Mar 13, 2017

500+ Charge up Community with Hollywood’s Brett Ratner at THE EVENT 2.0

As soon as the lights went down, the energy spiked way up – and that’s where it stayed throughout the night at Boca West Country Club on March 1, 2017. THE EVENT 2.0 may have been called Federation Unplugged, but the night ran on the spirit and power of the more than 500 adults of all ages who came together to celebrate our remarkable Jewish community’s commitment and generosity.

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For a fifth year, THE EVENT 2.0 brought Federation supporters together from across South Palm Beach County’s vibrant diversity, for one shared purpose: to celebrate all the good we do together and get inspired to do even more for those who depend on us. Following a welcoming cocktail reception with substantial and sumptuous hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction of luxury vacation opportunities, and a dynamic video opening, the evening’s co-chairs welcomed the guests.

“Our Federation and its partners are changing lives – every day, everywhere,” said Michael Shapiro, who co-chaired the evening with his wife, Mara, and with Kathy and Ken Green. “Tonight, our rabbis, our community leaders, and all of us from across this community come together to show that through our collective power we are making a profound impact through the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County-- by taking responsibility for our Jewish family in need – to feed, protect, teach, inspire, save and comfort – and, for all that, we are grateful.”

“Although we have different voices and backgrounds, we come together to form our glowing Jewish community; united as one!” said Kathy Green to an audience charged with passion and lit by glow sticks. “Thanks to your support, vulnerable Jewish community members receive vital aid and protection... the next generation is strengthening their bonds to Israel and Judaism… and Jews in need around the world know they are not alone. Our Federation is there with all of them, not just in words, but in action.”

Through video and in-person presentations from recipients, the audience learned poignant, powerful and inspiring real stories of individuals and families whose lives have been truly changed by the array of people and organizations giving and working together in this Jewish community. They cried as Judith, whom they’d met on the same stage four years ago, and her grandchildren showed them how grateful they are for the community’s support that has brought stability and enrichment to their family since she suddenly became guardian of five teenagers. They cheered as Shira and her brother, Josh, described his special needs Birthright trip. And they rose to their feet as, with sirens and flashing lights, Gavy brought an ambucycle onto the stage and explained how broadly and effectively the fully equipped emergency vehicle donated recently by Federation, and others like it, are responding to emergencies and saving lives in Israel.

“These are only three stories of the lives we touch throughout our community and across the world,” said Larry Feldman, Federation Campaign Chair. Feldman spoke passionately of the remarkable work our Federation is doing for the youngest to the oldest in our Jewish family, and about Federation’s 100-acre gem of a campus. He proudly shared how Federation has expanded its support to new organizations in Israel with creative approaches to longstanding concerns, and how we are striving to become a premier community to serve those with special needs. He also addressed how we must reach farther and deeper to address the extent of current and future needs. “Our success is dependent on each of us in this room,” Feldman said. “We all have the responsibility to take the stories we heard tonight and share them with our friends and neighbors, inviting them to step forward with us into our deep commitment to care for all in our Jewish family who need us.”

The audience was thrilled to welcome back home and to the stage Brett Ratner, a Miami Beach native who is now the sixteenth highest grossing film director in history with more than $1 billion in career box office sales. He’s also directed more than 100 music videos for artists including Madonna, Mariah Carey, and P. Diddy. And his Ratpac Entertainment has co-financed 41 theatrically released motion pictures, exceeding $7 billion in worldwide box office sales & winning 21 Academy Awards and seven Golden Globes. So it was no surprise that Ratner received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last month.

With his mother, his rabbi and his longtime mentor in the audience, Ratner fully lived up to his reputation for mesmerizing and inspiring audiences with his haimish journey from Miami dreamer to Hollywood mogul and action-packed, comedic delivery - as well as for his commitment to Jewish history, culture, values, security and philanthropy. He described his early years on Miami Beach, learning the values he still cherishes, the importance of telling good stories, Yiddishkeit and even Yiddish from his grandparents and great-grandmother. Ratner went on to speak of his formative experiences in Day School, Yeshiva and High School in Israel, which he continues to feel was one of the greatest experiences of his life. And from there he shared how this background led to him talking his way in to NYU film school, into actually making films, and wending his way into the highest Hollywood echelons.

A group of Federation’s younger major donors, Emerging Jewish Philanthropists (EJP), headed to an exclusive “after party” with Ratner immediately following THE EVENT 2.0.

THE EVENT 2.0 was generously sponsored by Bankier and Arlen Law Group, PLLC; Berger Singerman; Brown’s Interior Design; CBIZ MHM, LLC; Greenberg Traurig; Hotwire Communications; Life Care Services; The Mordis Group; Marsh & McLennan Agency; Suffolk Construction; and Virgin Printing Corp. Greenseid Catering, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and Zebedee were the event’s In-Kind Sponsor, and The Boca Raton Observer was Exclusive Magazine Sponsor.

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