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Jewish Journal

Kathy Ireland Named Sheba Ambassador

by Orit Arfa

October 28, 2009 | 8:09 pm

Supermodel turned supermogul Kathy Ireland has been named the international ambassador of Holyland Heroes, a new Friends of Sheba Medical Center campaign to raise awareness and support of wounded soldiers and victims of terror being treated at Sheba’s National Center for Rehabilitation.

The announcement was made during the 2009 Women of Achievement Luncheon of the Friends of Sheba Medical Center held at the Beverly Hills Hotel Oct. 15.

“Admittedly, I’m led to support Sheba through my faith, but we need not be Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic or atheist to understand Israel’s survival is critical to our survival,” Ireland said. “Too often Israel is portrayed as aggressive when she acts only to protect her people and the cause of freedom in the world.”

Since gracing the pages, including three covers, of Sports Illustrated for 13 years in a row in the 1980s and 1990s, Ireland has established herself in the business world as CEO and chief designer of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, a design and marketing firm that earns over $1.4 billion sales annually. She attributes her success as well as her unwavering support for Israel to her deep Christian faith.

Friends of Sheba selected Ireland for “her amazing appeal, her credibility, her vision, her complete passion for Israel as a pro-Israel Christian and her willingness to take the public heat when talking about the virtues of Israel publicly,” executive director Jack Saltzberg told The Journal.

Author and mother of three, Ireland’s latest book, “Real Solutions for Busy Moms” (Howard Books) rested on the place settings of the 350 women in attendance at the luncheon, which also bestowed the Woman of Achievement Award to Dr. Lidia Gabis, director of Sheba’s Weinberg Child Development Center and an internationally recognized leader in the area of autism and developmental disabilities. Marjorie Pressman, a founding member of the Friends of Sheba in Los Angeles, was honored with a Lifetime of Achievement Award.

In her speech, Ireland recalled historic instances of Christian anti-Semitism and persecution of Jews and expressed her commitment to ensuring Christian communities stand by Israel in troubled times. “Our only hope is our faith and the knowledge that today we can do more,” she said.

Ireland will visit Israel in January in the capacity of her new role. It will be her second trip to the country.

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