TKE Hosts an Evening of Honor Gala
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TKE Hosts an Evening of Honor Gala

Temple Kol Emeth’s Avodah Awards recognized individuals who have made a significant impact at the synagogue and in the greater community.

Temple Kol Emeth honored Craig Aronoff (right) with its Avodah Award for 2024.
Temple Kol Emeth honored Craig Aronoff (right) with its Avodah Award for 2024.

Temple Kol Emeth’s Avodah Awards event was an evening brimming with compassion, purpose, and a shared commitment to making a difference. Held on May 4 at Glover Park Brewery in Marietta, it was a showcase of the power of community coming together for a cause greater than themselves.

However, what truly made this fundraiser gala exceptional was the sense of unity and purpose that permeated the room. The Avodah Award honorees were Craig Aronoff, Byron Spanjer, and Pam Spanjer recognized for their common goal: to support Temple Kol Emeth in its mission to create a better tomorrow.

From the moment guests arrived, they were enveloped in an atmosphere of warmth and philanthropy. The venue was elegantly adorned, in classic New Orleans style, setting the stage for an unforgettable night ahead. Volunteers, led by Carolyn Shapiro and John Herbst, greeted attendees with genuine smiles, making everyone feel not only welcomed but also integral to the cause being supported.

The program for the evening thoughtfully blended moments of inspiration, education, and entertainment. Speakers shared moving stories about Craig, Byron, and Pam impacting and highlighting the tangible difference they have made at Temple Kol Emeth, in the community and in Jewish life.

TKE recognized Byron Spanjer and Pam Spanjer with Avodah Awards for their commitment to the synagogue and the greater Jewish community.

Craig Aronoff, Chair of Private Enterprise at Kennesaw State University, has been involved with the Marietta Kiwanis and served as the chair of a committee to bring mass transit to Cobb County. He has also served as a Vice President of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and on the Atlanta Board of the Anti-Defamation League. At Temple Kol Emeth, he has been a steadfast board member and fundraiser, having just co-chaired a five-year effort to solicit $5 million dollars to pay off the mortgage.

Pam and Byron Spanjer met at a PTA meeting at The Davis Academy, both having previously served in varied roles in the Jewish community — Pam with Women’s American ORT and the Institute of Southern Jewish Life, as well as serving on the Board of Directors of Atlanta’s Jewish Educational Society; Byron served in the Peace Corps.

Pam and Byron have been immersed in Judaism their entire lives—Pam at Sha’areth Shomayim Synagogue; Byron at Temple B’nai Torah, a synagogue dedicated to the deaf community in Skokie, Ill. Together, they have dedicated the last 30 years in service to Temple Kol Emeth. They each have served on the Board of Directors and volunteered to participate at the Zaban Homeless Shelter and Habitat for Humanity. Pam chaired a prior Avodah Award Gala and Byron was one of the founders of the TKE Family Retreat and has taught at the TKE Religious School.

One of the highlights of the evening was the online auction, where guests had the opportunity to bid on a variety of exclusive items and experiences, all in the name of raising funds for a noble cause. It was heartening to witness individuals dig deep into their pockets, demonstrating their unwavering dedication to making a positive change in the world.

Throughout the night, guests were treated to live jazz music provided by Joe Grandsen and his band, and delicious food and beverages, further enhancing the overall experience. The attention to detail in every aspect of the event, from the decor to the menu, was evident and greatly appreciated by all in attendance.

Temple Kol Emeth’s Avodah Awards Dinner was not just an event; it was a testament to the power of generosity and the capacity for positive change exhibited by Craig Aronoff, Byron Spanjer and Pam Spanjer. It left a lasting impression on all who attended, inspiring them to continue supporting TKE’s vital work long after the night had ended.

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