Cheryl Polanksy Baraty, the former Central Region Chair of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting and who, along with fellow Scouter Kim Queen, chaired the Jewish Committee on Scouting for the Greater Milwaukee Council, died April 30, 2014 after a long battle with cancer. She was 57.
Cheryl was a course director several times for the “Scouting Serves the Jewish Community” course at Philmont Training Center in Cimarron, New Mexico. She also was the chair for the National Jewish Committee on Scouting booth at the 2010 National Jamboree at Fort A. P. Hill in Caroline County, Virginia.
Noted for her strong support and encouragement of Jewish Scouting in the Milwaukee area, she helped keep charters active at the local Jewish Community Center for Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Venturing units for many years. She became a Religious Emblems Display coordinator through P.R.A.Y. (Programs of Religious Activities with Youth). Her council recognized her many achievements and presented her with a Silver Beaver Award in 2005, following her eighth year as a Scouter.
Earlier, she had attended the last religious observant Wood Badge Course (NE-II-11) at the now defunct Camp Ketunah at Ten Mile River Scout Camps in Narrowsburg, New York. She received her Woodbadge beads within the year. Cheryl was tapped by former NJCOS chairman Gerrold Lockshin as the perfect candidate to lead Jewish Scouting in Milwaukee. Cheryl recalled on more than one occasion that Lockshin was calling her the moment she got back from her course at Philmont in 1998. Despite reservations, she accepted the call.
She was a family attorney and had graduated first from Brandeis University with a bachelor of science degree and then followed that with a master’s degree in public health from the Johns-Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1980. She worked for a time for the federal government in Washington, D.C. and graduated with a degree in law from American University in 1985. After a visit to Israel, she met and married an Israeli citizen. The marriage, which ended in divorce in Wisconsin, produced a son and gave Cheryl her married name. She passed the law bar for the state of Wisconsin in 1990 and became a law partner in her father Burt’s Milwaukee law office. The firm was known as Polansky and Baraty, when she practiced family law with him from 1990-2000 and, later, with the new designation of Baraty and Polansky, LLP from 2000, when she became the firm’s managing partner.
Because of her extended time living in Israel, Cheryl spoke and understood Hebrew, Yiddish, Aramaic, Arabic and Farsi. She was a board member of the Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin.
In recent years she was associated with Market America and Shop.com. She maintained a business network with it through Kim Queen and others that stretched out across her region. She grew her business despite extreme hardships brought on by the battle with her disease. She served as such an inspiration to her fellow Northern regional members that Market America established an annual award in 2013 in her name – the Cheryl Baraty Perseverance Award – and made its initial presentation to her in a hospital room the day following the announcement.
Cheryl was a member in good standing with the Wisconsin State Bar and maintained her law office in Milwaukee until the past year when she was forced to close the business due to ill heatlh. She retired to Boynton Beach, Florida to stay in an assisted living facility in December and had lived there ever since.
She is survived by her son Yaniv Baraty; her parents, Sheila and Burt Polansky; and two sisters, Laurel Polansky Kadouri of Boca Raton, Fla. and Geela Spira, the former Gayle Polansky, of Tel Aviv, Israel. A private graveside service was held on the morning of May 2, 2014 in Lake Worth, Florida, where she was interred in Lake Worth Memory Gardens.
Memorials in Cheryl Baraty’s name may be made to:
- National Jewish Committee on Scouting
- c/o Boy Scouts of America
- PO Box 152079 S326
- Irving, TX 75015-2091