JNF-USA Scores Major Points for Israel at Return of Annual Breakfast in South Florida

Editor-in-Chief of the fastest-growing news agency covering Israel and the Jewish world and a local member of Israel’s Olympic baseball team among esteemed keynote speakers at the organization’s first in-person Breakfast for Israel in South Florida since 2019



HOLLYWOOD, Fla., December 7, 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) Breakfast for Israel in South Florida 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.


Tal Erel, Matt Franzblau, and Jonathan Tobin

Tal Erel, Matt Franzblau, and Jonathan Tobin


Guests enjoyed a full breakfast spread at Lavan Catering & Events in Hollywood while learning how JNF-USA and its supporters in the South Florida region play a direct role in making the impossible possible for the land and people of Israel. The return of the organization’s signature annual event marked 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?” said Tobin.


“After being away from each other for so long, it was great to be under one roof again celebrating JNF-USA’s crucial work in Israel,” added Event Co-Chair and member of the JNFuture Broward Board, Matt Franzblau.


Vivian Grossman, Andrea Schneider, Randi Grant, and Alicia Press

Vivian Grossman, Andrea Schneider, Randi Grant, and Alicia Press


Attendees also heard from South Florida-based baseball player, Tal Erel, a member of Israel’s national baseball team. Erel currently plays for Lynn University and recently represented Team Israel on the world’s largest sporting stage at the Tokyo Olympics. Tobin conducted a live interview with Erel and asked him about how he came to love the sport, his upbringing, the life-changing experience of becoming an Olympian, and what it meant for him to march on the international field behind the blue and white flag as a member 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.”


Stephen Greenberger, Rabbi Yosef Weinstock, and Harold Zomek

Stephen Greenberger, Rabbi Yosef Weinstock, and Harold Zomek


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. Today, over 1,500 children and adults play baseball and softball throughout Israel, and that number is increasing with the success and popularity of the national team.


Warren Cohn and Zach Britton

Warren Cohn and Zach Britton


Later that evening, JNF-USA hosted an exclusive VIP reception and Meet & Greet for its Eretz Society and Chai Society donors in Palm Beach at Oak and Ember restaurant in Boca Raton with Tobin, Erel, and Erel’s Olympic teammate — major league baseball player, Danny Valencia. The players were presented 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.



Jonathan Tobin, Danny Valencia, Tal Erel, and Donny Cohen

Jonathan Tobin, Danny Valencia, Tal Erel, and Donny Cohen at JNF-USA’s major donor reception in Palm Beach


“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 Event Co-Chairs, Fern & Rabbi Sheldon Harr. “Together with our supporters in South Florida, 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.”


Questions? Contact Jacqueline Yehudiel, Director, Broward County at jyehudiel@jnf.org or 561.447.9733 x893.


Click here to view photos from Breakfast for Israel and click here to view photos from the VIP reception in Boca Raton (photo credit: FaneFoto.com).



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.