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Transcript of interview with Todd S. Polikoff by Barbara Tabach, August 30, 2016







In 2015, Todd S. Polikoff was named the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas. (The organization is now known as Jewish Nevada). Todd is a graduate of Stockton University and earned his MBA at Cleveland State University. He has three children: Samuel, Shira and Jordan. Born in 1971 to a steelworker and hairdresser, Jack and Judy Polikoff, Todd grew up in Philadelphia, became a bar mitzvah there, and shocked his mother when he explained he was putting college on hold to move to Israel. In addition to stories about these life memories, Todd also traces his career path to decision-making to a meaningful trip to Moscow a where a defining moment helped him understand his own relationship with Judaism. To the time of this interview, Todd has invested over twenty years in leadership of Jewish Federation and AIPAC in states that include New Jersey, Delaware, Texas, Ohio and Nevada.

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Todd S. Polikoff oral history interview, 2016 August 30. OH-02815. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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AN INTERVIEW WITH TODD S. POLIKOFF An Oral History Conducted by Barbara Tabach Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ?Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2014 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV ? University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers: Barbara Tabach, Claytee D. White Editors and Project Assistants: Maggie Lopes, Amanda Hammar iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader?s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas iv PREFACE In 2015, Todd S. Polikoff was named the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas. (The organization is now known as Jewish Nevada). Todd is a graduate of Stockton University and earned his MBA at Cleveland State University. He has three children: Samuel, Shira and Jordan. Born in 1971 to a steelworker and hairdresser, Jack and Judy Polikoff, Todd grew up in Philadelphia, became a bar mitzvah there, and shocked his mother when he explained he was putting college on hold to move to Israel. In addition to stories about these life memories, Todd also traces his career path to decision-making to a meaningful trip to Moscow a where a defining moment helped him understand his own relationship with Judaism. To the time of this interview, Todd has invested over twenty years in leadership of Jewish Federation and AIPAC in states that include New Jersey, Delaware, Texas, Ohio and Nevada. v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Todd Polikoff August 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Barbara Tabach Preface??????????????????????????????????..iv Ancestral story is discussed; paternal grandfather left Ukraine in late 1800s taking a route to Japan and then Seattle; maternal family emigrated much earlier from Romania and settled in Philadelphia, where he grew up. Talks about childhood in Philadelphia, Italian neighbors, and memories of Christmas. Describes his upbringing, father was a steelworker and mother was a hairdresser; his religious training and how his mother saved for his bar mitzvah?????.1 ? 4 Talks about attending Stockton College and his move to Israel at age 19; BBYO influence on his decision-making; his observations of Israel at the time (1990) and ?immigration? story. Typical day on a kibbutz. Describes influences on path to his career; educational experiences post-Israel and traveling to Moscow as a pivotal experience in 1995; series of Jewish Federation positions including Wilmington, DE where they won a Sapier Award.????????????..4 ? 10 Describes getting a call to interview in Las Vegas; mentions Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn and Midbar Kodesh Temple; Federation position followed by position with AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee]. Next move to Houston to be regional director of seven states; how he returned to current position at Jewish Nevada [formerly Jewish Federation] in 2015. Talks about AIPAC?s mission to strengthen U.S. ?Israel relations; national conference and how attendance has grown over the years??????????????????????????????..10 ? 15 Talks about fundraising for Jewish organizations in Las Vegas; factors unique to Las Vegas; number of synagogues in town; Chabad/orthodox movement; future of Federation [aka Jewish Nevada]; Sheldon Adelson mentioned; Young Leadership [JewEl] group and Hugh Bassewitz, service o National Young Leadership Cabinet; exchange program with young adult Jews from Ramat Negev, Israel????????????????????????????15 ? 21 vi Witty remarks about describing his life in Las Vegas to his friends in Cleveland; comparison of Las Vegas and Cleveland (his most recent position) Jewish communities; local topic of a Jewish Community Center [JCC], trying to serve a sprawling, diverse population; his parents short move to Las Vegas???????????????????????????..???.21 ? 24 Talks about his reading tastes; current political atmosphere in country; what he does to get away from job and organization of Jewish Federations of North America. Upcoming 50th Anniversary the local Jewish Federation to be held at Venetian Hotel; leadership?????????.25 ? 29 Appendix: David magazine article, December 2015???????????????.30 ? 31 vii 1 Today is August 30th, 2016?I'm recording this?with Todd Polikoff. Todd, first spell your name, first and last for us. Sure. T-O-D-D, P-O-L-I-K-O-F-F. Polikoff, what's the ancestral roots of that name? As best I know, my grandfather was from a small village outside of Kiev in Ukraine called Smila. It was initially Polykov, I think P-O-L-Y-K-O-V. His name was Sasha. And I believe it means like the relative of a Polish person or the son of a Polish person. But that's as far as I know the ancestry of it. My family is Ukrainian on my father's side. And when did they immigrate to the United States? So my grandfather left Russia in nineteen?no?it was the late 1800s, right before 1900. Because of the pogroms and everything else going on in Russia at the time, he couldn't go west across Europe. So he went east and went across basically the Siberian part of Russia to Japan, took a boat from Japan to Seattle, and then made his way from Seattle to Philadelphia. We actually have a copy of the ship's manifest from Okinawa, Japan, with his name on it. (He left) Okinawa for Seattle because he had, I believe it was an uncle who lived in Philadelphia. He was one of five; he was the only one who got out. And then the village?I mean we don't know if it was during World War II or it was during the pogroms, but we are fairly certain that the village was destroyed during Babi Yar during the Holocaust. And I confirmed this, I guess, as best one can confirm, when I went to Yad Vashem when I first moved to Israel in 1990, I went to the Valley of Communities. I've been there. And it was listed among the Valley of Communities that were destroyed during the Holocaust. Funny enough, I was back in Israel after college, living there helping Russians who wanted to 2 learn English, and I met some women who were from a village outside of Odessa and told them about my grandfather's village and they said it still exists and that there's Jews living there now. So it's always been a dream of mine to one day try to get back there and see what's what. But to the best of my father's knowledge and everyone else's, the rest of the family was lost in Ukraine and my grandfather is the only one to get out. Wow. So your mother's side of the family? So my father's side, I'm second generation American; my mother's side, I think I'm third or fourth. They came much earlier. Originally Romanian. I think we still have relatives in Romania. The last name, the maiden name was (Wirchafter). I don't know what it means. But I know that they were in Philadelphia. My great-grandfather was a police officer in Philadelphia. So they're a much longer term Philadelphia family than my father's side. So you grew up in Philadelphia. I did. What was that like? It was awesome. I mean, it was like any other movie you see about the early seventies, like inner city early 1970s for a kid. We played stick ball. We ran around the streets. We walked to school. The neighborhood was the neighborhood; it was half Jewish, half Italian. The joke was always, the Italian mother would say, "Eat your meat balls or I'll kill you," and the Jewish mother said, "Eat your matzah balls or I'll kill myself." I remember my first girlfriend?girlfriend, I was in first grade?her name was Rosa. I almost gave my grandmother a heart attack. But it was great; I had a group of friends and we walked up and down the street. I loved it. My school was two blocks away. My next-door neighborhood was Miss Marchetti, this little Italian woman (who lived there) with her daughter. 3 Her grandson actually is a famous comedian, Dom Irrera. He's played here a couple of times. Anyway, but she used to make pizzelles every year for Christmas. Because my father and my brothers and I would always help her with her groceries and help her with her stuff, she would make pizzelles and bring them over to our house and those were the greatest. I loved Christmas because Ms. Marchetti would bring her pizzelles. No, it was just growing up in the city. It was awesome. I loved it. Yes, it was really great, really great. What was your spiritual childhood like? We went (to synagogue) occasionally. Look, my father was a steelworker; my mother was a hairdresser. We did not necessarily fit into the socioeconomic place where one joins a synagogue. We didn't have the money to do it. My younger brother had special needs. My older brother is seven years older than me?I'm the middle, neglected and abused. So we participated, but my parents weren't presidents of synagogue and they weren't...certainly not as involved as I am in the Jewish community or anywhere close. We knew we were Jewish and my parents talked about Israel all the time. My father would talk about his family coming over, his father coming. I went to the JCC preschool. We were culturally Jewish, but not very observant. My mother made a very mean ham. Oh, really? She loved making ham. My father wouldn't touch it, but she loved...That was her thing. I didn't really eat that much of it, either, but we were not kosher, not by any stretch. Did you have a bar mitzvah? I did. My older brother had one; I had one. So by that time we had moved to Southern New Jersey near Cherry Hill?my older brother had developed mental disabilities and he needed a special school, so we moved. 4 I remember my mother. We always had this joke that my mother?you haven't danced until you've danced with Judy. She's a little bit like Tony Soprano. So I came over?we came over. I was in like, I think it was like third grade of Hebrew school?and we went to this new synagogue in South Jersey and the rabbi said, "Well, it wasn't from this synagogue, so he's got to go back to kitah aleph [first grade]," which means I wouldn't have been a bar mitzvah until I was sixteen. My mother said, "Well, that's enough for you," and we left and I got a tutor. Rabbi Burris in Cherry Hill who was like four-eleven?and by my bar mitzvah I was already over six-foot tall?so it was very funny. It was like a one with a decimal point at my bar mitzvah between me and the rabbi. It was in a hotel. My mother, because this is who she is, she opened a snack bar in the pool in our community three years before my bar mitzvah, kept it open for three years, paid for my whole bar mitzvah in cash, and closed. The only reason for opening the snack bar was to pay for my bar mitzvah. So it would be easy to say she was very goal-driven? Yes. If my mother thinks this is what she's going to do...Yes. And then you went to Stockton University and Cleveland State. It's now Stockton University. So when I graduated high school, I moved to Israel. I wanted to play football in college. I wanted to go straight to college. Then I thought about it and I said?I had heard about Israel; I had never been. When was I going to get another chance to go? So I found my way. I found...It's called the Kibbutz Aliyah Desk in Philadelphia and they help you make connections in Israel if you want to go. I worked and I bought a plane ticket and I came home and told my parents. Well, what did you tell your parents? How did you sell this? There was no selling. There was no selling. It was, "By the way, I'm not going to college and I 5 bought this ticket and I leave end of August." I graduated high school in June. Why did you decide to do that? Because I wanted to. I just had this (feeling)...I had been involved in BBYO, in youth group all through high school. You hear about Israel and all this stuff. And I said, "You know what? Everybody I know from my high school either went to college or went to work at the gas station." And I didn't want to be one of those two. And I thought, why not do something different? So I went to Israel. I didn't know a soul. I got on a plane and I went. What did you feel like when you landed in Israel that first time? So at that time I had just turned nineteen. Israel is a weird place like that. You land, you don't know a soul. Because that would have been what year? 1990. You don't know a soul, but you feel like you know everyone because all the elderly women look like your grandmother. They're all this tall and they're from like Ashkenazi decent and they're all...But then you run into Moroccan Jews and you're like, well, they don't look like my grandparents. So a real quick aside, a funny story about this. I landed. I didn't know where I was going in the airport. I asked someone, "Where should I go? I just moved here." And I used the word move. And they said, "Oh, you go up to that office." On the office it says, "Absorption Desk." I didn't know what absorption meant in the context of moving. So I go in and they start talking to me and they said, "Fill out this paperwork." On the bottom it says, "Signature of new immigrant." I said, "Wait a minute. Look, I know what immigrant means." I said, "Does this mean like legally I am moving here?" They said, "Yeah." I said, "Whoa, that's not what I'm doing. 6 I'm supposed to go to this kibbutz to volunteer and that's it. I'm not immigrating and joining the army right now." They're like, "Oh, oh, you're in the wrong place." So I was like a signature away from... So they put me downstairs, threw me in a cab. I get in the cab. I fall asleep. We show up at night. This kibbutz is outside Jerusalem and it's at the time when there's a call for prayer in the Arab villages. So image this. You're nineteen. You wake up in the back of a cab in Israel and all you hear is Allahu Akbar?the Islamic Call to Prayer. And it's dark. You have no idea where you are. So I'm thinking, so this is how it ends, okay. So that was my first day in Israel. What was the experience like on a kibbutz? What did you do? What was a typical day like? Oh, phenomenal. So again, you go to kibbutz. This is after being the captain of your football team?being one of the captains of your football team at one point and being a relatively?even though my family's socioeconomic level wasn't great, you're still an American teenager, right? And you think you know everything, like, I know all this stuff. I got on kibbutz. They put us in the middle of a field at five o'clock in the morning in front of a bulldozer. They said, "All the boulders have to go in the front of the bulldozer." We spent eight hours with shovels and crowbars putting boulders into the lip of a bulldozer so they could plant pear trees. There are very few more humbling experiences that you can have in your life than going from being a relatively privileged teenager in the United States to having an Israeli who's fought in six wars tell you this is what you're going to do every day for the next three weeks. After that job I worked in what's called the refet, which is the cowshed, from eleven o'clock at night until seven o'clock in the morning. My job was to walk around the cowshed and make sure the cows 7 did not sit down in the wrong place. So I had hip waders on, a big piece of rubber hose, and then I would just yell, "Ya Ella, Ya Ella," and I would hit the cows with the hose if they sat down in the wrong place. So did you speak Hebrew before you got there? No. I studied Hebrew while I was there. I got relatively good at it. I left a day and a half before the Gulf War started, Desert Storm. My mother was having anxiety attacks and was not doing very well and I figured I only get one mother; I can always go back to Israel. So I came home. It's always interesting to me when I talk to people who have made some sort of pilgrimage to live and immerse themselves in Israel. I can see that this must have possibly inspired you for your future career path. To an extent, yes. It wasn't until college that got me to my career path. It was actually?there's two things. One was my guidance counselor in high school. You have Career Day, like, what do you want to be? I don't know. I want to be a fisherman. She said, "Well, what do you do when you're not in school?" I said, "Well, I spend a lot of my time at the JCC." She said, "People work there." It was like, "Oh, yeah, people work there." Like, how do you work at the JCC? That's when I first started to learn about Jewish Communal Service. And then it was, when I was in college I was asked to apply for a fellowship that was going to?this was 1995?because of my time in Israel I started college late. Instead of starting in '90, I came back went to community college for a semester. I graduated in '96 instead. So it was like a year and a half off or two years off. They were reopening the Hillel at University of Moscow after Communism fell. This was 1995. So freedom of religion, expression of religion was just coming back in Russia after seventy-plus years. And they were recruiting thirty-five campus leaders from around the country 8 to go to University of Moscow and meet with the Jewish students there and help them understand what it takes to be Jewish on campus. I thought, look, I go to Stockton?at that time it was called Stockton College; it wasn't Stockton University. I said, "All right, you know what? I'll try this. I'll apply. What the hell?" So I apply and I get it. I end up getting on a plane and we go to Moscow. There's thirty-five of us. We're sitting in front of Ambassador Thomas Pickering, (who) at the time was the ambassador. We're sitting there and everybody's in a line and the first person says, "I'm so-and-so from Harvard; I'm so-and-so from Cornell; I'm so-and-so from..." I'm sitting there and I'm thinking, oh, great, wait until they get to me. I'm tough; I'm Stockton College. And little did I know, Ambassador Pickering is from New Jersey. He says, "Oh, Stockton near Atlantic City." And I go, "Yes." And he and I go on for like this three-minute conversation in front of everybody. And all I can think in my head is like, blah. So while we were there?I'll shorten this part?while we were there we were invited to go have dinner at a family of one of the students. It's what you picture in Russia. It's like a four-story walk-up. It's maybe thirteen hundred square foot apartment for maybe seven people, maybe smaller than thirteen hundred square feet. You don't use the stove for cooking that often because you need the oil for heat. Everything on the table is cold. It's all pickled fish of some sort or pickled vegetables. I hate herring, but I'm sitting there and I'm thinking, okay. And I'm with this young woman from Columbia University who, walking in, whispers to me that she will not be eating a thing because she just can't do it; she just can't bring herself to do it. Again, I'm the son of a steelworker and a hairdresser. I'm eating whatever is in front of me. I have two brothers the same size as me. So you eat whatever is given to you and you eat it as fast as you can. So I said, "All right, fine." I choked down all this food. Ooh, it was bad, for me. 9 But after dinner?it was during Hanukkah?the father stands up and he says, "Come over here." And I walk over. He's in front of like a kitchen cabinet. It's maybe a foot and a half wide and it holds the dishes and everything. And he says, "Look inside." And I look inside. Underneath the top shelf are eight burn marks. I'm looking at it and I was like, oh, those are nice burn marks. I'm a smartass college kid. In my head I'm like, oh, great, he's showing me burn marks. Then he pulls out his hanukkiah. He tells me that during Communism they were not allowed to publicly celebrate Hanukkah. So they would light the menorah?it was a short hanukkiah; it wasn't very tall?they would light the menorah with these little candles and they would put it in the closet and close the door. So no one would see the light radiating out of the apartment. So here is this family risking their lives to celebrate a holiday that I grew up thinking was like the Jewish Christmas. I got presents; that was the significance of Hanukkah. It was at that moment that I said, "If they're going to risk their lives to celebrate Hanukkah, the least I can do when I go back to the States is dedicate whatever it is I'm going to do with my life to making sure that they don't have to do that again." And that was the beginning of my career. That was that moment. Very few people can pick the moment, right? But I remember walking out of there feeling such an immense sense of guilt and responsibility for these people. I thought to myself, so what if my grandfather's family is still alive somewhere? For the past seventy years have they been lighting a menorah and sticking it in the closet? What do they do during Purim? What do they do during all these other holidays that we consider to That we take for granted. Right. So that was the beginning of my career. 10 That's really an interesting pivotal moment, wow. So carry me through the next steps then. Get me to Las Vegas. How did you get here and get involved with the Jewish community? So went back, finished college, started working in Jewish community. I worked for UJA and then that moved to another federation and then I moved to another federation in Boston. I was in Boston for a little while. Then met my now ex-wife in Boston. Then we moved to South Jersey where she was the BBYO regional director and I was the campaign director for the federation in Wilmington?it's about forty-five minutes away?Delaware. I was there for three and a half years. We had some tremendous success in Delaware. We had won a Sapier Award. What kind of award is that? So in federation campaigns it's for best campaign performance in like-size communities. So for the smaller to medium communities, we had one of the best campaigns in the country. So we were doing fairly well in Wilmington. I get a phone call. At that time UJA changed its name to, I think, UJC, United Jewish Communities. They were launching a project called the Emerging Communities Project where they found that at this point in 2003-2004, a lot of the Jews in the country were moving to the Southeast or Southwest. That's when Vegas was seeing six thousand people a month, six hundred of them were Jewish, booming communities. They didn't have a campaign director here in Las Vegas. I got a phone call. They said, "What do you think?" I said, "I don't think. I've never been to Vegas." At that point my ex-wife is almost seven months pregnant with our first. I looked at her, I said, "What do you think about Vegas?" She said, "Let's go see." So we fly out here. I interviewed for about a day and a half. One of the days I came back?again, never being in Vegas, I bring my dark suit. Maybe it was May, June. It was hotter here than it was on the East Coast and I'm like sweating. She decides to go for a walk. Again, 11 she's seven months pregnant. All the casinos look close together, but they're not. They're like cruise ships that don't move. So I come back to the room after my interviews and she is crying on the bed. I said, "What's the problem?" She said, "I am not raising my child here. These guys trying to hand me these escort service things." You know the guys used to flip those thing out? "And the heat and the way that people dress and..." I said, "Look, the only person we know out here is Rabbi [Jeremy] Wiederhorn from Midbar Kodesh." And how did you know him? His cousins were maids of honor in our wedding. So Leah had reached out to him before we came out and said, "Look, we're going to come over and see Henderson and see the shul and everything else." So we go out to Henderson and, of course, it looks like Scottsdale. We're talking about Midbar Kodesh Temple. Yes, in Henderson. So Henderson doesn't look like the Strip. Then we started to realize: we saw young families. We saw playgrounds. We saw schools. We saw shopping. We started to feel a lot more normal. We decided to take the job. I came out first for a month while Leah was still home and then I flew back on a Monday. She had a C-section on Friday, the 13th, because our son was breech and she wasn't expecting to have a C-section. Then she moved back when he was three weeks old. And then I left the federation after seven months of being here. Were there challenges? Many, many. Who was head of the federation then? Meyer Bodoff and Beth Miller was his number two. Half of my salary was being paid by UJC [United Jewish Council] and they would come out here often and bring people out and we'd talk 12 about plans and we'd talk about strategy and everything else. It seemed as though when they would leave, nothing would change. I felt like it was a bit disingenuous and I resigned. It just so happened at that time a friend of mine worked for AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] and called out to the regional director out in L.A. and said, "Look, my friend Todd is in Vegas and he's great. You should talk to him." Two weeks after leaving the federation I started working for AIPAC. That seems like a really good fit for you. It was great. I ran it for three and a half years here. We had tremendous success. We doubled the campaign. We had the first large-scale kosher event in Vegas. Where did you have that at? At the Venetian. We koshered one of the kitchens and had kosher steak for ninety-eight dollars. Then we were so successful here that I was offered a promotion to become a regional director in Houston, Texas. Where here (in Las Vegas) I was overseeing Nevada, as a regional director out of Houston, I would oversee seven states. It was a tough call for my wife and I because we loved it here. This required you to move? Yes, in 2008. And we did it. I flew about sixty flights a year. It just got to be too much. We had a child in New Jersey, we had a child in Las Vegas, and then we moved to Houston and we ended up having another child in Houston. So I actually call my kids New Jersey, Nevada and Texas. We decided to move to Cleveland; that's where she's from. I was there for four and a half years at the federation. I literally came here on vacation in April of last year. Was walking with my wife in the casino, in Caesars. Came across David Stone who is the chair of the federation board eating 13 lunch at the Palm. And I knew David from my AIPAC days. I said, "Hey, how you doing?" We started talking. He says, "We're thinking about making a change at CEO. What do you think?" I said, "I think you need a new CEO." I'm in my shorts and flip-flops and a T-shirt and I'm not thinking about anything. He says, "Well, look, if we give you a call, would you talk about it?" I said, "Look, you call me; I'll talk about it." He called me and I started November second. Of 2015. 2015. It's been ten months. Ok, let's talk about AIPAC. For someone who doesn't know what the acronym stands for, can you please explain what AIPAC is? Sure. AIPAC is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. It is an organization that works to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship and it does it through some educational pieces within the communities where those members of Congress come from. It also does it through a relationship building on Capitol Hill. And really it's an educational organization that trains pro-Israel activists on how to be better pro-Israel activists and be more impactful pro-Israel activists with elected members of Congress, but the other side of it is those who may become members of Congress. So a number of my meetings I would have with AIPAC were with up-and-coming elected officials. I remember we met with Dean Heller when he was running for Congress. I think it was Jim Gibbons' seat. John Porter. Anyone who is thinking of running for Congress. Dina Titus when she was a state senator. We knew that at some point she was going to run for Congress. So we had to meet Dina Titus and talk to her about the things that were important. At one point we took the fire chief from Las Vegas to Israel to educate him. I can't remember his last name. 14 There was a cooperative thing we can do with the Israeli first responders. So it was really about raising awareness about the importance of the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. There was fundraising that went on with that. There was always empowering members of the community to become political fundraisers on their own because AIPAC wouldn't rate or endorse candidates. It doesn't fund candidates either. It's strictly a bipartisan organization. But as a member of the community who is just a layperson, you can contribute money to whatever you want as far as politics are concerned. We would educate people to give their money in an impactful way with a pro-Israel message. So that's in a nutshell, in my opinion, that's what AIPAC is. There's a national conference held every year for AIPAC. I've talked to so many people that have attended that. Yes. The first one I went to was in the Hinckley Hilton in Washington. It was that small. The last one they held last year was in the Verizon Center; it's like thirteen thousand people. I mean the AIPAC Conference, they say it's the three most important days impacting the U.S.-Israel relationship and I don't discount that. I think as we used to say at AIPAC, and I think it still holds true, some of the most important decisions affecting Israel happen in Washington, not in Israel. You have to show up in Washington. You can't just call your member of Congress. You can't just see them when they're out here. You have to show up. So policy conference was terrific. But once I wasn't a staff member, I didn't have access to be able to get in the exit door and not have to wait in line. It's too many people for me. I don't do well with thirteen thousand people. That is a lot for sure. What people from Las Vegas normally would go? Oh, gosh. Well, the [Sheldon and Dr. Miriam] Adelsons would go previously. The Shalevs [Joe 15 was very involved. David Dahan was my chair. Max Spilka. We were fortunate to have a great cross section of the community. Rabbi [Felipe] Goodman went. Rabbi [Jeremy] Wiederhorn went. I think when I was doing it maybe we had sixty, seventy, eighty people. And they go together as one group? They would all go at some point together, yes. I want to say that now Sari Mann, who I think is terrific, I think maybe they get over a hundred people that go. But really, look, the thing about Las Vegas, if you look at the leadership of Las Vegas, it's the same leadership for all of the organizations. So David Stone is the chair of the federation board. He still goes to the AIPAC Policy Conference. It's a good cross section of Republicans and Democrats, thankfully. Well, you've actually touched upon a subject you have to deal with all the time and it would be interesting to hear your thoughts about it. It seems its always the same group of people. Right. The issue isn't with it being the same people. I think the issue is there is?and I may have mentioned this to you before and I talked to my nonprofit CEO colleagues in town about this?the thing that Las Vegas, in my opinion, is missing is a culture of philanthropy. There isn't a sense of the collective has to take care of the issues in this community. There are these one-off donors here and there. Even if you look at UNLV's campus, there aren't that many buildings that are named for people who are in Las Vegas. You may have an Engelstad here or you may have a Greenspun there...But there isn't a real culture of philanthropy here. Even if it's the same players, it's getting everyone to realize it's going to take more of an