Since 2009, The Jewish Federation has been grateful to Robert and Esther Heller for their generosity and idea of creating the Heller Israel Advocacy Initiative. We are so proud of the work we have done to support and promote the State of Israel and her citizens. The program was established to advocate for peace and security for Israel through education, information and community action; to raise awareness of, and actively confront global anti-Semitism and radical Islam; and directly address anti-Israel activities in our community.


Over the past few years this mission has grown into even more action. Our Israel Advocacy Initiative grew into what many see as a Community Relations Committee organically. Our work advocating for peace and security of Israel will not ever end, rather it will be supported even better with the relationships that we have and will continue to build in the community under the auspices of the Heller Community Relations Committee.



 To build relationships within the Jewish and non-Jewish communities to advance common interests through education and advocacy.


Some ways in which the Heller CRC advocates for Israel and against anti-Semitism are:

  • Educating faith communities about Israel, Judaism and the BDS movement
  • Hold events  with Israeli dignitaries and experts on Israeli history
  • Support Hillel and our Jewish college students
  • Community and Interfaith missions to Israel


The Heller CRC builds strong and lasting bridges between our community and Israel every day.




For more information, please contact

Lindsey Mintz





25 Years After Oslo

JANUARY 15, 2019: The Rise of Global Anti-Semitism, featuring Abe Foxman.




  • Ambassador Ron Prosor Speaking Engagement—January 25
  • Heschel-king Breakfast—February 21


  • Heschel-KIing Breakfast—February 16
  • Elie Weisel Memorial Service—July 6
  • Left vs Right Debate with JJ Goldberg and Jonathan S. Tobin—November 21


  • Interfaith Solidarity Rally—October 27
  • Faith to Faith with Nate Miller: Israel's Relationship with the UN—February 9


  • Israel in a Changin Middle East with Dr. Mordechai Kedar—​February 3
  • Faith to Faith: Christians and Jews working together for Israel—February 18
  • Interfaith Passover Seder—March 27
  • Interfaith Sukkot—October 11



The purpose of these missions is to bring Sarasota and Manatee community members together for an unforgettable experience in Israel while learning about each other, history and modern day security concerns, education & diversity and technology. Back home, after the trip we will have some reunion gatherings to continue the friendships and continue to find ways to work together for an amazing Sarasota-Manatee community.

Mission to Israel

MAY, 2019: The 2019 Interfaith Community Leaders Mission to Israel

2019 Cohort

  • Pastor Patrick Miller, Bethlehem Bible Church 
  • David Millstone, Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee Community Leader
  • Pam Ramhofer, Sarasota Memorial Hospital
  • Dennis Rees, Community Leader
  • Felice Schulaner, New College of Florida
  • Jay Solomon, AVIVA
  • Lori Solomon, Community Leader
  • Jim Syprett, Sarasota Memorial Heathcare Foundation
  • Charlie Ann Syprett, Sarasota County Bar Association Diversity Committee 
  • Jennifer Vigne, Education Foundation
  • Pastor John Walker, Bethel CME Church
  • Captain John Walsh, Sarasota Sheriff's Office
  • Brenna Wilhm, Embracing Our Differences

2017 Cohort

  • Dan Ceasar, Community Day School
  • Dean Eisner, Ringling college of Art + Design (Lay)
  • Jack Glenn, Community Leader
  • Shelly Glenn, Florida Cancer Specialists
  • Trevor Harvey, Sarasota Chapter of NAACP
  • Mike Jerde, Community Leader
  • Roxie Jerde, Community Foundation of Sarasota
  • Pastor Lynette McCleland, The Center for Hope
  • Pastor Dan Minor, Harvest House
  • Rebekah Pfaff, Community Leader
  • Dr. Rev Tom Pfaff, Sarasota Mnisterial Association
  • Mike Ritter, Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee Community Leader
  • Steve Seidensticker z"l, Tableseide Restaruant Group
  • Max Stuart, Bradenton Area Economic Devlopment Corp.
  • Larry Thompson, Ringling College of Art + Design
  • Erendira Wallenda, International Circus Performer
  • Nik Wallenda, International Circus Performer
  • Patti Wertheimer, Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee Community Leader