Honoring Herbert Kohn

August 26, 2020

Honoring Herbert Kohn

Herbert Kohn left a lasting impact on Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS). His significant involvement with JF&CS epitomized his commitment to making the world a better place.

Herbert served JF&CS as Board President twice, and also served as President of the Association of Jewish Family & Children Services — a national organization.

"Herbert embodied everything one would want in a community leader. He was compassionate, dedicated, hard-working and tireless in his efforts to bring people and organizations together,” said Amy Neuman, Program Manager of Holocaust Survivor Services at JF&CS.

Even after completing his service on the JF&CS board, it was common for Herbert — in his 80's — to frequently attend board meetings and share his perspective. According to John Perlman, former JF&CS President, “When he had something to say during the meeting, the entire room would get quiet and pay attention. It was a testament to our desire to have him around that once he could no longer drive at night, the CEO would often drive over to pick him up and bring him home after the meeting.” There is an annual award in Herbert's name — the Herbert Kohn Meritorious Service Award — that John proudly received one year. Herbert had a unique ability to inspire others for great service.

Terri Bonoff, CEO of JF&CS, comments, “Watching Ellen Chalef, this year’s recipient of the award, receive the honor with such heart-felt emotion connected me to the beautiful legacy of Herbert Kohn. While I did not get to meet him personally, I have heard the stories and understand his profound impact on all who have been served by JF&CS.”

Mindy Wertheimer, former JF&CS President and Herbert Kohn Award recipient, describes Herbert’s influence at JF&CS perfectly when she says, “Herbert will always remain the ultimate role model for embodying the mission and work of JF&CS. He tirelessly and generously served JF&CS through his words and actions. He taught all of us what great leadership looks like through his dedication, kindness, and love for our community."

According to Gary Miller, former CEO of JF&CS:

“Herbert Kohn was a true national treasurer. Herbert escaped the Nazis and the Holocaust and went back at 18 years old to join the army and fight the Nazis. Herbert was a servant leader who dedicated his life to human causes and , 'in his words, to those who cannot speak for themselves'. He led by example and exhorted others to follow their passion, committing to good deeds and otherwise getting involved. He dedicated his life to teaching about the holocaust and presented the truths to thousands of school aged children and adults. He wanted results and assumed leadership roles in synagogue life, JF& CS, the William Breman Museum, Atlanta’s Housing Authority to name just a few organizations, so that he could personally take responsibility and move people to create a better world. Herbert will be missed but his lessons and courage will always live on in the hearts of those he touched.”