The Atlanta Israel Bonds gala filled the Hotel InterContinental ballroom Thursday, Nov. 9, to honor Richard Kopelman, the CEO and managing partner of Aprio. That meant the room was filled with more accountants than seeds on an everything bagel.
Andrew Haber, an Aprio assurance associate, said he admires Kopelman for being innovative and an industry leader. Barry Frankel, Aprio partner emeritus, said he recently finished reading the book “The Prime Ministers,” which brought him even closer to his own passion for Israel.
“I have been buying bonds for 40 years because it’s a great investment with a such a good yield,” Ed Goldberg said during the cocktail hour.
Millennial Mitchell Alterman said: “This is my first Israel Bonds event. I would say that I inherited from my family a knowledge and love of Israel and its people.”
Rabbi David Kapenstein from Kollel Ner Hamizrach said: “We’ve come a long way from associating an Israel Bond drive with Yom Kippur. Bonds are such a wonderful investment; they stand alone.”
Marni Ratner joked, “I have known Richard for 25 years. I even kept an eye on him for his wife, Kim, while they were in different cities. They are wonderful people.”
During the buffet dinner, the program rolled along. Young Micah Kopelman, son of the honoree, started things off by saying, “I hope you make my dad happy tonight by honoring Israel.”
Rabbi Joshua Heller, Kopelman’s rabbi at Congregation B’nai Torah, reflected that the gala fell on the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht, “except in this case we are rebuilding and celebrating.”
Bradley Young, the Atlanta executive director of Israel Bonds, said that more than $70 million in bonds have been sold in the Southeast for a record year.
The founding dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies said Israel has “experienced lightning-fast success — zero to 60 in 20 years, empty to bustling. We cannot lose focus because of the quick success we’ve had so far. Israel Bonds was one of the earliest tools we had. Israel is an expensive place to build a country. Israel is not about a symphony or an army. It is about a change in the existential situation of the Jewish people. In 1945 we were powerless. Now we are not so worried. With history and turbulence comes responsibility.”
Kopelman graciously accepted the Star of David Award.
“Supporting Israel through bonds is in my memory as a family affair for many reasons,” he said. “Great fun on trips to Israel meeting prestigious folks like movie stars and generals. It’s a great business investment, and it provides security for Jews globally because we must be a people with a homeland.”
And this we are.