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Inspiring Jewish strength and unity: An Israeli mother to speak at JFSA summits

Bat-Galim Shaer

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona will kick off its 2019 Community Campaign by hosting three summits on Nov. 13 and 14. Bat-Galim Shaer, the mother of one of three Israeli teens kidnapped and murdered in 2014, will speak on “One People, One Heart: The Strength of the Jewish People.”

Shaer’s son, Gil-ad, along with his friends Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach, was killed by Hamas terrorists in Gush Etzion, Israel, in the summer of 2014. She authored the bestselling book, What a Day May Bring: Longings of a Mother, in which she shares her coping methods and describes the strength of Israeli society and the Jewish people worldwide in times of crisis.

“Summits give us an opportunity to celebrate our commitment to Federation in intimate groups, with others who care deeply about our community and our future,” explains Melissa Goldfinger, JFSA’s 2019 campaign chair.

“We are honored that Bat-Galim and her family are traveling to Tucson from Israel to share their story of transforming a personal tragedy into a movement for Jewish unity and understanding,” Goldfinger says. “Now, more than ever, this message is essential.”

With over 20 years of experience in various educational frameworks, Shaer has presented lectures and initiated conferences to promote and foster unity within Israeli society. She is one of the creators of Israel’s “Unity Day” project, which has grown to include the participation of tens of thousands of high school students, soldiers, organizations and communities in Israel and throughout the world. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Jewish history and a master’s in educational

Shaer is the founder of the “Sonshine” organization, whose goal is to increase connections in Israeli society and throughout the Jewish world, as well as bolster optimism among the Jewish people.  She and her husband, Ofer, have spent the past four years traveling, lecturing, and promoting unity and respectful dialogue across all dimensions of world Jewry.

Federation is sponsoring three summit events, each at Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch.  Jeff and Karen Katz and Ellis and Irene Friedman will host the Advanced Gifts dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $45. The Women’s Philanthropy and Community Leadership luncheon is on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at noon, hosted by Barbara Befferman Danes, Phil Pepper, and Isaac Rothschild. Tickets are $25. Eric Mellan, Josh Silverman and Sarah Singer will host the Young Leadership dinner on Wednesday at 6 p.m. for $36.

For information or reservations, go to or call 647-8468.