By Felice Caspar
During the spring and summer of 2017, golfers around North America have been enjoying events that benefit both B’nai B’rith and their communities. Some have been not-to-miss annual events for decades; others are relatively new. But all are success stories with great, innovative elements and beneficial partnerships in these five communities: Washington, D.C., Detroit, Toronto, Chicago and Denver.
For several years, B’nai B’rith has been proud to be one of the sponsors of “Shot in the Dark,” hosted by the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind (CLB). The fifth annual Shot in the Dark Golf and Dinner Classic was held at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., on May 9, with financial support from corporations and organizations, and enthusiastic involvement by local government leaders and media personalities. In addition to the tournament, the event includes an auction, award presentations and a longest-drive contest. But what sets this event apart is the opportunity for golfers who are blind or visually impaired to participate in a golf clinic hosted by nationally renowned blind golfing champions Phil Blackwell, Mark Arnold and Bruce Hooper.
Mark D. Olshan, B’nai B’rith associate executive vice president and Center for Senior Services director, plays in the tournament and also is a member of an interfaith coalition formed by the CLB. Working with other organizations, the CLB offers informative programs on eyesight-related challenges to residents of local senior communities, including B’nai B’rith Homecrest House and nearby Leisure World.
“These programs and especially the golf clinics demonstrate that people with vision loss can overcome obstacles and remain active and independent—and even excel in ways they had not dared to imagine,” said Olshan.
Next on the calendar, on June 5, was the Great Lakes Region B’nai B’rith Annual Golf Classic, which the B’nai B’rith community in suburban Detroit has sponsored for 35 years. Golf Classic chairman David Lubin welcomed the 90 golfers, first thanking overall event sponsor, MJS Packaging, and the 32 individual sponsors. Great Lakes Region President Sid Roth recognized local community leaders present, thanked the B’nai B’rith event committee and B’nai B’rith Program Coordinator Bobbie Levine. “Big Al” Muskovitz, a local radio personality, served as the dinner emcee. Rick Sherline and Ilene Lubin, two of the Scholarship Committee chairs, presented Danielle Silverman, Rachel Pesick and Jason Jubas with the 2017 B’nai B’rith Great Lakes Regional College Scholarships.
Proceeds from the tournament fees, silent auction, raffles for a cruise and other prizes, and the festive dinner, which attracts still more participants, are used to support B’nai B’rith International, local BBYO and Hillel, and scholarships.
In just its second year, the B’nai B’rith Canada annual Charity Golf Classic was held on June 13 at the Lebovic Golf Club in Aurora, Ont. The event attracted more than 100 golfers and included an 18-hole tournament and tests of skill, a luncheon buffet, Scotch and beer tastings, and the chance to meet celebrity guests Toronto Maple Leafs star Zach Hyman and NHL greats Rick Vaive, Gary Leeman and Marcel Dionne. The post-tournament dinner was emceed by NHL great and renowned comedian Dennis Hull.
Proceeds from the Golf Classic support B’nai B’rith Canada’s affordable housing and seniors programs, as well as its advocacy efforts fighting racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination in Canada. “It was a great day of golf in support of B’nai B’rith and all the human-rights initiatives we’ve launched across the country,” said B’nai B’rith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn. He also thanked staff, committee members, event sponsors and “countless volunteers” for putting together the event. The event was co-chaired by B’nai B’rith Canada leader David Berger and Marty York, chief media officer.
Mostyn spent most of his day on the “Beat the CEO” hole, where golfers had the opportunity to win prizes if they could outshoot him. A two-year lease on a 2017 Lincoln Navigator provided by the Twin Hills dealership was the much sought-after prize for the hole-in-one contest. But no one left empty-handed. All Classic participants received free golf shoes, courtesy of Footjoy.
Zach Hyman received an exceptionally warm welcome. A former participant in the B’nai B’rith Canada Sports League, NHL rookie Hyman is now a star player for the Maple Leafs. A graduate of the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto, Hyman is a proud member of the Jewish community.
NHL Hall-of-Famer Marcel Dionne explained why he supports the Golf Classic. “It’s the fact that B’nai B’rith is involved with so many different charities and is very proactive with seniors. I’ve got a lot of Jewish friends, and they do a lot for the community, so it’s my pleasure to be here,” he said.
Two other golf events were scheduled for this summer. The annual B’nai B’rith Sports Lodge Bill Stein Memorial golf outing was to be held on August 14 at Hawthorn Woods Country Club, in suburban Chicago. “The Bill Stein Memorial golf outing is our signature event of the year,” said Brad Adolph, chair of the tournament and a member of the B’nai B’rith Executive Board of Directors. All proceeds go to college scholarships for Chicago-area students—well over $2 million since1964. “We welcome over 100 players each year and welcome many of our past scholarship recipients to the event,” Adolph said.
B’nai B’rith Denver also planned once again to co-sponsor an annual golf charity tournament with JCC Denver and the Denver Jewish Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 28. The event was to be held at the Valley Country Club, in suburban Centennial. William “Bill” Berger, B’nai B’rith Board of Governors member and Denver Lodge leader, serves as chair.