The B'nai B'rith Great Lakes' 32nd Annual Golf Classic was another big success this year, drawing in dozens of golfers hoping to win a grand prize of an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas, or a 2014 Chevrolet Equinox for a hole-in-one shot.
Proceeds from the event went to benefit B'nai B'rith International, Hillel, BBYO, and the B’nai B’rith Great Lakes Region College Scholarship Fund, which awarded four scholarships at the reception.
Here is a look back at some of the highlights from the festivities [Photos by Jerry Olson]:
In preparation for the 2014 New Jersey Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge, Mary Kate Donahue from Cherokee High School spent a month writing and illustrating her masterpiece.
The finished product, "If No One Was Different," won first place in the New Jersey contest, earning her a $5,000 college scholarship and her very first published title.
The Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge is an education and awareness initiative created by B'nai B'rith International as one of its programs that promote tolerance and communicate a message of equality among all citizens, regardless of race, religion, national origin, gender or sexual orientation. The New Jersey event was sponsored by Atlantic City Electric.
Speaking to the Burlington County Times, Donahue said that the story took about one month to create, from conception to finished product.
In addition to the scholarship and certificate she received at the B'nai B'rith Awards Ceremony, Donahue has also been honored by the Camden County Board of Freeholders, Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Borough of Avalon and the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly for her published piece.
During an awards ceremony in Boston on Tuesday night, B’nai B’rith Housing and B’nai B’rith International presented the 2014 Distinguished Achievement Award to Pam Goodman, president of Beacon Communities Development LLC.
Goodman oversees operations at Beacon Communities Development and supervises transactions from initial conception through rent-up and occupancy.
She is a former member of the Board of Directors of B’nai B’rith Housing, whose mission is to produce nonsectarian housing, for low-income and mixed-income residents in communities located in and around Greater Boston.
While at Beacon Communities Development, Goodman has been responsible for construction or rehabilitation of more than 4,000 rental apartments and 200 for sale units in more than 70 communities in New England, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland.
“Beacon Communities Development has achieved great things under Pam’s stewardship,” said Susan Gittelman, executive director of B’nai B’rith Housing. “As we put the finishing touches on our newest project in Sudbury, I’m grateful that we have leaders like Pam within our organization to guide our successes. Her commitment to building a more equitable society and her ongoing support and wise counsel are so valuable to B’nai B’rith Housing and to our entire community.”
B'nai B'rith director of Latin American Affairs Eduardo Kohn represented the organization during the 44th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), held last week in Asuncion, Paraguay.
During a three-hour session between OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza and the Civil Society, Kohn spoke on a number of issues on behalf of B'nai B'rith, including the adoption of 100 orphaned Syrian children into Uruguay, acceptance of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, civil unrest in Venezuela and the need for OAS to ratify the Inter-American Convention Against Discrimination, which was approved by last year's assembly.
In addition to his work in the General Assembly, Kohn met with various leaders, including Paraguay Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga; U.S. Ambassador to the OAS Carmen Lomellin; OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza; Israeli Director of the Foreign Ministry for Latin America Itzhak Shoham; Milton Romani, Uruguay Ambassador to OAS; DCM Alejandro Rosas; Uruguay Foreign Minister Luis Almagro; Egyptian Observer and Ambassador to Uruguay Salim Ali Salem; the Jewish community and B'nai B'rith members.
In a recent Q&A appearing on the B'nai B'rith Europe website, Senior Vice President Erika Van Gelder shares some interesting insight into her life, her time with B'nai B'rith and what she sees ahead.
Van Gelder was born in a displaced person's camp in Linz, Austria, shortly after World War II. After her mother passed away following childbirth, her father moved to Israel, leaving her in a children's home in Linz.
Her experiences in the children's home helped shape a lifetime of service to others, particularly in the Jewish community. Learn more about her story:
Q: Can you tell us something about your early life?
Van Gelder: My very early life was spent being taken from Linz by the Red Cross and brought to Budapest to friends of my future parents, and later being smuggled in a suitcase across the border into Romania. I must have been about one year old when I arrived in Arad, a city in Romania near the Hungarian border, in the region of Transylvania.
I remember a very happy childhood. My (new) parents, my mother's sister and her husband adopted me. They had no other children and they were the most fantastic parents one could wish for. I grew up with lots of love, warmth, understanding, a safe environment, with parents that stimulated me in my endeavors and, above all, believed in me.
Q: When and why did you join B'nai B'rith?
Van Gelder: "Because I never forgot my origins I started helping the Jewish Old Age Home in my home town, Arad, Romania. The Amsterdam BB lodge asked me to become a member in1994 and to continue my project through the lodge. Of course, I agreed."
Q: What have been your main areas of interest in B'nai B'rith so far?
Van Gelder: "The more involved I got, the more I realised that humanitarian aid projects were needed in all the ex-communist countries and that good communication and coordination was essential for any modicum of success. With this in mind, I proposed the creation of a permanent committee for Central and Eastern Europe (at the BB Convention in 1997).
"I chaired this committee from the beginning until 2004. That year I was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, non-Hodgkin's. I had chemotherapy for one year and it took me another two years to function normally. I am extremely lucky, so for me "la vita e bella". After this intermezzo, I became more active again. I never stopped the fund raising for the projects in Eastern Europe, but I could not do more."
Congratulations to Monica Keszler, who was awarded first place in the 2013-14 Delmarva Peninsula Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge.
Her winning entry, "Kira Kiwi, How Will School Be?" embodies the purpose of the challenge: promoting tolerance and articulating a message of equality among all citizens, regardless of race, religion, national origin, gender or sexual orientation.
The finished product was a tale of overcoming anxiety and the unknown, arriving at the conclusion that diversity should be celebrated so that everyone can realize his or her own strengths. For her efforts, Keszler received a $5,000 college scholarship and held her first official book signing at the Delmarva Power Conference Center.
Here is a gallery of photos from the awards ceremony:
Shalom TV Daily News featured B'nai B'rith International's condemnation of the newly sworn in Fatah-Hamas unity Palestinian government, emphasizing the organization's call for Congress to review Palestinian aid that will now fund a known terrorist organization.
B'nai B'rith International has stood alongside Israel in denouncing the inclusion of Hamas in Israeli-Palestinian relations, stating that it "creates an irreconcilable obstacle to restarting negotiations."
Read the full statement here.The story begins at the 4:00 mark in the video:
Together, with the help of the Young Professional Division of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, Covenant Place created a night to remember that put the "senior" in Senior Prom.
Photo gallery courtesy of YPD:
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