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Mountain States Spotlight Double Feature with ADL Regional Board Members Kenneth and Sheryl Feiler

  • December 12, 2017

ADL Regional Board Members Sheryl and Ken Feiler share their passions for family, their Jewish heritage and community, and the timeless and critical work of the Anti-Defamation League.

How did you first become involved in ADL? How are you involved now?

Ken: During my interview with Rose Hospital for the position that prompted our family’s move to Denver, it was brought to my attention that many members of the Rose Board of Directors were leaders with ADL. It served to motivate me more to become the CEO of Rose and to interact with ADL. I was honored to get the job, and to visit with the Board, eventually making the grade and joining the Regional Board myself.

Sheryl: I’ve been peripherally involved in ADL as a spouse of a Board member for many years.  This is my second year as a Board member and I love it!  I sit on the Development Committee and the Next Gen Steering Committee and last year attended the ADL National Leadership Summit in DC. Our daughter Melyssa is also a graduate of ADL’s Robert B. Sturm Mountain States Leadership Fellows Program and participates in the Next Gen Steering Committee as well.


What do you do in your professional life?

Ken: I have been the CEO of Rose Medical Center for the past 21 years and will be retiring at the end of the calendar year. It has been a privilege to serve the Jewish Community each day!

Sheryl: In a past life I was an RN and worked as an assistant head nurse on a medical / surgical floor of a hospital.  That position ultimately morphed into the Director of MIS (Management Information Systems) at the same hospital.  Most recently, I was the Annual Giving Manager at Denver Jewish Day School.


When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Ken: I grew up dreaming of taking over in center field at Yankee Stadium for Mickey Mantle. Unfortunately, little league was played on Saturdays and I spent those mornings at junior congregation.

Sheryl: I wanted to be an astronaut!


Where were you born? From where do your ancestors hail?

Ken: I was born in Bensonshurt, Brooklyn, New York. My grandparents were from a shtetl called Turk, which is in Ukraine now, and my mom’s grandparents were from Russia. My grandfather came to the U.S. prior to the outbreak of World War I and served in the army. It took my grandmother eight years to join him on the Lower East Side.

Sheryl: I was born in Brooklyn, NY. My ancestors came to the U.S. from Russia, Poland and Turkey.


What’s your favorite holiday?

Ken: I love jelly donuts and potato latkes so you can imagine my favorite week!  Nothing was more enjoyable when I was growing up than singing songs, lighting the menorah, and eating too many donuts and latkes. Of course my mom makes the best ones.

Sheryl: Passover!  I love the foods and the story.  I have fond memories from when I was young of “late into the night” Seders, drinking wine and helping my Bubbie bake sponge cake.


What’s your favorite food?

Ken: Guess I got two in one!!

Sheryl: Nachos with everything on it!


What are you reading?

Ken: Over the summer we went with Barry and Gay Curtiss-Lusher on a bike trip in Europe and I began reading 1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History by Jay Winik. I have been so overwhelmed with the description of events that I almost felt as if I was living during Holocaust. Having Barry alongside me to talk about it made it incredibly real.  It brought to light the reasons I am honored to be part of ADL and sharpened my thoughts about how I can be a better board member. It has taken a piece of my heart.

Sheryl: I’m currently reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.  I just finished Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult and it was terrific!


What’s a special place you have visited?

Ken: My first visit to Israel was fairly recent in my life and all I wanted to do was go to the Kotel. It was pretty amazing to stand where so many have stood before me. What was absolutely mind-boggling was going below and walking through to the Holy of Holies. As a Hebrew school student in the 1960s, I recall my Rabbi teaching us about the Wall and our dream of visiting. I can’t get over that my Rabbi, may he rest in peace, never got to touch the Wall.

Sheryl: The Loire Valley


Where can we find you when you’re not working?

Ken: Doing something! I am either riding my bicycle, skiing, or playing golf. Now that Sheryl has moved me to a community without my garden, I haven’t figured out how to grow tomatoes anymore.

Sheryl: While I’m no longer working at a job, I do a lot of volunteer work.  I’m on the Jewish Colorado Board where I sit on the Israel Engagement Committee and Chair the Delegation Committee.  I’m also starting a not for profit called Erev Banot (Girls Night Out With A Purpose) along with Ceci Lowinger, Joanne Kleinstein and Vicki Trachten Schwartz.  Grounded in Jewish values, we will be making a difference in the lives of women and children, with a specific focus on donating to Jewish communities globally.


What would be impossible for you to give up?

Ken: Ice Cream. I should be going to a 12 step program to learn how to stop eating ice cream. When we were younger Sheryl and I might have ice cream for dinner. Vanilla Swiss Almond with Hot Fudge!! She is better than I am now!!

Sheryl: My morning cup of coffee.


If you had to teach something, what would you teach?

Ken: I have thought a great deal about this, and hope to actually try to teach. So many of us are afraid! Afraid to take chances, believe in ourselves, and do something we haven’t done before. I hope to teach others how to take risks, and achieve our dreams, or at least try!

Sheryl: Biology


Tell me a story that immediately pops into your mind that was a defining or significant moment for you.

Ken: As an undergraduate at the University of Buffalo I stopped my roommate on the way to the library and told him I was going to be a hospital administrator! What was so significant is, if he had said “that is crazy,” who knows what I would have done. He said, “great idea, let’s do it!” And we did. So 37 years later it is who I am.

Sheryl: When I was 17 I was fortunate to do a gap year in Israel.  It was a life-changing experience for me.  It strengthened my commitment to Judaism, Israel and the Jewish people.  It is why I’ve volunteered with Jewish organizations for over 30 years, sent my children to Jewish Day School and why I continue to be an active member of my community.


Why do you choose to make a financial investment in ADL?

Ken: At ADL’s Torch of Liberty dinner last month there were more people with diverse backgrounds in the room than ever before. Clearly we are experiencing events unlike anything I have known in my lifetime. Sheryl l and have asked ourselves what can we do, what must we do. Our answer is that we must be vigilant in teaching about diversity, protecting minorities, helping those who can’t help others, and making this world better!

Sheryl: The mission and the work that ADL does resonate with me.  ADL defends and protects against some of my deepest darkest fears of being a Jew: hate, anti-Semitism, discrimination, terrorism and the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people.  ADL’s fight against these forces is what will help make the world a better place for my children and grandchildren.  I want to support that.


If you are a legacy donor, why have you chosen to invest in ADL in this way?

Ken: Having walked through the Holocaust museum this spring with my family I could only ask “why?” Why us, why do they hate us? How did they build such hate? What can I do, what must we do. What can I do to help my children and my children’s children? Sheryl and I feel compelled to be part of ADL’s future.

Sheryl: It is important to ensure the fiscal strength of an organization and building an endowment does just that.  By being legacy donors we are helping to secure a future for an organization we cherish.


Complete this sentence: For us, the ADL is … trying to make the world a better and safer place for everyone. It’s needed now more than ever!!