Bruce Arbit, the outgoing chief of the Campaign Chair of the United Israel Appeal (UIA) this week said that The Jewish Agency will remain his home long after he steps down from his role.
Arbit made the statement at an Agency-hosted luncheon on Tuesday, held in his and Leah Golan's honor. Golan directed many areas of the organization in her twenty-year career with the Agency, most recently in the role of Deputy Director for Programs.
Arbit, who was succeeded in the post by Richard N. Bernstein, will continue to serves the Jewish community in many roles, including as a member of the Board of Governors.
"Until they throw me out of here, this is where I will be—because this is my home," Arbit said, and regaled the attendees of his long journey with the Agency from the close relationship with the shaliach in Milwaukee, WI, to the kibbutzim he stayed at in Israel, to his Aliyah.
Arbit assured the Board that his successor, Bernstein, "is the best of the best."
Golan was also honored at the luncheon as she decided to embark on a new career path after serving The Jewish Agency for over 20 years. Leah began her professional relationship with the Agency as a shaliach in Leeds, which profoundly affected what she contributed to the Agency's 2011 restructuring.
"I cannot imagine my life without the exposure I had to the international Jewish world," she noted.
Thanking her coworkers and Agency officials, Golan said she "enjoyed a lifetime of professional and personal achievements" together with them. Of the organization itself, she uttered her oft-repeated aphorism: "The Jewish Agency is as relevant today as when it was created; if didn't exist today someone would have to create it."
Chairman of the Executive of the Board, Natan Sharansky paid tribute to both Arbit and Golan.
Sharansky called Golan a "queen" who brought her "commitment to idea of one Jewish people connected to the state of Israel" to the Israel Department and The Agency as a whole.
Former Board member, Eitan Wertheimer, cited social activism project after project that Golan helped develop, and concluded by saying, "At the end of the day, the one who will thank you the most, Leah, is Israel."