JEF honoring Cahn family, welcoming home Miss Massachusetts

The Cahn family (left) will be honored at the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana’s annual event, Oct. 6 at the Hilton Hotel Riverside. JEF is combining its two major events of the year, and the keynote speaker will be someone with roots in the New Orleans Jewish community.

The combined Young Family Lecture and Annual Event will start at 5:30 p.m. Loren Galler Rabinowitz will be the keynote speaker. She is the granddaughter of the late Eva and Henry Galler, Holocaust survivors who had lived in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina. She is the daughter of Nina and Burton Rabinowitz. Her mother and two aunts will be in attendance.

Rabinowitz was selected one of the “40 under 40” in the United States by the Forward. Now a student at Columbia Medical School, Rabinowitz was crowned Miss Massachusetts in 2010 three weeks after graduating from Harvard, and won the talent portion of Miss America with her classical piano performance. She gave the closing remarks at the annual fundraising dinner of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2011.

She has also won bronze medals in ice skating in national and international competitions, and has also been recognized for her fundraising abilities. She will speak on “Surviving, Thriving and Making a Difference.”

The Tzedakah Award will be presented to the Cahn family — Vivian and Richard Cahn, Marie and Jimmy Cahn, and Adele Cahn. They will be honored for a four-generation commitment to the community. A small fund established by the grandparents of Jimmy and Richard Cahn decades ago has grown into “a substantial charitable entity,” and the Cahns hope their story inspires others to open a fund and start a relationship with JEF.

Adele Cahn has underwritten the Jewish Family Service “Catch a Cab” service since its beginning. Richard Cahn is a vice president of JEF, and Vivian Cahn has been a campaign co-chair for the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. They have a donor advised fund at JEF.

Marie and Jimmy Cahn have been long-time supporters of Jewish Children’s Regional Service, and he chairs the JCRS endowment committee.

JEF Executive Director Sandy Levy said “The Cahn Family has been in the forefront of philanthropy and volunteerism in our Jewish community. The late June and Jules Cahn and the late Emile Cahn, Adele’s husband, were instrumental in their family’s philanthropy.”

Larry Lehmann will receive the Young Family Award for Professional Excellence. He has been on the Board of JEF for several years and is currently the chair of the JEF legal committee.

A graduate of Loyola University and Tulane Law School, Lehmann is a board certified specialist in estate planning, administration and taxation. He practices law with the firm of Lehmann, Norman and Lehmann founded by his father, Rene, and his grandfather, Herman Midlo. His father is a past recipient of this award and will make the presentation at the Oct. 6 event.

Lehmann has served as president of JCRS and New Orleans Hillel, and he has chaired the JEF Professional Advisors Committee.

The Young Family Award is given to an attorney, accountant, financial planner, investment advisor, insurance professional, banker or other consultant for outstanding professional service.

Alan Franco will receive the Jewish Federations of North America Endowment Achievement Award for his outstanding lay leadership in promoting the creation and growth of endowment funds.

He has been active in numerous local Jewish organizations, most recently serving as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. Levy said his “dedication to our local Jewish community, to our national Jewish community and to Israel is extraordinary by any measure.”

A hallmark of Franco’s presidency has been an emphasis on endowments as a way to secure the New Orleans Jewish community’s future.

The Helen A. Mervis Jewish Community Professional Award will be presented to Rabbi Yonah Schiller. As the executive director of Tulane Hillel, Schiller completed a successful $4.3 million capital campaign and oversaw the completion of the new state-of-the-art Mintz Center for Jewish Life at Tulane. Under his leadership, Hillel has doubled its operations budget and quadrupled student participation, making Tulane Hillel a model for other Hillels across the country. He is also an adjunct professor at Tulane University and was awarded the 2013 Mortar Board Excellence in Teaching Award for the most outstanding non-tenured professor at Tulane University.

Melinda Mintz, who is chairing the event, said “this promises to be a very special evening for our community.” Reservations are due by Oct. 2. Tickets are $50 for the kosher-style dairy supper, with kosher meals available on request. A reception with cash bar starts at 5:30 p.m. with the event at 6 p.m.