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Alan Brown is a Mensch: True—And It Even Comes with Award
To be called a mensch is the highest praise, and Alan Brown of Cincinnati was recently praised in this way. In front of an audience of over 200 gathered for their Sustainers Event, the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati recently honored him with the Mesel Wieder Mensch Award.
Bob Brant, the award presenter, defined mensch as one “who quietly leads and gets things done.” Asked how he himself defines it, Brown said, “I think of a kindly and caring person who is trying to do good for the world, one small step at a time. Someone who is generous with their time and energy.”
The award was established by Stanley Chesley and Richard Shen, who said they wanted it to honor those in Cincinnati’s Jewish community like their friend Mesel Wieder, who exemplified the meaning of the word mensch. Wieder survived the Holocaust in Ukraine. He was extremely involved in Adath Israel and showed his dedication to education through volunteering for Rockwern Academy’s L’dor V’dor program. Wieder frequently attended Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education programs, and was known to burst into a rousing rendition of “God Bless America.” In 2010, Mesel Wieder passed away at the age of 96.
Asked how he felt upon hearing he’d won, Brown said, “Elated and humbled.”
Brown’s nomination was submitted by both Congregation Beth Adam and Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati (JCGC). The former Executive Director of JCGC, David Hoguet, said, “Alan is a very thoughtful volunteer, always asking the right questions; he devotes a lot of his personal and professional time to JCGC projects and doesn’t seek recognition for it.” In addition to being the Chair-Elect of the JCGC Board, Brown chairs the marketing committee and serves on its executive committee.
Alan Brown has also been volunteering for over 20 years at Beth Adam Congregation. Brown has served on multiple committees at Beth Adam, including as Create Your Jewish Legacy chair, as board member for nine years, and a two-year position as congregation president. Rabbi Robert Barr of Beth Adam said that Brown gives generously of his time and talents whenever asked. “Alan is a tremendous asset to Congregation Beth Adam and our community. He exemplifies the word mensch,” said Rabbi Barr.
Brown has also served on numerous committees throughout the community, including on the board of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. Brown is active in the Israeli Scouts program through the Jewish Federation’s Partnership2Gether program, hosting scouts and coordinating their experience in Cincinnati. He also serves on the Jewish Community Relations Council board.
Asked afterward what winning the award meant to him, Alan Brown said, “A validation that I’m doing some good for the world. I firmly believe that we should always be contributing to the greater good in whatever small or large ways we can.”
Asked what he would say to young people who also want to “lead quietly and get things done,” Brown answered simply, “Don’t be reluctant to make commitments and then follow through on those commitments.”
Partnership2Gether and Create Your Jewish Legacy are just two of over fifty programs and agencies funded in part by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.
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