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Jewish American Heritage Month

KPBS Celebrates Diversity

Gracia Molina Enriquez de Pick - Hispanic Heritage Honoree

Every year, KPBS recognizes heroes in San Diego's diverse communities. It's part of our ongoing commitment to diversity, and made possible through our long-standing partnership with Union Bank.

Nominate a Hero Now

Local Heroes Helene Bortz and Myrice Goldberg ‘Give Good’

Jewish American Heritage Month 2014 Honorees

May 2
By Monica Medina
Tease photo

Helene Bortz has just arrived. She’s in high spirits, exuding a joie de vivre and a sense of purpose, the kind that undoubtedly got her to where she is today. As she warmly greets her business partner of five years, Myrice Goldberg, a woman who seems reserved and low key in comparison, one can soon see how well they complement each other.

Local Hero Ed Samiljan Creates Jewish Continuity through Summer Camp

Jewish American Heritage Month 2014 Honoree

May 1
By Monica Medina
Tease photo

Amidst the towering, aromatic pines of the San Bernardino National Forest is Camp Mountain Chai. Like most summer camps, it offers typical activities such as swimming, crafts and sing-alongs. It’s an experience that each summer draws hundreds of San Diego children, and in the process, they’re getting something else: a cultural identity.

Local Hero Sy Brenner Advocates for Veterans

Jewish American Heritage Month 2013 Honoree

May 1
By Monica Medina
Tease photo

For years, Sy Brenner kept it bottled inside, blocking it out of his memory while moving on with his life. After all, the war was over, and he was no longer being held captive.

Yale Strom, A Champion for Klezmer

Jewish Heritage Month 2013 Honoree

May 1
By Monica Medina
Tease photo

Listen to klezmer music and it will harken you back to another time. Rich with tradition, the haunting melodies are a testament to the Jewish people and all they’ve endured throughout the course of history. To me, klezmer has the capacity to reach into our hearts and stir us to feel its beauty and soul.

Gussie Zaks

Jewish Heritage Month: 2012 Honoree

May 10
Tease photo

As a Holocaust survivor, Ms. Zaks speaks about the atrocities of hate crimes and racial and religious discrimination in the U.S. and the world. Ms. Zaks also speaks to schools and various organizations to help others learn about the Holocaust. She inspires young men and women to make a positive difference in their own and others’ lives. She has been recognized by many organizations including the Board of Education of San Diego City Schools, and she received the Channel 10 Leadership Award-2000.

Jill Spitzer

Jewish Heritage Month: 2012 Honoree

May 10
Tease photo

In 1984, Jill Borg Spitzer started at Jewish Family Service when the agency had a staff of 20, an annual budget of $500,000 and it focused primarily on family counseling. But, as CEO for the past 25 years, Ms. Spitzer began focusing on emerging social issues that were impacting the community including domestic violence, mentoring young boys and girls, senior centers and hunger. She holds a Masters degree from Columbia, and is a licensed clinical social worker. She is also a member of the Senior Women’s Basketball Association in San Diego.

Jackie Gmach

Jewish History Month: 2011 Honoree

May 3

Jackie Gmach is the community outreach coordinator for San Diego State University's Initiative for Moral Courage (IMC). The new interdisciplinary think-tank focuses on the critical study, promotion and recognition of moral courage through a mentoring project that brings together academics, world leaders and students.

Dr. Ellen Beck

Jewish Heritage Month: 2010 Honoree

April 14

Dr. Ellen Beck is founder of the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project (SRFCP), which serves more than 2,000 low-income patients each year.

Marjory Kaplan

Jewish Heritage Month: 2010 Honoree

April 14

Marjory Kaplan is president and chief executive officer of the Jewish Community Foundation (JCF) and holder of the Miriam and Jerome Katzin Presidential Chair.