Just One Life/Nefesh Achat B’Yisrael proudly announces its 2023 annual fundraiser to be held on Tuesday evening, September 12, at 8 p.m., at the home of hosts Rachel and Azi Mandel in Bergenfield.
The Mandels have graciously hosted the annual event for several years, together with their co-hosts Sheryl and Aaron Liberman. Committee members Dr. Rayzel and Ron Yaish, Carole and Jack Forgash, Fraidy and Stuart Forgash, Carole and Chaim Kiss, together with JOL Executive Vice President Rabbi Martin Katz and wife Yaffa, have planned for an inspirational evening.
Jack Forgash shared, “Planning the evening shortly before the onset of the Yomim Noraim will afford the community the zechu’ to facilitate the tefillah ‘Kama yi-borei-un,’ how many children will be born, for families that need emotional and financial support as they look ahead to the birth of a new child.”
This year’s event will once again feature noted impactful and inspirational speaker Rabbi YY Jacobson. One of America’s premier Jewish scholars in Torah and Jewish mysticism, Rabbi Jacobson is one of the most sought-after speakers in the Jewish world today. He founded and serves as dean of The Yeshiva Net, teaching Torah on the web to communities across the globe.
Nefesh Achat B’Yisrael, with the financial backing of Just One Life USA, was founded in 1988 by concerned individuals who recognized the need to provide support for expecting mothers in Israel experiencing financial hardship and social and medical issues which can lead to difficult and high-risk pregnancies. The founders included Dr. Shimon Glick, then dean of Ben-Gurion University Soroka Hospital, together with Teaneck’s Jack Forgash and Rabbi Solomon Sharfman, z”l. Madelaine Gitelman, from Jerusalem, became the initial director of social work, a position she held for 27 years, and now held by Chaya Katzin and her team.
The organization’s name, Nefesh Achat B’Yisrael, was derived from the Talmudic passage in Gemara Sanhedrin which declares, “One who saves a single Jewish life has saved an entire world.” To date, JOL/NAB have assisted approximately 450-500 families each year, which has resulted in over 20,200 births over 34 years.
The newest initiative of the JOL/NOB is their partnership with Yeshivat Ateret Kohanim in helping expectant and postpartum women in the communities of Ir Ha’atikah, Ir David, the Yemenite Quarter and Har Ha’Zeitim. These brave women and their families risk their lives daily to maintain a Jewish presence in our holy city of Jerusalem. They require the accompaniment of an armed guard whenever they venture out for shopping, school or work. We admire these families’ tremendous courage and dedication. To show our support, we present every expectant and postpartum woman in these neighborhoods with gifts of monetary supplements and baby gifts. During the past 11 months, since our partnership with Ateret Kohanim, we have supported over 30 families in the birth of their children.
“The key to the organization’s social success is that we provide stability to families who are experiencing turbulence in their lives,” said Rabbi Martin Katz, who has served as the executive vice president of JOL since its founding. “By providing professional counseling, emotional support and financial assistance, Just One Life empowers mothers to bring their pregnancies to full term, thus preserving Israel’s most precious resource—its children.”
Dr. Brian Katz of Teaneck, recognized as a highly skilled surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York for the past 30 years, recently joined the board of JOL/NAB. He expressed his thoughts upon visiting with some of the Nefesh Achat B’Yisrael team in Jerusalem. “While visiting Shaarei Tzedek Hospital’s department of surgery, I had the opportunity to meet with the obstetric group of the hospital. The meeting included Jack Forgash and Rabbi Martin Katz of Just One Life. They explained their management of 20,000 deliveries per year. (In contrast Mount Sinai claims 8000 deliveries per year.) They also gave us the demographic breakdown pointing out that 70% of the babies born at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital are from religious families. They were obviously very impressed with the multifaceted support offered to pregnant women in crisis from Just One Life. I was most impressed by the professionalism and the contribution of Just One Life to the State of Israel.”
Jack Forgash, co-founder and chairman of JOL/NAB for the past 34, years said: “I want to give praise, recognition and todah rabba for the professionalism, care and compassion that our team of social workers has shown to the over 20,200 mothers whom we have served over 34 years. To Madelaine Gitelman, who served as chairman for 27 years, current Director Chaya Katzin and the professional staff including Shira Keyak, Sara Gordon, Atara Block and Eliana Rubenstein. Just One Life in the USA provides the resources, and the Nefesh Achat organization in Israel provides the loving care.”
To make a reservation to attend the annual Just One Life/Nefesh Achat B’Yisrael event on Tuesday, September 12 at 8 p.m., at the Bergenfield home of Rachel and Azi Mandel, and to donate to JOL/NAB’s vital efforts, go to www.justonelife.org