JNF Speaker Energizes with Hope & Synergy

JNF Speaker Energizes with Hope & Synergy

Women for Israel annual luncheon at Temple Sinai was a testament as to why Atlanta’s women are responsible for the surge in JNF giving.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

Linda Goldstein (Esther Panitch’s mother visiting from Miami), Esther Panitch, Sandy Craine, and Amy Friedlander enjoyed the program.
Linda Goldstein (Esther Panitch’s mother visiting from Miami), Esther Panitch, Sandy Craine, and Amy Friedlander enjoyed the program.

Yom Ha’atzmaut could not have landed on a more meaningful day than the Jewish National Fund’s Women for Israel lunch at Temple Sinai on May 14. The program celebrated contributions to JNF as members were honored, Israel’s Consul General to the Southeast gave a rousing charge, and the keynote speaker received a standing ovation.

Event co-chair Amy Lewis began with a prayer for the release of the hostages. Natasha Lebowitz, Women for Israel Steering Committee member, introduced Anat Sultan-Dadon, Israel’s Consul General to the Southeast. Among her many appearances that day, her speech at the luncheon was about shining a light on real-life superheroes since Oct. 7, in which “ordinary people stepped up.” She spoke of women who lived through kibbutz massacres and have come forward to bear witness to the sexual abuse.

Ivory-clad Hedi Toub poses with restaurateur Tal Baum before the luncheon.

She also spoke of the bravery of fallen Lone Soldier Rose Lubin in her tough role as a border policewoman. She stated, “Women must play a crucial role in every field, as they have in establishing the foundation of Israel … while we are still mourning … we will continue to write history and see brighter days ahead.”
Miriam Haviv, Campaign Chair of Women for Israel, complimented Atlanta women for being part of the surge of the city’s (JNF) giving. She introduced women who contribute $1,800 (Chai) or more, and then those who gave $5,000-plus (Sapphire Society). Guests were then asked to take a blank card from the table centerpiece and write a message that would be delivered to IDF soldiers. Justine Cohen, JNF-Atlanta board member and Chair of the Sapphire Society, honored Michelle Horesh and Marlene Sukiennik, who “found a home through Beth Gluck,” JNF Executive Director, Greater Atlanta, after her move here from Arizona.

Additionally, Horesh shared that she felt like she had just won an Academy Award, and said, “My eight years working with JNF has brought me to these kind and passionate women in furthering the positive impact JNF makes on trauma victims, food delivery, art therapy, and wellness checks for the elderly.”

Event co-chair Caryn Berzack made the “Call to Action” where Israeli music was played among flag waving and fund-raising cards.

Christian South African Olga Mashoe Washington (center), CEO Defend Embrace Invest in Support of Israel, got a standing ovation after her presentation.

Keynote speaker Olga Meshoe Washington, CEO of Defend Embrace Invest Support Israel, an attorney who recently became a U.S. citizen, spoke about her role as a Christian Zionist from South Africa. Washington, whose slides showed her family marching for Israel in D.C., carried the theme of hope and what that means to Israel’s success.

More than a political science and geography lesson, she spoke of Africa’s long history with Israeli leaders and current reciprocity. She stated, “Africa is not poor. We have 50 percent of the world’s resources, like gold, and gives seven times more than it receives in aid. The [Black] Queen of Sheeba brought wealth to King Solomon.” Washington also noted that Africa has 60 percent of the world’s arable land and a huge youthful labor force.

She quoted notable men from Hertzog to [Black] scholar Edward Blyden where the relationship between the two countries was intertwined, especially in understanding slavery and the plight of indigenous peoples. She continued, “We have the common enemy in Hamas on Oct. 7. Our girls have been kidnapped and abused, and still held; and in Kenya, gunmen shot 147 Christians.”

She continued that although the U.S. has been Israel’s strongest ally, Africa may be its most strategic. “The U.N. voting is just strutting like a peacock. We must reclaim the truth, Israel is not a colonizer, nor apartheid! Israel is a scapegoat … Africa was the biggest block of nations recognizing the Jerusalem embassy.”

The room was silent when she concluded that some of today’s student protestors are “children that don’t understand their identity vis a vis Israel. Maybe kids who have been to Alexander Muss High School abroad can articulate this. But if you don’t know who you are, others will tell you who you are.”

Amy Fox, Laurie Kogon, Justine Cohen, and Julie Oshins show support for JNF.

She closed after quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriett Tubman, and the movie, “The Matrix,” about hope and identity,

“We have to find the sun on a cloudy day. Don’t ask, find it … terrorists are not freedom fighters. Israel is light chasing after darkness. We won’t be silenced! The demarcation is crystal clear!”

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