The Jewish Federation thanked its largest donors and kicked off its 2022 JFund Campaign with a glimpse into the world of Israeli wine at its Oct. 19 Chai Society Donor Event. Not only was there a wine tasting led by Josh Greenstein, a New York-based representative for many Israeli wineries, but there was a special look at Tulip Winery. Located in Israel’s Kfar Tikva, Tulip employs dozens of people with special needs.
“Tonight is about showing appreciation,” said Amanda Kaminer, one of the evening’s co-chairs, along with Adam Kaminer and Kelly and Larry Gottlieb.
Adam Kaminer spoke about the importance of supporting Federation’s unrestricted fund. He said that the unrestricted dollars coming to Federation were like the trunk of the philanthropic tree that supports the branches and leaves of community giving.
The program also featured Jewish Federation President Harry Platt doing the Kiddish over wine and presenting a video on the Federation and its Areas of Impact and Federation CEO Jennifer Dubrow Weiss speaking about the 100th year of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey. She noted that thousands of people from throughout the area count on Federation’s programs. She then introduced a video on Tulip Winery narrated by Amar’e Stoudemire, former NBA player, Israeli citizen, and winemaker.
Josh Greenstein, the featured speaker for the evening, invited those tuning into the virtual program to open the bottles of Tulip wine they had received. The fifth-generation of his family in the wine business, Greenstein spoke about the wine scene in Israel. “There are about 350 wineries in Israel, and growing,” he said.
Talking about the history of Israeli wine, Greenstein spoke about winemaking 2,000 years ago, the modern period beginning with the Rothschild family in 1882, and up to today. “The joke I make is that Israel has been making wine for 5,000 years, and they just starting to get good at it,” said Greenstein. He mentioned that he would be showing three Israeli wines at an upcoming show. He added that Wine Enthusiast magazine published an article on Israeli wines. Wine from Israel, noted Greenstein, is not only for Jewish holidays.
Greenstein also offered wine tips and answered questions from people on the 85 cameras tuned into the event. He spoke about extending the life of wine once the bottles are opened, giving gifts of Israeli wine, and supporting the Israeli wine industry as a whole, including asking for Israeli wines in restaurants.
Israeli wineries, like many of the wineries in the world, have done well during the Covid pandemic, according to Greenstein. They are considered essential businesses.
Greenstein closed his talk by speaking about Tulip Winery, which employs 30-50 individuals with special needs on an ongoing basis. That number doubles around harvest time and the Jewish holidays. He lauded Tulip’s tag line, “We only put labels on wine, not on people.” He noted that Tulip wines are available at ShopRite and make great gifts.