An enchanting Manhattan sunset cast a magical glow over the penthouse of the LVMH Tower on West 57th Street where a radiant Renaud Dutreil welcomed guests. Dutreil, the North America chairman of LVMH Moet Henessy Louis Vuitton, Inc., presided over a reception honoring Rabbi Arthur Schneier on his 80th birthday and Park East Synagogue on its 120th anniversary.
Synagogue president Herman Hochberg said this was a kickoff for the main event, a gala celebratory dinner, to take place on June 7 at the Waldorf-Astoria.
The rabbi thanked his host, reminding him that his granddaughter, Lauren Dresbach, recently worked as an intern at LVMH.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said Rabbi Schneier had made "a huge contribution to the city, the country and the world."
"I am very concerned about the future of America," Rabbi Schneier said. "With all its shortcomings, it's still the best place in the world.
"How do you build a future? With children through education. Our school is great in mathematics and science as well as ethical learning. This is our contribution to the future of America."
Alluding to the rabbi's birthday, Stringer said, "I want you to know, that 80 is the new 60, and 50 is the new 30-it's worked for me."
Israeli Consul General Asaf Shariv agreed. "I was 38 in April. I met a few 80-year-olds in my life, but you're not an 80. I don't believe it."
That amused the audience, which included Israel Bonds president Joshua Matza, real estate developer Tamir Sapir and fashion maven Jerry Lauren.
Tim Boxer is editor of 15MinutesMagazine.com.
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