The National Yiddish Theater/Folksbiene has come a long way in its 96th season. In fact, the highlight of its annual cabaret dinner on Dec. 8 at the Bohemian National Hall on the Upper East Side, were two African American actors who brought the house down with their versions of classical Yiddish medleys.
Elmore James, a veteran of five Broadway shows and the Metropolitan Opera, dazzled with “Es Brent” and “Ot Azoy.” Tony Perry, featured in the film “Mickey,” thrilled the audience with his rendition of “Vos Iz Gevorn.”
Cory Booker seems to find himself in the right places at the right times. Two decades ago, as a 22-year-old Rhodes scholar at Oxford, he found himself one night at Shmuley Boteach’s L’Chaim Society, a Jewish cultural center on campus.
He was invited by a young woman for a Simchat Torah celebration. When he walked into Chabad House everyone froze. He looked for his date but found men with beards and skullcaps.
Former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee got a standing ovation when Dr. Joseph Frager introduced him at the 28th annual dinner of American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center on Dec. 5.
“I’ve never had that kind of reception from Baptists, so I am very glad to be here,” the former Baptist minister, Arkansas governor and presidential aspirant said.
“I think Joe announced my candidacy for president. Thank you Joe, but I’m not yet ready to do so.”
Whoopi Goldberg, a star on ABC’s “The View,” confessed that she hadn’t been “as participatory as I should have been” with Chabad’s Children of Chernobyl (CCOC) mission to rescue children from Russia and Ukraine stricken by the nuclear explosion of 1986. She hadn’t been heard from since she served as guest auctioneer at a 1996 dinner.
That didn’t inhibit the group from presenting her with its Children at Heart Award at its fundraiser on Nov. 22 at Chelsea Pier 60.
American Jewish World Service (AJWS) marked 25 years of helping poverty stricken people in developing countries. Naturally that called for a dinner last month at the Frederick Rose Hall at Lincoln Center to honor its president, Ruth Messinger.
ABC News anchor Christiane Amanpour called Messinger “a model of global citizenship.” She added, “You are our conscience and you teach us what it means to be a human being.”
To be a Jewish musician is easy, says Matthew Lazar, but to be a Jew and a musician is sometimes difficult
Nevertheless he has overcome many hurdles over the years as he guided the world-renowned coeducational Zamir Chorale as its director and conductor — in an age when modern Orthodox Jewish sensibilities shifted fundamentally to the right.
Zamir Chorale was founded by Stanley Sperber in 1960. He made aliya in 1972 and passed the baton to Lazar.
Playwright Joseph Stein, who died at age 98 on Oct. 24 in Manhattan, was an original member of Minyan of the Stars. The organization encouraged show business personalities to celebrate Jewish holidays and traditions.
One of the first gatherings took place at Stein’s home on Park Avenue. It was Chanukah 1990. Lou Jacobi looked around and exclaimed, “We have show people here, even a scout from MGM. MGM—My Gantze Mishpocha [my whole family]!”
At the Appeal of Conscience Foundation’s 45th anniversary awards dinner last month, the chairman/CEO of Coca-Cola, Muhtar Kent, was delighted to find himself seated next to Bernard Arnault, chairman/CEO of the Paris-based LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
“Our two companies,” Kent said, “have a passion for bubbles — Coca-Cola and Dom Perignon.”
“That comparison smells of high treason!” exclaimed Arnault.