Milton I. Tobian Community Relations Award to be presented Oct. 30
By Deb Silverthorn
Mark Zilbermann will be honored with the AJC (American Jewish Committee) Dallas Milton I. Tobian Community Relations Award. The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30, at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas.
“Mark is a pillar of our community. He represents the best of what philanthropy means and what AJC Dallas is all about. This is our first award event since the pandemic and we are thrilled to be back in person,” said Joel Schwitzer, regional director of AJC Dallas.
It has been a busy year for the AJC. Two dozen Dallas representatives went to Israel for the AJC Global Forum. Ted Deutch, the organization’s CEO, visited Dallas and met with AJC leadership and AJC ACCESS Young Leadership group members. AJC Dallas brought back its Diplomatic Seder and partnered with the City of Dallas and the World Affairs Council to host the Mayor’s Consular Summit.
Zilbermann “embodies what this award recognizes. Mark promotes our Jewish community, he has combated Islamophobia and antisemitism and he truly is an avatar of what the Tobian award is,” said Shelly Gammieri, AJC’s director of development.
Milton I. Tobian, of blessed memory, a former regional director of AJC and past president of Temple Emanu-El, brought together religious, social, racial and ethnic groups for historic conferences and personal negotiations. He helped organize a statewide campaign to increase economic support for disabled, aged and dependent citizens. He served as Texas director of Common Cause, helping the state legislature become the first to pass a full package of reform measures assuring open meetings and records.
Zilbermann, a Dallas native, is the son of Pat and Andy, both of blessed memory; he is the brother of Kathy (Marco Montenari) Zilbermann and David Zilbermann. A former Henry Monsky BBYO member and graduate of St. Mark’s School of Texas, he was raised at Temple Emanu-El, where he would later serve as the congregation’s president and co-chair of its capital campaign.
Zilbermann is an undergraduate alumnus of Yale University and The University of Texas at Austin (UT), with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. Now retired, he spent his career building Brandt, now a Southland Industries Company, which has become the largest mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractor in Texas.
AJC’s honoree met his future wife, the former Peggy Browder, while the two were students at UT. They married at Temple Emanu-El and are the parents of Doug and Aaron and grandparents to Gigi and Bella.
Honorary event chair is Stan Rabin, the 1985 AJC Tobian award honoree. Event co-chairs are Becca and Allen Bodzy, Evey and Warren Fagadau, and OriAnn Phillips and Scott McCartney. The evening will be catered under the supervision of Dallas Kosher.
“Mark is one of the most generous, kind, smart humans I know and we go back close to 40 years,” said Phillips, who nominated Zilbermann for the honor. “He sees the light at the end of the tunnel when many aren’t sure where the tunnel is.”
McCartney, who preceded Zilbermann as president at Temple Emanu-El, said, “He is the most effective, quiet leader. He lives his principles and does so beautifully, leaving me constantly amazed at all he’s accomplished.”
In addition to his dedication to AJC and service to Temple Emanu-El, Zilbermann is also on the board of governors of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. He is the immediate past president of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum and a founding co-chair of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council.
“I respect and appreciate the honor being shared to me, as the real honor is to be involved in what this great organization does. The AJC’s advocacy of Jews, and all people, worldwide and the leadership in the fight against antisemitism and all forms of hate, is exemplary and fascinating. They live their mission. To be alongside them in this important work … the honor is mine,” Zilbermann said.
For more information or to register for the Oct. 30 event, visit ajc.org/dallas/tobianevent.