Signer Spotlight:

Andrea Leven

You recently visited Israel through a trip organized by the Atlanta Jewish Federation. Share your takeaways from your visit.

I was struck by the resilience of the Israelis we met. Our small group went to the site of the Nova music festival and spoke 1-on-1 with a festival attendee. He told us how, during the massacre, he called his parents to say goodbye and that he was not going to make it out [alive]. 

I then spoke to his mother, asking her how she felt after she received the phone call. She said they were heartbroken, of course, but still understood their sons’ situation was part of life as a proud Israeli with an ingrained refusal to give up the fight. Even as we walked through the ruins of Kibbutz Nir Oz [site of the massacre on October 7] with bombs roaring overhead, the Israelis showed us how they refuse to stop living their lives.

People buy medical, home, boat, or even pet insurance. But what about insurance for the Jewish people? If I could tell you today that we can secure the future of the Jewish people by “buying insurance” through our support of Jewish organizations and Israel, I would take it in a heartbeat.

What is your message to American Jews right now about Israel?

They [Israel] need you there. It’s so vital for them in a way you can’t imagine.

Millions of Americans and I have been following the recent events with a mix of shock and horror. Still, it’s a whole different level to be Israeli and see every day filled with public figures and protestors alike calling for your home to no longer exist. When Israelis see American Jews or any other Jews there, it makes them feel like they’re not alone and that they have support. My group and I were crying half the time, but the Israelis were so appreciative we were there. I would encourage anybody considering visiting to rally their forces and go when the time is right. 

On lessons from the rise in on-campus antisemitism

It’s totally unacceptable and truly out of control, but I think it’s a wake-up call for all Jews, particularly college-age kids. Regardless of their political leanings, they have to join together in the defense of Jewish students and the State of Israel. 

A vibrant Jewish future means a community that acts first and foremost as Jews, supporting each other and the state of Israel. I saw this firsthand in Israel, where people’s will to live supersedes political division. They can put their differences aside and look at the bigger picture. 

How can we curb the trend of young Jews feeling disconnected from their Judaism and with Israel?

It starts in the home. Start early if you can, but it’s never too late. Outside the home, I think of three crucial things to help kids better appreciate and embrace their Jewish identities: Jewish day schools, Jewish camps, and trips to Israel. 

You want to give them their own Jewish experiences beyond the home and let your children define what Judaism personally means for them. That’s why the Jewish Future Promise is so important: to ensure all three of those organizations get the support they need to continue. 


Andrea and her husband launched the Michael and Andrea Leven Family Foundation in 2010, and she continues to play an active role in supporting a wide variety of Jewish philanthropic organizations and causes, including the Jewish Future Promise. She currently resides in Boca Raton, Florida.