In a night filled with enthusiasm and purpose, JELF’s Boca Raton gathering on November 14, 2023 proved to be a resounding success, fueled by passionate alumni hosts and speakers Ron Krudo and Eitan Ovadia, engaging discussions, and a collective commitment to breaking down barriers to education for Jewish students!
Ron Krudo, a former JELF recipient, stepped into his involvement as an alumni donor after utilizing JELF’s support to attend Florida State University. Originally from Orlando, he now resides in Highland Beach with his wife Alexis and their two children. Today as President & Founder of Equiturn Business Solutions, Ron’s journey from JELF beneficiary to active donor illustrates the profound impact of the organization on the lives of its recipients.
Eitan Ovadia, a native of Atlanta, shared his personal connection to JELF as both a beneficiary and a dedicated member of the organization’s Board of Directors. Eitan utilized JELF’s assistance to attend law school at University of Georgia and now practices law in Boca, where he resides with his wife Cara and their three children. As the sole Board member from the Boca area, Eitan’s commitment to JELF extends beyond his personal experience, embodying the spirit of giving back to a cause that has shaped his educational journey.
Following these compelling narratives, the hosts took the stage, rallying attendees, many of whom were personal friends who had yet to hear Ron and Eitan’s individual stories, to really understand JELF’s mission. In the wake of the Israel Hamas war and the rise of antisemitism, Eitan’s words rang very powerful, as he explained “as Jews we dwell on the past for one reason: to prepare for our future.”
The evening also featured four other local JELF recipients—three alumni donors and one individual still repaying their loans. Hearing their personal stories added a layer to the event, serving as further testament to the transformative impact of JELF’s support and ongoing commitment of the JELF community. The evening also included an engaging Q&A session with JELF’s key figures—CEO Jenna Leopold Shulman, Chief Development Officer Josh Schaier, and longtime Board Member and Past Board Chair Stan Lowenstein. Their insightful responses provided attendees with a deeper understanding of JELF’s initiatives, emphasizing the organization’s dedication to fostering educational opportunities.
Beyond the powerful narratives and fundraising initiatives, the event shed light on the substantial impact JELF had in the Boca community and beyond. Partnering locally with the Rales Jewish Family Services as part of the loan intake process, JELF also receives an annual donation from the Jewish Federation of S. Palm Beach County. Annually, JELF supports a total of 450 Jewish students, providing them with hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest-free loans. In Boca alone, 46 students were funded $248,842K in 2023, even though their total calculated need was $323,354. These statistics underscore the tangible difference JELF makes in the lives of students, empowering them to pursue their educational aspirations without the burden of financial constraints.
As the night wound to a close, the collective sense of accomplishment and community spirit lingered. The generosity of the participants, coupled with their commitment to the cause, ensures that JELF can continue its vital mission in the Boca Raton area. The event paves the way for a continued opportunity to raised funds in Boca so that Jewish students can continue to overcome financial obstacles in order to pursue higher education.