Stephen Mandel to emcee JNF Edmonton Negev Gala on June 6: Register today for special draw!

By Jason Cairns

(AJNews) – JNF Edmonton is thrilled to announce Stephen Mandel as special guest MC at this year’s Negev Gala which will be held on June 6. Lynn and Stephen Mandel invite and encourage all of Jewish Edmonton to attend this year’s event to show solidarity and come together as a community to show our strength, unity, and resilience in the face of the sharp rise in Antisemitism. Tickets are $90/person which includes light fare during the event followed by a dessert reception.  Donors over $1000 are invited to a VIP dinner reception with keynote speaker Lt. Col. (Ret.) Jonathan Conricus,acclaimed foreign relations expert and international spokesperson.

I recently had the opportunity to staff a National “JNF Canada Bear Witness & Volunteer Mission” to Israel. The goal was to educate Canadian Jewry about the atrocities of Oct. 7th and the traumatic impact it had on Israel in general and specifically the communities in the “Gaza envelope.” We met with leaders of the communities, survivors, heroes, and parents of young people who were murdered defending their homes and children. It was heart wrenching to hear their stories, told by their loved ones, each ending with a message of hope which was really inspiring.

Kibbutz Kissufim was one of the communities in the south of Israel that was ravaged by Hamas and it is the beneficiary of this year’s JNF Edmonton Negev Gala. I had heard that it was like walking through the Nazi death camps just after they were liberated, and thought having staffed two March of the Livings years ago, that I was mentally and emotionally prepared – but the smells, the sites, and the stories were still so fresh. The haunting and horror of October 7th and the possibility of another massacre looms heavy on Israeli society. The promise of Never Again was broken, and the Jewish people were attacked in OUR generation.  It was a modern-day pogrom, something we never imagined would happen in our lifetime, we are so integrated, accepted, and have contributed so much to the world. For example we can celebrate a disproportionate number of Nobel Prize recipients; and Israel is known as the Start-up Nation, a global game changer. But none of that matters when you stand in the burnt-out home of a family that was murdered, innocent civilians like you and me with one thing in common, we’re all Jewish.

The community is ready to return, they have big plans and I hope that we can help them achieve their vision. It was incredible to see what a community can accomplish when there are clear goals, the re-building and restoration of Kibbutz Kissufim. JNF Canada has committed to re-build and further develop Kissufim in several areas, the focus of this year’s Negev Gala is on re-building the hub of the Kibbutz, the “Social Club,” considered the heart of the community that acts as a main gathering place that is also specially fortified for emergencies. Join this important campaign to help welcome back the residents and encourage more families to plant their roots in Kissufim.

Special award recipients at the Edmonton JNF Negav Gala are Solly Singer and Tal Toubiana.  Solly will receive a Top Canvasser Award, for his commitment to JNF Edmonton and outstanding tree planting efforts at Talmud Torah. Solly’s initiative and passion is beyond and we can’t thank him enough for his hustle in the Annual Tu Bi ’Shevat campaigns.

Tal Toubiana will receive a leadership award. We are pleased to honour Tal, a former Jewish Federation of Edmonton Staff and Security specialist for his leadership and commitment to keeping Jewish communities safe.

Tickets to the gala, as well as sponsorship and donation opportunities are available at every level. Register before May 17, 2024 to be acknowledged in the Edmonton Negev Gala Tribute Book. For information visit; contact or call 780-481-7881.

Register to attend the gala before May 17, 2024 to enter a draw for a signed Zach Hyman jersey. The winner will be announced at the event on June 6, 2024.


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