Metaphorically speaking, Bernie Newman is a bridge builder.
A longtime member of Congregation Beth Shalom in Naperville, Newman, 56, said one of his main focuses is promoting interfaith understanding in the local community. Each year, he hosts about 25 groups from schools, colleges and other religious faiths that come to the synagogue to learn more about Judaism. He also takes Jewish students to other religious institutions including the Islamic Center of Naperville so they can learn more about other faiths as well.
Newman gives lectures at churches and colleges and represents the Jewish community in interfaith panel discussions. He is a member of the Naperville Interfaith Leaders Association which meets monthly to discuss common issues of concern.
The DuPage-Will Hadassah, a chapter of the international women’s Zionist organization, has named Newman its 2011 “Person of Valor,” an annual award given to someone who has contributed time and effort to Hadassah, the Jewish community and the community at large. Newman, who is an associate life member of Hadassah, is one of the first men to receive the honor from the local group. READ MORE