By Michael Jacobs | mjacobs@atljewishtimes.com

NEWS-Kollel Abby Miller and friends  by Harold Alan

Bernie Marcus Scholar Award winner Abbey Meller is all smiles with (from left) Lynda Walker, Billi Marcus and Bernie Marcus.

The Atlanta Scholars Kollel did more than present its Tribute to Jewish Learning Award to Bernie Marcus at the annual ASK celebration Sunday night, May 31.

The kollel created an award in Marcus’ honor.

The new Bernie Marcus Scholar Award will go each year to a kollel student devoted to increasing Torah knowledge, love of Israel and compassion for others, former kollel Co-President David Krischer said in revealing the red plaque.

The first winner is Abbey Meller, a new University of Georgia graduate from Norcross who is a product of the kollel’s Maimonides Jewish Leaders Fellowship, through which she said Rabbi Shlomo Gelbtuch and his wife, Batsheva, have shaped her.

She is going to Israel in August for a one-year internship and said she might make the move permanent.

Meller said her paternal grandmother was bound for Palestine after being liberated from Bergen-Belsen in 1945 but married and came to America instead. Her parents met on a plane to Israel in 1984 and got engaged two weeks later.

“You have given me the chance to complete the circle and potentially make aliyah,” Meller told the crowd of 650 people at the Georgia Aquarium when she spoke about the value of the kollel.

She was a fitting recipient for the first Bernie Marcus Award because former kollel Co-President Lynda Walker said Marcus and his wife, Billi, have been remarkable supporters of Jewish continuity.

“You have done more in our community than anybody else has ever done for the Jewish community of Atlanta and the Jewish community of the world,” Walker said in presenting the Tribute to Jewish Learning Award to Marcus.

“I thank G-d every day that He gave me the ability to do the things that Billi and I do together,” Marcus said, “and if it wasn’t for G-d, I don’t think that would have happened.”