1,500 Philanthropists Unite at Jewish National Fund-USA “Winter Connection” Receptions
BOCA RATON, Fla., February 22, 2023 — More than 1,500 philanthropists from South Florida and across the U.S. strengthened their connection to the land and people of Israel with Jewish National Fund-USA during a ten-day-long celebration in February, culminating in the organization’s annual Winter Connection Brunch at Boca West Country Club.
Jay Berman, Bernie Platt, Achim Rudoler, and Barbara Berman
Jewish National Fund-USA’s President, Dr. Sol Lizerbram, surprised attendees by announcing the organization had reached its ambitious $1 billion fundraising goal for its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade initiative 10 months ahead of schedule, sparking a roar of excitement from the crowd. Charitable dollars raised thus far have supported the development of new communities in Israel’s Negev and Galilee regions, created employment and housing opportunities, provided water solutions, healthcare initiatives, fire and rescue services, preserved historical heritage sites, empowered people with disabilities, and more.
Dr. Lizerbram also honored Jewish National Fund-USA World Chairman’s Council and Century Council members as well as Boca Raton resident and longtime partner (donor) Gloria Kaylie and the memory of her husband Harvey for their impactful philanthropic investments that are changing lives. The Harvey and Gloria Kaylie Rehabilitation Medical Center at ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, the first-ever rehabilitation hospital in Israel’s Negev region, opened its doors to rehabilitation patients in June 2022.
Jewish National Fund-USA CEO Russell F. Robinson and Honoree Gloria Kaylie
In just a few short months, the medical center has increased the number of Israel’s rehabilitative hospital beds dramatically and is meeting a critical need for inpatient care in southern Israel. In the months and years ahead, this state-of-the-art rehabilitation, research, and social center will create more housing and jobs, establish a model of community-based inclusive health services, and disseminate rehabilitative best practices via Israel’s first translational research lab, marking the beginning of a new era of medical and economic strength for the State of Israel.
Chaired by Loren & Eric Stein, Co-Presidents of the organization’s South Palm Beach Board of Directors, Winter Connection attendees also heard from the Consulate General of Israel in Miami, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, and Jewish National Fund-USA’s CEO Russell F. Robinson, who celebrated Israel’s incredible accomplishments in just 75 short years, while highlighting some of the organization’s new bold and visionary initiatives impacting the future of Zionism.
Marty Betagole, Shelly Gerson, Cynthia Goodman, Cheryl Abramson
The event’s featured speaker was Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s former Minister of Interior and Justice, who also co-founded the “My Israel” movement, one of Israel’s largest grassroots campaigns. Shaked is regarded as one of Israel’s most consequential legislators of the past decade and is the only secular woman to have ever led an orthodox party.
“Ayelet is a key Israeli thought leader whom Forbes Israel named as ‘Israel’s most influential woman’ in 2017 and 2018,” said Palm Beach Gardens resident Marvin Schlanger, a Jewish National Fund-USA National Board Member who interviewed Shaked at the event. “Her perspectives gave the audience insights not usually accessible to Americans. It was particularly rewarding for Jewish National Fund-USA’s supporters to hear her hearty ‘thank you!’ to the organization for its incredible work in Israel. She revealed that when she was Minister of Interior, she would get phone calls from mayors in Israel asking her to ‘bring Jewish National Fund-USA’ to their towns to help build infrastructure.”
Ayalet Shaked, Marvin Schlanger
During the event, nearly 50 student ambassadors from the Claire and Emanuel G. Rosenblatt High School at Donna Klein Jewish Academy and Katz Yeshiva High School attended the brunch to learn about fundraising, philanthropy, and opportunities for young adults their age to participate in Jewish National Fund-USA’s plethora of Zionist education programs like its Alexander Muss High School in Israel, a unique study abroad experience for high school students where the land of Israel becomes a living classroom.
In the days leading up to the grand brunch, national leaders from across the country engaged new partners while the organization hosted a series of business networking events and intimate receptions throughout South Florida — several of which featured Jewish National Fund-USA’s affiliates from Israel, including Lt. Col. (Res.) Tiran Attia of Special in Uniform.
Shelly and Jerry Abramson
In recognition of Jewish Disabilities Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month, which is recognized annually in February, Attia spoke about this incredible program that integrates young adults with mostly cognitive disabilities into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and, later, into Israeli society, and the impact it has had on more than 800 young adults.
The organization also hosted elegant VIP receptions for members of its major donor societies at the Colony Hotel Palm Beach and The Addison.
For more information or to learn about future events in South Florida, contact Lee Lebovich, Executive Director, South Florida at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.