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Michele and Ben Katz

Volunteerism is in the Katz family DNA. Michele and Ben Katz’s parents taught them the importance of giving to others and the Katz’s have been valued active community volunteers since making their home Cleveland. The couple, often with their children in tow have lent a hand in front and behind the scenes, at Menorah Park, Meals-on-Wheels, Vinney Hospice at Montefiore, Bikur Cholim and Fuchs Mizrachi School.

Their children Zachary, Gila and Bella have been remarkable Friendship Circle volunteers. And Zachary’s wife Talia served as Friendship Circle teen volunteer president. Michele says one of her most important roles as a parent is to lead by example and she is gratified that her children have followed her and Ben’s lead.


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Iris and Jerry Zhaler

Well-known, beloved community philanthropists Jerry and Iris (Bialosky) Zahler are devoted to making the world a better place. When Jerry, owner of Zahler Realty, became involved in Friendship Circle he cherished the close friendships he formed with the board members, and gave his wholehearted stamp of approval to Friendship Circle’s mission to give teens an opportunity to use their time wisely by making a difference in the lives of others.


Along with Friendship Circle, Jerry’s diverse philanthropic activities include Siegal Lifelong Learning of CWRU, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the Mandel JCC and Cedar-Sinai Synagogue. Jerry and Iris say doing what is good for the community has always been its own reward. The Zahlers are parents of three children and grandparents of six.

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Lisa and Adam Waldbaum


When Alex was diagnosed with Lowe Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, his parents Lisa and Adam were determined to ensure family life will go on as normal, in spite of the many challenges now incorporated in their daily lives. They credit Friendship Circle for providing Alex with a circle of friends and giving him an outlet to express his joyful and exuberant nature.

With their relentless perseverance and spirit of giving back to community, Lisa quickly rose to become president of the National Lowe Syndrome Association. Adam is a great champion of Friendship Circle, and his giving nature extends to help so many around him. Their teenage children Josh and Sam serve as great role models as they do their part to keep their family cohesive, inclusive and strong.