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Jewish Federation celebrates 70 years: Gala proceeds to benefit programs


Giving back to the community is the mission of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico, which turns 70 this year.

The federation is celebrating its milestone with its first ever gala, “A Night of Blue and White.” It will be held on Sunday, May 6, at Sandia Resort & Casino.

“This year, 2018, marks our 70th anniversary,” Zachary Benjamin, executive director of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico. “We were founded in 1948. Coincidentally we were founded the same year as Israeli Independence was achieved so it’s kind of a double 70th anniversary celebration. All proceeds benefit our organization and our program.”

The foundation is a multi-faceted nonprofit that serves not only the Jewish community but the broader community. It provides social services for seniors, Holocaust survivors, low-income families and those needing certain types of counseling.

“That’s our Jewish care program and some of the senior services are home visits, resource and referral services,” Benjamin said. “We provide funding for those looking to have a Jewish burial for a family member who is unable to afford it. We also as an organization offer scholarships for high school students, certainly not just Jewish, most of them are not Jewish who receive our scholarships. We have programs for college students, young professionals. Under our offices is Hillel at the University of New Mexico, which is the Jewish student life link at UNM. And we also raise and distribute funds to provide financial assistance to about 40 other nonprofits throughout New Mexico.”

The foundation has received an outpouring of support from the community for its gala.

Some items to be auctioned are trips to Israel, South Africa, and Uruguay, fine art and jewelry, dinner with Mayor Tim Keller, and signed Dallas Cowboys memorabilia including a game used ball signed by Roger Staubach and Drew Pearson. The evening will begin with a cocktail hour to allow people to peruse the silent auction and make their bids. It will be followed by dinner. The evening will end with a live acoustic performance by globally renowned rock and reggae artist Matisyahu.

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