The Ogan family.

Lappin Foundation honors community heroes

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Lappin Foundation honors community heroes

The Ogan family.

Close to 300 individuals attended Lappin Foundation’s Annual Youth to Israel (Y2I) Welcome Home Event, a unique intergenerational gathering of teens and adults. The event is designed to inspire the younger generation by honoring community leaders, and to inspire the community by hearing how the Y2I experience positively impacts Jewish identity in teens.

Philanthropist Bob Ogan of Marblehead was presented with the Foundation’s 2023 Youth to Israel Award for his commitment to the ongoing success of Y2I. Ogan, an alumnus of the 1973 Y2I program (then Let’s Go Israel), shared how the experience shaped his Jewish identity as a teen. “When you go to Israel, regardless of your mindset prior to going, you will come back a different person,” he said.

Ogan is president and chief executive officer of Bake’n Joy Foods, Inc., a company started by his grandfather in 1941 when he come to this country from Russia. Ogan shared inspirational remarks about his commitment to tikkun olam (repairing the world) and to supporting the Jewish community as a philanthropist.

The 2023 Robert I. Lappin Inspirational Jewish Leadership Award was presented to Holocaust survivors Dr. Hans Fisher and Michael Gruenbaum (of blessed memory), both of whom work tirelessly as passionate presenters in the Foundation’s Holocaust Symposium for High School Students. The two have presented to thousands of students over the past few years, sharing their stories of escape and survival during the Holocaust. Four generations of the Fisher family attended the event, and Fisher’s granddaughter presented him with his award.

Michael Gruenbaum, who was imprisoned in Terezin for more than two years, passed away unexpectedly earlier this year, but his legacy continues through his book “Somewhere There is Still a Sun,” and by “The Teddy Bear,” an animated film he narrated for Lappin Foundation. Gruenbaum’s film and Fisher’s testimony can be viewed at LappinFoundation.org on the Holocaust resources page.  Θ

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