Freedman, of the San Fernando Valley, received the award at the Federation/Valley Alliance's 1999 Campaign Volunteer Thank You and 2000 Kick-Off, held at the home of campaign chair Ken Warner and wife Laurel.
"We were looking for a person who had a long history as a volunteer," Warner said. "Someone who has always been there and deserved recognition."
Freedman's service as a volunteer to the Federation/Valley Alliance started 40 years ago, in 1960, after the death of his father, who was also a long-time volunteer solicitor. While going through some of his father's belongings, Freedman came across a stack of address cards his father used to solicit money for the Federation.
"Up until then, my only familiarity [with the Federation] was when the guys from temple came by with their cards," Freedman said. "I told the Campaign what happened, and they said to go out and work them."
Freedman decided to honor his father's memory and help the Jewish community by volunteering to raise money for causes the Federation supports. He said he started going out on Sundays, knocking on people's doors to solicit funds.
"[Since then] my wife and I have been fairly active in the community," Freedman said. "My father and my wife's family were active Zionists. We realized how much help the community needed."
After 40 years of service, Freedman does not plan to quit any time soon. He believes that somebody must take the responsibility to help, so, he says, why not him.
"I will continue to serve the community as long as I can, " said Freedman. "This is a responsibility passed on from our parents. Hopefully, it will rub off on our children and their children."
Freedman said that his experience with the Federation showed him that not many people are interested in helping, but many feel his work takes the place of ten men.
"Hy Freedman is considered a legacy to the Jewish Federation/Valley Alliance," said Campaign Associate Kimberly Feldman. "He has given his time and commitment for 40 years, continuing a family tradition."
Feldman also said that in Freedman's four decades of service he helped to close thousands of gifts and raise millions of dollars for the Federation's United Jewish Fund.
Warner and Campaign Director David Levy choose the winners of the Solicitor of the Year award. This is the third year the Jewish Federation/Valley Alliance awarded this now annual honor for lengthy service.
"David Levy and I brainstorm and figure out who has been [soliciting] for a long time, and we decide who is a candidate," Warner said, adding that the decision process is not a scientific one. "We then have a thank you event [to honor solicitors]. This year 70 people came to my home for a dinner to thank them."
Freedman's two predecessors were also honored because of their dedication and lengthy service. Warner said the first award went to Hy Schatz in honor of his 30 years of work for the Federation and the second, to Sally Golub for her lengthy service.
Hy Freedman Photo by Joann Pecoraro.
JNF Sponsors Angeles Forest Tu B'Shvat Celebration
An estimated 600 children and their families will join the Jewish National Fund (JNF) on Jan. 23 at the Rincon Station in the Angeles National Forest to replant oak trees in celebration of Tu B'Shvat, the celebration of the birth of trees.
The JNF's program, "A Day in the Forest," will feature special guests U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Daniel Glickman; U.S. Forest Service Chief Michael Dombeck; Andy Lipkis, president of TreePeople; Yuval Rotem, consul general of Israel; and Carl Pope, executive director of Sierra Club.
The Tu B'Shvat Seder ceremony starts at 12 p.m. and is followed by a tree planting ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Pre-registration is requested and all funds raised in excess of program costs will be used for afforestation projects in the U.S. and Israel.
To register for JNF's "A Day in the Forest" or get more information, call (323) 964-1400. -- Adam Wills, Associate Editor