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Special Recognition to Paula Abdul

Contact: Jan Sacks • JNF Los Angeles Campaign Executive • 323-964-1400 •

October 19, 2006 -- Los Angeles, CA -- On Sunday, October 29, Jewish National Fund will have the distinct privilege and honor of presenting Isaac Larian, founder and chief executive officer of MGA Entertainment, with its prestigious 2006 Tree of Life Award™.  Award winning actress, philanthropist and mother Sharon Stone will receive the first inaugural Messenger of Peace Award at the annual Gala Dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.  Paula Abdul will receive special recognition.  Jeffrey Katzenberg, Patricia Glaser, Larry Feldman, Leon Farahnik, Maggie Soleimani, and Mousa Namvar are co-chairing the event.

Larian will be bestowed with the Tree of Life Award™ in recognition of outstanding community involvement, dedication to the cause of American-Israeli friendship, and devotion to peace and security of human life.  The award honors leaders for their achievements and innovations in industry, government, and education.  Stone will receive the first inaugural Messenger of Peace Award for her commitment to world peace and the preservation of human rights.

Jewish National Fund is proud that Isaac Larian and Sharon Stone have so graciously and enthusiastically agreed to accept these highest awards.  With their commitment to peace, they exemplify the essence of what these awards represent.

Born in Iran, Larian has had a long and varied career in the entertainment business.  He founded MGA Entertainment under the name of Surprise Gift Wagon in 1979 as an importer and distributor of brand name consumer electronic products.  In 1987, he became the first official distributor of Nintendo® handheld LCD games in the United States.  In 1993, under its new name, MGA Entertainment Inc., Larian formally transformed MGA from a consumer electronics company to a consumer entertainment products company.  Larian is proud to serve on the board of trustees of the American Friends of The Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  He and his wife Angela have been married for 22 years and have three children: Jason, Jasmin and Cameron.

Stone had a successful modeling career in New York and Europe before her filmmaking years.  Her film debut in Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories” (1980) was followed by ten years of filmmaking until her breakthrough performance in “Total Recall.”  In 1992, playing Cathryn Trammel in “Basic Instinct,” Stone established herself as an international star.  In 1995,Stone founded her own production company, Chaos Productions.  She is a four-time Golden Globe nominee for performance in film, and received an Emmy for her role in “The Practice.”  While in Israel last spring at the invitation of the Peres Center for Peace, Stone visited JNF’s John F. Kennedy Memorial, where she planted an olive tree in the name of peace.

For reservations or information about Jewish National Fund, please contact Jan Sacks at 323-964-1400 or

Photos available as high-resolution jpegs upon request.

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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.

JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.

JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.

For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit


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