Celebrating Diversity: Recognizing Our Many Community Partners and Their Contributions To Our Community

By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper

June 16, 2022

One of the rewarding opportunities of serving on our commission is recognizing our many partners and their contributions to our community. At a recent commission meeting Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub placed an important item on our agenda to be recognized. As the Jewish community began the celebration of receiving the Torah it was a perfect time to shed light on the many organizations that have been working hard to fight antisemitism.

Sadly, I have learned in the past when I was not in office there were anti-Semitic comments against Israel. Commissioner Sabrina Javellana has spent her term being on the wrong side of history, consistently. On February 6, 2019, the Hallandale Beach City Commission voted to condemn the hateful BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement. She actually doubled down on hateful votes when she voted no on a resolution condemning the Venezuelan dictator, Nicolas Maduro. Just this past October 6, 2021, the majority of the City Commission voted to denounce Ben & Jerry's hateful BDS boycott of Israel, once again, Javellana voted no. I typically do not use this column to speak against a commissioner but as a Jew and leader I will always stand against hate and oppression.

Philos Project
Gloria Garces graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Business, studied International Journalism at Florida International University and is a graduate of Lifework Leadership. Gloria Garces was born in Guatemala, of Cuban descent, and lives in Miami with her daughter Sofia. She specializes in strategic communications and is known for having excellent relationships with community and religious leaders, journalists and authors, celebrities, and influencers, as well as politicians, diplomats and activists throughout the American continent, Europe, and Israel.

Gloria Garces known for her pro-Israel efforts throughout Latin America and within the Evangelical Christian and Jewish communities Gloria is best known for her and her brother’s role as the catalyst force behind President Jimmy Morales’ decision to establish Guatemala’s embassy to Jerusalem.

Currently Ms. Garces is advising The Philos Project and leading the #WeResolve movement to educate and mobilize thousands of Christians to stand against antisemitism. She sits on many boards and advisory councils of several local and national organizations advancing Israel-related causes such as: The Philos Project’s Hispanic Advisory Board; FIDF-Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces’ Miami Advisory Board; Israel Bonds’ Miami Chapter, Cadena International’s Guatemala Chapter; and the Make-a-Wish Foundation Israel/Miami shared appeal.

At the beginning of 2021, Gloria Garces was named one of the “Top 40 Latin American pro-Israel advocates and leaders” by JNS alongside heads of state, diplomats, congresspeople and other international leaders. The Philos Project is the network hub for leaders and future leaders who are committed to promoting positive Christian engagement.

The Greek word Philos means “friend,” and the Philos Project’s task is to identify those friends who share the Philos Project’s values – be they Christian, Jew, Muslim, or anyone else – and to empower them. The Philos Project educates Christians on the theological, historical, and political issues surrounding Israel and the Jewish people.

The Jewish and Christian community in Hallandale Beach have the full support of the Philos Project. Most notably, via Mr. Luke Moon’s participation as a panelist in a United Against Anti-Semitism forum hosted by Reut Miami. The event was attended by a large number people from Hallandale Beach and the South Florida Jewish community.

REUT Miami and REUT Nashim
“REUT” means “Friendship in Hebrew and is the primary goal of REUT Miami and REUT Nashim. Reut was founded by five friends who understood the need for a venue that positively promotes Israel throughout the US, Israel, Canada and elsewhere. Hallandale Beach resident Mr. Pini Dagan has mentored the current leadership of Reut Miami and Reut Nashim. The organization is not founded with a personal or political agenda. Its sole purpose is to glorify and promote the State of Israel. It provides a safe haven for the South Florida Jewish community to participate in discussions, educational programs and forums combating anti-Semitism both locally, nationwide, and abroad.

Reut and Reut Nashim work made it possible to bring at least twice weekly top-notch lecturers and experts in their fields to talk about current events, openly express their opinions, and share their analysis of current events affecting the Jewish community. Reut emphasizes Israeli heritage and Israeli history, affording local Israeli Americans a voice and resources.

Rolling Thunder
Another group of which I have gotten to know due to their outreach and support is Rolling Thunder. Rolling Thunder of South Florida is a peaceful motorcycle riders club, promoting positive community outreach advocacy and altruistic acts of kindness.

Its founders, Tony Raz, Boaz Edri, and the Rolling Thunder members, offer volunteer services throughout South Florida, but most notably during the aftermath of the Champlain Tower collapse by providing food and supplies to the victims’ families and first responders. Rolling Thunder members continuously offer support and protection to victims of anti-Semitic acts throughout South Florida.

Rolling Thunder members and its founders continue to offer support, volunteer services and supplies to south Floridians in need of assistance, regardless of race, color, or religious background. For last 17 years, Rolling Thunder has hosted one of the nation’s largest Israeli Pride and Independence Day Parade in South Florida. When someone is in need, they do not hesitate to offer resources to Hallandale Beach residents.

Rolling Thunder and its biker members spread the message of peace throughout their bike ride destinations. Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub and the commission recognized Rolling Thunder for its multiple offers to help support the City’s vulnerable members of the Orthodox Jewish community and its continued support of the Hallandale Beach Police Department. Ironically the one commissioner who has criticized Israel was absent once again.

As always, feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns and ideas on how to make our City a great place to live, work and play! I am available by Phone or Text At: (954) 632-5700. E-mail me At: jcooper@cohb.org. Or visit my Facebook & Web-site At: www.MayorJoyCooper.com.