by Gary Javitch, President Emeritus of B’nai B’rith Henry Monsky Lodge and Howard Borden
Denver Bronco QB Peyton Manning, the National Football League’s most valuable player last season, will headline the 60th charity sports banquet of the Henry Monsky Lodge of B’nai B’rith.
“We are so excited to have Peyton Manning as the guest speaker at our dinner,” kvelled (beamed with pride) Howard Shandell, Banquet Chairman. “He is a future National Football League Hall of Famer, and arguably the most well-known player in the game today. His presence will make this 60th anniversary special.”
Helping Jewish Omaha
While paying tribute to one of America’s most celebrated sports figures, the Banquet will also provide benefits to needy local Jewish families. “The Lodge is committed to making this an event for the entire Jewish community of Omaha,” said Ari Riekes, Lodge president. “We will do that by allocating a significant share of the event’s proceeds to help defray costs to Jewish families and individuals who might otherwise be unable to participate in Jewish-related activities.
“We know that today, living ‘Jewishly’ is not cheap,” Riekes continued. “Belonging to a synagogue and the Jewish Community Center (JCC), or enrolling Jewish children in activities like the Child Development Center (CDC), for example, can be a financial struggle for some families. Money should not be a burden for Jewish families to participate in Jewish activities.
“To help families in need and broaden their participation in our community, the Lodge will again partner with the Jewish Federation of Omaha (JFO), Temple Israel, Beth El Synagogue, Beth Israel Synagogue, and the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO),” Riekes continued.
“We will allocate the net banquet proceeds among the above beneficiaries and in addition, the JFO’s CornerStone Fund. The Fund provides scholarships for programs and activities such as the Pennie Z. David Child Development Center, Friedel Jewish Academy, summer camps, and youth groups.”
“In exchange for receiving money, each organization has committed to use their awards exclusively for enabling needy families and individuals to get involved in Jewish activities.”
“Directing proceeds in such a manner fulfills the B’nai B’rith’s mission to help bring all Jews together for a common purpose. In turn, we hope our effort inspires the entire Jewish community to support this wonderful, fun, and exciting event,” said Steve Riekes, a Lodge Trustee. “We chose Peyton Manning because he is the consummate role model for what we are trying to project.”
“But more than that,” Shandell, the banquet chair added, “we selected ‘Number 18’ because he is a true super star. At the steak dinner, Manning will provide insights from the past Super Bowl and the world of NFL football, among other topics. He will also take questions.”
The Indianapolis Colts saw the potential in the young University of Tennessee standout and chose him as the first selection in the 1998 NFL draft. As the number one overall pick, he did not let them down.
From 1998 to 2010, Manning lived up to all the hype, taking the Colts to championships at all levels: Division (eight times), League (AFC-twice), and Super Bowl (twice, winning once). He set team records in total passing yards (nearly 55,000) and in yards passed per season ( over 4,000 each year).
Forced to sit out the entire 2011 year because of potential career-ending injuries and major surgery, he joined the Denver Broncos in 2012. His leadership that season earned him the NFL Comeback Player Of The Year Award, as Denver surged to a 13-3 record, after enduring an 8-8 season the year earlier.
He is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and both Fox Sports and Sports Illustrated named him the NFL “Player of the Decade” for the 2000s. Last season, he also picked up the 2013 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award for presiding over another 13-3 season.
Tributes and Tickets
Manning will also help the Lodge honor a special male and female graduating senior, a very popular feature of the banquet.
A team of sports writers and broadcasters, area athletic directors, and coaches select the winning candidates, chosen for excellence not only in athletics, but also for work inside the classroom (for top grades) and outside the school (community service).
Those youngsters receive the Lodge’s most prestigious awards: The Bert Render Award (most outstanding male) and the Earl Siegel Award (Most outstanding female). And once again, the winning athletes will receive a $2,000 scholarship from the Adam Jacobs Memorial Tribute Scholarship.
Howard Shandell added, “We will again hold our gala event on a Thursday evening, May 15 at 5:45 p.m. Tickets will go on sale in early March. They can be purchased on-line by visiting, www.Omahasportsbanquet.org or calling 402.334.6443. The price for a patron ticket is $125 (Table of 10 is $1250); a VIP ticket $200 (Table of 10 is $2000).” A portion of the ticket is tax deductible.
Special sponsorships, accompanied by preferred seating, are available by calling the Lodge at 402.334.6443.