Ambassador Dennis Ross Headlines 1st Annual Jewish National Fund Legacy Luncheon


JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 19, 2023 — Philanthropists in Jacksonville recently joined Jewish National Fund, the leading philanthropic organization for Israel, at its 1st annual Legacy Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront to hear from world-renowned American diplomat, Ambassador Dennis Ross. The event also served as an opportunity to thank those who have committed to, or who are considering, leaving a lasting legacy gift through flexible gift planning during life or through their estate plan to Jewish National Fund — ensuring a strong, secure, and prosperous future for the land and people of Israel.


Stephen & Penny Rosen, Ambassador Dennis Ross


Ambassador Ross, a scholar and diplomat with over two decades of experience in Soviet and Middle East policy, provided a unique perspective on the current political situation in Israel and the national security challenges we’re facing today with countries including Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.


“If anyone has a doubt about whether or not Israel is a democracy, take a look at what’s happening right now,” Ross said in his keynote speech. “It’s not just that the scope of these demonstrations demonstrates an enormous emotional commitment, it’s that these demonstrations take place without violence. These demonstrations are not suppressed by the government…there is one country [in the Middle East] where you can demonstrate and it’s part of the fabric of the country, and that’s Israel.”


Guests also heard from Robin Dermer, Esq., Jewish National Fund-USA’s Director of Planned Giving in Florida, who shared the many ways supporters of Israel can achieve their philanthropic goals while taking advantage of existing U.S. tax laws. Dermer spoke about the effectiveness of Charitable Gift Annuities where individuals can receive a fixed income as high as 9.7%. She also discussed savvy ways people are utilizing Donor Advised Funds, IRAs, as well as traditional bequests.


Elaine Furman, Wendy Honigman


“Through creativity and innovation, Jewish National Fund-USA has transformed barren deserts into flourishing fields and pioneered new frontiers,” Dermer said as she announced the organization had reached its ambitious $1 billion, ten-year fundraising goal six months ahead of schedule. “In virtually every arena from science to technology to medicine, and from agriculture to engineering to green energy, Israel paves the way and sets the standard for the rest of the world. We support programs and projects that span from the north to the south and the east to the west.”


“Jewish National Fund means so much to me and my family,” added Jewish National Fund-USA National Board Member and World Chairman’s Council member, Penny Rosen of Ponte Vedra Beach. “The enduring strength and perseverance of Israel have always been important to us, and our partnership with Jewish National Fund allows us to continue our support of our homeland well into the future.”


The luncheon also highlighted various opportunities to travel to Israel with Jewish National Fund-USA, including its upcoming Sunshine Tour for active adults 55+.


To learn more about the many meaningful ways you can leave a legacy for Israel, contact Robin Dermer, Esq. at 888-563-5640 or



Media Contact:

Jennifer Milton

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About Jewish National Fund-USA

Jewish National Fund-USA builds a strong, vibrant future for the land and people of Israel through bold initiatives and Zionist education. As a leading philanthropic movement, the organization supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south as it develops new communities in the Negev and Galilee, connects the next generation to Israel, and creates infrastructure and programs that support ecology, people with disabilities, and heritage site preservation, all while running a fully accredited study abroad experience through its Alexander Muss High School in Israel. Learn more at