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Making Israel the Birthright of Every Young Jew

December 21, 2011 By:
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Federation and Birthright Israel leadership celebrate the success of a recent fundraiser for this powerful Jewish identity-building experience. From left are Barry Shrage, CEO, Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston; Leonard Barrack, immediate past president, Federation; Sheldon G. Adelson, Adelson Family Foundation co-founder; and Dean Adler, host committee co-chair. Photos by Scott Weiner

More than $750,000 was raised from participants at a special reception sponsored by the Birthright Israel Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia hosted by Madlyn and Leonard Abramson at their home.

Guests heard from philanthropists Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson, founders of the Adelson Family Foundation. The foundation focuses its support primarily on programs, like Birthright Israel, that benefit the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

Since its inception in 1994, Birthright Israel has given more than 300,000 Jewish adults the opportunity to visit Israel with their peers. More than 10,000 young people from the Greater Philadelphia area have participated in these 10-day, all-expenses-paid trips to the Jewish homeland and have significantly strengthened their connections to Israel and to their local Jewish communities.

Lenard Zimmerman, Federation's Chief Development Officer, says he is gratified by the success of the Nov. 28 fundraising reception, which was the kick-off for Federation's special campaign to generate additional funds to send young adults from Greater Philadelphia on Birthright Israel trips. This campaign is being chaired by Susanna Lachs Adler and Marjorie Honickman.

Zimmerman explains that "approximately 60 percent of those who apply each year for a Birthright Israel experience do not get to go and it is a priority and goal of this Federation to send everyone." He added that "Susanna and Margie will be organizing several programs and events to make this goal a reality."

Zimmerman expressed gratitude for Federation's relationship with the Birthright Israel Foundation and the State of Israel -- a relationship that ensures that "every dollar we raise for Birthright will be matched by our partners, tripling its impact on the future of this powerful Jewish-identity program."

Marcy Gringlas and Joel Greenberg, Marjorie and Jeffrey Honickman, and Susanna Lachs Adler and Dean Adler served as host committee co-chairs. 

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