Sun Sentinel / Florida Jewish Journal
March 28, 2019
StandWithUs Southeast’s recent third annual Leaders of Tomorrow gala drew approximately 300 people.
StandWithUs, founded in 2001, is an organization that's dedicated to educating people of all ages and faiths about Israel and combating anti-Semitism. Its Boca Raton-based Southeast regional office opened in 2013.
The keynote speaker for the gala was Danny Ayalon, former Israeli ambassador to the United States, who reiterated the seriousness of the growth of anti-Semitism as he differentiated it as a distinct problem of the West.
The event honored Palm Beach residents Ellyn Bank and Sig Zises for their leadership in fighting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and combating anti-Semitism. The Leaders of Tomorrow 2019 Southeast Region Awards were presented to Jacob Covas, the SWU Emerson Fellow at Florida International University in Miami, and Hope Lerman, the SWU/SE High School Intern at William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens. SWU/SE also recognized the founders of the organization's newest initiative, the Teen Leadership Council. Julia Pratt (Tulane University) Jonah Rose (University of Pennsylvania) and Jack Steinberg (Harvard University) conceived this program while attending high school in South Florida to encourage more of their peers to become involved in Israel-related activities.
The event was emceed by former Israeli diplomat and SWU Northeast executive director Shahar Azani, who spoke of the recent spate of anti-Semitic incidents in universities, schools and even middle schools in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Roz Rothstein, SWU's co-founder and chief executive officer said, “We are so proud of the rapid, impressive growth of StandWithUs right here in South Florida and look forward to continued impact on our local middle schools, high school, campuses and communities."
"Now is the time to define and confront anti-Semitism as it crosses red lines. We are proud of both our professionals led by [SWU/SE executive director] Sara Gold Rafel and lay leaders like Ellyn and Sig."
Rafel said that the theme of the night was also to highlight the problems of anti-Israel rhetoric and anti-Semitism and then present SWU’s highly-effective solutions. She feels that the more students the organization trains and educates, the more eyes and ears it has on the ground confronting situations. She also thanked the audience for its support for SWU/SE.
Contact Rafel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Southeast office at 561-961-0752 for more information.
The gala took place at the High Ridge Country Club.
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