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It is always inspiring to see how the WJM resonates around the world with its transformational and positive messages.  A perfect example is the feedback from Daniel Kimmel Q.C., who along with Stephen Victor, Q.C. and Murray Ages, Q.C. made a major pledge to the World’s Jewish Museum.  Dan practiced Business/Commercial and Real Estate Law in Ottawa at Kimmel.Victor.Ages.  He is the past President of Congregation Beth Shalom, past general chairman of UJA/Federation campaign and past President of the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation.  Dan is married to Marilyn and they have two children and four grandchildren.

“I first learned of the proposed Museum from an article in The Times of Israel about 2 years ago.  I liked the idea of a museum of Jewish accomplishment throughout history and Jewish contribution to the world in every important field of endeavour.  Coincidentally Gail was coming to Ottawa the same week and invited me to join her for coffee.  Her enthusiasm for the project was contagious.  The fact that world renowned architect, Frank Gehry, would design the buildings in a superb location in Tel-Aviv was the icing on the cake.”


By Shauna Shapiro Jackson

After the enormous success of last year’s American Friends of the World’s Jewish Museum Beverly Hills Gala, we were all set for a 2020 gala, but life took a left turn when the worldwide pandemic hit.

As in most of the world, Los Angeles was inundated with business closures, medical concerns, fear, and isolation.  Soon, however, virtual events began to pop up as people were growing weary of being at home and wanted to be informed and entertained.

Accordingly, the American Friends of the WJM, decided to pivot to a virtual event which allowed us to raise money during a year where fundraising and awareness building was otherwise very difficult.  The Los Angeles based virtual event was spearheaded by AFWJM Director of Development Shauna Shapiro Jackson, event designer Judy Levy, and Tony Award winning producer, Scott Mauro.

The concept of the evening was a virtual flight to “see” the museum, and the iconic El Al came on board as our airline to virtually “fly” our guests to Tel Aviv.  Our captain was the wonderful Howie Mandel, and he was joined by Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander, Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory) and comedian David Steinberg who all enthusiastically came on board to share the vision of the World’s Jewish Museum. We also heard from Gail Asper, Moe Levy, and Frank Gehry who talked about their vision and why this is a transformative project.

In addition to El Al, our sponsors included Kind, Pearson Brothers Organic Wine, Johnny Was, Oro Gold, Orly Cosmetics, Qmadix, Blumenes, and more.

The evening turned out to be a great success and was attended by people from around the globe including the US, Canada, Mexico, England, France, Australia and Israel.  Not only was the evening itself successful, but it allowed us to reconnect with many of our worldwide friends, share the WJM vision with new viewers, and invigorate our current supporters resulting in additional pledges and giving.

The evening ended with the wonderful visionary and philanthropist, Isaac Larian, announcing that he is pleased to be our 2021 live gala honoree at a date that will be set as soon as it is once again safe to gather indoors in a ballroom.  We can’t wait to see you all there!

We are pleased to share some of the kind notes we received after the virtual event that included the following:

  • “That was the most emotional gala I have ever been to!!!” Stephanie Levaton Cobos, Los Angeles
  • “I’m so impressed” Ruti Kapon, Weizman Institute, Israel
  • “It’s an excellent project” Hemant Vyas, Houston, Texas
  • “Very much enjoyed the gala – My other invitees said it was very well done and informative” Max Steinkopf, London
  • “I loved the program. I didn’t want it to end! Congratulations! Well done!” Daniel Kimmel
  • “Really great event tonight!” Dr. Sam Fink, Los Angeles
  • “What a beautiful production – I am moved, touched, no words …Let’s make this happen!” Jessica Slovic, Mexico City
  • “It was an exciting informative presentation. Bob and I enjoyed seeing-before-our-eyes the visions, creative talent and hard work (so far) of those involved. Since that evening, we have spoken to many friends and acquaintances regarding this wonderful museum” Cathy Tallman

Photo Gallery


Joelle Aflalo Maman was born in Fes, Morocco and lived a few years in Belgium prior to moving to Luxembourg where she currently resides.

She is a founding member and the General Manager of Gestman SA, and founding member of Cofidom-Gestman SARL, a regulated company established in Luxembourg and specializing in corporate structuring and investment engineering.  Her professionalism has allowed companies to quickly develop their activities and her name is renowned in the financial profession.  She acts as Executive Director for a number of private finance and real estate companies.

She serves as the board member of several charities including Educating for Impact Europe (EFI), Conference of European Rabbis (CER), The Boris Mints Institute (BMI).  She also serves on the boards of several corporate and philanthropic organizations including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 2006, as testimony of her devotion and interest to be engaged in philanthropy to improve the world and fitting with her spirituality and her sense of responsibility, she, along with Mr. Gad Boukobza, founded The Matanel Foundation.  The Foundation’s mission is to bring direct aid and organizational support to the Jewish people and Jewish causes around the world.

Additionally, The Matanel Foundation advocates and works toward the development of innovative, flexible and effective solutions to social, economic, educational, scientific, cultural and environmental challenges of our time.  An incubator for new projects, The Matanel Foundation works with project initiators until they ultimately achieve full operation with the benefit of public or other support.

We gratefully acknowledge the Matanel Foundation for funding the cost for the WJM interviews with 50 leading Israeli citizens who provided their input and insights into the project.


Viviana Goren Kasam is a journalist and has collaborated at length with the leading Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera and Rai, Italy’s state broadcaster. She was among the founders of Canale 5, where she worked on the concept and participated in the start-up of Italy’s leading commercial channel. She has organized institutional events for the municipality of Milan and Roma, for the President of the Italian Republic and the Prime Minister’s office, as well as for theatres and festivals all over Italy.

In 2008 she gave up for profit activities to devote herself full-time to non-profit activities.  Her field of work both in neurosciences and for the Union of Italian Jewish Communities is to promote, through music, a better mutual understanding and respect for religious, political and cultural diversity.

In 2010 she founded, with Nobel prize recipient Prof. Rita Levi Montalcini, and presently chairs, the non-profit Associazione BrainCircleItalia, created to make the general public – and youth in particular – familiar with brain research.  In 2019, she founded BrainCircleLugano, together with a group of scientists and supporters in Ticino, which is based on the experience of BrainCircleItalia. BrainCircle has organized more than 100 events in Italy and abroad, which includes festivals, lectures and exhibitions.

Since 2014 she has organized in Rome, the Institutional Concerts for the Holocaust Memorial Day.  These concerts were patronized by the Prime Minister of Italy and the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI), in order to bring awareness to the music composed in concentration camps. All the concerts were broadcast live by Rai, national Italian Television, and received great praise by media and the public. The 2020 concert was dedicated to the theme of exile.

She was asked by the World’s Jewish Congress to present in Venice at the official ceremony in Teatro La Fenice  for the 500th anniversary of the establishment of the Venice Ghetto.

Viviana has won many awards, both for her activity in the press, radio and television, and has been honoured with the title “Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana” for her work.

She is a board member of the Cukier Goldstein Goren Foundation, of which she was President from 2010 to 2014, President of the Lilah Foundation, Vice-President of the Fondazione Federica Spitzer in Lugano, where she continues to popularize science and promote intercultural dialogue.

She sits on the scientific committee of the Fondazione Prada and is presently involved in the organization of HumanBrains, a series of international seminars with the most prestigious scientific institutions and neuroscientists around the world and in a Brain exhibition in Venice during the Biennale 2022.

For the past ten years she has been sitting on the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.