First Big PAL Award to be Presented at the 31st Annual Havinagala Named in Honor of Joel Libowsky

January 14, 2020

First Big PAL Award to be Presented at the 31st Annual Havinagala Named in Honor of Joel Libowsky

The PAL Program, Atlanta’s Only Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister program, provides one-on-one mentor relationships for children who could benefit from extra time with a trusted adult. PAL serves a diverse range of families, including: single-parent households, LGBTQ+ families, military families, children raised by guardians other than their parents, and siblings of children with developmental disabilities. Big PALs are Jewish young professionals carefully matched with children to help build confidence, self-esteem and a Jewish identity.

The Joel Libowsky Big PAL Award

Joel Libowsky was a Big PAL to two little PALs for more than 13 years, including Scott Tenenbaum, who spoke at the JF&CS Community of Caring event in 2018.

“He taught me how to tie my shoes,” said Tenenbaum at the event, whose father had passed away when he was six years old.

Libowsky’s first connection to the PAL Program was becoming a Big PAL to his friend Ilyse's 4-year-old first cousin, Blake whose father had just passed away. Blake’s mother, Suzy had been working with JF&CS to find the perfect pal for Blake. Interestingly enough, Suzy was a volunteer on the PAL committee for many years prior. At that same time, Joel was just moving from Birmingham to Atlanta, and Suzy suggested he become a Big PAL. From that very moment, being a big PAL became a big part of his life. When Libowsky got married, both Blake and Scott were ring-bearers at his wedding.

Libowsky, Co-owner of Jeckil Promotions, continues to be an advocate for the program, and is actively involved in JF&CS and the Jewish community. In addition, his company has also been a sponsor of Havinagala each year. While the PAL program has a history of having exceptional volunteers serve as Big PALS, Joel Libowsky’s passion and commitment has also inspired countless other to volunteer as a PAL.

“Being part of the PAL program has made me who I am today, it has made me a better person. It is an honor to present this award to an exemplary Big PAL, and there were so many touching nominations,” said Libowsky.

The Havinagala Event Supports the PAL Program

The award will be given at this year’s Havinagala, the annual benefit for the PAL Program. Havinagala will be held at SweetWater Brewing Co. (195 Ottley Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30324) on Saturday, January 25 from 6:30 – 9:30 PM.

General Admission Tickets are $75 online at or $85 at the door, and includes dinner, beer, wine, and signature drinks. In addition, there will be a sober mixologist crafting non-alcoholic beverages provided by the HAMSA (Helping Atlantans Manage Substance Abuse) program of JF&CS. Fantastic silent auction and raffle prizes are still coming in, but prizes include vacations, fitness memberships, sports tickets and restaurant gift cards. The event will also include music from Atlanta Fever Entertainment, and a photo booth from Button It Up.

This year’s event chairs are Sarah & Brian Meyer, Jodi Seligman, & Jared Kopelman, marking the second year in a row Meyer and Seligman are co-chairs .

The Presenting sponsor this year is Perennial Properties. The gold sponsor is Jeckil Promotions and Aprio is the silver sponsor. Atlanta Fever, Button-It Up, Classic Tents & Events, College Hunks, Not As Famous Cookie Company, and ShoLight Live are in-kind sponsors.

Please contact Jessica Katz-Yonatan for sponsorship opportunities at 770.677.9364.

For more information and to buy tickets for Havinagala, click the link below.