May 14, 2018
A Year to Celebrate. A Future to Imagine: Federation’s 2018 Annual Meeting
With plenty to celebrate and confidence in the future, the theme rang true for more than 300 dedicated Federation and Jewish community leaders at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County’s 2018 Annual Meeting on April 24. In a packed Zinman Hall, the warmth and ruach, unity and commitment left no doubt: it’s been a year to celebrate, and the future is ours to imagine.
Naomi Steinberg, who chaired the evening with her husband Richard, framed the meeting in her welcome, saying. “’A Year to Celebrate... A Future to Imagine’ reflects on our Federation’s firm footing, the increasing impact, and the ever-stronger foundation for the future as we close out our 39th year. We are thrilled to be doing it with so many of you, whose commitments and efforts have made the year’s successes possible.”
The night began with a reception and buffet dinner aptly reminiscent of a large family reunion. Inspired by a D’var Torah from Rabbi David Steinhardt of B’nai Torah Congregation, the multimedia program went on to lay out the array of causes for celebration, and look confidently into a promising future.
Passing the gavel after two years as Chair of our Federation’s Board of Directors, Anne Jacobson spoke after a moving tribute. Thanking everyone for their contributions and efforts, she said, “Your tributes belong not to me, but to what we have done together. We’re engaging more people from all corners of our Jewish community. We have increased our resources to help more people in more ways. All while laying an ever-stronger foundation and charting a solid course for the future of our sacred mission.” Read Anne’s remarks.
Federation President & CEO Matthew C. Levin’s sixth Annual Meeting presentation also lauded the year’s accomplishments, citing the increased Annual Campaign, Jacobson Jewish Community Foundation assets and commitments, allocations, engagement and more. Read Matt’s State of the Federation address.
“Those of you familiar with other Jewish communities know that each one develops its own character,” said Levin. “And in this we are no exception. We are, however, absolutely exceptional in the engagement and unity we’ve developed amid our Jewish diversity….. Over the past few years, our community has become the embodiment of Am Echad…One People…One Community. Just this past year we saw this manifest in many remarkable ways.”
Levin provided an array of powerful examples from the massive community hurricane relief efforts, to the Purim Carnival, co-sponsored with the full spectrum of local synagogues, that drew 2,000 including many newcomers to the Federation campus, to the recent visit from seven Members of Knesset looking to build stronger connections with the Diaspora.
“Our reputation continues to gain notice well beyond this community, “Levin continued. “And we have just received a phenomenal confirmation of how truly special and unique we are in the eyes of world Jewry. Our Federation has been awarded this year’s prestigious Jerusalem Unity Prize! And we are the first community as well as the first outside of Israel to receive this award!”
“Applaud yourselves for modeling the mitzvah of Ahavat Yisrael, loving each other, each and every day, said Levin, following a video announcement of the award from the Mayor of Jerusalem. View the Mayor’s announcement to us.
Levin also noted that “Amid our many causes for celebration, the monumental demographic shifts we’ve anticipated continue to advance around us. Every one of our programs, operations and activities is planned and conducted to meet this shift head-on.” He shared successes and plans to continue this process, looking to the future with projects like the Toby & Leon Cooperman Sinai Residences expansion, pending results from the demographic study underway, and making concrete strides toward becoming a premier Special Needs community.
Dale Filhaber, Nominating Committee Chair, presented the slate for the 2018-19 Board of Directors, which was received with unanimous approval. At the top of the list, Arthur Goldberg took the reins as new Chair of the Federation Board. Also welcomed to new officer positions were: Larry Feldman, Vice Chair, Financial Resource Development; Debra Halperin, Vice Chair, Campaign; Jill Rose, Vice Chair, Women’s Philanthropy; Jeff Newman, Vice Chair, Program Funding Council; Bryan Drowos, Assistant Treasurer; Wes Finch, Assistant Secretary; Vice Chairs David Pratt and David Schimel; and Immediate Past Chair, Anne Jacobson.
Bringing to the position his consummate business acumen as well as years of Federation campaign, governance and other experience, Arthur took those reins with humility, gratitude, confidence and dedication. In his remarks, he shared his pride in all that has been accomplished in recent years, with the caveat that, “We cannot rest on our laurels,” given the local demographic shifts as well as challenges facing American Jewry overall. Yet, with the Federation’s outstanding professional staff and the leaders and donors before him in Zinman Hall, he foresees that, “this will continue to be a great time for our Federation.” Read Arthur’s remarks as incoming Board Chair.
Four members of the Federation community received awards for their extraordinary contributions. Longtime donor and leader, Cliff Seresky received the James H. Nobil Community Leadership Award, presented by Marla Weiss Egers, Executive Vice President, and Janet Izaak, Vice President, Marketing & Communications. Sarah Lippy accepted the James and Marjorie Baer Outstanding Young Leadership Award from Bryan Drowos, former National Young Leadership Chair and incoming Federation Assistant Treasurer. Howard “Butch” Metzger and Ida Novack accepted this year’s James H. Nobil Professional Achievement Awards from Mel Lowell, COO and Jennifer Koenig, Sr. VP, Campaign, respectively.
The 2018 Annual Meeting was generously sponsored by Akerman, BB&T, Berger Singerman, Greenberg Traurig, Hotwire Communications, Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, Marsh & McLennan Agency, Proskauer, Stifel/The ECJ Wealth Advisory Group, Sunstates Security and WGI. Southern Glazer’s Wines & Spirits was the generous in-kind sponsor.