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Jewish National Fund to Honor Mayor Sam Massell at 3rd Annual Jack Hirsch Memorial Breakfast

Contact: Steven Green • Director/ Campaign Executive • JNF Southeast Regional Office • 404-236-8991 •

April 12, 2006— Atlanta, GA— Sam Massell, former Mayor of Atlanta and president of the Buckhead Coalition, will be honored at the 3rd annual Jewish National Fund (JNF) Jack Hirsch Memorial Breakfast on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 at The Temple in midtown Atlanta.

The breakfast, co-chaired by Mark Scheinfeld and Shellie Travis, will begin at 7:30 a.m. and will include a presentation by keynote speaker Gil Hoffman, political correspondent and columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

The Jack Hirsch Memorial Award is given each year to a member of the Atlanta community who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and a commitment to the mission of JNF.

As the first Jewish mayor of the city of Atlanta from 1969-1973, Sam Massell helped promote a strong relationship between Israel and the United States through a visit to Israel with the United States Conference of Mayors. He also brought the "Sister City" program to Atlanta, which eventually led to a partnership between Atlanta and the Israeli city of Ra’anana.

Through his role as president of the Buckhead Coalition and the unofficial “Mayor of Buckhead,” Massell has worked to improve the quality of life in Buckhead and attract top-tier corporations to the Atlanta area.

A self-proclaimed “tree hugger” with a deep appreciation for nature's beauty, Mayor Massell is described by Atlanta attorney William Travis, a member of the breakfast host committee, as a conservationist who truly understands the importance of the environment and its ability to affect people.

Under Massell's leadership, the Buckhead Coalition established a tree incentive program that helps business and home owners cover the cost of tree landscaping on private property. One stipulation: trees must be planted between the front of the buildings and the street so that the entire community can enjoy their beauty.

All proceeds from the Jack Hirsch Memorial Breakfast will benefit JNF’s development of a park on Kibbutz Nir Am in the Western Negev. The park will be built with two separate play areas—one geared towards toddlers and young children and one for older children—and will provide a gathering place for parents and children of the kibbutz and neighboring communities.

The project is very near to Massell's heart. "I know the importance of green space, of open space," he said. One of his first acts as mayor was to remove the signs in Piedmont and Grant Parks that warned visitors to stay off of the lawns. "Grass," said Massell, "is for running and playing."

The development of Nir Am Park is part of JNF’s Blueprint Negev, the initiative to bolster existing Negev communities like Kibbutz Nir Am and develop new communities, making the desert a hospitable, habitable environment that will become home to an additional 250,000 people over the next five years.

The Temple is located at 1589 Peachtree Street NE in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information about the JNF Jack Hirsch Memorial Breakfast, please contact Steven Green at 404-236-8991 or

Caption: Mayor Sam Massell (left) and Bill Travis (right).

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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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