It’s that time of year, when summer fades away, the leaves begin to turn, and Federation’s Fred M. Butzel Award is bestowed to an outstanding communal leader. This year’s well-deserved honor goes to longtime activist Dr. Richard Krugel,  Board Chair of The Jewish Fund and new President of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

About the Butzel Award

The award dates back to 1951, when a special committee – comprised of the presidents of Federation’s member agencies, the president of the Detroit Service Group, the president of the Women’s Division and the chairman of the Federation Executive Committee – was formed to identify an individual that encompassed four factors:

  • Length of service to the Jewish community
  • Service to the total Jewish community as well as its constituent parts
  • Service as a representative of the Jewish community in the organized general community
  • Character and integrity in communal affairs

The first recipient of the Butzel Award, unanimously chosen, was Julian Krolik. Praised for his character, integrity, outstanding communal service and leadership, Krolik served as president of the Jewish Welfare Federation, United Jewish Charities, and the North End Clinic.

The Butzel Award Committee grew as past recipients were added, as did the list of potential winners. As it was remarked in nearly every year’s meeting minutes, “…the community was fortunate as there were a large number of valid candidates among whom a selection could be made.”

Fun Facts about the Butzel

  • The award is named in memory of Fred M. Butzel (1877-1948) who was known as the Dean of Detroit Jewry.  To learn more about Fred, come visit the Leonard N. Simons Jewish Community Archives on the third floor of the Max M. Fisher Federation Building or browse online.
  • The first woman to win the Butzel award was Dora Ehrlich (or Mrs. Joseph Ehrlich as she was known in those days). Nominated annually since 1952, she finally received the honor in 1955. Among her many contributions to the Jewish community, Dora was the only woman ever to hold the position of President of the Detroit Service Group, and was the Founding President of the Women’s Division of Federation.
  • The first combined Butzel Award was given in 1967 to brothers Tom and Abraham Borman because the committee deemed that the Bormans’ service to the community overlapped and supplemented one another in a unique way. It was decided to list Tom first on the award because he was the older of the two.
  • The first husband and wife duo to win (in different years) was Henry Wineman (honored in 1952) and Gertrude Wineman (honored in 1962).
  • Since its inception (including this year), 55 men and 14 women have received the Butzel Award. Five combined awards have been given.
The Butzel Award will be presented at the combined Annual Meeting of the Jewish Federation and United Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit on October 1, 2014, 7 p.m. at the Berman Center for Performing Arts, 6600 W. Maple Road in West Bloomfield.
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