Havinagala Brings Young Professionals Together for Fun and Fundraising at Punch Bowl Social

January 09, 2023

Havinagala Brings Young Professionals Together for Fun and Fundraising at Punch Bowl Social

Havinagala, the largest Jewish young adult fundraiser in Atlanta, will take over Punch Bowl Social at The Battery on January 28, 2023, from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The event raises funds for JF&CS’s PAL Program, Atlanta’s only Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister program. Now in its 33rd year, Havinagala is a fixture in Jewish Atlanta with many stories of attendees meeting their future spouses and best friends at past events.

The PAL Program matches Jewish children ages 5-17 with young adult professionals. The Big PALs serve as role models and friends to their Little PAL, children who could benefit from the attention of another adult. Children in the program may be raised by single parents, grandparents, or they may have a sibling with a developmental disability that requires a lot of attention and support.

Big and Little PALs get together twice a month for fun activities like bowling, watching movies, playing video games, or other activities the child finds interesting. The caring and unconditional friendship that Big PALs bring helps their Little PALs grow their confidence, build self-esteem, and further embrace their Jewish identity. Since 1986, the program has touched the lives of hundreds of children, families and volunteers and formed close relationships that, in some cases, have lasted decades.

Event Leadership

This year’s event chairs are Ethan Fialkow and Sydney Lippman. Fialkow, recently recognized as 40 Under 40 by the Atlanta Jewish Times, has a deep understanding of the importance of fundraising.

“JF&CS has always been a huge part of my life and I wanted to find a way to get involved that will not only help the organization but also help the community members that JF&CS serves. Havinagala is the perfect event that helps an amazing program,” he said.

Co-chair Sydney Lippman has been a Big PAL to Riley for a year and has loved the experience.

"We recently went to the annual hanukah party and I was able to take my Little PAL bowling for her first time ever. We connected with other Little PALs and Big PALs and had a blast! The program is great because you get to make a difference in a person’s life and have fun while doing it! You also get matched with someone who shares similar interests, so it makes it more meaningful for the both of you and you get to plan out activities that you both enjoy," said Sydney.

She encouraged other young professionals to reach out to become a Big PAL.

"If you are interested in becoming a PAL do not hesitate to reach out and find out more because its a great opportunity to get involved with your community and you won’t regret it," she exclaimed.

Auction Chair Samantha Paulen first became involved with JF&CS by participating as a Host for Havinagala in 2020.

“My sister, Ilissa Feiler, has been a longtime PAL to Little PAL, Chelsea, and suggested I get involved. Since then, I have participated in the Tritt Leadership Program and other JF&CS events like Mitzvah Day over the years.”

“Now that people are back together, I'm excited to see Havinagala back in full swing. I hope that people get a sense of connection with the community, JF&CS, and the PAL Program. It is events like this that bring us together for a great cause and a good time!”

Joel Libowsky Big PAL of The Year Award

This year will mark the fourth year a Big PAL will be awarded the Joel Libowsky Big PAL of the Year Award, recognizing someone who has made a “superlative influence” on their Little PAL’s life. The award honors Libowsky, who was a Big PAL to two Little PALs for more than 13 years. He continues to be an advocate for the program and is actively involved in JF&CS and the Jewish community.

This year’s Joel Libowsky Big PAL of the Year is Sam Perlman (son of Maxine & John Perlman, two-time JF&CS Board Chair) who became a Big PAL six years ago. Sam, nominated by his Little PAL’s family, has had an incredible influence on his Little PAL. Sam was matched with Asher, who was 11 years old at the time. The two quickly became friends, and over the years became more like family.

"Sam has given Asher a great deal. His friendship has helped Asher immensely. Asher looks forward to updating Sam on his life, inviting him for holiday meals, and hanging out together," said his mother, Hannah.

Event Details

Punch Bowl Social is 25,000-square-feet of pure fun, featuring multiple bars, billiards, karaoke, classic arcade games and bowling. This fun, festive Gala will include food, complimentary bar with drinks and mocktails, as well as a silent auction with unique items and experiences. Tickets are $80 in advance, $100 at the door and can be purchased at havinagala.org. Early ticket buyers can reserve bowling lanes with friends.

Are you the parent or grandparent of a young professional? Go ahead and give them a nudge to buy tickets. They could meet that special someone!

Visit Havinagala.org to learn more and purchase tickets.