When Donald Trump Served First Ever Kosher Meal at Mar-a-Lago

Donald Trump — honoree at the June 21, 2000 UJA- Federation of New York Hotel and Real Estate “First Visionary of the Century Award” Dinner—arrived at The Pierre with stunning model Melania Knauss on his arm. Black tie well-wishers included hotelier Jonathan Tisch, publicist Howard Rubenstein (who said the Hamotzi) his wife Amy, Broadway producer and Red Ball founder Martin Richards and actor Alec Baldwin (who sixteen years later would impersonate him on “Saturday Night Live!”)

“I’m not a Jew, I’m not a visionary” joshed emcee Jay Thomas at what turned out to be a mini-roast. “I’m ‘that guy’ from “Cheers” and “Murphy Brown”, said Thomas. For me, “being a ‘visionary,’” means looking into the future and seeing thousands of people paying Mr. Trump rent.”

Once the laughter abated, award presenter [then New York’s district attorney] Robert Morgenthau said: “Donald is a great New Yorker who has made this a great city.” He recalled an event that the New York based Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Memorial to the Holocaust held at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club (the historic Palm Beach estate formerly owned by Marjorie Merriwether Post and E.F. Hutton). “They had never served a kosher meal! One call to Donald who immediately called back: ’Of course we serve kosher!’ It was the first kosher meal ever served at Mar-A-Lago.”

“Donald is a great friend,” said Sol Kerzner, CEO and developer of the Bahamas-based Sun International. ”Donald helped me at a time when South Africans were not well received.” Fran Weisler —who with husband Barry produced then Broadway hits “Chicago” and “Annie Get Your Gun”— said: “We have our own way of paying tribute. Because Donald is a great fan of Broadway and comes to all our openings, we thought we would produce a Broadway show about Donald’s life. Here are some working titles: ‘A Building Inspector Calls,’ ‘Fiddling With The Roof,’ ‘A Funny thing Happened on the Way to the Foreclosure,’ and—of course—the most obvious: ‘Rent’. Though his [then] presidential bid was short-lived, the emcee suggested, “it may be because of his campaign slogans” one of which was “Give me liberty or give me the Statue of Liberty and I’ll build condos in her head.”

“This has been the best year of my life in a business sense,” said a beaming Mr. Trump. Acknowledging his mother and sons [Donald Jr. and Eric Trump] he paid tribute to his late father and brother. “Forty to fifty percent of the people UJA helps are not Jewish,” said Trump who told of a battered woman— who following three suicide attempts— had come to his office ten years earlier. “She has now credited UJA with her recovery and, as she was leaving, told me: ‘I’m not Jewish.’ Forty to fifty percent of the people UJA helps are not Jewish.”

Tony Bennett rang down the curtain that evening by performing a medley of his signature hits ending with the aptly-titles classic: “Who Can I Turn To When Nobody Needs Me?”

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When Donald Trump Served First Ever Kosher Meal at Mar-a-Lago

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