Opening event launches 2020 campaign for Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County

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By: Joanie Cox-Henry
Contributing Writer

More than 600 people packed B’nai Torah Congregation Nov. 6 to witness The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County kick off its 2020 Annual Campaign. Themed “Live Your Passion,” the festivities included a vibrant performance by International Jewish teen choir HaZamir and an energetic presentation from extreme endurance athlete, former rapper, best-selling author and co-founder of Marquis Jet, Jesse Itzler.

“This is the largest group of Jews I’ve spoken in front of since my bar mitzvah,” joked comedian David Moore as he emceed The Opening Event. “Every year as we prepare for a new campaign season, we ask ourselves, of all the ways people can spend their time, money and energy, why choose Federation? We choose Federation because we are a community committed to caring for one another and our Jewish Family. With Federation, we reimagine the world as we wish it to be and come together to make that reimagined world a reality.”

The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County is also now offering designated giving. Do-nors can choose to support local safety net services, mental health issues, Jewish life and learning or to lend aid to Israel and Jews around the globe. With an annual campaign of more than $15 million, 67 agencies including local Jewish day schools, synagogues, Jewish youth groups, March of The Living and more received distributions from the Federation through grants, scholarships and program support.

Various partners of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County took the stage at B’nai Torah Congregation including former Boca Raton resident Jonathan Struhl who ended up saving a woman’s life after learning his bone marrow was a match with a 46-year-old mother of four battling leukemia. “I almost didn’t pick up the phone because I didn’t recognize the number,” Struhl said. “Signing up for The Gift of Life was one of the most important things I’ve ever done. Here in Boca, Gift of Life has a beautiful state of the art collection center that looks and feels more like a spa than a medical facility. And I appreciate the Federation for supporting The Gift of Life and letting me shine a light on this. Together, we’re saving lives.”

Chaired by Jennifer and Brad Berkowitz and Miriam and Dr. Aaron Klein, the evening also in-cluded compelling footage of those the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County have helped locally and beyond as well as an emotional plea for peace from Rabbi Yaakov Gibber who grew up in Squirrel Hill attending The Tree of Life Congregation where 11 Jews were viciously gunned down while attending synagogue services.

“When the community is in need, it is the Federation that is there to answer the call,” Gibber said. “We commit ourselves to fight darkness with light and hatred with love. We must be proud and passionate about Judaism. Together we’re Pittsburgh Strong and Federation Strong.”

Learn more about the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County at www.jewishboca.org.

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