Boston resident Michael Blank can trace his emotional connection to Israel to a single moment of his youth: the Six Day War. When news of the war broke in 1967, his father Arthur, z”l, a naval aviator in World War II, was ready to jump on a plane to Israel to offer his help. Michael was keen to join him.
“I was 17 and eager to serve my Zionistic upbringing,” he recalled. “But while my dad and I were still negotiating my participation the war was over. It was without a doubt the defining moment of my teenage years.”
Michael and his family, who are beloved by the Boston community for their philanthropic spirit and dedication to the land and people of Israel, are dynamic examples of entrepreneurial spirit that has passed from father to child for over three generations. In recognition of their collective devotion to developing a strong and prosperous Israel through charitable causes, Jewish National Fund (JNF) recently honored the family at the annual Golf Tournament & Tribute Dinner at the International Golf Club in Bolton, MA.
“My parents imbued in us a true Zionistic spirit,” shared Michael. “The dedication and passion for Israel is entwined in the way we live our lives on a daily basis. For me, my involvement with Jewish National Fund has held a very meaningful place in my heart for many years.”
Michael has served as Jewish National Fund’s Boston President since 2011. During this time, he brought JNF to new levels of recognition and awareness through chairing multiple missions to Israel and serving as a member of Makor, a specially-trained cadre of highly-involved JNF lay leaders. Michael works in real estate management, overseeing his family’s commercial properties in the Boston area. He is a member of the Institute of Real Estate Management, President of Evanteal Properties LLC and a Principal of Braintree Street Realty LLC. He is currently a Trustee for the Miller Convertible Fund and serves on the Board of Directors for various Boston area companies.
“The passion of giving and supporting your community started with my father’s generation, and he passed that on,” said Michael. “I feel very strongly about really carrying forward that spirit with generations to come.”
Just as his parents did for him, Michael has instilled a love of Israel in his two sons, Aaron and Sam, and his daughter, Julie.
"My dad has always been a huge advocate for the State of Israel,” shared Julie. “His tireless efforts to help the less fortunate and improve the quality of life for those at home and abroad in Israel have deeply impacted how I view the world and the work that I do as a clinical social worker. His passion continues to effect positive change not just for his family and friends, but for the Jewish community at large."
Aaron is a combat veteran with seven years of service to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) who has returned to the U.S., and has become a member of JNFuture, the gateway for the next generation to Jewish National Fund. Sam just made aaliyah last month, and plans to enlist with the IDF shortly.
“My father has had a strong passion for Zionism as long as I can remember,” said Aaron. “The story of he and my grandfather planning to help fight during the Six Day Way really stuck with me. Fast forward a few decades and my father has a son and nephew who are IDF veterans, and another son who is enlisting as we speak. It’s just one small example, but it shows how that connection with Israel is a current that flows through generations. The support for, and solidarity with Israel, has helped shape our family’s identity over the years.”
“My passion for Jewish National Fund and Israel truly lies with the continuity and strength of the Jewish people,” said Michael. “I feel strongly about the historical context of a homeland for the Jews as well as the political context of Israel always being a legitimate home for the Jews, and safeguarding the land for future generations. JNF has always been a huge contributor to the development of the land; it is integral to the land being the thriving country it is today, and it is vital to its future continuity.
Jewish National Fund honored the Blank family for their outstanding commitment to charitable causes and efforts in community development. The event was chaired by Jeffrey Davis, who is also JNF’s New England Chairman of the Board and National Board Member; it proudly celebrated Dorothy Blank, Michael and Pat Blank, Stuart Blank, Noreen and Avi Goldwasser, and Susan Blank and Alan Wolfe.
To learn more visit www.jnf.org or contact New England Director Sara Hefez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.423.0999 x811.