Philanthropists Honored at Jewish National Fund-USA’s Tree of Life® Gala

CINCINNATI, December 13, 2023 — Recently, more than 300 philanthropists attended Jewish National Fund-USA’s Tree of Life® Gala at Cincinnati Music Hall in a powerful show of solidarity and unity with the people of Israel as the Jewish State continues its ongoing war against Hamas.


Tree of Life® Honorees Rabbi Gary Zola, Gary Greenberg, and Andrew Berger

Tree of Life® Honorees Rabbi Gary Zola, Gary Greenberg, and Andrew Berger



The gala, chaired by Drs. Patricia & Scott Joseph, honored three community leaders – Dr. Gary P. Zola, Andrew R. Berger, and Gary L. Greenberg, with Jewish National Fund-USA’s prestigious Tree of Life® Award, which recognizes outstanding community involvement, professional leadership, dedication to the cause of American Israeli friendship, and a devotion to peace and the security of human life.


“I’m pleased to be here tonight to support the work of Jewish National Fund-USA and to be honored with my long-time Jewish communal colleague Andy Berger and my long-time source of inspiration Rabbi Dr. Gary Zola,” Greenberg said at the event. “Your attendance here tonight and support for Jewish National Fund-USA is proof that Jewish-Americans – and our friends and allies – are standing with Israel, and that we will not be intimidated by those in the streets, on college campuses, and social media.”


Event Co-chair Dr Trish Joseph, Jewish National Fund-USA CEO Russell F. Robinson, Event Co-chair Dr Scott Joseph

Tree of Life® Honorees Rabbi Gary Zola, Gary Greenberg, and Andrew Berger



“The sad, sobering reality is that Jewish Life itself is under attack,” added Berger. “It’s up to each of us, in our own way, to continue to support Jewish Life, as you are doing tonight.”


In addition, Jewish National Fund-USA’s Chief Executive Officer Russell F. Robinson addressed the crowd to discuss the organization’s Israel Resilience Campaign (, which is supporting Israelis impacted by the war in the short and long term. Since October 7, 2023, Jewish National Fund-USA has relocated tens of thousands of residents in Israel’s South and is providing thousands more with housing, food, clothing, and other supplies, education, activities for children, trauma therapy, firefighting apparatus and protective equipment for civil defense in vulnerable regions, and more.


JNF-USA Ohio Valley President Marty Betagole

JNF-USA Ohio Valley President Marty Betagole


Attendees also heard from Lainey Paul Richler, a former Captain in the Israel Defense Forces, who discussed the enormity of the current situation. “We are faced with the impossible reality right now of mourning the lives that have been so brutally and prematurely taken away from us yet witnessing a mass call for hatred against not only the State of Israel, but The Jewish People as a whole,” she said. “We are trying to wrap our minds around the most massive security breach in our recent history, while simultaneously justifying to the world that Israel has a right to exist.”


The gala also featured a stirring rendition of Hatikvah led by Rockdale Temple Senior Rabbi Meredith Kahan, a prayer recitation from Lee Chapel Pastor Rev. Dr. Norma Lynn Felts, and a moment of silence for the hostages still being held in Gaza.


For more information, visit jnf.orgor contact Eric Goldstein, Executive Director, Ohio Valley at egoldstein.cinci@jnf.orgor 513.794.1300 x780.


JNF-USA National Campaign Vice President Nina Paul, Lainey Paul Richler, and Eddie Paul

JNF-USA National Campaign Vice President Nina Paul, Lainey Paul Richler, and Eddie Paul




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