2016 Main Event Brings Community Together to Celebrate Israel
It was a night of pride for Miami’s Jewish community as more than 1,100 people gathered on Wednesday night, February 17 at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s 2016 Main Event. They were there to stand together for Israel and to honor long-time leader George Feldenkreis as he received Federation’s prestigious Friend of Israel Humanitarian Award. And together, they raised more than $650,000 for the 2016 Federation/UJA Campaign, supporting Jewish needs in Miami, in Israel and worldwide.
Before presenting the award with Federation Board Chair Robert G. Berrin, Federation President and CEO Jacob Solomon spoke about Feldenkreis’ lifelong passion for Israel, which began when he was a young boy in Cuba and has continued through his 55 years in Miami.
In his acceptance remarks, Feldenkreis said, “I am so proud to be a Jew… and I am so proud to be an American. G-d bless the United States of America, the land of the free, the home of the brave! Tonight, let’s all be proud of Israel, of our community and of each other. We are one and working together will allow us to meet every challenge we face today and build an even stronger tomorrow.”
Chaired by Diane and Alan Lieberman, The Main Event also featured a fascinating keynote address by Ambassador Ron Prosor, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2011to 2015.
In his remarks, Prosor spoke about the shifts in the Middle East and the eruptions of violence and disintegration of nation states like Libya, Yemen and Syria and the rise of non-state actors like Hamas, Hezbollah, Taliban and Boko Haram taking actions without the responsibility of being a state. He said, “In this neighborhood, Israel is the island of stability and democracy with all the problems that we have out there. And our adversaries and our enemies today are fighting a fight that each and every one of you here around the tables should know that you are on the frontline. In the past, they tried to finish us off through military means. All the wars didn’t work out. Then they tried economic boycotts. That didn’t work out. And today they are demonizing and delegitimizing the State of Israel… They are going after the values that we all cherish. The values that we are all proud of… The Jewish values that we have learned and were educated to and that is maybe the toughest battlefield that we are all on the frontline of today.”
The premier a capella group the Maccabeats ended the evening by performing several of their most popular songs.