Characters of Carmel: Debra Barton Grant


Commentary by Shelly Gattlieb

Debra Barton Grant followed in the footsteps of her grandparents and parents by attending Indiana University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Jewish Studies and was vice president of the Hillel chapter. She also has a master’s in social work from the University of Michigan.

After growing up in South Bend and going to college in Bloomington, Barton Grant eventually settled in Carmel six years ago. Her favorite features of the Hoosier state are the lakes, farmland and beautiful views on family road trips.

Barton Grant is now the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, which recently completed a comprehensive demographic study that helped identify the median age of Jewish residents, the number of Holocaust survivors in the area and other data for engaging the Jewish population.

Outside of Indiana, Barton Grant also lived in Jerusalem, Ann Arbor, Mich., Chicago and Palm Beach, Fla. She loves to interact with a variety of communities and implement new strategies of involvement.

Family: husband, Scott; Jonah, junior at Carmel High School; Ben, eighth-grader at Creekside; Sam, fifth-grader at Towne Meadow

Definition of a Hoosier: Anyone who has made Indiana their home and appreciates everything the state has to offer

Best way to relax: Reading by her fire pit drinking a glass of bourbon or wine

Presidential nomination: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 20 years ago

Newest member of the family: Ruby, golden doodle

Best part of living in Carmel: A city and mayor that embrace diversity

Favorite thing to wear: Comfortable shoes

Regular podcast: “Judaism Unbound”

Best concert: Grateful Dead, has been to more than 15 shows

Childhood crush: Shaun Cassidy

Road trip highlights: Martin Luther King Civil Rights Museum, Monticello, Graceland

Favorite thing to do in Carmel: Walk in Coxhall Gardens

Most important lesson to her sons: Embracing a sense of community, supporting others and building people up

Do you know an interesting character who lives, works or worships in Carmel? Send suggestions to [email protected].


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