work is typified by being on the board of the Interfaith Solidarity Network of the San Fernando Valley. He has brought together Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus and others for a service called “Voices of Unity,” which has been a huge success for 20 years. Mike also formed the Afro-Jewish Alliance which, through his community organizing includes churches from Compton and downtown Los Angeles. He is a regular attendee at LA Mayor Garcetti’s residence for the annual prayer breakfast. He works on issues such as homelessness and hunger.
He was recently honored at the Reagan National Library by the Jewish War Veterans for his service to country and the Jewish community. He was honored by the Federation of Jewish Mens Clubs and received the highest award from the Cantors Assembly, the Samuel Rosenbaum Award for Scholarship and Creativity.
Hazzan Stein has traveled to many different parts of the world to work with Jewish communities in need, including Poland where he directs a program to educate Jewish lay prayer leaders. His work in Uganda has included bringing a sefer Torah, teaching, fund raising, helping farmers and recording the music of the communities there. He also led a delegation to Uganda with the Cantors Assembly to help celebrate 100 years of the Abayudaya and show support for the community.
Mike’s journey has not been a straight line by any means. When he was a young man he was in the original cast of Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway (appearing as Michael Jason, Actors Equity name) as well as two other Broadway shows. He was in the original touring company of Tommy. After his Broadway career, he worked for the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington DC—stayed there, married his wife Kelley and had three children. While in DC he joined The United States Navy Band and worked in a White House support unit and played for four presidents. He retired from the Navy with the Navy Commendation, Navy Achievement and Meritorious Unit Commendation. He wrote a song in support of Desert Shield called “We Are With You” which is in the Greatest American Song Book, Hal Leonard publishing and played on 1,000’s of radio stations and at Military bases world-wide.
In 1999 he was nominated for a Grammy Award for Children’s Music and received a Grammy Certificate for being a solo artist on the Grammy Award winning recording cELLAbration with Pete Seeger and others.
Mike is also a violinist who played violin on recordings for Eva Cassidy, Mary Chapin Carpenter. Tom Paxton and many others. He also was a regular on the Nashville Now Show and appeared on the Grand Ol Opry.
Hazzan Stein also created and still directs a choir for youth and young adults with special needs called Kolot Tikvah, Voices of Hope.
His greatest achievement though is his family—three sons, Jacob, Justin and Jared who are all professionally involved in Jewish community both as cantors, teachers and musicians. And together with their mom and dad are affectionately known as the music group, “The Rolling Steins.”
Rabbi Michael Siegel – Rabbi Mordecai Waxman Rabbinic Leadership Award
A graduate of Hiram College, Rabbi Michael Siegel was ordained in 1982 by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America where he received his Master of Hebrew Letters. Rabbi Siegel came to Anshe Emet in 1982 as Assistant Rabbi and was named Senior Rabbi in 1990.
Rabbi Siegel is a dedicated leader in the Jewish community both locally and nationally. He has served on the Executive Council of the Rabbinical Assembly of America, the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Chancellor’s Rabbinic Cabinet, the Executive Board of MAZON: A Jewish Resource to Hunger and the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. He is a past President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and served as national Co-Chair of the Magen Tzedek Commission. Additionally, Rabbi Siegel helped to form the Hayom Coalition, an organization of synagogues committed to the transformation of institutions, and a re-envisioning of the Conservative Movement. Rabbi Siegel has also been an avid supporter of AIPAC and a leader in the creation of their Synagogue Initiative. Over the years, Rabbi Siegel has represented the synagogue at the White House on numerous occasions including the United States Honorary Delegation commemorating the 60th Anniversary of Israel’s Statehood. In 2015, Rabbi Siegel gave the opening prayer to the House of Representatives.
Rabbi Siegel has also worked hard to bridge the gap between African Americans and Jews in Chicago through outreach to clergy. Recently, he has worked to develop a study group between Rabbis and African American Clergy which has helped to deepen the dialogue and understanding between religious leaders. In addition, Rabbi Siegel has helped to create teen programming between the communities in order to deepen relationships and create partnerships. By both speaking in African American Churches and conducting Hunger Seders between the two communities, Rabbi Siegel is working to change the perceptions and recreate an historic bond. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the BSCO Turn Center.
As, Senior Rabbi, Michael Siegel is committed to the development of an open, caring and spiritual community. He seeks to further the historic role that the Anshe Emet Synagogue has played in Chicago and on the national Jewish scene.
Rabbi Michael Siegel and his wife, Janet have been blessed with four wonderful children: Joseph, Rebecca, Deena and Emma..
Rabbi Gershom Sizomu – Rabbi Benjamin Z. Kreitman International Leadership Award
Rabbi Gershom Sizomu is a Be’chol Lashon Rabbinic Fellow and the spiritual leader of the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda. He is the current leader of the 100-year old Abayudaya community of almost 2,000 Jews living in rural villages in Eastern Uganda. He is the grandson of community elder “Rabbi” Samson and lives near the Moses Synagogue in the village of Nabugogye, which he and others from the community’s early 1980s “Kibbutz movement” built with their own hands. Their goal has been to gather what was left of the Abayudaya community back together after the devastating reign of Idi Amin Dada ended in 1979.
As a visionary leader, Rabbi Sizomu’s dream was to attend a rabbinic seminary to better understand ancient and modern egalitarian Judaism and bring the Ugandan community into mainstream Jewish life. He was awarded a Be’chol Lashon Fellowship in 2003 to attend the five-year Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. He returned to Uganda in 2008 as the first native-born black rabbi in Sub-Saharan Africa and opened a Yeshiva to train African teachers and rabbis to serve their ancient and emerging Jewish communities. In 2016, Rabbi Sizomu became the first Jew ever elected to Uganda’s parliament.
As a member of the Be’chol Lashon Speakers Bureau, he travels to the United States every year as an ambassador for the Abayudaya and other emerging communities in Africa.
Rabbi Gershom is married to Tziporah Naisi Sizomu and together they have five children, Igaal, Dafnah, Naavah, Zivah and Nadav Sizomu.
Gillian Caplin – Official Farewell
Gillian Caplin grew up in Birmingham, England but has lived in North West London since her marriage. She had a long career in broadcasting which started when she travelled to the USA where she worked in television production in New York and Los Angeles for eight years. Returning to England, she continued to work in the media both for the BBC and Independent production companies. She then took a career break to raise her family.
On returning to work, Gillian became the cultural director at the Spiro Institute for Jewish Education and then worked at Norwood Child Care. She has also been involved with the Pascal Theatre Company as well as being on the Executive and National councils of the Women’s International Zionist Organisation.
Gillian was elected to the position of Chair of New North London Synagogue (the largest Masorti community in Europe) followed by a further four years as Chair of the Assembly of Masorti Synagogues (AMS) UK. Gillian also represented the Masorti community on the Jewish Leadership Council’s Commission on Women in Jewish Leadership.
Gillian was instrumental in the creation and development of Masorti Europe, set up to enable and encourage the development of Masorti communities across Europe through mutual support and sharing of skills and became its President.
After completing her term of office as President of Masorti Europe, she was elected the President of Masorti Olami as well as a Vice President of MERCAZ Olami. She also sits on the Board of Governors of JAFI.
Gillian is married to Edward and they have two children and two grandchildren.
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* Contributions of $1,000 and over are eligible to receive complimentary tickets.