Published On: Wed, Feb 23rd, 2022

750 SoFla Locals and Snowbirds Flock to JNF-USA’s Winter Connection Receptions

Noa Tishby and Debbie Stayman

Boca Raton, FL — Hundreds of South Florida locals and “snowbirds” seeking to strengthen their connection to the land and people of Israel, joined Jewish National Fund-USA (JNF-USA) at Boca West Country Club on Friday, February 4, 2022, for its annual Winter Connection brunch featuring actress, producer, writer, and activist, Noa Tishby. 

Prior to the main program, JNF-USA’s major donors, including those committed to leaving a lasting legacy through a long-term financial or estate plan to Jewish National Fund, joined the Israeli superstar at the country club for a Gould Legacy Society reception and Meet & Greet at an upscale schmooze hour resembling “winter in the tropics.” 

Winter Connection attendees also heard from JNF-USA’s President, Dr. Sol Lizerbram; CEO Russell F. Robinson; Consul General of Israel to Florida, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky; and Ron Werner, the president of JNF-USA’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI) — a unique study abroad program for high school students where the land of Israel becomes a living classroom. “We have transformed the lives of 35,000 young men and women who are leaders today,” said Werner as he spoke about why JNF-USA continues to grow and invest in the program and the importance of building the next generation of Jewish leaders. 

During the event, students from Rosenblatt High School at Donna Klein Jewish Academy, HADAR High School for Girls, and Katz Yeshiva High School presented awards to Century Council members who have given $100,000 or more to JNF-USA during their lifetime. Dr. Lizerbram remarked, “This is an award for the people who stood up and said, ‘count on me.’ You are part of history.” 

Lizerbram continued: “It’s been a difficult journey over the past two years; however, the Jewish people know all about tough journeys. For 120 years, we’ve struggled, toiled, and ultimately succeeded to reestablish our homeland on our ancestral soil for Jewish people everywhere. Our journey hasn’t been easy, yet it has been fueled by great dreams and vision, and together, we have made miracles happen for the next generation and those yet unborn.”

“Because of our incredible partners (donors) here in South Florida and across the country, we have raised more than $879 million towards our $1 billion dollar campaign over the past few years,” added Robinson. “We call them partners rather than donors because their vision is our vision, and their success is our success. As we continue to grow our campaign, the Jewish people gain strength from their generosity and leadership.”

Robinson also spoke about JNF-USA’s partnership with the Jewish Future Pledge, a worldwide movement working to ensure that vibrant Jewish life continues for generations to come as we all work to keep our Jewish world stronger for our children. 

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 intimate receptions throughout South Florida. 

On Tuesday, February 1, Robinson, Werner, and former president of AMHSI, Robert Werner, joined local members of the investment and tech community, and local AMHSI alumni in Aventura to kick off a year of programs celebrating the 50th anniversary of AMHSI educating thousands of teenagers who have made a difference and become power-pick figures in the United States. AMHSI was founded in 1972 by Miami residents and merged with JNF-USA in 2013. Since then, enrollment has doubled. Approximately 250 students from South Florida attend AMHSI each year and approximately 10,000 alumni are from the region.

The organization then hosted a VIP reception at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach on Wednesday, February 2, for JNF-USA’s elite World Chairman’s Council members who have contributed over $1 million in their lifetime. These individuals are instrumental to ensuring JNF-USA continues to keep the promise it made to Israel more than a century ago. The philanthropists were presented with an engraved iconic JNF-USA Blue Box made of crystal at the reception, as a reminder of their unparalleled commitment to the land and people of Israel.  

The following evening, several hundred JNF-USA President’s Society members who have contributed $10,000 or more to its 2022 Annual Campaign, enjoyed an elegant dinner and book signing with Tishby at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach. 

“It was incredible to experience this extraordinary week of activities that engaged hundreds of devoted Israel supporters who call South Florida home year-round and seasonally, as well as others who traveled from afar to hear about JNF-USA’s life-changing projects that will impact the global Jewish community for generations to come,“ said Louise and Alan Dabrow.

For more information or to learn about future events in South Florida, contact Lee Lebovich, Executive Director, South Florida at llebovich@jnf.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. Learn more at jnf.org

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