JNF Virtual Gala Evening breaks attendance records

September 3, 2020 by Roz Tarszisz
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Despite the technical challenges of holding its Virtual Gala Evening, JNF Australia successfully staged its annual fundraiser online reaching more than double the number who attended last year’s events.

JNF National President Ronit Fraid

The aim of the event was to raise funds to support the people of the Negev city of Sderot through the establishment of the new Sderot Resilience Centre. The Centre cares for children suffering from PTSD, and their families.

Benny Gantz

“This year’s theme is building resistance and growing our future,” said National JNF President Ronit Fraid.

The new Therapy Centre will include treatment rooms, animal pens and open spaces where a variety of small animals are free to roam. All the rooms in the Centre will be rocket-proof, negating the need to run for cover during times of emergency.

Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz delivered a message to JNF Australia followed by an address from JNF CEO Dan Springer. He told J-Wire JNF had registrations more than double of 2800 who physically last year’s events. He said: “The feedback and level of pledging is more than encouraging.”

Lord John Mann

Keynote Speaker, Lord John Mann, UK Government Advisor on antisemitism, spoke from London.

As a longtime Labour MP of the UK Parliament, he represented an area where there were few Jews.  Coalmining was the local industry.  Miners would take a canary in a cage when they descended into the mines to warn them of impending danger to guarantee their future.

“The Jewish community is the canary in the cage for humanity,” he said.

He sees his role to protect the future as “attempting to ensure that the scourge of antisemitism in my country, and across the world, is challenged robustly at all times.

Michael Aloni

“Part of the role of leadership is to stand up against racism and combat the virus of antisemitism”.

“We need robust organisations (like the JNF) leading the way, showing the values we hold and principles we stand for,” he said.

Mentalist Lior Suchard, who has performed in Australia in the past, appeared from Israel.  He worked his legendary charm to spin his magic, even over the internet, to flummox and amaze the audience.

Gall Gadot

American actor and comedian, Jason Alexander, injected some sly humour with his take on a Down Under song dedicated to Australian Jews – unlikely to become a worldwide hit – and spoke of his own visit to Sderot and how the “entire city is a bomb shelter”.

“Forty per cent or more children there suffer from PTSD” he said.

He talked about his own experience of learning to read Hebrew as a boy and suggested that with the upcoming High Holydays it might be a good time to do make a donation.

Jason Alexander

He also suggested that JNF could also now stand for Joy, Now, Forever.

“You are bringing joy to the children of Sderot and joy could be a true antidote to antisemitism,” he said.

Also making appearances were Wonder Woman Israeli actor Gal Gadot and Shtisel star Michael Aloni.

If you missed the event, watch it here…




To donate: jnf.org.au


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