By Ben Tinsley
DALLAS — Harold Gernsbacher and David Goldfarb will be honored for their contributions to the Jewish community at a special ceremony starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 26 and lasting about three hours.
“We are happy to be honoring these two very deserving people,” said Rabbi Shalom Rodin. “Our honorees are two people who are very involved with the Jewish community.”
Rodin said the time at the event would be spent “being relaxed and eating and drinking, having a good time and learning about JET.”
Gernsbacher will be guest of honor and Goldfarb, the young leadership honoree at “A Gentleman’s Evening To Benefit JET (Jewish Education Texas),” at the home of Kineret and Shai Cohen, 6626 Talmadge Lane. At least 100 people are expected to attend.
The “Texas casual attire event” is sponsored by JET, under the direction of Rabbi Rodin and Rabbi Tzvi Wachsman.
The event will be held in recognition of the ongoing need for outreach to young Jews in the community. As an added benefit, they have a $1-to-$1 anonymous matching grant for the first $50,000 raised.
The primary focus of JET has been on young, married — mostly unaffiliated — couples to create a bridge for these families as they move into lifecycle events, Rabbi Roden said.
This ultimately leads to greater involvement in the Dallas Jewish community, he said.
Harold Gernsbacher, the national campaign chair of The Jewish Federations of North America, is a vice chair and member of the board of directors of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and also serves as vice chair of the United Israel Appeal. Gernsbacher has been a member of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors since 2009. He as held several positions at the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County and was an executive board member of Fort Worth’s Congregation Ahavath Sholom.
Gernsbacher said he’s very supportive of JET Rabbis Tzvi Wachsman and Shalom Rodin and their work to promote unity in the Jewish community.
“I am very interested in the quality work these guys are doing — I consider it to be 100 percent important,” Gernsbacher said. “They are finding ways to connect people engaged in the process of Jewish life every day. I am honored to have this opportunity. I have spent my life developing pathways for the next generation and my greatest, fondest hope is to find my replacement to take us down the road.”
Gernsbacher said he also looks forward to sharing an evening with co-honoree David Goldfarb.
“He’s the face of the next generation,” Gernsbacher said. “He’s a nice young guy.”
A 2001 graduate of the University of Texas, David Goldfarb is the managing principal for Digital Benefit Advisors.
Goldfarb said he has worked with JET at lot in recent years because he truly believes in what Rabbis Shalom Rodin and Tzvi Wachsman are trying to achieve.
Goldfarb said Harold Gernsbacher is a very inspirational figure to him who sets a great example for his generation and future generations.
“He has accomplished so much,” Goldfarb said. “I think there’s the same type of need out there … like him, ensuring Jewish continuity is my primary concern. Look at the trends outside the U.S. They’re not in our favor. And even in the U.S., It’s becoming easier and easier to lose your Jewish identity. JET is an invaluable outlet for any Jewish person.”
The evening’s event chairmen are Brett Diamond, Corey Freedman, Avi Grossman, and Ryan Milstein.
The steering committee is composed of Jay Ceitlin, Aaron Epstein, Alex Goldfarb, Garret Laves, Lesli Marcus Levine, Scott Mellman, Nic Miller, Itzy Ribad, Shane Stein, and Eli Tabaria.
The honorary chairs are Sherry and Kenny Goldberg.
Kenny Goldberg said Gernsbacher is a true, dear and honest friend and a role model for many people in the North Texas Jewish community.
“Sherry and I are trying to do our part to promote JET and the young rabbis who head the program — Tzvi Wachsman and Shalom Rodin — and the work they do,” Goldberg said.
Brett Diamond agreed that JET provides Jewish men in Dallas the opportunity to help keep their community strong.
“You have someone like Harold Gernsbacher, who is very involved here locally and on the national level and David Goldfarb, who is a little bit younger, but also a great leader in our community,” he said.