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Federation welcomes longtime volunteer Kris MacDonald as its new President

The Minneapolis Jewish Federation is pleased to welcome Kris MacDonald as its new President. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, MacDonald has lived in Minneapolis since 1980 and has been involved with Federation for more than 20 years. She is one of a few past Campaign Chairs in our community to serve a two-year term, a commitment she took on for the 2004 and 2005 Annual Campaigns.

“My passion is, and has always been, for the Annual Campaign and endowments,” MacDonald explained. “My goal in this new role is to really concentrate on that as a focal point.”

With a strong history in Women’s Philanthropy, MacDonald has served in many positions, including as Women’s Division Campaign Chair. She was also a founding board member of the Business & Professional Women’s Division, and is the immediate past president of the Women’s Endowment Fund. 

MacDonald has served on the United Jewish Communities (UJC) National Young Leadership Cabinet and is a graduate of the Harry Kay Leadership Program. She is a past board member at the Sabes Jewish Community Center and Temple Israel. MacDonald currently sits on the on the National Women’s Philanthropy Board of UJC and on the board of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.

"Federation is a major way I identify Jewishly in my life,” notes the incoming President. “My relationships with people in our community, the work we do as an organization and the connections with those we are helping locally and overseas have contributed hugely to how I identify with being Jewish."


2008 Award Recipients


Elliot Kaplan

Amos S. Deinard Award for Distinguished Leadership

Elliot Kaplan, a longtime volunteer and supporter of the Minneapolis Jewish community, is being recognized with the Amos S. Deinard Award for Distinguished Leadership, an honor bestowed annually to an outstanding community member who has made significant contributions to the Minneapolis Jewish and general communities.

An active volunteer for more than three decades, Kaplan has made a huge impact on many organizations.  At the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, Kaplan served as co-chair, along with his wife Eloise, of the Federation Annual Campaign, raising $14.9 million. He also served as co-chair of the highly successful Minneapolis Jewish Community Capital Campaign (CCC) which secured more than $45 million. Through a generous gift to the CCC, Kaplan and his wife supported the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, creating the Eloise and Elliot Kaplan Family Jewish History Center. Kaplan is a past president of Temple Israel and has served on the Board of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

In the general community, Kaplan has taken on several different roles including as an officer and director of Best Buy Co, Inc, and as Chairman and an owner of the Bank of Naples. Other organizations he’s been involved with include the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota Historical Society, the Juvenile Diabetes Association, the Pacer Center, and current Chair of the University of Minnesota Foundation, to name just a few.

Elliot and Eloise have also endowed an impressive Judaica collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

A partner with Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi L.L.P, he has continuously been listed in The Best Lawyers in America for over 20 years.



Rabbi Avraham Ettedgui

Leon and Sylvia Sorkin Jewish Communal Professional Achievement Award

For more than 40 years, Rabbi Avraham Ettedgui has been a pillar in the Minneapolis Jewish community. His accomplishments in the field of Jewish education have been monumental, benefiting teachers, families and students in our community.
He is being honored with the Leon and Sylvia Sorkin Jewish Communal Professional Achievement Award, recognizing his long-standing commitment, dedication and integrity to the field.

In 1963, Rabbi Ettedgui began working as a teacher at the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis. In 1975, he became its executive director, a position he held for more than two decades. While serving as Executive Director at Talmud Torah, Rabbi Ettedgui recognized the need for Jewish education professionals to come together to share ideas and learn from each other. As a result, he created the Council of Jewish Educators of Minneapolis, and later established the Jewish Resource Center for Teachers, now known as Jewish Community Education Services, a Minneapolis Jewish Federation initiative, which focuses on recruiting, training and retaining the best Jewish educators for our community.

Knowing that several Minneapolis families were looking for a more extensive Jewish education for their children in a non-denominational environment, Rabbi Ettedgui founded the Minneapolis Jewish Day School (MJDS) in 198
4. Now, with an enrollment of nearly 400 students, MJDS serves as a model for other communities. Today, Rabbi Ettedgui continues to teach Talmud Torah classes at the high school level and serves as the Director of the Talmud Torah Foundation. In 1999, he joined Sharei Chesed Congregation as its Rabbi. Located in Minnetonka, Sharei Chesed serves more than 120 families.



Jason Bass

Tychman Family Young Leadership Award

A dedicated volunteer and leader in the Minneapolis Jewish community, Jason Bass is the recipient of the Tychman Family Young Leadership Award, an honor that recognizes an individual’s leadership and community involvement.

Jason has been an active volunteer with the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JFCS), Jewish Singles Collaborative, Adath Jeshurun and Bet Shalom Congregations, and the United Way of Minneapolis . Through his tireless efforts and endless enthusiasm, Jason is making a difference and helping others.

With JFCS alone, he has planned successful events for their Big Brother/Big Sister program, transported clients to events as a volunteer driver, and helped establish a partnership with the food shelf at STEP (St. Louis Park Emergency Program).  "He is someone who is extremely capable, has a high degree of personal integrity and is passionate about what he does," said Debra Savitt, Program Manager, Volunteer Resources at JFCS.

Jason is a recent graduate of the Harry Kay Leadership Institute, a two-year program sponsored by the Minneapolis Jewish Federation and United Jewish Fund and Council of St. Paul that seeks to enhance its participants’ Jewish and communal knowledge and leadership skills. He currently serves as co-chair of the Federation Social Action/Education Committee and sits on the Young Leadership Executive Committee.

When he’s not planning JFCS events, chairing a Federation committee or helping collect donations for the food shelf at STEP, Jason is spending his time tutoring children for their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. According to Bob Oleisky, a volunteer who has worked closely with Jason, "The community is a better place because of Jason and his leadership and work."