The annual Max Kirshstein Community Youth Endowment Award recognizes Charleston Jewish teenagers for outstanding community service. The Kirshstein family honors their father Max Kirshstein, OBM, through this award, whose own life exemplified extraordinary dedication to others.
Who was Max Kirshstein? Max was born in Poland in 1919 and came to the United States (Charleston) when he was barely two years old. His family had no money and like so many immigrants, struggled to make ends meet. Max became a successful business man, married, and had three children and six grandchildren (whom he adored). But Max always remembered his humble origins. He loved Judaism and was very active in the Jewish community, working in the national BBYO office in Washington, DC before World War II and serving as an advisor to BBYO groups in Charleston for decades. But Max was also active in the broader Charleston community, volunteering on Christmas day at social service organizations so that employees could spend time with their families, chairing the Charleston Housing Authority and assuming numerous leadership roles in the Lions Club. He had a wonderful smile and spirit and this award attempts to remember him by identifying Charleston Jewish youth who share his love for life and the community in which they live.
What makes a strong applicant? Because Max was active in Jewish organizations as well as the broader Charleston community, we look for students who are active in either spheres or both. We love to see applicants who have extended themselves beyond required school community service hours and who have initiated activities on their own. Since the award began in 2010, the recipients have been leaders in many different types of community service endeavors that range from synagogue engagements to fundraising for health-related causes to the Charleston Area Justice Ministry. There’s not a single prescription for a winning applicant.
What is the award? Winners receive a check for $1,000. There are no restrictions on what recipients can do with the check. They can use it for college, put the award toward a trip to Israel (or anywhere for that matter) or donate all or some of it to a cause for which t are passionate. The award intends to recognize the student and let the Charleston community know that Max Kirshstein’s legacy is alive and well.
What is the application process?
The application requires written references who can attest to the student’s impact on the community, a short video, and essay question.
The award of $1,000 will be presented at the Charleston Jewish Federation’s Annual Meeting.
We look forward to honoring a Charleston Jewish teenager who serves the community in the same unselfish manner as Max Kirshstein did for so many years.