Businessman honored for work in support of Israel
The American Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Greater Texas Region held its 12th annual Gourmet Kosher Dining Extravaganza earlier this month at the Bayou City Event Center.
Each year, the AABGU bestows its prestigious David Ben-Gurion Leadership Award on an individual who has worked tirelessly on behalf of Israel or the local Jewish community. This year, the award went to Chair King president and longtime Israel advocate David Barish.
"It was a wonderful event," he said. "There was a wonderful video tribute to me. There was a plaque that was given to me, as well as a piece of art glass: a menorah with nine candle holders, eight in a circular fashion with, what they call the shamash — which is the candle that you use to light the other candles — in the very center. It was a beautiful piece of art designed and crafted by Bill Meek."
The event also raised funds for Ben-Gurion University's new Center for Regenerative Medicine, Cellular Therapy and Stem Cell Research, and featured a speech by Professor Smadar Cohen, who will serve as director of the new center.
David Barish graduated from Bellaire High School in 1970 and went on to earn a doctorate in Jewish History in Late Antiquity from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. He taught at Hebrew Union College for a year before returning to the Houston area in 1980 to join his father in running the family's outdoor furniture business, Chair King. With seven stores in the Houston area and 11 additional locations scattered throughout the state, the chain is the largest outdoor furniture retailer in Texas. In 2009, the company expanded to include Furniture Concepts stores in New York and New Jersey.
Although business keeps him busy, Barish still finds time to be an active participant in Houston's thriving Jewish community. He is the current president of media watchdog website www.HonestReporting.com and sits on the Jewish Agency for Israel's Board of Directors. In the past, he served as chairman for AIPAC Houston and continues to serve on the organization's national council.
"I work, I spend time with my family and in the community — I guess the community is my hobby," Barish said. "I'm actively involved in a number of organizations that benefit Israel."
For more information on David Barish, visit www.jewishagency.org. To learn more about the American Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, visit www.aabgu.org or connect with the group on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
ABOUT David Barish
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: President of Chair King
FAST FACT: Barish said he travels to Israel at least four times a year
Megan Mattingly-Arthur is a freelance writer she can be reached at email@example.com.
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