Have You Met?

What’s nice about meeting so many interesting people is coming across those who truly deserve all the recognition they get.

On September 24, 2007, Marlin Barad received the “2007 Golda Meir Award” which is given annually to an outstanding woman in the Jewish community who has accepted a wide range of volunteer responsibilities and inspired others to become involved. Twenty seven other worthy women have received this award before her, and Marlin humbly says: “I feel honored to join the ranks of those Goldas’ before me who inspired generations by their actions to live meaningful lives, give generously of their time and money, and keep the flame of Judaism burning brightly.”

Marlin’s honor is well-deserved; and she is an exemplary example of someone who is doing meaningful work in the Jewish community. Doug Seserman, President and CEO of the Allied Jewish Federation remarked: “Marlin is the type of woman for which ‘The Golda’ award was created 27 years ago.”

This year’s Golda event was attended by many of Marlin’s friends and family who justifiably were there to praise and honor her. One of the most touching moments was a heartfelt tribute given to Marlin by her husband of close to 40 years, Ed Barad. He talked about his wife’s moving journey to uncover her spiritual roots. It was a “not a dry eye in the house” moment.

A big part of Ms. Barad’s busy schedule these days is performing as chair of the “Baby Boomers Research and Development Focus Team” for the Greater Denver/Boulder Jewish Community Study which is sponsored by the Allied Jewish Federation and the Rose Community Foundation. Population statistics show that nearly one-third of Metro Denver residents are Baby Boomers, surpassing the national average of 26.8 percent. Ms. Barad explains: "Our team is committed to developing strategies that will engage the aging boomers in meaningful lifestyle enhancements."

This irresistible Golda winner has a tender, caring soul and has made a spiritual connection with something greater than herself. Marlin Barad lives her life with genuine kindness and human dignity; and her life’s journey can be an inspiration to all of us.

What non-profit or fundraising activities are you involved in at this time? Allied Jewish Federation fundraising and working on the “Baby Boomers Research and Development Focus Team.”

To what do you attribute your success in cultivating such outstanding support to your causes? Honesty, enthusiasm and no pressure.

Who is your hero, and why? My husband because of his integrity, his sense of humor, how articulate he is, and his sincerity.

Who is your mentor? My husband.

What is a favorite childhood memory? Playing “Kick the Can” outside in the dark on a summer night.

What do you most value in your friends? When they don’t hold back and share of themselves.

What one word would others use to describe you? Kind.

Does (or did) anything ever test your patience? Raising children.

What topic are you most opinionated about? I would have to say Israel.

You are always so beautifully dressed; do you have a favorite clothing store? My cousin’s store, “Tootsies”, in Houston, Texas.

What is your personal motto – or favorite quote? “You are not required to finish the job, but you are not exempt from starting it either….” Rabbi Tarfon

What is the great Golda Meir quote that was on the Golda Award Program? “Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”

What can automatically make you laugh? My husband – who cracks me up. He’s the funniest man I’ve ever met. I’m the luckiest woman in the world!

What can make you cry? Movies about fathers and sons.

Can you tell us about one of those moments in your life that is “totally beyond you”? Childbirth. It’s the most transformative experience there is.

What do you consider your proudest achievement? The Golda Award I just received. It culminates all the years of community work I’ve done and reminds me of those times when I felt discouraged by one more meeting, one more budget concern; but it all became worth it when I realized I really did make a difference. I was just very thrilled to accept this special award.

As a Golda, you are the essence of the Hebrew words: Tzedakah (charity) & Tikkun Olam (to repair the world) in our community; what does this mean to you? The real meaning of Tzedakah is “justice”, and we have an obligation to do justice to our fellow man by doing deeds for them like giving them food, clothes, or whatever they need at the time that would help them. Tikkun Olam is more about how we treat our fellow man in addition to mending just a little piece of the world – even if that means one person at a time.

What sort of future do you see for charitable giving with the next few generations coming up after us? This is a concern. Unless the next generation really learns the meaning of giving, it could become an issue. As parents, we need to show our children that we are actively involved in charitable giving in the home, and children can learn by example. Today the younger generation (like the Gen X’ers) have gotten caught up in too much self-satisfaction. There are several programs and events available that can introduce our young people to philanthropy.

What do you think is the greatest problem we are facing in this country today? One of them is Global Warming; we are like the frog in the pan of water on the stove. The fire keeps getting hotter as does the water. The frog can feel it and knows something’s wrong, makes attempts to jump out, but before he knows it, he is cooked. We may be in for the same scenario.

How do you want to be remembered? I have tried to "retire" from volunteering for the Jewish community for some time now. I tell my friends in earnest that this is the very last project I am chairing. They nod their heads in support and behind my back chuckle. They know that I am going to go right back out and volunteer for the next thing that strikes my fancy and of course, that helps the Jewish community. I can't help myself! So, I would have to say what will be my epitaph : “She could never say NO”.

Marlin’s Community Work: Marlin Barad has chaired many fundraisers for the Yeshiva Toras Chaim, The University of Denver Center for Judaic Studies, the BMH/BJ Congregation, CAJE and TRI - and is a mentor of the “Denver Bridge Project”, and in 2005 was named a “7News Everyday Hero” for her volunteer role of tutor and mentor with the Bridge Project which is a community outreach program of the University of Denver. Marlin served as chair of the “CHOICES Lion of Judah Reception” in 2005 and headed up “CAJE’s Florence Melton Adult Mini School” as the lay chair for many years.

Barad is a past recipient of the Federation’s “Charlotte Tucker Young Leadership Award”. Other community awards include: “Jewish National Fund Gates of Jerusalem Medal”, “Yeshiva Toras Chaim Shem Tov Award”, and the “CAJE Spirit of CAJE Award”.