Birmingham’s annual Community Event moved up to June 11

Jesse Unkenholz will receive the
Joanie Plous Bayer Young Leadership Award

Until he retires as executive director of the Birmingham Jewish Federation at the end of December, Richard Friedman will be the longest-tenured Federation executive director in the country, having served in that role since 1981.

For his final Annual Campaign, three long-time community leaders have stepped forward as co-chairs, Jimmy Filler, Harold Ripps and Jon Kimerling.

During the 2018 campaign solicitation, Filler, a past campaign chair, told Friedman that he wanted to lead the 2019 campaign because “It’s your last campaign and I want to do it with you.” Filler then asked Ripps to join him.

“The campaign is very important and the funds we raise enrich many lives in Birmingham, Israel and around the world,” Ripps said, and since it is Friedman’s last campaign “I want to help Jimmy make it successful and memorable.”

Kimerling was then recruited. He and wife Sheryl led the 2008 and 2009 campaigns, and he said “it is essential that this year’s campaign is the strongest one ever.”

Kimerling added that he is committed “to working with Jimmy and Harold to insure Richard’s legacy and maintain the strength of our Federation’s role in Birmingham, nationally, in Israel and overseas.”

As part of the campaign, the annual Birmingham Jewish Community Event has been moved up from the fall. On June 11, the Federation, Birmingham Jewish Foundation and Israel Bonds will present their annual awards at the Levite Jewish Community Center. There will be a reception at 5 p.m. and the program at 5:30 p.m.

Part of the program will be “Celebrating Our Vision for Jewish Birmingham,” an update on Jewish Birmingham United, a collaborative community planning process to reinvent the structure of Birmingham’s Jewish community. Jesse Unkenholz, who is co-chairing the initiative with Donald Hess, will be presented with the Joanie Plous Bayer Young Leadership Award.

Susan Greene will be presented with the Susan J. Goldberg Distinguished Volunteer Award.

The Foundation will present the N.E. Miles Lifetime Achievement Award to Harold Apolinsky, and Israel Bonds will honor Allan and Ilene Wilensky.

The Federation and Foundation officers and board will also be installed.