HomeJanuary 2024Brothers and Sisters for Israel

Brothers and Sisters for Israel

Irving “Papa” Gelman

2024 Recipients of the Irving “Papa” Gelman Leadership Award

Brothers and Sisters for Israel has been selected as the Irving “Papa” Gelman Leadership Awardee for 2024.
    The $18,000 grant that accompanies the award will be shared by Magen David Adom and the Jewish National Fund, two organizations that have risen to the challenge to help our compatriots in Israel.
    According to its website at brothersandsistersforisrael.org, the organization is the largest civilian aid group in Israel. Since the events of Oct. 7, it has redirected its activities to an unprecedented logistical operation, run entirely by over 15,000 volunteers. It provides crucial aid and support to civilians and soldiers and is the largest civilian aid organization operating in full coordination with the Israeli military.
    While this year’s awardees represent a departure from the committee’s mandate to support deserving Orange County Jewish leaders, these extraordinary times call for concomitant action.
    The last few months have been unprecedented in contemporary Jewish history. For almost a year before this past High Holiday period, citizens of Israel were deeply divided over political issues facing the country. 
    Then on Oct. 7, the worst challenges to Israel blindsided the world of Jewish people. Every caring Jew has been deeply impacted by the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas. Moreover, an international wave of vicious antisemitism has shaken the Jewish Community to the core.
    It is difficult to find a silver lining during such a challenging time, yet one has emerged. The political divisiveness that was evident before Oct. 7 was replaced by an “all for one and one for all” spirit among the people of Israel. This manifestation of ”Kol Yisrael Araivim Zeh L’zeh”— “All the people of Israel are responsible for one another”—has been visibly highlighted most dramatically.
    Hopefully, a year from now, Jews in Israel, around the world and in Orange County will experience unprecedented safety and peace. We pray for a day when Hamas is eliminated, and Israel and the Jewish people live in peace.
    Kol Yisrael Araivim Zeh L’Zeh was also a key value that Irving “Papa” Gelman put into action throughout his life. As a survivor of the Holocaust, Papa Gelman focused his energies on the survival of the Jewish people and the flourishing of Am Yisrael through Jewish education and Jewish unity.
    The Irving “Papa” Gelman Leadership Committee was formed to ensure that Papa’s memory will live on and that his legacy will inspire others to greater acts of communal involvement. Through this award it is hoped that the Jewish community will be strengthened and deepened for generations to come.
    Past winners of the award were Arie Katz, The Mega Challah Bake, Jackie Menter, and Adrienne Matros.
  The committee consists of a spectrum of leadership across all denominations and all facets of the Orange County Jewish community.
    The committee consists of Hal Altman, Chair of the Board of the Merage Jewish Community Center of Orange County; Wendy Arenson, Executive Director and President of the Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County; Rabbi Yisroel Ciner, the Lawrence Rael Rabbinic Chair at Beth Jacob Congregation of Irvine; Franki Cohen, representative of the Samson Foundation and the Samson family; Steve Kaufman, Past President of Beth Jacob Congregation of Irvine and Tarbut v’Torah and the Solomon Society Mensch of the Year; Heather Kline, Chair of the Board of the Jewish Federation of Orange County; Rabbi Peter Levi, Regional Director, ADL Orange County/Long Beach; Rabbi Stuart Light, Director of Jewish Life and Learning at Tarbut v’Torah Community Day School; Rabbi Alter Tenenbaum, Senior Rabbi of Chabad of Irvine; Lou Weiss, representative of the Gelman Family; Rabbi K’vod Wieder, Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth El; and Rabbi Gersh Zylberman, Senior Rabbi at Temple Bat Yahm.   


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