Miriam and Bernard Yenkin
Married in 1957, Miriam Schottenstein Yenkin and Bernard Yenkin, both jointly and individually, have taken leadership roles in humanitarian, educational, and cultural causes, for more than six decades, not only in their home community of Columbus, Ohio, but more broadly in the international Jewish community.
Starting in 1999, they also became part of Reichman University family, and supporters of the American Friends of the University. In 2000 the Yenkin Campus at Reichman University was dedicated in recognition of their support. And, at the 2015 pre-commencement ceremonies, Reichman University named Miriam and Bernie jointly as Honorary Fellows.
Theirs is a long history of involvement. Looking back to the early 1960’s, Miriam was at the forefront of the National Young Leadership Committee of the Council of Jewish Federations (CJF) movement, which was then in its formative stage. Bernie was a member of the first United Jewish Appeal (UJA) National Young Leadership Cabinet. Miriam went on to become both a national Vice-President of the CJF and a National Vice-Chair of UJA, making numerous trips to Israel and Eastern Europe during the exciting and challenging periods of freeing Russian Jewry and the rescue of the Jewish Ethiopian community. Bernie, who accompanied her on many of these trips, served as a National Officer of the Jewish Education Service of North America during the emergence of Jewish Identity as a focal point for the American Jewish community.
Seeing the need for action, both took early leadership roles in promoting the support for Jewish Education and Identity, leading initiatives and chairing school boards. Miriam chaired a local initiative to fund Jewish Identity programs that served as a model for other communities. Bernie was Board President of the first Jewish day school in Columbus, and Founding Chair of a new approach to afternoon Hebrew education. Bernie and Miriam both served at separate times as Board Chair of the Columbus Jewish Federation. Miriam was the first woman in the Federation’s history elected to serve in that top leadership position.
In the broader community, Miriam was a leader in the Greater Columbus Arts Council during a period of great expansion of the Arts, while Bernie was a founder and later Board President of an award-winning chamber orchestra. For their vision and leadership, they have been honored jointly by the Columbus Torah Academy, Columbus Jewish Day School, Columbus Jewish Federation, and the City of Columbus.