Jewish National Fund-USA recently held a meaningful evening of appreciation for Donor Society members at Gore Place in Waltham to celebrate their philanthropic impact on the land and people of Israel and Jewish people everywhere.

The event, chaired by Risa and Steve Aronson and Rhonda and Eric Forman, featured keynote speaker Alon Ben-Gurion, the grandson of the State of Israel’s founder and its first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. Ben-Gurion shared how his grandfather’s vision is being brought to life through Jewish National Fund-USA’s work, and how as an acclaimed international hospitality consultant, he is using his extensive network and industry know-how to actively promote development in Israel’s Negev Desert.

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From left: Eric Forman, Todd and Yadira Patkin, and Charlie and Bari Popkin (Courtesy photo)

Longtime partner (donor) and ambassador (lay leader) Jeffrey Woolf and his late wife, Mary Woolf, of blessed memory, were presented with Jewish National Fund-USA’s Guardian of Israel Award in recognition of their leadership, creative achievements, generosity and outstanding service.

“It is an honor to be involved, and I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve in various ways,” said Jeffrey, reflecting on his ongoing philanthropic support for Israel.

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Jeffrey Woolf (Courtesy photo)

Woolf has served as Jewish National Fund-USA’s Boston board president, local co-chair of Lawyers for Israel, and is a current member of the organization’s Legacy Society and Disabilities Task Force. His late wife was also a member of the organization’s Women for Israel Sapphire Society and World Chairman’s Council, which Jeffrey remains a member of. Together, the couple put their passion for Israel into action, supporting many of Jewish National Fund-USA’s initiatives and programs, including Special in Uniform and Israeli heritage site Ammunition Hill.

Jewish National Fund-USA’s president of the Boston Board of Directors, Risa Aronson, also announced she will be passing the president’s gavel to the organization’s ambassador and longtime partner, Rhonda Forman, beginning Oct. 1, 2023.

“It has been my honor to collaborate, motivate and continue the meaningful work that we all do,” said Aronson. “I feel more confident than ever that we will continue to educate and grow our Jewish National Fund-USA family so that Israel’s future will be secure for many generations to come. I am so proud of the role our team continues to play in broadening and deepening the people-to-people connection between Israel and the United States.”

For more information about Jewish National Fund-USA in Boston and across New England, contact Sara Hefez, executive director for New England and the Capital Region, at or 617-432-0999 ext. 811.

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