“Support” is a word that has taken on various meanings recently. People say they support the president, or the army, or seemingly any political movement on any side of the equation. But I’ve found that this support does not always translate into any kind of physical or material support. It rarely means that one actively does something to help a cause or person.
This disconnect is especially seen in the Jewish and Zionist communities, where the phrase “I support Israel” is bandied about quite a bit. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think believing in Israel and vocalizing that belief can be incredibly effective. However, I can’t help but think that the Zionist and Jewish communities would be better off if more of Israel’s supporters showed how they felt, rather than just said it.
Philanthropy is wonderful and every donation to a worthy cause helps, but there is so much more that can be done. I am asking you to mobilize and do something worthwhile that you will be able to look back on proudly, knowing that you made a positive change in the world.
As I sat down to write this piece, I tried to think of people in the Zionist and Jewish communities who could serve as prime examples of effective support. Sadly, there were not as many names on the list as you would have thought. I did, however, think of Robert Rothenberg. Mr. Rothenberg is not only a man shows his support financially, but also puts his “neshama” (his soul) into causes for which he cares.
We need more people in our corner who not only give checks to our cause
but become involved in our organizations, contribute ideas and invest themselves — rather than just their money — in our success. Today there are so many forces pulling young people away from Israel, both physically and ideologically; to combat that, we need more people like Robert Rothenberg, who personally contributes his time and effort to Jewish education and pro-Israel causes.
Philanthropically, Robert Rothenberg gives large sums of money to various causes focused on education, outreach and repairing the world, but he does not content himself to just sign a check and then sit back.
He is heavily involved both financially and personally with many of the organizations he is affiliated with including: the American Friends of Beit Halochem, serving disabled Israeli veterans, The American-Israel Friendship League; Ohr Torah Stone, an educational movement founded by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin; YeshivatOrayta, a yeshiva he helped found for high school graduates in Jerusalem; Eagles Wings Israel Experience, a program that connects Christian youth and Evangelical Ministers with the Holy Land; Aleph Beta Academy, an online Jewish educational program; and Jerusalem College of Technology, a college located in Jerusalem, educating the under-represented Israeli population, including Ethiopians and ultra-orthodox men and women, in science, technology nursing and accounting. Just reading the list of organizations he helps can be exhausting! He has made himself a part of these organizations, helping to lead them and provide direction.
He has also fostered a deep bond with the Israel Defense Forces, having volunteered with the Israeli army on a base near Be’erSheva under the Sar-El program. Mr. Rothenberg highly values both Israel’s physical safety and its spiritual and educational well-being.
Robert Rothenberg somehow manages to give himself fully to each of these organizations, as well as to his family, and to his successful businesses, Red Rock Real Estate Group and JCY Corporation.
During this month, he served as honorary chairman for an event at the Jerusalem College of Technology at which actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik was the keynote speaker. For this event, “JCT – Sparking Innovation,” Mr. Rothenberg and JCT were able to perfectly pair their keynote speaker with their mission: to provide members of Israel’s religious community with high-quality science and technology educations. Dr. Bialik demonstrated that you can be a scientist, a successful Hollywood actor and still be a committed Zionist.
Robert Rothenberg and Mayim Bialik are just two people who give themselves fully to the causes they support. If more people did just a quarter as much, our world would be a far better place — for Israelis, for Jews and for everyone.