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2018-11-16 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

November 16, 2018  RSS feed
Federation

Text: T T T

Pinellas/Pasco Federation kicks off annual fundraiser with storytelling, musical show


(L-R) Doug Weiland, Natalie Feldman, Andy Levin, Leslie Freedman, Roxana Levin, Sally Laufer and Erel Laufer enjoying a “nosh” before the show. (L-R) Doug Weiland, Natalie Feldman, Andy Levin, Leslie Freedman, Roxana Levin, Sally Laufer and Erel Laufer enjoying a “nosh” before the show. Nearly 150 people filled Ruth Eckerd Hall’s Margarete Heye Great Room on Sunday, Nov. 4 for an evening filled with energy, education and entertainment as the Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco County’s annual Catalyst event, marking the launch of the 2019 fundraising campaign.

Featured at the event was a live show by the team from the Israel Story podcast, which has been described as the Israeli version of This American Life, along with speeches by Federation leadership and the presentation of the annual Edward N. Ludin Young Leadership Award.

Newly appointed Federation President Ezra Singer offered an update on the Jewish Federation, including his pride and encouragement at seeing the community come together considering the tragic events the previous week in Pittsburgh.


Liz Sembler presents Dean Hershkowitz with the Edward N. Ludin Young Leadership Award. Liz Sembler presents Dean Hershkowitz with the Edward N. Ludin Young Leadership Award. Federation Executive Director, Emilie Socash, shared a unique perspective on Federation giving by outlining what the donors in the room had made possible in the past, funding programs such as the PJ Library, the Jewish Community Camp, Federation Fellows, the Ethiopian National Project, Israeli social support services, and so much more across our own community and around the globe.

Among the highlights of the evening was the announcement of this year’s Ludin Award winner: Dean Hershkowitz.

Liz Sembler, director of engagement at Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg, presented the award to Hershkowitz, president of the congregation. During his tenure as president, he helped to shepherd in B’nai Israel’s new rabbi, Philip Weintraub, following the retirement of Rabbi Jacob Luski. He also spearheaded the creation and promotion of Pride Shabbat at CBI.


An orchestra, vocalist and colorful graphics assisted in telling the story of some of Israel’s most iconic songs in the show performed by the Israel Story podcast team. An orchestra, vocalist and colorful graphics assisted in telling the story of some of Israel’s most iconic songs in the show performed by the Israel Story podcast team. As owner of Meze 119, a vegetarian Middle Eastern restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg, he has provided catering and sponsorship to Jewish events like the Birthright Beach Bash, TOP Jewish Foundation leadership lunches, the Temple Beth-El Art Show, and young adult programs, as well as sponsoring non-Jewish events like the Tampa Bay Chowder Challenge, Dining Out for Life, and Spring for the Arts.

The Ludin Award was established in 1994 by Arlene Ludin to honor the memory of her late husband. The Ludin Award recognizes a young leader between the ages of 25-45 who demonstrates significant leadership ability in the Jewish community and has the potential for greater leadership responsibility in the future. The award is designed to recognize current accomplishments, to indicate the community’s belief in this individual’s future impact and pro- vide a stipend for use on a Jewish leadership experience to be used in the next two years.

For the entertainment portion of the evening, The Israel Story team in their signature storytelling technique, documented several popular songs throughout Israel’s 70 years. This was done by listening to the narration by creator of the show, Mishy Harman, by watching the huge plasma screen with cartoon graphics and video clips, and by watching and listening to the five-piece orchestra and vocal accompaniments.

The show began with consideration of the roots of Hatikvah, Israel’s National Anthem, which was originally penned as a poem by Naftali Herz Imber in the late 1800s. The melody originates from a Romanian Jewish immigrant named Samuel Cohen, who adapted it from a Moldavian folk song, “Carul cu Boi” (Cart and Oxen). “Hatikvah” spread rapidly among Jewish pioneers as part of the new culture of secular Hebrew songs and folk dances (such as the hora) that existed in the early decades of the Zionist movement.

The Israel Story group also presented stunning renditions of “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” (Jerusalem of Gold). Written by Naomi Shemer for the Israeli Song Festival, Shemer chose the thenunknown Shuli Nathan to sing the song in her soft, delicate voice.

An emotional portion of the evening occurred as the story was told about Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin with Shuli Nathan, and then Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres singing “Shir L’ Shalom” (“A Song for Peace”) on Nov. 4, 1995, moments before Rabin was assassinated. The segment included video of a reading at Rabin’s funeral from the song’s lyric sheet that was in his pocket when he was shot, now spattered with his blood. The Catalyst event was held on the 23rd anniversary of this tragedy.

The show culminated with the entire cast and the audience swaying and singing Israeli singing sensation David Broza’s hit, “Yiheyei Tov” (Things Will Get Better”).

“I felt like I was in a big city. This is so cutting edge and timely,” remarked longtime community member, Judy Benjamin.

JoAnn Urofsky, general manager and associate vice president of WUSF Radio, served as guest emcee.

Rabbi Weintraub of Congregation B’nai Israel and Rabbi Danielle Upbin of Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater also participated in the program, singing the national anthems of both Israel and the United States.

More information about the activities of the Federation and ways to get involved and give can be found at www.jewishpinellas.org.


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