This year’s Allied Jewish Federation Men’s Event drew 1,300 men Thursday night to hear featured speaker Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, plus US Senator Michael Bennet, US Representatives Ed Perlmutter, Mike Coffman and Betsy Markey. The common themes running through their remarks were the continuing strength and importance of the US-Israel relationship, the travesty of the Goldstone Report, and the dangers posed by Iran.
In addition to the political speakers, the Federation brought in “Lone Soldier” Jules Kramer to speak about the work campaign dollars do in Israel and overseas. Kramer is a former Boulder Jewish Day School student and graduate of Herzl/RMHA, who made aliyah (became an Israeli citizen) and after a year of preparation in Hebrew, began his service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). He serves as a Lone Soldier, a member of the IDF who has no family in Israel, and has become posted to the elite Paratroopers branch.
Kramer spoke about his experiences in Jerusalem and in the IDF as a Lone Soldier, and what the Lone Soldiers program has done for him and his fellow Soldiers. He said the truly global nature of the Jewish World hit home as he developed close relationships with fellow Lone Soldiers from Alabama, Sydney, Toronto, South Africa, France, Baltimore and Denver who also came to Israel to defend our homeland. He closed his remarks with the statement, “Am Yisrael Chai!” to deafening applause.
Host Larry Mizel, Federation Board Chair Judy Robins, President and CEO Doug Seserman, Overall Campaign Chair Don Silversmith and Community Campaign Chair Andy Kark rounded out the evening’s speakers. Several dignitaries from Ramat Negev, Denver’s Partnership 2000 community in Israel, came over for the event, including Regional Council Mayor Shmulik Rifman, Ramat Negev Tourism Director (and former Denver Shaliach) Raz Arbel and Adva Lloyd, Mayor Rifman’s Spokesperson.
The annual Men’s Event, underwritten again this year by the Mizel Family Foundations, featured an open bar and buffet tables heaped high with what host Larry Mizel calls “man food” — corned beef, bbq brisket, kishka and stuffed cabbage,along with chicken breasts, pasta and latkes. Both Andy Franklin, Boulder Federation Steering Committee Chair and Jackie Wong, Boulder Campaign Chair, rode the Federation bus with most of the 30 men from Boulder who attended this year’s event at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver.