By Bryssa Helton, IndyBar Marketing and Communications Director
Legend is a word often thrown around about athletic heroes or mythical characters. It’s not often that a legend walks among us. However, in the Indianapolis legal community, one such person is 52-year Indianapolis Bar Association member Gregory Silver, as he was recently honored by the Indiana Historical Society with a Jewish Legends Award. An accomplished lawyer, environmentalist and faith-filled member of our robust Jewish community, Silver’s selection shines a light on a life worthy of emulation.
Given to those who have had a significant and lasting impact on their profession, faith-based and/or secular community, and the legacy of the role of the Jewish community in Indiana, the Indiana Historical Society Jewish Legends Award has only been bestowed upon a select few. In receiving this prestigious recognition, Silver joins the likes of Holocaust survivor and internationally known forgiveness advocate Eva Mozes Kor, former White House chief of staff Ron Klain, and Sid and Lois Eskenazi, philanthropists most notably known for establishing Eskanezi Health, as one of only 40 recipients of this prestigious accolade.
In nominating Silver for the award, Robert Borns stated that “in all of his personal and professional achievements, Greg has acted with integrity and earned the respect of many.” Silver says he is merely an example of what an attorney can do other than practice law by emphasizing the values all lawyers should have: giving back, expressing humility, protecting the judicial system and prioritizing making a difference.
In his lengthy, service-oriented career as a practicinga attorney and bankruptcy trustee, Silver counts among his most gratifying professional endeavors his work as a former congressional lobbyist for the Sierra Club. This was a natural fit for him due to his lifelong passion for nature and its beauty.
A long-time board member of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Silver has taken great pride in working to keep the natural environment in Indiana and across the country safe and thriving. He says that he finds it “very restive to walk in the wilderness, listen to the birds, and enjoy the sunlight (when) walking through the trees in Eagle Creek Park.” One of his Jewish Legends Award nominators noted that Silver, “warned people about challenges like ‘acid rain.’ We would mostly smile and nod sympathetically.” When the state of Indiana was accused of polluting the environment with acid rain, Silver actively served as a coalition member to find a solution. In response to the suit, Silver co-crafted a compromise to clean up Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia coal plants, resulting in the Acid Rain Control Bill. He believes that this effort to work with, rather than against, opponents created a lasting legacy for cleaner air.
He recently spoke at the regular gathering of Indianapolis Jewish lawyers to share his wisdom of experience. In that presentation, he shared a poem he had written that most aptly captures his spirit.•