The faithful celebrated their alliance with the Land of Milk and Honey — plus hailed its 62nd anniversary — during a State of Israel Bond Solidarity Luncheon at the Avenue Z Jewish Center.
The annual benefit program has become an investment power house in the development and growth of the State of Israel, allowing its government to build infrastructure projects, such as power plants, harbors and airports, in addition to assimilating immigrants into the community.
Jay Freese, president of the temple on Avenue Z and Coney Island Avenue, was this year’s honoree, receiving a citation from Borough President Markowitz for his leadership. Hal Jeffrin provided the entertainment, serenading the crowd of about 50 people with Broadway tunes.
The plan to begin an organization which traded securities issued by the Israeli government was the brainchild of Israel’s first and third prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, at a time of emergency for the newly-formed state. The economy had plummeted in the aftermath of the War of Independence and immigrants were pouring in by the hundreds of thousands, prompting a drive for national infrastructure construction and development to house the new settlers.
The Israel Bonds organization mobilized the Jewish community and secured $52 million in its first year of sales. This became the first of many critical periods in the state’s history where Israel Bonds generated vital economic resources.
“A nice amount was raised,” said Miriam San, who organized the luncheon with Miriam Schrager.
— Shavana Abruzzo