Michael Morris, the AJT’s owner and publisher, relaunched the Jewish Breakfast Club in February after a 16-year hiatus.
Joe Lipsey III launched the original JBC in 1993 with the support of Perry Brickman, Erwin Zaban, David Kuniansky, Dan Uslan and David Zalik. Held monthly at Snack-n-Shop in Buckhead, the JBC sessions provided an opportunity for young professionals, whether just starting in business or just reaching the partner level, to network and learn from the previous generation.
Over seven years, the JBC hosted 60 speakers, including Charlie Ackerman, Harry Blazer, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Mike Leven, Ambassador Arye Mekel, Jeff Snow, Chuck Wolf and Steve Selig.
The relaunched JBC meets on the second Wednesday of most months in the 25th-floor Buckhead offices of law firm Greenberg Traurig. Offering a kosher bagel-based breakfast along with thought-provoking discussions, the event has grown to about 70 attendees a month.
“The JBC is an opportunity for the younger generation to network and learn from mentors in our community,” Morris said. “It is also an opportunity for the leaders of our community to pass on core Jewish values to the next generation. L’dor vador.”
If you haven’t joined us for the revamped, AJT-sponsored Jewish Breakfast Club, here’s some of what you have missed:
- Ed Mendel, a financial professional, Marcus Jewish Community Center trustee and limited partner in the Atlanta Falcons, spoke about investing in a world in which nations are offering negative interest rates on government bonds and managing your finances in the midst of uncertainty.
- Michael Coles spoke about growing the Great American Cookie Co. from its founding in 1977 with an initial investment of $8,000 to its sale in 1998 with 350 stores. Coles also relayed important lessons he learned while serving as the CEO of Caribou Coffee from 2003 to 2012, talked about his record-breaking cross-country bicycle rides, and emphasized that his role as the president of Hillels of Georgia is his most important position.
- Doug Ross, the chairman of Birthright Israel’s Atlanta Regional Council and a member of the national board of the Birthright Israel Foundation, talked about Birthright’s importance in engaging Jewish millennials with Israel at a transformative time in their lives. Atlanta has sent more than 6,000 young adults on Birthright trips.
- Jeff Koplan, the vice president of global health at Emory University and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, talked about the threats to public health he has encountered through his years in the field and the increasing number of emerging threats, including the Zika virus.
- Marty Kogon, the first chairman and current board member of the ALEF Fund, explained how the nonprofit student support organization enables Georgians to designate a portion of their state income taxes to provide scholarships at Jewish day schools and preschools.
- Sam Olens offered insight into the inner workings of his office and went into detail about efforts to strengthen the penalties for sex traffickers and improve the state’s support for those traffickers’ child victims. He did not mention his interest in moving to Kennesaw State University to serve as its president.
- Robert Friedmann, the founding director of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange, explained the threat of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and described the efforts of BDS activists to shut down GILEE, which provides opportunities for police officers in the United States, Israel and other nations to learn from one another.
- Mike Leven, the chairman and CEO of the Georgia Aquarium, spoke about the importance of Jewish unity and how Jews in the Diaspora have become separated by beliefs and practices.
- Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, Inc., the world’s largest home improvement retailer. He remains director emeritus and Home Depot’s largest single stockholder. His areas of focus include Jewish causes, children, medical research, free enterprise and the community. A centerpiece of his desire to give back to the community is Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia. Among his important philanthropies is the founding of the Israel Democracy Institute located in Jerusalem.
Join us for the revamped, AJT-sponsored Jewish Breakfast Club!
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