Noa Tishby headlines Negev Dinner of 2024

April 2024
Suzy Polgar

The Negev Dinner, a longstanding marquee event of Jewish National Fund Hamilton, has been around since 1953. The buzz this year, in addition to honouring a much beloved couple, is the addition of the incomparable, inimitable Noa Tishby as our keynote speaker. 

After years of speaking and writing about Israel, Tishby has deciphered how to explain the complexities of Israel in a relatable way through the publication of her first book, Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth, which was published in 2021. Tishby’s second book, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Jew, cowritten with Emmanuel Acho, is scheduled to be released by the end of April. 

A lot of people in the community will want to hear from her, as rising antisemitism, as well as the delegitimization of Israel are issues that are forefront in our lives. Tishby is one of the best spokespeople for the state of Israel and for the Jewish community at large. 

The Hamilton Negev Dinner of 2024 stands as a source of support for Israel, while also commemorating the outstanding contributions of Donna and Gary Waxman to both the Jewish and broader Hamilton communities. Donna and Gary, esteemed champions of community service and volunteerism, embody a legacy deeply rooted in values cultivated through Jewish day schools and camp experiences. 

Their commitment to various causes is profound and far-reaching.  Their influence spans the Jewish community, supporting events like B’nai Brith Sports Celebrity dinners, JNF Negev dinners, the Larger Than Life Gala, as well as playing vital roles at local synagogues, the Jewish Federation and Shalom Village, where Gary serves on the Foundation Board. Venturing beyond the Jewish community, their commitment extends to organizations such as the West End Home Builders’ Association, the Mark Preece Family House, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, United Way and the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice.  

Despite their significant contributions, Donna and Gary operate humbly behind the scenes, focusing on the cause at hand. Their decision to lend their names to the event underscores their commitment to supporting those affected by the devastating events of Oct. 7, when Israel faced an unprecedented assault in the southern city of Ofakim, which bore the brunt of a vicious attack orchestrated by Hamas. 

Two trucks packed with 14 terrorists and their arsenal descended upon Ofakim, resulting in a tragic loss of 48 lives including 18 brave individuals who died while defending their community. In the aftermath, the town resembled a ghost town, with half of its residents evacuated and the remainder gripped by fear. However, amidst the chaos and despair, a community emergency team emerged, determined to address the needs of Ofakim and its surrounding areas.

The Hamilton Negev Dinner will support the recovery and rebuilding efforts by funding the construction of a Family Therapy Centre at the local community centre. This facility will provide crucial services for the people of Ofakim who have suffered significant trauma, providing counselling and support to work through these difficult times. It serves as an offer of hope to those, young and old alike, grappling with trauma and loss. 

Victoria Mancinelli, a staunch supporter of the Jewish community, will be representing LiUNA, Ontario Provincial District Council of Central and Eastern Canada. In addition to extending greetings, she will also conduct an interview with the keynote speaker, Noa Tishby. The Moe Koffman Tribute Band, joined by Jake Koffman, the grandson of the late Moe Koffman, Donna’s uncle, will provide musical accompaniment. Their melodies will enrich the evening with tunes of unity and solidarity.

The event will take place on Thursday, May 9. For more information, please contact our office at or 905-527-5516. Our love will rebuild.