The Jewish Family Service of San Diego raises $1.4 million at the 2022 Heart & Soul Gala

SAN DIEGO (Press Release) San Diego Jewish Family Service (JFS) raised $1.4 million at its annual Heart & Soul Gala at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla in Aventine on Saturday, April 30. Postponed from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the signature benefit gala highlighted JFS’s efforts to provide resources and support to San Diegans of all ages, faiths and backgrounds, and share success stories while throughout the year. The event also celebrated the contributions of its 2022 Mitzvah winners: Marcia Hazan, former JFS board member, and Danielle and Brian Miller of Geppetto’s toy store.

Left to right: JFS Board Chair Emily Jennewein, Gala Chairs Dr. Bob Rubenstein, Marie Raftery and Scott Schindler, and CEO Michael Hopkins. Credit: Bob Ross.

Marcia Hazan

Marcia Hazan served on the JFS Board of Directors for 18 years, generously investing her time and energy to meet the urgent needs of her fellow San Diegans. Hazan was instrumental in expanding JFS programs for Jewish single parents, creating transportation programs for seniors, and launching the area’s first guaranteed income project in partnership with San Diego for Every Child. She has served on the many JFS committees that support and address mental health awareness, explored new possibilities as part of the Strategic Planning Committee, and recently joined the Center for Jewish Care Task Force. A strong believer in social justice, Hazan has been instrumental in shaping many new JFS initiatives that have created lasting change in the San Diego community.

Danielle and Brian Miller

As owners of the award-winning Geppetto’s toy store, Danielle and Brian Miller’s passion for helping children thrive has strengthened the community and provided vulnerable families with the tools, resources and support they need to transform their life through several JFS programs. From supporting organizations that benefit childhood development to raising money for local schools, the Millers are dedicated to creating a San Diego where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Danielle and Brian’s commitment to empowering families and children stays true to JFS’ core value of “Kehillah,” the Hebrew word for community.

In partnership with Honorary Presidents Evelyn and Ernest Rady, Gala Chairs Scott Schindler, Marie Raftery and Dr. Robert Rubenstein hosted an evening of dinner, dancing and silent auction to encouraging awareness and philanthropy throughout the year.

Underwriters for this year’s gala include Presenting Underwriters, a longtime anonymous donor, CARS (Charitable Adult Rides & Services); Lisa Foster and Alan Bersin; Marcia Foster Hazan and Mark Cammell; and Marie Raftery & Dr. Bob Rubenstein, Premier Underwriters Lee & Frank Goldberg and Lois J. Richmond & Family, and Dinner Underwriters Marjorie & Sheldon Derezin; Kathleen and Mark Jones; Sean Joseph & Mahau Ma; Arlene & Louis Navias; and Karen & Jeffrey Silberman.

Proceeds benefit JFS’s ongoing efforts to help people in crisis move forward, while developing innovative strategies to break cycles of poverty and strengthen the San Diego community. To learn more, visit

About Jewish Family Service of San Diego – Moving Forward Whole

Founded in 1918, the Jewish Family Service (JFS) is one of San Diego’s most influential nonprofits – providing resources and support to more than 34,000 San Diego residents last year. Through integrated services, the organization empowers people of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds to overcome challenges, set goals, and build more stable, secure, and connected lives. JFS is committed to helping individuals and families in crisis move forward, while developing innovative strategies to break cycles of poverty and strengthen our San Diego community.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency adapted, revised and expanded its services to focus on what was needed most, including essential food aid through contactless drive-thru distribution, delivery meals and personal care support for older people, safe spaces for people living outside their vehicles, and employment and counseling services. From response to recovery, JFS will be there for the community and provide much needed relief and lifesaving necessities. Together, we will get there.

For help, volunteering, or supporting JFS, visit or call 858-637-3000.


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