Briefs: Honored AA Blood Drive Returns

Briefs: Honored AA Blood Drive Returns

Above: Gail Solomon, Mike Kessler (center) and Jack Fishman celebrate the Red Cross award for the quarterly Jewish community blood drive.

The American Red Cross recently honored Ahavath Achim Synagogue for hosting the Jewish community’s quarterly blood drive since 1968.

Gail Solomon, the chairwoman of the drive the past eight years, accepted the Red Cross’ Sponsor Group of the Year award at a volunteer recognition ceremony at Turner Field’s 755 Club on June 21.

Fulton Masonic Lodge No. 216 and Jewish War Veteran Post 112 launched the quarterly blood drive at Red Cross headquarters in 1949. The event moved to AA, which became a co-sponsor, in 1968 under the chairmanship of Jerry Fields and at the suggestion of Rabbi Harry Epstein.

Congregation Shearith Israel became a co-sponsor this year.

“When my mother had surgery for colon cancer, she needed 9 pints of blood on the operating table to save her life,” Solomon said. “In her memory and for those who need blood to live, I will continue to donate blood as long as I am able.”

Healthy people give blood from age 17 into their 80s, she said. “Elliott Rich from Shearith Israel and Richard Siegel from Ahavath Achim Synagogue have given more than 17 to 18 gallons of blood each.”

Jack Fishman is an example of a donor who has given blood regularly for more than 40 years and is now a leading donor of platelets, which can be given much more often than whole blood.

“We are now up to 268 consecutive quarters” of holding the blood drive, said Mike Kessler, a member of the Fulton Masonic Lodge. “It’s the oldest continuous blood drive in the city of Atlanta, perhaps even in Georgia or the U.S.”

The goal is to collect 100 pints of blood each quarter. The next drive is Sunday, Aug. 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at AA, 600 Peachtree Battle Ave., Buckhead. Walk-ins are welcome, but you can save time by making an appointment at (enter code JWV). Contact Solomon at 404­-351­-1900 or with any questions.

Sharks Love Game Givers

Game Givers, the nonprofit organization founded by Jewish Atlanta teenager Max Rubenstein, won praise from a panel of judges at San Diego Comic-Con’s Pop Culture Shark Tank on Friday, July 22.

Game Givers ( provides video games to hospital-bound children facing serious medical challenges. The organization also hosts fundraising video game tournaments. Since its founding in 2015, Game Givers has raised more than $53,000 and has received more than 1,000 donations of new and used video games and consoles for children in metro Atlanta.

Rubenstein and the heads of three other startups pitched their concepts to the Shark Tank panel.

In the final judging, the panel unanimously chose Game Givers for the potential of its business concept. Judges were also impressed by Rubenstein’s poise and professionalism.

“Presenting at the Pop Culture Shark Tank panel was an awesome experience,” the 16-year-old Galloway School student said. “I was impressed by the other companies that participated alongside of me, and I gained a lot of valuable experience presenting to business leaders. The experience also gave me even more confidence in the business concept behind Game Givers and its potential to make a positive difference in the lives of kids across the country and around the world.”

AJC Brings Anti-Semitism to Convention

Georgia state Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta) was part of a panel discussion on anti-Semitism hosted by American Jewish Committee at July’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

It was one of two panels AJC organized at the convention.

Sen. Bob Corker
Sen. Bob Corker

Joining Hill on the anti-Semitism panel July 19 were Congressman Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Suhail Khan, the senior fellow for Muslim-Christian understanding at the Institute of Global Engagement. Julie Rayman, AJC’s director of political outreach, moderated the discussion.

Hill said anti-Semitism is growing but is appearing in different forms than it did even 20 years ago, in part because of the anonymity offered by platforms such as Twitter.

“People will say things behind a computer that they’ll never say to your face,” he said.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was featured during an AJC discussion on global issues July 20. That panel also included U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.); David O’Sullivan, head of the European Union delegation to the United States; U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.); George Papadopoulos, director of the Center for International Energy and Natural Resources Law; and Michael Scharf, dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Jason Isaacson, AJC’s associate executive director of policy, moderated the discussion.

Corker warned of a global shift toward isolationism, seen in the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the EU and in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Corker also criticized the year-old Iran nuclear deal, which he said allows Iran “to develop a nuclear weapon, should they choose to, in the most efficient way possible while their economy is coming back. I think they out-negotiated us.”

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