On Thursday, December 12, 2019, over 45 prominent supporters of Birthright Israel Foundation and board members of Temple Emanuel gathered at our Palm Beach offices for a mezuzah hanging. The gathering marked a significant moment in Birthright Israel history as our 20th-anniversary approaches since the ritual of hanging the mezuzah represents our commitment to future generations and passing on the love of our heritage to our children.
We greatly appreciate the Palm Beach community for their ongoing generosity to our mission. For the past 7 years, Judith Levy has been the Palm Beach Chair and Florida Chair. During her leadership, the Palm Beach area campaign grew 30%, resulting in the expansion of our presence here, which we are celebrating with this mezuzah. We were delighted to have Charles and Rita Bronfman present, as well as Izzy Tapoohi, President & CEO, and Rabbi Daniel Kraus, AVP, Strategic Partnerships, from Birthright Israel Foundation. In addition to sharing his vision, in Charles’ remarks, he graciously offered a challenge to the Temple Emanuel community, that he would sponsor a bus in the name of the synagogue, with a hoped-for match from temple members, thereby providing two buses in honor of Temple Emanuel.
We also want to give a special thanks to Danny Abraham, a longtime supporter, and leaders of Temple Emanuel, Rabbi Michael Resnick, Spiritual Leader, Steven Horowitz, President, and Rob Gordon, Past President and Vivienne Ivry, Vice President, for their support and attendance at our event. Alumna, Courtney Simmons Demri, spoke to our audience about the lasting impact of Birthright Israel and how she formed a nonprofit to give back to future participants and Israeli youth through music.
We ended this weekend of celebration with approximately 200 people for Shabbat services at Temple Emanuel, where Charles spoke from the bima about the founding of Birthright Israel exactly 20 years ago this week, and the innovations made through today. 2015 Alumna, and Temple Emanuel member, Rebecca Rotenberg, shared her experience and how it has transformed her life even years after.
We greatly appreciate the Palm Beach community for their ongoing generosity to our mission. Our Palm Beach Birthright Israel Foundation professional team, Carole-Ann Levine, VP, Southeast Region, and Diane Scherer, Regional Director, and Diane Hiller, Regional Assistant, are very proud professionals who welcome your support and involvement to bring Birthright Israel into the next 20 years.