JNFuture Philadelphia Event Transforms Jersey Shore into Tel Aviv

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Lucy the Elephant overlooks last year’s Margate Meets Tel Aviv event. | Via Facebook

To celebrate the end of the summer with one last hurrah, JNFuture Philadelphia is transforming the Jersey shore into an Israeli beach for its third annual Margate Meets Tel Aviv event.

The group, which aims to engage the next generation with the work of the Jewish National Fund and reach young professionals between 22 and 40, will hold its annual fundraiser and celebration at Margate’s famous pachyderm, Lucy the Elephant, on Aug. 19.

For co-chair Danielle Hankin, seeing the event grow from its beginnings is exciting; they’re expecting about 300 guests this time, she noted.

“There really isn’t any other event like ours that’s in August, that’s down the shore, that’s this outdoor party at the end of the summer,” she said. “We don’t set the price point so high and we don’t make it a formal event; it’s really a place where everyone can enjoy themselves and in each other’s company.”

To mark the event’s third year, and the organization’s third year as a chapter, there are a few new additions Hankin is excited for, such as live music from CTO Carousel, a live auction and giveaways.

Hankin first got involved with JNFuture Philadelphia through a personal connection — her brother, Alexander, who started the chapter and has served as its president.

She participated in a week-long mission trip to Israel with JNF and learned more about where the money goes. From there, she became more involved.

“When my brother started the group, there was just a few of us,” she said, “and going from being just a small table of 12 people, sitting around talking about what we could be to getting to the point where we can have a fundraising event and have 300 people come and raise $15,000-plus, that’s an amazing feat within itself.”

Co-chair Molli Weisband hopes for a non-Philadelphia turnout, too. She recently went on the leadership mission trip and talked about the Margate event with fellow trip-goers from Tampa, Fla., to Los Angeles — some of whom are now attending.

Weisband will serve as keynote speaker at the event as well as the events chair next year, taking the reins from Hankin as the leadership board transitions to new faces.

She will talk about the work JNF does and about her trip, which she said was “life-changing.”

“People don’t realize what JNF does overall,” she said, “they just think ‘OK, you guys plants trees in Israel,’ but to actually get to go and see all the projects that we fund and where our money really goes and … see them face-to-face and travel throughout the country — it’s absolutely mind-blowing.”

She is excited at the prospect of having so many more people come to the event and to see membership grow.

“It’s all people that are pro-Israel,” Weisband said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish or not, it doesn’t matter if you’re Orthodox or Reform, it doesn’t matter what your affiliation is — the one beautiful thing about JNF is it’s not a political organization, it’s not a religious organization. It’s an organization that is for anyone who is pro-Israel.”

Hankin echoed excitement for the chapter’s growth in the last three years and for the future.

“JNF is an international organization, so we weren’t starting from scratch as far as what the JNF goals were and mission is but we have been able to make ourselves a unique, young group here in Philadelphia that has its own goals and its own missions,” she said. “We’ve been able to work with other chapters and other organizations to bring them into ours but also to influence theirs, so it’s been exciting.”

For tickets, email [email protected] or call 215-832-0690 etx. 863.

Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0740

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