Young Professionals Party for PAL at Havinagala

February 11, 2020

Young Professionals Party for PAL at Havinagala

More than 400 young professionals gathered for the 31st Annual Havinagala on Saturday, January 25th, at Sweetwater Brewery. This event helps fund the PAL Program, Atlanta’s only Jewish Big Brother / Big Sister program. Attendees enjoyed dinner, drinks, music, a raffle and silent auction, as well as hand-crafted mocktails. They also watched a video presentation about the impact of the PAL program. This year’s event chairs were Sarah & Brian Meyer, Jodi Seligman, & Jared Kopelman.

“Havinagala is a tradition in Atlanta for Jewish young professionals to get together while supporting a great cause, and this year’s event was truly a fantastic night full of energy, fun, and friends,” said Andrea Rapowitz, the PAL Program coordinator.

“It is also a time to hopefully recruit new Big PALs, and we are happy to say eight young professionals have shown interest in being a big PAL. However, we are always looking for more big PALs. If you know a young Jewish professional who would be interested, please tell them about the PAL program,” she said.

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.

This year, Robert Tinter received the first Big PAL Award named in honor of, and presented by, former Big PAL Joel Libowsky. The award recognizes a Big PAL who has made a “superlative influence” on their Little PAL’s life; helping their little PAL navigate through difficult times in their lives, and acting as a support for the family as well. Big PALs were nominated by families of little PALs and fellow Big PALs. Close family and friends of both Robert and Joel attended this heart-felt presentation. Even Robert’s Little PAL, Jonah Lorman, participated by sharing a personal video.

Robert Tinter

Robert Tinter is a project manager for Moxie. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Stetson University in Florida, and an MBA from Georgia Southern. Robert has been a Big PAL to his Little PAL, 12-year-old Jonah Lorman, for 4 years. Jonah’s mother, Carrie Lorman nominated Robert, and said he has always been there for Jonah.

“I know that Jonah considers himself, and I consider him to be the luckiest boy in the world because of the tremendous impact Robert has had, and will continue to have in Jonah's life,” she said.

“When Jonah was matched with Robert, we hit the jackpot. Through the PAL program, my son has found a lifetime male role model to call his own. Jonah and Robert have bonded through their mutual love of basketball. Robert has given up numerous Sundays to shoot baskets with Jonah, watch his games at the JCC and coach him.

When Jonah was having a difficult time at school with his peers, Robert was the first person I called and asked to speak with him. He was right there for my son. Each year at Jonah's school they have a VIP Day when the children choose to bring somebody very special to spend the day with them. Robert was always at the top of Jonah's list. He has not missed a single event, always taking time off work to be there for Jonah. He has not missed a single one of Jonah's birthday parties.”

Robert credits his reason for being in the PAL program to his parents, Ricky and Pam Tinter, who are active volunteers in the community.

“They are the main reason I starting volunteering, and like to give back to the community. They instilled that in me from the day I was born.”

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 others 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 was an honor to present this award to an exemplary Big PAL, and there were so many touching nominations,” said Libowsky.