2024 MEN’S Event shows strength and solidarity of JEWISHcolorado community

Feb 12, 2024 | Article, Newsletter

Combine a conversation with Israeli actress, author, and activist Noa Tishby, a message from the Governor of Colorado, 1,000 musicians performing in Israel, and more than 900 men (and women) who came ready to have a great time for a good cause, and you have an unforgettable 2024 JEWISHcolorado MEN’S Event—“From Home to Homeland.”

Those who were lucky enough to grab their tickets long before the sold-out event on February 7, 2024, packed Wings over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. It was a night to greet old friends, meet new people, and show support for the work of JEWISHcolorado, locally and around the world.

The evening was made possible by presenting sponsors Norm Brownstein, Larry A. Mizel, and Michael Staenberg who collectively account for more than $11 million in their ongoing support of JEWISHcolorado. The three men shared their wit and wisdom in a video “L’dor V’dor: From Generation to Generation.” 

Michael Staenberg, Larry Mizel, and Norm Brownstein at MEN'S Event 2024


JEWISHcolorado Board Chair Ben Lusher

JEWISHcolorado Board Chair Ben Lusher welcomed the guests with words that set the tone for a gathering in the wake of ongoing sorrow and conflict in Israel since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack.

Boar Chair Ben Lusher speaks at JEWISHcolorado 2024 MEN'S Event

“In the face of a new wave of antisemitism and security threats both at home and abroad, a truth has crystallized over these past months,” Lusher said. “As a community, we have stood up and said in one resounding voice: Hineni. Here I am. Here we are. We are meeting this moment with courage, solidarity, and generosity—ready to face the challenges that we know are still to
come as we work tirelessly to bring the hostages home.”

Governor Jared Polis

Governor Jared Polis took the podium to address issues of safety and security in Colorado.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis at JEWISHcolorado MEN'S Event 2024

“I ran for governor on a platform of “Colorado for all,” a Colorado where everyone can thrive and get ahead, where everyone can make their vision into a reality,” Governor Polis said. “The safety and security of the Jewish community is a critical part of that. I signed legislation creating a state Nonprofit Security Grant Program and this past December, the state added an additional $1 million in funding to expand this program. JEWISHcolorado has been a key partner in this work every step of the way.”

JEWISHcolorado President & CEO Renée Rockford

JEWISHcolorado President & CEO Renée Rockford thanked the community for “showing up and stepping up” since October 7. With community support, JEWISHcolorado has raised $7.5 million in emergency funds for Israel and every cent of that money has gone to humanitarian war-related efforts. In addition, JEWISHcolorado brought 175 people to the March for Israel in Washington, D.C., participated in two fly-ins to meet with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and led two trips of volunteers traveling to Israel.

President & CEO Renée Rockford speaks at JEWISHcolorado 2024 MEN'S Event

“We asked our friends in Israel, ‘What message would you like for us to carry home?’ Rockford said. “‘Tell them it happened,’” they replied. “‘Tell them it has been hard to breathe because, as a people, we are very, very winded, but we are strong and resilient, and it is our obligation to rebuild. This is a time to stand strong—with and for Israel—because this is a war of ‘to be or not to be.’”

Rockford concluded her remarks with a video 1,000 Israeli musicians gathering to sing with one voice, “Bring Them Home Now.

JEWISHcolorado Annual Campaign Chair Neil Oberfeld

JEWISHcolorado Annual Campaign Chair Neil Oberfeld listed just some of the many ways JEWISHcolorado is active in Colorado: 

• Improving safety and security for more than 100 Jewish organizations locally;
• Battling antisemitism through the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC);
• Sending free PJ Library books to 4,500 Colorado children every month;
• Sending teens to Israel every summer on the Joyce Zeff Israel Study Tour (IST);
• Supporting the work of Israeli teens and emissaries living in Colorado.

Neil Oberfeld speaks at JEWISHcolorado 2024 MEN'S Event

“Even if you gave to the Israel Emergency Fund, your support of JEWISHcolorado and what we do here in Denver is more important than ever,” Oberfeld said, before sharing a video from JEWISHcolorado’s former Shaliach Itai Divinsky, who is now serving in the IDF in the Gaza envelope.

Noah Agay and Hannah Kutnick

Hannah Kutnick, a student president at Northfield High School’s Jewish Student Connection (JSC) club and Noah Agay, a 2023 IST alumnus, addressed the crowd as representatives of the next generation. Agay talked about how IST gave him a deeper understanding of Israel, its people, and his own Jewish identity.

“When October 7 happened, I knew I had the tools and confidence to advocate for Israel with a passion,” he said.

Hannah Kutnick and Noah Agay speak at MEN'S Event 2024

Hannah talked about how JSC gives her the opportunity to share her Jewish identity with non-Jewish friends while building community and allyship in fighting antisemitism.

“We are the next generation,” Hannah said. “We have both benefited from many programs run by JEWISHcolorado, and these programs can’t continue or grow without your help.”

Attorney General Phil Weiser and Noa Tishby

Tishby is an Israeli activist, actress, producer, and author who has appeared in American television shows and movies, and, as a producer, brought Israeli television series to the United States, most notably the HBO series “In Treatment.” She is the author of “Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth.” She is also focused on Zionist activism and founded the advocacy organization “Act for Israel” in 2011.

From the greeting she received from the crowd, Tishby did not need an introduction. In his conversation with her, Attorney General Phil Weiser pointed out that she has now earned a reputation as one of the most effective social media influencers, “period.”
These are a few excerpts from her comments.

Noa Tishby at JEWISHcolorado 2024 MEN'S Event

“I have always been an Israel advocate since I moved to America. This is my passion. When people ask me why wrote my book and why do what I do, the truth is, it’s because I couldn’t shut up. The discrepancy between how little people in the U.S. knew about Israel and the strong opinions they had was shocking to me.”

Regarding social media: “We live in a world where everyone has a right to voice their opinion. Just remember this—not everyone’s opinion matters. Don’t worry about social media. Here’s what you should worry about—invite your friends to Shabbat. Reach outside our community. Change actually happens analog, not digital.”

Regarding her new book, out on April 30, “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Jew,” written with Emmanuel Acho: “There are so many uncomfortable moments in that book. It’s beautiful. I think it’s very timely and will be helpful for our community as well.”

The war: “This is going to get worse before it gets worse. We are at that generational moment that our grandparents warned us about and sadly, they were right.”

Noa Tishby at JEWISHcolorado 2024 MEN'S Event

Anti-Zionism: “Anti-Zionism is the new antisemitism. Being critical of politicians or policies is fine but anti-Zionism is denying the Jewish people’s right to exist. Zionism is the Jewish people’s right to have a state and more particularly to have self-governance and self-determination on some parts of our ancestral land in a not-exclusively Jewish state. Being an anti-Zionist means taking Israel down from the river to the sea by all means necessary.”

“This is not our first rodeo. We have been through this before. At a deep genetic level, we know what to do. And we know that we are not just going to survive this. We are going to thrive this.”