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April 30, 2014 1:58 am

The Top 10 Guardians of the Jewish People

avatar by Ronn Torossian

Scarlett Johansson as the pitchwoman for SodaStream. Photo: SodaStream Facebook page.

With the Passover holiday behind us, and Jews having celebrated our symbolic freedom, I wanted to present a special list of the Top 10 Guardians of the Jewish People, in honor of those individuals who have helped defend Jews in the past year. No voting committee, just the personal choices of me, Ronn Torossian, a New-York based entrepreneur and philanthropist.

In no particular order:

The Israel Defense Forces: The Jewish army that defends the existence and sovereignty of the Jewish nation.

Scarlett Johansson: The beautiful actress sent a clear message that was heard around the world by simply doing the right thing and being so clear in her decision to continue representing Israeli carbonated beverage company SodaStream, despite criticism. As Prime Minister Netanyahu said “Everyone should know what the letters B-D-S really stand for: bigotry, dishonesty, and shame.” And those who oppose BDS, like Scarlett Johansson, should be applauded.

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Educators: Those who work in Jewish education and help secure Jewish continuity. As assimilation and intermarriage continue to skyrocket, the educators who teach the beauty of Judaism to our youth must be celebrated and embraced.

Benjamin Netanyahu: The Prime Minister of the State of Israel has stood up against the Palestinian Arabs and worldwide pressure to surrender and give in. He does not have an easy job during these continually trying times for the Jewish people.

Lockheed Martin: Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s largest companies with more than $45 billion dollars in revenue, is among the companies that has helped Israel continue to develop economically. They recently opened an office in the very important Southern region of Israel and they said it was dedicated to “..further demonstrate the Corporation’s commitment to supporting the Israeli Defense Force and their ‘Move to the South’ campaign.” Great support for the continued fulfillment of the Zionism dream.

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson: These Jewish heroes are the most significant Jewish philanthropists in the world and support so many amazing causes with their $200 million in annual donations to address Jewish issues. From Birthright to Yad Vashem and countless others, their support means so much for so many great organizations in the Jewish world.

Chabad: The largest Jewish organization in the world, which is thought to have more than 3,600 synagogues in more than 1,000 cities. The organization nourishes the souls of more than 1 million Jews all over the globe annually.

Naftali Bennett: The young Israeli economy minister is a rising star in Israeli politics, and speaks truth to power in an unapologetic manner as a proud Jew. He has had some great television appearances where he succinctly provides the truth on the Middle East in a manner that is so refreshing and so sorely needs to be heard.

Jewish Parents: Those mothers and fathers who raise families and channel their skills into ensuring that Jewish traditions continue from generation to generation – whether it’s sitting around a Shabbat table, learning Torah, embracing a strong Israel, ensuring that the values of our religion continue must always be celebrated.

Holocaust Survivors: Those who are still with us from that awful time in Jewish history must be celebrated because we must never forget the 6 million who were lost. As we remember them, we honor their memory by continuing on strongly as a people. These are the last days in which we will have survivors with us and it’s vitally important we listen to their message while they are still here to ensure the stories of the Holocaust are never forgotten.

Honorable mention:  The companies of the ‘Start-Up Nation,’ which help the Jewish state’s economy continue to thrive; JDate and similar sites that help ensure Jewish continuity; The Menachem Begin Center, which honors the memory of the great Menachem Begin; and Rabbi Avi Weiss (who this year celebrates his 40th year as the spiritual leader of one of the largest American synagogues).

Ronn Torossian is a Public Relations executive, and author of “For Immediate Release.” He is a board member of numerous philanthropic organizations.

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