The form nominating Ira Owen Kane describes him as “one of the most astutely and compassionately committed contributors to the Jewish people that I have ever met as a rabbi.”

In outlining Kane’s service to the community through organizations like Wexner Heritage Village, the form describes the many ways he demonstrates tikkun olam – including efforts during the pandemic. “His contributions cannot be understated. Ira does not like to bring attention to himself, but to be sure, his volunteer work has made a direct impact on the stability of WHV.”

Who are your mentors and how did they impact you?

My parents: The meaning of family and of education. My wife: The meaning of true love and the courage to change and grow. My children: The meaning of responsibility, adaptability, how to have fun, to laugh and what contribution I can make towards a better future for them. Indeed, they have given me a truly restless desire to live meaningfully and joyfully.

Was there ever a turning point or shift that made you change how you approach community service or become active in the Jewish world?

At the beginning, it was born from some degree of self-interest and self-gratification. Over time, this changed to less about me to how I could use my experience to assist in helping organizations create measurable, community impact and transformation. Further, a sense of impermanence and a greater wholehearted embrace of one’s own mortality created a sense of urgency to realize the tremendousness of the future and the need to try, from a community perspective, to help shape and impact it.

Is there any particular cause, issue or organization you are especially passionate about? What have you done to address it?

Wexner Heritage Village. Every person deserves to live with dignity not dependence. WHV has embraced this purpose through the moral and aspirational imagination of its leadership and the dedicated and tireless efforts of its employees. Imbued with Jewish values, WHV has, since its founding, provided compassionate care, thoughtful aging and health and wellness services to members of our community and beyond. The question is not what I have done, it is what the leaders and employees of WHV have accomplished. My hope for WHV is that we endure gloriously, with a renewed sense of purpose and excitement for a meaningful and sustainable future. That we catalyze actionable solutions that will brighten the flame of hope in all of us that, indeed, there is dignity in aging and optimism for the future.

What’s one takeaway you have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic?

How to adapt to extreme uncertainty amidst life’s endangering risks.