Dec 7, 2016
Sandler Family Major Gifts Event Features Former Canadian Prime Minister and Honors Coopermans
A record-breaking crowd of 400 of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County’s top donors filled the room at The Polo Club in Boca Raton on November 29, 2016 for a sophisticated evening of inspiration. After warmly greeting each other at a cocktail reception, they enjoyed an elegant dinner and two powerful speakers at this season’s annual Sandler Family Major Gifts Event. And this year, the longstanding premier event in local Jewish philanthropy was aptly held on “Giving Tuesday, the Global Day of Philanthropy.”
Named for Phyllis & Harvey Sandler and their family, the evening celebrated Federation’s major donors, who contribute a minimum $10,000 to the local Federation’s Annual Campaign. “The Sandler family’s consummate commitment, generosity and philanthropy set a shining example for our community. We are so fortunate to have you in our community. Your love, dedication, perseverance and grace inspire us all,” said Federation Board Chair Anne Jacobson.
Breaking yet another attendance record for the event, the donors spanned many decades in age, and hailed from throughout the community, illustrating the vibrant diversity of this Jewish community as well as the growth and diversification of Federation’s Major Donors Program. Including major donors’ adult children and grandchildren through the L’Dor V’Dor initiative added to both the power and festivity of the night.
Jill Rose, who co-chaired the evening with her husband, Michael, and with Ellie and Martin Lifton, proudly welcomed the guests, highlighting how, “You, our generous supporters, one strong, caring and vibrant community, together are transforming the lives of our Jewish family right here in South Palm Beach County, in Israel and around the world with our Federation in its vital role as the true hub of the Jewish community. Through our Federation and the work of our partner agencies, we feed the hungry, strengthen the next generation’s support of Israel, and serve as a lifeline to those in poverty, under oppression in faraway corners – and so much more.”
“With us here tonight we have some of the most dedicated and active leaders in our Jewish community,” said Michael Rose. “Please join me in recognizing and thanking Anne Jacobson, Chair of our Federation Board, Larry Feldman, our Campaign Chair and all those who guide our efforts every day.”
The Federation’s Ketubah Society Hall of Fame posters were on display, recognizing those who have demonstrated a cumulative financial commitment of $1 million or more during the Federation’s 37 year history. During the evening, Toby and Leon Cooperman and Judi and Allan Schuman were welcomed to the prestigious society and lauded for their “extraordinary commitment to the Federation and for creating initiatives that will forever change our community.”
As honorees of the evening, the Coopermans were introduced by their longtime friend and Federation lay leader Adele Lebersfeld. “From Toby and Leon’s humble beginnings meeting at Hunter College, they have built an incredible life of love for their family, community and those in need,” she said. “They lead by example with quiet dignity, affecting countless lives simply because they believe it is the right thing to do and they are blessed to be able to do it.” A standing ovation greeted the couple, whose recent transformative endowment to the Federation will aid in funding vital programs and services for generations to come.
Click here to watch the moving video interview with Toby and Leon Cooperman, as viewed at the Sandler Family Major Gifts Event.
“We are so happy to participate in making this community even stronger,” said Toby Cooperman, wholeheartedly thanking “the visionaries who built this Federation.”
“Our ability to give is a testimony to the American Dream, and we have a moral imperative to give others the opportunity to pursue that dream by sharing our financial success,” said Leon, whose parents emigrated from Poland and raised him in a small apartment in the Bronx where he attended public schools. Quoting the Talmud, he said, "A man’s net worth is measured not by what he earns, but rather what he gives away."
Judi and Allan Schuman were also celebrated at the event. David Pratt, Federation’s Vice Chair of Financial Resource Development announced the couple’s recent extremely generous endowment and creation of the Judi and Allan Schuman Center for Israel Engagement at the Federation. “Your vision and generosity will provide assistance to people looking to travel to Israel under Federation’s auspices, while also bringing pieces of Israel to us, and so much more,” he said.
Called a a mensch and great friend to the American Jewish community in his introduction by Federation President & CEO Matthew C. Levin, with poignancy and power, Jerry Silverman, President & CEO of Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) brought home how truly critical is the work of the Federation, and the generosity of the major donors.
“You should be proud of all that is being done by the Federation and its beneficiary agencies each and every day,” Silverman said. “The vibrancy of this community from the very youngest to the very oldest and the chesed that abounds are palpable. This Federation ensures there are structures in place to ensure that we are always ready - locally and globally – to help when and where we are needed. We are part of so much good going on around the world, but the threats and the needs are rising and our people face more challenges. They need to know they are not alone.”
Calling him “an unwavering, supporter of the State of Israel’s right to exist,” Martin Lifton introduced The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, former Prime Minister of Canada, whose 8-year tenure ended a year ago. The audience was riveted as Harper, who famously declared as P.M., “Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you,” laid out how and why he was an outspoken defender of the Jewish homeland on the world stage. He avowed that the Holocaust must be fully understood “as more than a historical event, but also as an example of the eternal nature of anti-Semitism and the dangers of failing to recognize its existence.
“The crude anti-Semitism has mutated,” he said. “It used to exist in dark corners but has transformed into language that is acceptable in open discourse, including hating and scapegoating Israel for all that is troubling in the Middle East. Yet Israel is our only enduring, unquestionable ally in their dangerous neighborhood, and the only country in the region anchored in freedom, democracy and the rule of law.”
“When Israel is threatened we are all threatened, Harper said. “They begin by hating Jews and then the hatred spreads - like the jihadist movement that started against Israel and now threatens us all. Either we stand with Israel on the frontlines or they will come for all of us.”
Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLC; Proskauer; and Steinberg Global Asset Management, LTD are the generous Major Gifts Division sponsors. The Boca Raton Observer was Exclusive Magazine Sponsor for the Sandler Family Major Gifts Event, and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of America Inc. and Atlas Party Rentals were the In-Kind Sponsors. Special thanks were given to the event’s generous underwriters: Linda & Don Brodie, Ellie & Martin Lifton and Jill & Michael Rose.