“There’s nothing she can’t do and no medium she doesn’t shine in,” said Andrea Stark luncheon co-chair at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University Women’s Division’s 60th Spirit of Achievement Annual Luncheon at The Plaza.
The ladies in the ballroom looked as if they had just stepped off a runway and the six-foot tall table floral centerpieces were paper masterpieces and much appreciated by those with allergies.
Among my mother’s many Yiddish adages which still serve me well is: “es dakht zikh az bay yenem lakht zikh”—To paraphrase: “One assumes that everyone else is having it good”— ‘till you know the full story.
Christine Baranski speaking at the 60th Spirit of Achievement Annual Luncheon// Photo: Karen Leon
And, considering Christine Baranski’s resume — four Emmy nominations, two Tony Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards— a glorious theatrical trajectory with CBS’ “The Good Wife” in its fifth—and best—season—it was a shock to hear her story, which resonated with everyone in the room.
“My mother worked and raised two kids on her own until her retirement at 70, then spent the next 15 years valiantly fighting 3 different kinds of cancers…My husband of 30 years has been an insulin dependent diabetic with all the ensuing complications of that ravaging disease…. Both my father and brother died suddenly, each at 48 of aortic aneurisms…. As a caregiver, I have relied on the compassionate expertise of surgeons, cardiologists and oncologists and been comforted by night nurses in the ICU when my Mom’s life was slipping away…. I have had a marvelous life and career…but honestly, I believe actors and celebrities get a disproportionate amount of attention in this culture….Men and women in the medical field to me are the most heroic…most worthy of celebrity…. I am grateful to publicly thank them today and salute the work being done by the Women’s Division of Albert Einstein.”
Since 1953 the women’s division has raised millions of dollars to advance medical education programs at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Also honored were: “Dr. Judy Aschner, a leader in neonatology and pediatrics whose awesome resume includes Physician-in-Chief at The Children’s Hospital, Montefiore; Julie Macklowe, founder, president and CEO of Swiss-made beauty product line vbeauté toiletries, and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, a co-founder and head of Gilt, the online shopping Mecca.
Emceed by Emmy Award-winning TV personality Jill Martin, there were opening remarks by Einstein College of Medicine Chair of the Board of Overseers Ruth Gottesman, greetings by Women’s Division president Carol Roaman, and welcome comments by Albert Einstein College of Medicine Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean, Dr. Allen Spiegel.
Celebrity guests included: Olympic Gold Medalist Sarah Hughes and best-selling novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford.