By Anthony Tran
The Bnai Zion Foundation, one of the oldest Zionist organizations in America, established in 1908 honored their first Asian American Anh Vo, owner of Cindi’s N.Y. Delicatessen Restaurant and Bakery – at the Bnai Zion 2015 Texas Region Annual Gala – in Dallas, Texas.
Anh Vo owns five award-winning “Cindi’s N.Y. Delicatessen Restaurant and Bakery,” Jewish delis and restaurants in the surrounding Dallas area. Her restaurants have been featured in numerous publications and won many accolades including “Best Breakfast “, “Best Deli”, “Best Chicken & Dumplings”, “Best Bear Claw”, and more. Vo is known for her unwavering support and generosity in the Jewish, Asian and Dallas/Ft. Worth communities, by donating her time and catering skills to various charities and organizations.
Vo’s acceptance speech, for which she received a standing ovation, included her “heartbreaking” tales of leaving behind families and friends in Vietnam, emigrating to the U.S. with her husband and their new born baby in 1979, in a small boat. Lacking money, not being able to speak English and not knowing the American culture did not deter Vo’s “determination to expand and to grow.” Vo credits her success to her “willingness to make mistakes and to continually move forward.”
“Anh is a very special person. Anh has a heart of gold and supports not only all the Jewish organizations but others in the city. She would literally give you the shirt off her back. We also thought it was fitting that an organization which raises money for Israel should honor one of the Vietnamese boat people since Israel was the only country which took in the first boat people when every other country left them stranded at sea until an Israeli freighter picked up sixty-six people,” said Avrille Harris, Executive Director of Texas Region Bnai Zion Foundation. “During that time, the Prime Minister of Israel told the captain to bring the people to Israel and as soon as they set foot on Israeli’s soil they were given Israeli citizenships.”
“Our work is extremely important. Our mission is to inform the people of the world, of the needs of Israel, currently the only democratic system in the Middle East. We raise funds for projects…but at the same time by having folks who are leaders in our own community…to further promote the Bnai Zion Foundation humanitarian efforts…recalling that all money raised by our auctions will go directly into the projects,” stated David Eisenberg, National President of the Bnai Zion Foundation.
Anh Vo received the Bnai Zion 2015 Community Service Award. Other 2015 honorees included Dr. Hyman and Connie Tolmas – Recipient of Bnai Zion Distinguished Humanitarian Award and Reverend Rafael Cruz (the father of Ted Cruz, Texas Senator who is currently running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination) – Recipient of Bnai Zion American-Israel Award.
The Bnai Zion Texas Region Annual Gala raised an estimated $100,000 that evening. The proceeds will purchase equipment needed for the Bnai Zion Medical Center in Haifa (the largest city in northern Israel) and help build an “underground hospital – a hospital within a hospital” built to withstand the impact of any biological, chemical, or nuclear attacks.