JNF-USA Hits a Homerun for Israel at VIP Event in Boca Raton

Editor-in-Chief of the fastest-growing news agency covering Israel and the Jewish world and two South Florida-based members of Israel’s Olympic baseball team among esteemed keynote speakers at the organization’s exclusive reception for its donors in Palm Beach County


BOCA RATON, Fla., December 10, 2021 — “There are lots of great Jewish and Zionist causes, but JNF-USA is the crown jewel of Zionism and one of the great success stories in all of Jewish history and Israel today,” said award-winning Editor-in-Chief of Jewish News Syndicate (JNS), Jonathan Tobin. Tobin kicked off Jewish National Fund-USA’s (JNF-USA) VIP event for its Eretz Society and Chai Society members (annual donors of $1,800 minimum) in Palm Beach County on Thursday, December 2, 2021, with a captivating keynote speech about the rise of antisemitism, antizionism, how hate speech and violence against Jews must never be rationalized or excused, and how the Jewish community must continue to have the courage to speak up so they can serve as role models for future generations.



Joanne Warshaver Pinciss, Cantor Elaine Shapiro, Mitzi Kaitz

Guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at Oak and Ember restaurant in Boca Raton on the fifth night of Chanukah, while learning how JNF-USA and its supporters in Palm Beach County and the South Florida region play a direct role in making the impossible possible for the land and people of Israel. Rabbi Josh Broide of Boca Raton Synagogue co-led Chanukah prayers and a special candle lighting with Boca resident, Jerry Abramson, using a large menorah crafted with shrapnel from rockets that were fired into Israeli communities on the border with Gaza.


Jerry Abramson and Rabbi Josh Broide of Boca Raton Synagogue

Jerry Abramson and Rabbi Josh Broide of Boca Raton Synagogue

Attendees were also delighted to meet two South Florida-based members of Israel’s Olympic baseball team who recently represented Team Israel at the Tokyo Olympics — Tal Erel, who currently plays for Lynn University and major league baseball player, Danny Valencia. Tobin conducted a live interview with Erel and Valencia and asked them about how they came to love the sport, the life-changing experience of becoming Olympians, and what it meant for them to march on the international field behind the blue and white flag as members of the first Israeli national team to qualify for an Olympic team competition since 1976.


“Being able to combine being an Israeli with baseball is the best of both worlds,” said Erel. “Playing in the Olympics was the cherry on top.”



Jonathan Tobin, editor-in-chief of Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) interviews Team Israel baseball players, Danny Valencia and Tal Erel at JNF-USA’s VIP Reception at Oak and Ember restaurant in Boca Raton


Through its Project Baseball initiative, JNF-USA is investing in the future of baseball and softball in Israel. The organization provided financial support for Team Israel’s journey to the Olympics and is continuing to raise millions of dollars in the coming years to build a state-of-the-art multi-purpose field in Beit Shemesh, which will be the home playing field for Team Israel. JNF-USA’s long-term vision is to generate more awareness of the sport and create opportunities for Israel to host international tournaments, as well as to cultivate the next generation of Israeli-born baseball players.


Following the interview, event sponsor and Oak and Ember owner, Donny Cohen, a JNF-USA lay leader in South Palm Beach, joined Tobin on stage to present the baseball players with JNF-USA Be Inscribed certificates stating they will be honored with a parsha inscribed in a Jewish National Fund-USA Torah being written by a scribe atop Masada in Israel.


Editor-in-Chief of JNS, Jonathan Tobin; Team Israel Olympic baseball players, Danny Valencia and Tal Erel, and Donny Cohen

Editor-in-Chief of JNS, Jonathan Tobin; Team Israel Olympic baseball players, Danny Valencia and Tal Erel, and Donny Cohen


“At JNF-USA, we measure our success not only in charitable dollars raised for the land and people of Israel, but also by the lives of Israeli citizens that have been positively impacted by our crucial nation-building projects that reach far and wide, from the Negev to the Galilee,” said JNF-USA Assistant Vice President of Administration and member of JNF-USA’s National Board of Directors, Marvin Schlanger. “Together with our supporters in Palm Beach County, we are leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come. We are grateful this event provided us with the opportunity to showcase the breadth and depth of JNF-USA’s footprint in Israel with local Zionists in our community.”


SFB_8275 cropped

Marvin Schlanger


Earlier that morning, Tobin and Erel were the keynote speakers at JNF-USA’s signature annual event, Breakfast for Israel, which took place in Hollywood — marking the largest in-person event for JNF-USA in South Florida since the start of the pandemic. “We take a lot of things for granted. Who would have thought meeting in person would be one of them?” Tobin said at the breakfast.


Questions? Contact Laura Sherry, Esq., Director, Palm Beach at lsherry@jnf.org or Lee Lebovich, Executive Director, South Florida at LLebovich@jnf.org.


Click here to view photos from the VIP Reception at Oak and Ember (photo credit: FaneFoto.com).



Sheryl Sherman and Claire Pickman


Sheila and Charles Saunders


Anne and Howard Marnasse



Media Contact:

Jennifer Milton

561.447.9733 x 875



About Jewish National Fund-USA

JNF-USA is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation building activities in Israel’s north and south. Through its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, JNF-USA is developing new communities in the Galilee and Negev, connecting the next generation to Israel, and creating infrastructure and programs that support ecology, individuals with special needs, and heritage site preservation.