2024 Big PAL of the Year: Nate Rubin

January 04, 2024

2024 Big PAL of the Year: Nate Rubin

JF&CS’ PAL program connects kids and teens with young adult role models for mentorship, guidance, and fun. The relationships and bonds that are built during the program support kids through their formative adolescent and teen years, and the contribution and commitment of the Big PALs is deeply appreciated by the families they serve.

For the last five years, families have been invited to nominate their Big PALs for special recognition. The honor of the Joel Libowsky Big PAL of the Year award is given to a Big PAL who has gone above and beyond to guide and mentor his or her Little PAL. Joel Libowsky, himself a former Big PAL, reviews the nominations and has the tough task of choosing just one recipient from the worthy nominees. After careful consideration, he has named Nate Rubin the Big PAL of the Year 2024.

About Nate

Nominated by his Little PAL Josh’s mom Nancy, Nate is a “mensch” according to both Nancy and PAL Program Manager Sarah Bernstein. Nancy describes him as an “incredibly positive role model and influence, friend, great listener, and honorary family member.” Nate created an environment where Josh could be himself “without any repercussions or judgment,” she said, and made “such a positive difference” in Josh’s life.

“It’s hard to believe that Josh and I have been PALs for six years!” said Nate. “When I first started, Josh was studying for his Bar Mitzvah and in middle school. Recently when we last hung out, Josh mentioned that he was accepted into college! Where did the time go?!”

“Nate has been an incredible Big PAL to Josh,” said Joel. “He not only helped Josh build his self-esteem and confidence, but also helped Josh prepare for his bar mitzvah. You can tell by just talking to the two of them how incredible of a bond the two of them have.”

Nate’s PAL Journey

Nate first learned about the PAL program through his parents and social media. He had previous experience volunteering with teens, and after hearing more about PAL he found the mission of the program to be a natural fit for him in his post-college years. Through fun activities like bowling, going to plays and musicals, and hanging at the park, he has built a solid, supportive relationship with Josh over the last seven years that “has grown into a brotherhood.”

“The best part of the program has been seeing Josh grow physically and emotionally, and mature into a young man with a bright future,” said Nate. “I am excited to see him enter adulthood and become adult friends as he navigates college and life.”

While Nate has given a lot as a Big PAL, he has received even more. “Becoming a Big PAL has strengthened my interpersonal skills, and I have learned to become more patient and empathetic,” he says. “Over the years, I have matured to become a leader, mentor, and brother. Being a Big PAL has motivated me to become a better person within the community.”

Nate encourages anyone considering being a Big PAL to “fully embrace it with open arms.” With their formal commitment coming to a close, Nate and Josh remain close friends. Nate reflects on his time with the PAL program as “one of the most important things I have done as an adult,” not only as a Mitzvah but because “volunteers have the chance to change young children’s and adults’ lives for the better, with the potential to grow lifelong memories and friendships.”

About Havinagala

The 34th annual Havinagala will take place at Illuminarium on Saturday, January 27th at 8 p.m. The biggest party for Jewish Young Professionals in Atlanta, Havinagala raises important funds for the PAL program. This year, guests will enjoy a 360-degree immersive experience while mingling over spirits and light bites and enjoying the music of a live DJ, silent auction and more. By purchasing general admission or sponsor tickets, bidding on silent auction items during the event, or donating directly to PAL, you can support the work of this meaningful program.

New this year is the VIP reception from 7-8 p.m., which is open to of-age past Little PALs, current and past Big PALs, the Young Professional Committee, and Copper-Level and above sponsors. Nate will receive his Joel Libowsky Big PAL of the Year award, and VIP guests will enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres, desserts and an intimate 360 experience.

Havinagala is a special event for Nate, and not only because he will be honored this year-the biggest party for Jewish Young Professionals tends to reunite people. A few Havinagalas ago, Nate ran into his friend Hayley who he hadn’t seen in a while, and not only did they reconnect at the event, but they ended up getting married! Nathaniel and Hayley Perlis Rubin had a special PAL standing beside them on their wedding day, too: Josh.

Havinagala is a magical night when anything can happen, and we hope you’ll join us January 27. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Havinagala.org