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Jewish Agency honors renowned philanthropist Jane Sherman with inaugural leadership award

Sherman receives the Max M. Fisher Award, which will be awarded annually to those demonstrating leadership, philanthropy and who embody his legacy.

Jane Sherman receiving the inaugural Max M. Fisher Award. Credit: Josh Schwartz.
Jane Sherman receiving the inaugural Max M. Fisher Award. Credit: Josh Schwartz.

The Jewish Agency for Israel’s North American Council on Sunday honored trailblazing philanthropist Jane F. Sherman with the inaugural Max M. Fisher Award in recognition of her 50 years of deep support for Israel and Jewish life around the world, youth at risk, Israel experiences, and the next generation of Jewish leaders.

Sherman was a member of the Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency for more than 25 years; is currently a member of The Jewish Agency Executive; has chaired the organization’s Israel Department and its Youth Aliyah and Allocations committees; was the founding Chair of the Young Women’s Leadership Cabinet and a founder of the Israeli Forum; and has spearheaded various new initiatives, including the Youth Futures and Heartbeats programs. She has also held numerous top leadership roles in the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, including Women’s Campaign Chair and President, and Vice President of the Federation. Sherman and her husband, Larry, are intimately involved in Fisher Flight, a program to educate and train future Jewish leaders.

The new leadership award is named after Sherman’s father — the esteemed late philanthropist and American Jewish leader, Max M. Fisher, who served as founding Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Agency. It will be awarded annually to prominent philanthropists in the Jewish world who embody his legacy and contribute exceptionally to the strengthening of the State of Israel.

“I am very honored to be receiving the inaugural Max M. Fisher award,” Sherman said. “My father, the late Max Fisher, had more influence on my life than anyone and I am proud to receive this leadership award named for him. Working with The Jewish Agency to strengthen Israel and Israelis has been my life’s passion and I am so pleased to share that love and passion with my family and friends.”

Max M. Fisher was highly influential in shaping world Jewry’s role in the establishment of the State of Israel, mobilizing support for the waves of Aliyah (immigration to Israel) from the former Soviet Union and for major Aliyah operations from Ethiopia. In the 1970s, he intimately shaped The Jewish Agency into the organization it is today.

“In 1970, Max Fisher embarked on a process to reconstitute The Jewish Agency,” Chairman of The Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors Mark Wilf said at the event honoring Sherman, held at the Knollwood Country Club in West Bloomfield, Michigan. “This was not a small task and took no small amount of chutzpah, to change a structure that had been created by David Ben-Gurion. But he was right. He wanted to ensure that the voices of Diaspora Jews would have the same weight as the voices of the ‘Zionists’ or the Jews that lived in Israel. He stood up in front of the plenary at The Jewish Agency and told everyone there, ‘We are all Zionists.’ And from that day, the voice of Jews living around the world has been represented at The Jewish Agency.”

Jane Sherman continued her father’s legacy, working for the past five decades to strengthen the State of Israel and to ensure that world Jewry prospers. She has contributed significantly to the empowerment of youth at risk in Israel; and has invested in Jewish education and nurturing the next generation of Jewish leaders.

“Jane Sherman joined the Board of the Jewish Agency and has spent every day since strengthening the work of The Jewish Agency in Israel and around the world,” Wilf said. “For 40 years, Jane has been coming to Israel as an active board member to engage, to learn, to fight, to advocate, and to make sure that her voice on behalf of klal yisrael was heard.”

Proceeds from Sunday’s event, attended by Jewish Agency Chairman Maj. Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog, will support The Jewish Agency’s efforts to bring young Jews to Israel on long-term immersive programs through Masa Israel Journey and the long-term absorption of Ethiopian Jews in Israel.

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