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Two Historic Gifts with Transformational Potential for Shearith Israel

Congregation Shearith Israel is pleased to announce two new financial gifts which afford the opportunity to envision a new master plan for our synagogue's campus - one that will meet the needs of our growing community. 

This funding will support expanding our long term capacity for our staff and building to match the success of our thriving congregation.

Shearith Israel recently received $120,000, among the most significant one-time gifts in the history of our congregation, from the estate of lifetime member Abe Besser and his wife Marlene. Mr. Besser was a Holocaust survivor born Poland, who spent years in a Nazi labor camp. He came to America at age 24 and led a remarkable entrepreneurial life rooted in gratitude and generosity. Holocaust remembrance was his sacred calling and his estate made legacy gifts to many local Atlanta Jewish organizations including the outdoor memorial at the MJCCA to the six million who perished in the Shoah. Learn more about Abe Besser’s remarkable life here

The Besser estate's generosity continued by contributing an additional $50,000 toward the $100,000 we are raising for the Legacy Heritage Matching Grant, thanks to Shearith Israel Board member Blair Rothstein's participation in the Legacy Heritage Foundation's OnBoard program, which supports organization’s board development and capacity building.

The vision of the leaders of our congregation is well on its way to realization. We are a center for Jewish living in Atlanta. We are widely recognized as a vibrant community. And, we have a plan for our long term continued success. 

There is a story in the Talmud about Choni the circle maker who asked a man planting a carob tree how long it would take for the tree to bear fruit. The man replied, “70 years.” When Choni challenged the man if he would benefit from its fruit, the man replied, “I found a world full of carob trees, just as my ancestors planted for me, I am planting for our descendants.” The Besser family gave us some of the fruit of their labor for us to enjoy, and established a legacy for us to emulate. We are all able to follow in Abe Besser’s footsteps through our Life & Legacy Project, and plant seeds for our legacy to thrive through Shearith Israel.   

As we begin a review of our physical plant and future needs, these two generous gifts provide the Shearith Israel community with a transformational opportunity. 

Tue, July 23 2024 17 Tammuz 5784