Philanthropist and attorney Jeffrey Barrack will be honored at StandWithUs Philadelphia’s fourth annual Defenders of Israel Gala Dinner on Dec. 19 for both his local advocacy and his support of Israel.
Paula Joffe, associate director of StandWithUs’ Mid-Atlantic Region, said Barrack’s work with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and broader Jewish community is noteworthy.
“Jeff epitomizes everything that StandWithUs stands for: pro-Israel,” Joffe said. “Jeff just embodies all the things that a Defender of Israel and the work of StandWithUs does. He puts actions to words.”
StandWithUs is an international organization founded in 2001 to fight anti-Semitism and educate people about Israel. The nonprofit’s chapters organize leadership training and educational programs in schools across the country as well as produce educational material on Israel in the form of social media, films and weekly newsletters.
Joffe said her hope with the gala is for everyone to become inspired by StandWithUs’ work.
“My goal is for everybody in the audience to come away with the same enthusiasm that I have when I meet with these young people, that they know that our future is in good hands because we have these amazing young people that put themselves forward on the front lines and that they have an organization that gives them fact-based material and support so they can be successful,” Joffe said. “I want everyone to leave the dinner feeling that our kids are supported, that they can feel proud, but know that our work is not done and that they need to be part of the process. We owe it as a community to be there for our kids and to give them these tools.”
The dinner is slated for 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 19 at Har Zion Temple in Gladwyne. The keynote speaker is Oded Revivi, mayor of Efrat, Israel, and chief foreign envoy for the Yesha Council.
Barrack, 51, said he was grateful to be honored.
“StandWithUs is a great organization. They do excellent work supporting Jewish life on college campuses and preparing high school students for college in today’s environment of anti-Semitism,” Barrack said.
Barrack has a long history of volunteer work in the Jewish community in Philadelphia, where he grew up and now resides. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Clark University, a master’s from Boston College and a J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law.
Since 1996, he has been a partner at Barrack, Rodos & Bacine, representing plaintiffs in antitrust, securities fraud and other class-action lawsuits.
One thing that kicked off his volunteerism was his experience with the Jewish Federations of North America as a member of its National Young Leadership Cabinet from 2007 to 2013. He also served on the board of directors at Hillel of Greater Philadelphia from 2011 to 2014 and on the board of trustees at Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia between 2006 and 2019.
Barrack is a Senate Club Member of AIPAC and serves on its Philadelphia Leadership Council. He’s also a member of the National Development Committee of the Alexander Muss High School in Israel. At Har Zion Temple, he has served as vice president of finance and development since 2017.
In Barrack’s speech, he plans to advocate for coexistence in Israel and encourage audience members to visit the West Bank.
“Most of these people (at the gala) are going to be Zionists who have been to Israel many times, and who love Israel with a passion. But in the same breath, those same people, very few of them have crossed the Green Line,” Barrack said. “My invitation to participants would be to come to our cities, to our forefathers’ tombs and memorials and to the land where our people have tread for 3,500 years because we can, and the only thing stopping us is fear.”
In addition to honoring Barrack, the gala will recognize Marcus Bernstein with the Campus Award and Shaqed Tzabbar with the High School Award.
Bernstein is a student at Drexel University and a StandWithUs 2019-2020 Emerson Fellow. He has organized campus events, including bringing Holocaust survivor Cherie Goren to speak, and last year was a Building Israel Connections Engagement Project Fellow.
Tzabbar is a student at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy. As a 2019-20 StandWithUs High School intern, she produced nearly 20 programs at the school.