Sam Perlman, 2023 Big PAL of the Year

December 30, 2022

Sam Perlman, 2023 Big PAL of the Year

Congratulations to the 2023 Joel Libowsky Big PAL of The Year, Sam Perlman!

Sam Perlman, son of Maxine & John Perlman, two-time JF&CS Board Chair, became a Big PAL six years ago.

“I wanted to be involved with JF&CS after watching my father be involved for most of my life, and the PAL Program seemed like a good fit," he said.

Sam was chosen from dozens of family nominations for the incredible influence he has had on his Little PAL. Sam was matched with Asher Fleshel, who was 11 years old at the time. The two quickly became friends, and over the years became more like family. The Fleshel family welcomed Sam into their home for Jewish holidays, and he was there for special moments like Asher's bar mitzvah.

"Sam has given Asher a great deal. His friendship has helped Asher immensely. Asher struggles socially to make friends and Sam’s care is invaluable. Asher looks forward to updating Sam on his life, inviting him for holiday meals, and hanging out when his busy schedule allows," said his mother, Hannah.

Over the last year, Sam has also been Asher’s driving teacher. Asher's father, Yaakov, really appreciated Sam taking that task on.

"Sam has the guts to be Asher’s driving teacher and he is super, more relaxed than me. He was really a big brother to Asher, that’s what a big brother does," he said.

During the Big PAL of the Year award ceremony, Sam spoke to the group about his experience of being a Big PAL.

"I really enjoy hanging out with Asher and being a part of their family. They welcomed me into their home, where I was able to experience the Jewish holidays alongside Asher. I never saw this as a job to hang out with him, I saw Asher as one of my friends. We have such a good time together! I look forward to continuing our friendship and hanging out together,” he said.

The Joel Libowsky Big PAL of the Year is named in honor of Joel Libowsky, an incredible supporter of the PAL Program and JF&CS and a wonderful Alumni Big PAL to two former Little PALs. This is the fourth year the award has been presented to an outstanding Big PAL.

Group photo: Maxine & John Perlman, Sam Perlman and Helen Huynh, The Fleshel Family, Joel Libowsky, and Sarah Bernstein, PAL Program Manager

The PAL Program and Havinagala

The PAL Program has made hundreds of matches since its inception and has created countless stories just like Sam and Asher's. The PAL Program works closely with potential Big and Little PALs to ensure a compatible match in terms of lifestyle, interests, and personality type. The program matches Jewish young professionals with Jewish children who could benefit from having another positive adult role model in their life due to complex family dynamics, such as a single parent family, the loss of a parent or guardian, a sibling with special needs or other challenges The adults provide companionship, a positive influence, and help strengthen their Little PAL’s Jewish identity.

Join JF&CS at the biggest young professionals' fundraiser of the year, Havinagala!

Havinagala raises money for the PAL Program, and is celebrating its 33rd year. This year, it will take place at Punch Bowl Social at the Battery Atlanta, home of the Atlanta Braves. Your ticket will get you drinks, food, and games with all your friends, plus a silent auction of unique items and experiences.

Havinagala is Saturday, January 28 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Join JF&CS for a night of friends, food, fun, and philanthropy! Get your tickets here.

Interested in being a sponsor for Havinagala? Reach 300+ young professionals in a fun atmosphere in one fabulous night. Contact Allison Holmes at to learn more.