Honoring Amy Winehouse

On the Go

Remembering Amy: Mitch and Janis Winehouse Collins are raising funds for a charity named in their late daughter’s honor.
bob rich
Remembering Amy: Mitch and Janis Winehouse Collins are raising funds for a charity named in their late daughter’s honor.

By Masha Leon

Published September 06, 2012, issue of September 14, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Looming storm clouds did not keep 200 guests from attending the Amy Winehouse Foundation USA cocktail party, hosted by foundation board member David Hryck on August 10 at his Southampton house. In attendance were Winehouse’s parents, Janis Winehouse Collins and Mitch Winehouse, and their respective spouses. Winehouse’s parents began the foundation in the United Kingdom on September 14, 2011, on what would have been their daughter’s 28th birthday. The foundation supports music education.

A British music star with an international fan base, Winehouse died on July 23, 2011. At the event, Mitch Winehouse performed ballads and was backed up by Dominick Farinacci and his band. A guest commented, “Now I know where Amy got her voice.” Among the guests were public relations maven Catherine Saxton and sex therapist Ruth Westheimer.

I spoke to Mitch Winehouse over the phone after the event. Before his singing career took off, Winehouse worked as a taxi driver. He is still a licensed cabbie; to become a London taxi driver you need to master no fewer than 320 basic routes, 25,000 streets, and about 20,000 landmarks and places of public interest that are located within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross. It takes the average person between two and four years to learn them all. “All my family members were cab drivers,” he said. “Even today, it is a wonderful job — better than a New York driver. When my father became a taxi driver in 1958, he came home and said to my mother: ‘Do you know how much I have earned today? Seven pounds.’ That’s $10. Nobody earned that much money. A bank manager earned 20 pounds a week.” He added, with a chuckle, “My mother’s response was, ‘We can eat smoked salmon today.’”

Mitch Winehouse recently wrote a book about his daughter, called, befittingly, “My Daughter.” He talked about the foundation: “In the U.K. we support childrens’ hospices, [the] homeless. We are helping to build a new children’s hospital in North London. In the U.S. we have two projects — one in New Orleans, where we have a weekend after-school program, and another at the Brooklyn Conservatory [of Music.] ”

Remembering Hal David

I first met lyricist extraordinaire Hal David — who died at 91 on September 1 — in 1983 at a Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It was the first of more than a dozen such galas I attended where Hal David was an ever-smiling heymish presence. He was introduced to me by Sammy Cahn, whom I would later interview for the Forward in 1984, and in whose name the SHOF Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award was established.

At the 2004 SHOF dinner at the Mariott Marquis, David, chairman and CEO of SHOF, received the “Towering Song Award” for his hit [with Burt Bacharach] “What the World Needs Now Is Love.” Dionne Warwick sang it that night. “The song is an expression of our soul,” David told the nearly 1000 guests. “It tells of our struggles and experiences.” That night, during our pre-award reception chat, David told me, “My father read the Forward.” At the 2009 SHOF VIP reception honoring Stephen Schwartz and recipient of the Hal David Starlight Award Jason Mraz, David warmly greeted me. “Here she comes — the Forward lady,” he said.

At the June 15, 2006, SHOF award ceremony dinner Hal David declared: “Our songs are the mirror of our lives. Songs are employed in the fight against injustice and intolerance.”

That evening Alicia Keys presented the Hal David Starlight Award to John Mayer, who won a Grammy for his 2004 song “Daughters.” Keys said: “Any man who writes a song titled ‘Daughters’ is a real man to me.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.