Thank you for your interest in the Hampton Roads Jewish Community Hero Awards! Voting has closed for this year.

This year’s winner will be announced at the UJFT Annual Campaign Kick Off on September 27, 2012.

Thank you again for helping us celebrate our communities Heroes!

Your 2012 Jewish Hero Nominees are:


1158 Dana Cohen

Honest, forthcoming, and approachable, Dana Cohen has impacted the lives of thousands. A survivor of the Holocaust, Dana is a member of the Holocaust Commission Speakers’ Bureau.

She gladly shares the story of her difficult past, as well as her hope for the future, with students, the military and community groups, among others. Dana’s goal is to educate audiences, not only about the experiences that she and her late mother endured during WWII, but also to educate people in general about the true events of the Holocaust and the effects still felt in today’s world.  Dana wants people to realize that man’s inhumanity to man should neither occur nor be tolerated.

Two years ago, Dana agreed to share her story on film. Along with three other members of the Speakers’ Bureau, Dana’s story is included in the Holocaust Commission’s What We Carry documentary and educational program. The What We Carry program, which premiered in November 2011, ensures that for years to come thousands more can continue to hear Dana’s message.

Dana is also a member of the Community Relations Council and is an active participant in many Jewish community events.

1141 Morris Elstein

Taking on the role of Temple President can be a challenge in the best of times; Morris Elstein not only took on that role at Temple Emanuel, but kept it, in what have been undeniably difficult personal and organizational times.

In his third year as president of the conservative synagogue in Virginia Beach, Morris is looked upon by the temple’s congregants as the epitome of inspiration. During 2010-11, his wife Sharon, was diagnosed with leukemia.  After fighting a long and courageous battle, Sharon passed away on August 15, 2011.  During Sharon’s illness, surgeries, and visits to Johns Hopkins, Morris never missed a service, event, holiday, or board meeting.
Add to all of the regular duties of the Temple president, Morris also headed the search for a new rabbi. A gynecologist who is a solo practitioner, Morris is as committed to his patients as he is to everything else. 

Those who know Morris find it remarkable the number of figurative yarmulkes he wears, and his endless devotion to the synagogue as well as to the community. People say they are amazed that through all of the challenges Morris was faced with, when many others would have resigned with no questions asked, the Temple was never forgotten or placed on the back burner. Morris makes it his daily mitzvah to make others feel good, be it a patient, or a Temple Emanuel member, or anyone he meets.

1142 Nancy Metheny

Nancy Metheny is a mensch for all seasons, all days, and all creatures.  During the week, Nancy is Temple Israel’s secretary, helping in a multitude of ways, and that help continues well into the weekend—every weekend.  On most Shabbats, Nancy drives up to four seniors from the Talbot Park on Granby retirement community to synagogue for services and then back home.

Sunday is Nancy’s time for animals.  As a dedicated and regular Sunday morning volunteer at the Norfolk Zoo, Nancy helps to clean habitats, clear debris, maintain the enclosures and feed the animals.  Even if the zoo closes for bad weather, Nancy is there.  After all, the animals still need to be taken care of.

Nancy is the women’s chair of Temple Israel’s chevra kadisha, preparing the deceased for burial, fulfilling her obligations loyally but unobtrusively, performing this mitzvah – and final act of kindness – for both members and non-members.
As Rabbi Michael Panitz says, “If you were a spider in anyone’s house, you’d want to be in Nancy Metheny’s house.  If she found you, she would lovingly take you outside and give you a second chance.”

Nancy’s kindness to other living beings seems to know no end.  She is a loving friend to many families and their children, whom she treats as her own.  Nancy has attended countless basketball games, dance competitions, school programs and graduations just so kids would know there was one more person there cheering for them. Nancy’s admirers, observing her sensitivity to and undiscriminating concern for people and animals, large and small, are inspired to be more like her.

1143 Miriam Seeherman

Through decades of quiet involvement—mostly behind the scenes—in the Hampton Roads Jewish community, Miriam Seeherman has acquired the skills of a respected diplomat. She listens, she engages, she recognizes differences, she appreciates dedication and determination, and through it all, she serves as an advocate and ombudsman for the Jewish people.

Currently, Miriam is the chairperson of the Community Relations Council, striving to educate the community on issues impacting the rights of Jews locally, in the United States, in Israel and around the world.

Miriam is a well-respected person who has the best interests of all parties at heart, and who provides sincere and strong guidance, culled over years of experience serving on committees, chairing, or presiding over: the United Way, the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Service, the Feldman String Quartet, the Anti-Defamation League and Beth Sholom Home.  With the CRC, Miriam has been instrumental in the realignment of the group into one that is engaging more people in programming, and in opportunities to be involved and serve.  

Miriam is also a frequent presence at events in both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities, and is an ardent supporter of cultural, educational, and women’s programming. 

Thank you for your interest in the Hampton Roads Community Jewish Hero. Voting has closed.
Find out who won at the Annual Campaign Kick-Off on September 27, 2012.

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