Jay Feinberg, founder of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, has been tapped as the Jewish Community Hero.
The announcement was made Tuesday in New Orleans at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, which sponsored the online competition.
A panel of judges selected Feinberg, 42, of Boca Raton, Fla., from among five finalists for the $25,000 Jewish Federations grant awarded to the winner. More than 300,000 people cast online votes to determine the 20 semifinalists; the panel whittled the list to five before choosing Feinberg.
The other finalists – Mordechai Tokarsky, Dmitriy Salita, Stephen Kutner, and Zvi Gluck – will receive $1,000 Jewish Federations grants.
Candidates were nominated for their exceptional qualities and commitment in line with the mission of Jewish Federations, strengthening the Jewish community, and the ideals of tikkun olam, or repair of the world.
Feinberg founded Gift of Life in 1991 to search for a bone marrow donor after being diagnosed with leukemia, and found his match in 1995. He has developed the organization into a major public registry for bone marrow, blood stem cell, and umbilical cord blood.
Gift of Life is a world leader in its field, and has facilitated many life-saving transplants, particularly among those stricken with leukemia and lymphoma.
This was the second Jewish Community Hero campaign sponsored by Jewish Federations.