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Event Honors Longtime Leadership
On May 4, one hundred community members gathered to celebrate the past, present and future of the Jewish Community Foundation and to honor its founders. Attending were honorees and current Foundation leaders, as well as leaders from throughout Jewish Orange County. Representatives from every Create a Jewish Legacy Partner organization attended in addition to clergy members from several local synagogues.
Guests were greeted with champagne and mimosas while a trio of jazz musicians provided live music. Guests were invited to enjoy a running photographic show containing images of our honorees and Foundation leadership over the last 30 years while they mingled and got together socially as a Foundation leadership group for the first time in twelve years.
Gideon Bernstein, Foundation President, welcomed guests, and Wendy Arenson provided a D’var Torah on leadership. Bernstein led the Hamotzi along with Arnold Feuerstein, Roberta Feuerstein, Allan and Sandy Fainbarg, Steven Fainbarg, Irv and Nancy Chase, John and Kittie Rau and Irv and Eleanor Burg.
After brunch, the Grants Committee provided an event highlight. After noting the Foundation’s grants program has donated to 219 different nonprofit organizations over the years, Grant Committee Chair Peggy Feder introduced three different grant recipient organizations representing our past, present and future. Dalia Taft from the OC Jewish Historical Society described how grants from the Foundation have provided funding to obtain videotaped interviews of many senior Jewish leaders in the community – capturing an oral history that would otherwise be lost. Arie Katz, speaking on behalf of the Community Scholar Program and representing the present, noted the Foundation’s support has been integral to CSP’s ability to bring the best Jewish speakers in world directly to Orange County and described the tremendous impact of the Create a Jewish Legacy program. Finally, as a representative of our collective future, Michael Penso, TALIT president of the Bureau of Jewish Education, described how participating in Foundation-supported Jewish social programming and a TIES trip to Israel supported has changed the course of his young life.
At the end of the event, each guest was presented with a hand-crafted tzedakah box custom-made by Jewish preschool children throughout Orange County. The Foundation’s philosophy and direction were succinctly summarized by these small but meaningful gifts: our community’s children came together across a variety of affiliations to create unique, personal art pieces to benefit others. What better way to memorialize and honor our past, present and future?
The Foundation will hold its Second Annual Community Endowment Book of Life Signing Event on November 16. To participate and join more than 80 other families that have signed the community-wide, united pledge to endow the Jewish community, contact: Wendy Arenson at info@jcfoc.org.

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