Rabbi Marla Hornsten, her husband, Sheldon Stern, and mother-in-law, Claire Stern.
Rabbi Marla Hornsten, her husband, Sheldon Stern, and mother-in-law, Claire Stern.

Rabbi Marla Hornsten and Beverly Stone will be honored by NCJW|MI.

Temple Israel’s Rabbi Marla Hornsten will be awarded “The Woman of Vision Award” on Oct. 14 by NCJW|MI because of her advocacy for equality for women, her efforts for women’s programming, studying women in texts and her work with domestic abuse organizations. 

“I am thrilled to be honored by an organization that has been at the forefront of so many progressive visions for women and families in generations past, and ongoing today,” she said. Hornsten’s impressive work includes serving on many boards and coalitions including past co-chair of the Jewish Women International Clergy Task Force Against Domestic Violence. She is also co-chair of the Coalition for Black and Jewish Unity and serves on the Board of Directors at Jewish Family Service and the Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield. 

Rabbi Marla Hornsten
Rabbi Marla Hornsten

Hornsten’s ties to NCJW also have a very personal element: Her own mother-in-law was a recipient of an NCJW student scholarship which brought her in 1950-51 from Morocco to the U.S. to study education and led to her marrying the love of her life.

Claire Stern was born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco, and attended the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee for a year on her NCJW scholarship. While in the U.S., she often spoke to the NCJW membership about her experiences living in Morocco and her teaching. One woman who graciously helped her with her presentations, since English was her second language, said she wanted to introduce Claire to a local man, Burt Stern. Claire and Burt became fast friends, and one of the things she really enjoyed was how he included her when his cousins and family would get together every Shabbat. 

After her year in Milwaukee, Claire returned to Morocco to teach other teachers what she learned in the U.S. Prior to her return, Claire and Burt made a deal: If they still loved each other after she fulfilled her obligations of the scholarship, they would get married.

Claire taught nursery and elementary school in Morocco and applied the ideas and techniques she learned in America. They wrote letters back and forth, and after two years, Burt came to visit. They loved each other more than ever and so they got married in Morocco.  

The couple returned to the U.S. and Claire became a French teacher, using skills she learned from her NCJW year throughout her career. Until Burt’s passing, the Sterns had a happy marriage for 58 years and had four children. Their son Sheldon Stern is Hornsten’s husband.  

Beverly Stone
Beverly Stone

“I am a lifelong member of National Council of Jewish Women, Michigan because I believe in the values that it stands for, and I am confident I can depend on NCJW to advocate for women to create a better future for all of us,” Hornsten said. 

Also at the event, The Josephine S. Weiner Award for Community Service will be awarded to Beverly Stone, a former English teacher, middle school principal and assistant school superintendent, who has been a long-term and passionate volunteer with NCJW|MI. 

Stone also organized an NCJW|MI symposium on autism for the community and serves on the advisory board of Project Healthy Schools, promoting healthy lifestyles for local middle schoolers. 

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