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Chabad of Forsyth to host inaugural gala for Jewish community
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Photo by Payton Ferris on Unsplash

Forsyth County’s Jewish community will celebrate local leaders in a first-of-its-kind event.

On Sunday, Aug. 26 starting at 5:30 p.m., Chabad of Forsyth and Congregation Beth Israel will host We Are Pioneers, an inaugural gala to honor efforts made by community members to build Forsyth’s Jewish community.

“We are pioneers in the sense that everyone that is going to be in that room are pioneers in different capacities,” said Rabbi Levi Mentz. “Most people aren’t players. Most people are fans. Most people watch others do the tough work, the hard work, but it’s the select few that get on the field and they play, so to speak, and they’re the ones who make the difference, and they change the types of lives others are going to live.”

In Oct. 2016, Chabad of Forsyth and Congregation Beth Israel opened up a first location on Peachtree Parkway before moving to the current facility on Brannon Road.

Mentz said it was “humbling” how far the community has come in such a short time.

“It’s humbling, but really, it’s a reflection of the Jewish community here,” he said. “We’ve been so blessed with the types of families and the engagement of families collectively together with so much passion of saying that we want to create a bright future for our children, a bright future for our families, a bright future for our community, and if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it right.”

At the event, several awards will be handed out to those who have helped the community reach its current heights, including Holocaust survivor Girsh Kuklya, who will receive the L’dor V’dor Award, which Mentz said was a generational award.

“The reason why he is receiving that award is because he’s a Holocaust survivor to the extent that his father was shot and his grandfather was put into a synagogue with the other Jewish locals and the synagogue was burned down together with the community by the Nazis,” Mentz said. “He survived and came here and, obviously, chose life over death. He built up his family, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren live in the county.”

Nadyne Siegel Brown will receive the Pioneer Award, Emory and Jeanie Lipscomb the Friendship Award and U.S. Reps. Rob Woodall and Doug Collins, both of whom represent Forsyth County, will be honored with the Friend of Israel Award.

“They have pioneered their support for Israel in the most incredible way,” Mentz said. “If you look at their record, it’s phenomenal, and obviously we very much value the relationship that Israel together has with America in general, specifically with these two elected officials, who being in the seats that they’re in, have always done an incredible job in supporting Israel.”

All funds raised through the gala will go toward the group’s community center and synagogue project. The event is open to all members of the community.

Those interested in buying tributes, reservations or advertising for the event or looking for more info can go to OurVibrantFuture.org. More information about the local Jewish community can be found at JewishForsyth.org.