At the annual Ambassador's Leadership Dinner, held Oct. 11 at the Rittenhouse Hotel, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia celebrated and honored individuals, couples, families and corporations who made gifts of $100,000 or more to the 2005 Federation Allied Jewish Appeal campaign.
The dinner dates back some 50 years, and is named for its first host, the late publisher and philanthropist Walter H. Annenberg, who served as an ambassador to Great Britain. Beryl Simonson, board chair of Federation, and his wife Lainey, co-chaired the dinner with Sandra and David Marshall.
More than 100 guests attended, including multigenerational families in the Jewish tradition of l'dor v'dor – passing on Judaism's teaching of support for the community to future generations.
The youngest guest, Benjamin Natan, 9, son of Denise and Nimrod Natan and grandson of Sandra and David Marshall, chanted the kiddush and made the motzi before the meal. Expressing pride in having three generations in attendance, David Marshall noted that it is "imperative for our children and grandchildren to understand what giving is about, and to be part of the community at an early age."
To date, more than $5.5 million dollars has been donated – 21 percent of Federation's 2005 annual campaign – by those at the dinner and other donors at the Ambassador's level.
"You are our most significant contributors, our largest stakeholders," said Beryl Simonson, expressing Federation's gratitude to those attending the dinner. "You show your compassion with generosity that transforms our community every year."
He went on to share some of the significant changes that have taken place at Federation in the last year, including the accomplishments of its Centers for Social Responsibility, Jewish Life and Learning, and Israel and Overseas. He also pointed out how Federation has partnered with community businesses to help individuals and families become more self-sufficient.
Looking to the future, Federation's board chair told the Ambassador Leadership Dinner guests: "I truly believe that in working together, we will build a community that will transcend time, a community our children and grandchildren will be proud of, a community that is more inclusive and more engaging, a community that welcomes fellow Jews with open arms."