Emunah Gala Dinner
Emunah saves lives in Israel. We should help. We are one people. Through their network of trauma counseling centers, early childhood education centers and residential homes, Emunah provides services to over 10,000 people every day. Not an easy task. Emunah also educates the next generation to remember the six million lives lost in the Holocaust. Something of particular interest to me. Through the dedication and hard work of many individuals, some of whom are being honored at the annual dinner, Emunah thrives as do our brothers and sisters in Israel. On Sunday, November 10, 2019, over 400 people gathered for the Beat The Odds themed dinner at Chelsea Piers in New York City to honor these individuals and to be inspired by their dedication and resolve in alleviating distress among our people.
A sumptuous, beautiful buffet dinner was served to start the evening. The event began with a rousing presentation of the National Anthem and the Hatikvah by the renowned surgeon, Dr. Martin Kessler. A man of many talents.
Careena Parker served as the Dinner Chairman for the third consecutive year. She effectively described Emunah’s mission. She addressed the young and vibrant leadership who was present and commended them for volunteering at children’s homes, senior centers, schools and day care centers. She was impressed with their use of 21st century technology to promote Emunah’s services. Careena, come back next year. You did a great job.
Karen Spitalnick, Chairman of the Board, took a moment to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Kristalnacht and to laud the accomplishments of the Emunah-Mizrahi children’s home in Afula.
Johanna Guttman Herskowitz discussed how vital a role Emunah played in settling children in Israel after the Holocaust. She expanded on Emunah’s mission to advocate for women and families. Emunah provides a loving and safe home for those living in distress or dysfunctional homes and provides the skills needed to prevent recurring generational dysfunctional families.
Shirley Billet A”H was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award which was accepted by her children Dr. Lynn Sugarman and Dr. Mark Billet. Shirley was a strong and very effective National President who emphasized how tzedaka is the medium for making our lives more relevant. She took much pride in how Emunah supported yeshivas and schools. Marsha Genuth, past Emunah National President, who presented the award, spoke on how Shirley exuded warmth and wisdom, and how she mentored young women. Her concern was always for the children. She will be missed.
Special Guest Speaker Sarah Tegau Samay presented us with a quintessential Emunah success story. She was taken out of her troubled home and placed in Emunah supported Achuzat Sara which literally saved her life. A moving story and now she is married with children and one on the way.
Chani Chesner and Odit Oliner received the Dor L’Dor Award and presented us with a moving tribute to their grandmother Dr. Leila Bonner A”H. “Giving back” is how they lead their lives, just like their grandmother.
The talented Rachel Gindi received the Young Leadership Award and the biggest applause of the night. Well deserved. Her parents were quite proud of her for her sense of justice and her outsized compassion for children.
As a journalist I have the opportunity to attend many Jewish communal events. Emunah certainly stands out and is a most worthy organization to support. Helping children get back on their feet and receiving love in Emunah supported homes, is a most valuable mission. Looking forward to next year’s event.
Austin Rybstein, Editor
New York Jewish Guide