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Human rights activist Hillel C. Neuer to keynote Sept. 15 Jewish Federation Annual Meeting

Hillel C. Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, a human rights non-governmental organization in Geneva, will keynote the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, set for Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Drive.

Annual Meeting Pics image
Left: David T. Brown will be honored with the Julius Rosenwald Memorial Award. Right: Hillel C. Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, will keynote the Annual Meeting.

Hillel C. Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, a human rights non-governmental organization in Geneva, will keynote the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, set for Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Drive.

Neuer's group monitors United Nations activities, fights anti-Israel bias, and promotes human rights. His "banned speech" admonishing the U.N. Human Rights Council's condemnation of Israel has become the most-viewed NGO speech in U.N. history. He has testified before the U.N. and the U.S. Congress, intervening for causes that include rape victims of Darfur, political prisoners in Cuba, and peace in the Middle East.

The Federation's 116th Annual Meeting also will feature the State of the Federation address by President Steven B. Nasatir, and the presentation of several major leadership awards.

Foremost among them will be the organization's highest honor, the Julius Rosenwald Memorial Award, which this year goes to David T. Brown . The award, named for the iconic Chicago business leader and philanthropist of the early 1900s, is presented each year to an individual who has demonstrated a lifetime of outstanding dedication and service to the Jewish community.

Brown, a former Federation Board Chairman, currently chairs the Jewish United Fund's Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish Federations of North America's Global Operations: Israel and Overseas Council. He has worked tirelessly for Jewish issues on the local, national and international levels, serving in leadership roles for numerous organizations. In 1993, he received the Federation's Davis, Gidwitz & Glasser Young Leadership Award, and he also has been honored by the American Jewish Congress, SHALVA and other groups for his outstanding efforts on behalf of the Jewish people. Brown is an attorney and chairman of the firm Much Shelist.

Lindsey Paige Markus and Brandon C. Prosansky will receive this year's Davis, Gidwitz & Glasser Young Leadership Award, presented to volunteers who have demonstrated exemplary dedication and have made significant contributions to Chicago's Jewish community.

Markus, 39, the incoming chair of JUF's Lawyers Division, currently serves on the JUF Professional Advisory and Legacies and Endowments committees. She served on JUF's Young Leadership Division Board of Directors, and was a member of the YLD Executive Committee and a past chair of the JUF Standard Club event. She was in the second cohort of the Jewish Leaders Institute, and is finishing her first year as a member of the National Young Leadership Cabinet. She also serves on committees and has chaired events for the Standard Club, Chuhak & Tecson's Women Helping Women Initiative, and other nonprofit organizations. Markus is a principal with the law firm of Chuhak & Tecson, P.C., and heads its Estate Planning group. She was named to the first cohort of the YLD/Oy!Chicago "36 Under 36" list.

Prosansky, 37, joined the YLD Board in 2012. He served as YLD Board President in 2014; as YLD Campaign Vice Chair in 2013; and as an ex-officio member of the JUF/Federation Board. He is a past chair and Campaign co-chair of JUF's Young Lawyers Group, and has served on the event committee for JUF's Lawyers & Government Agencies Dinner, chairing it in 2009 and 2010. He also has served on the Israel & Overseas Commission. Prosansky was in the second cohort of the Jewish Leaders Institute, and is currently a member of the National Young Leadership Cabinet. In 2012, he was named to the YLD/Oy!Chicago annual "36 Under 36" list.

As part of the Davis, Gidwitz & Glasser Award, the honorees are given the opportunity to attend the annual General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, which this year takes place in Washington, D.C., in November.

Two exceptional young professionals who have shown outstanding performance in their work at a Jewish agency in the Chicago area will receive the Samuel A. Goldsmith Award, now in its 28th year. This year's award will be presented to Caroline Musin Berkowitz and Erez Cohen .

Musin Berkowitz, 38, is the Director of Volunteers and Outreach at The ARK, recruiting, screening, placing and retaining over 2,000 volunteers. She oversees The ARK's food pantry and has streamlined redundancies and introduced multiple technology resources to increase the quality of communication with volunteers, staff and clients. She helped create, fund and implement volunteer opportunities specifically designed for families with young children. She works closely with and formally and informally mentors future leaders and interns according to their needs and abilities. 

Cohen, 33, is Executive Director of Illini Hillel at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he manages staff and 25 student interns to engage the 3,500 Jewish students on the campus. He has implemented Hillel International's Circle of Educational Excellence program to strategically meet the needs of students from a wide variety of Jewish backgrounds and experiences, and is a core team member of the Hillel International Measuring Excellence program that researches and defines the metrics of success for the Hillel movement. He helped initiate Illini Hillel's Café Sababa, a regular kosher restaurant-style lunch service, which sold 3,000 meals during its first semester. He also spearheaded a five-year strategic planning process with the Illini Hillel board, and reestablished University of Illinois Jewish alumni events in Chicago.  

The Federation's Annual Meeting begins with a business meeting at 10 a.m., followed by a noon luncheon.

The business meeting, open to all Federation members, will feature the election of directors, and presentations to outgoing board members and the recipients of the young leadership awards.

The lunch session will feature Neuer's speech, the annual State of the Federation report, and presentation of the Rosenwald Award to Brown. 

Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago

116th Annual Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016 - 12 Elul 5776

Hyatt Regency Chicago - 151 E. Wacker Drive

10 a.m. Business Meeting

Noon Luncheon Meeting (Kosher dietary laws observed)

For information, call (312) 444-2099 or email

Register online:

Lunch: $40 per person/$20 for senior citizens, rabbis, Jewish communal professionals, and students

There will be no solicitation of funds.

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