Sandy Springs residents Bonnie and Chuck Berk received Israel Bonds’ Israel69 Award during the organization’s annual International Prime Minister’s Club Dinner at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach on Feb. 12.

The award recognizes exceptional support for Israel and efforts to perpetuate Jewish heritage.

“Many of us go out to an event, and we write a check. Why write a check when you can give a bond, which also ties people to us and ties anybody who gets that bond to the heritage of our people?” Chuck Berk, a former Southeast chairman of Israel Bonds, said to explain his support for the organization and the importance of the award. “That’s what we ought to be doing.”

Bonnie Berk added: “Israel is a light unto the nations. It is and always has been. A safe and healthy Israel is a gift to the world.”

The Berks are members of Temple Sinai and local leaders in the Republican Jewish Coalition. Chuck Berk also serves on the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust.

The ceremony in Florida celebrated more than $40 billion in global sales for Israel Bonds since the program’s start in 1951 and a record $1.127 billion in U.S. sales in 2016.

“Israel Bonds’ historic sales clearly show that throughout generations, the idea of demonstrating confidence in Israel through investing in Israel has touched a response chord with individuals from all walks of life,” said Israel Maimon, who became Israel Bonds’ president and CEO in the fall.

Rony Hizkiyahu, the accountant general of Israel’s Finance Ministry, said the success of Israel Bonds reflects the economic partnership between Israel and the Diaspora.

“Israel Bonds are both a financial instrument and a fraternal instrument, a bond of brotherhood and sisterhood with the Jewish state, for Jews and non-Jews alike,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video message shown during the dinner.

The Berks were among 15 individuals or pairs from the United States, Canada and Mexico who were honored with the Israel69 Award at the event, emceed by actor Jason Alexander. The others:

  • Sharon Azrieli of Montreal.
  • Jeffrey Beck and Jarrod Beck of Dallas, Texas.
  • Israel Feldman of Mexico City.
  • Alex Halberstein of Miami.
  • Sharon and David Halpern of Livingston, N.J.
  • Sarah and Elie Hirschfeld of New York.
  • Suellen and Larry Kadis of Cleveland.
  • Alan Kantrowitz of Los Angeles.
  • Melanie and René Moreno of Washington and Curaçao.
  • Barry Shrage of Boston
  • Tobi Richman Steinhardt and Rabbi David Steinhardt of Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Diana Sager and Steven Warren of Tampa, Fla.
  • Enid and Kalman Wenig of Chicago.
  • Richard Ziman of Los Angeles.

“Since its founding, Israel Bonds has been a cornerstone of Israel’s economy,” Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said. “Crossing the $40 billion mark exemplifies the organization’s dedication to Israel and the way in which its message of economic support has resonated on a global scale. On behalf of the government of Israel, I wish to thank Israel Bonds and its worldwide client base for helping to build every sector of our economy.”