On The Go


Diplomats From 40 Nations Dine, Sing ‘Dayenu’ at Seder

By Masha Leon

“This is about as ecumenical as it gets,” master of ceremonies Alan King said at the April 4 festive Boys’ Town of Italy “Ball of the Year” at the Waldorf-Astoria.“They needed laughs, so they hired two Jews,” joshed King, referring to himself and gala chairman Billy Crystal. “I was present at Billy’s bris,” King…Read More


Songwriter Denise Rich: ‘Inside of Me Is a Black Woman’

By Masha Leon

“Inside of me is a black woman,” declared songwriter Denise Rich, who hosted the April 2 Foundation for Ethnic Understanding’s annual spring benefit at her lavish Fifth Avenue penthouse. “It’s why I write the songs I do,” Rich told the 150 guests. “The world needs more than ever… to…Read More


As Time Goes By: Ruth Gruber Reflects

By Masha Leon

“If the [New York] Herald Tribune were around today, I’d be in Iraq,” the 91-year-old Ruth Gruber told me at the March 24 reception for WILD PAC at Patti Kenner’s Park Avenue apartment. Founded in 2001, WILD PAC is a nonpartisan organization that supports congressional leaders who advocate protection of America’s publicRead More


Wishing for Cultural Ties To Keep U.S., French Allied

By Masha Leon

French champagne and canapés greeted arrivals at the March 19 “Sounds French: A Festival of New Music from France” reception at the Fifth Avenue headquarters of the French Embassy’s Cultural Services. The evening celebrated the month-long series of performances of works by French composers at New York City concert halls.Read More


Aid for Youths Comes in a Variety of Sizes and Shapes

By Masha Leon

At the March 11 “Bunny Hop” fundraiser for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s pediatrics department, I asked Billy Bush, new host of NBC’s “Let’s Make a Deal” and event co-chair, exactly how he was related to President Bush, his cousin. Smiling broadly, he replied, “I’m just a guy named Bush. Isn’t…Read More


Esther Drescher? ‘The Nanny’ Tried New Role for Purim

By Masha Leon

Strains of “Hooray for Hollywood” greeted guests filing into the Waldorf-Astoria’s Grand Ballroom for the Jewish Museum’s March 5 Masked Purim Ball, in part a celebration of the museum’s concurrent exhibition, “Entertaining America: Jews, Movies and Broadcasting.”Among the 600 black-tie and masked revelers who helped raise a record…Read More


‘The Righteous’: An Anthology of Heroes

By Masha Leon

Following a two-year correspondence, I finally met historian Sir Martin Gilbert at the February 19 launch of his latest opus, “The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust” (Henry Holt & Co.), at the Anti-Defamation League’s headquarters. In October 2001 I received a letter from London from Gilbert — author of 40…Read More


Big Brass on Board for Intrepid ‘Salute’

By Masha Leon

The “winds of war” were on hold aboard the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum for the February 14 Intrepid Museum Foundation’s Salute to Freedom Award dinner honoring Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Greetings by the foundation’s chief operating officer, BillRead More


It’s Down Home Southern Comfort at Federation Gala

By Masha Leon

Cowboy hats, jeans on bottom and chic on top — “Southern Comfortable” — was the dress code at the February 11 UJA-Federation of New York Entertainment, Media & Communications Division bash at the Regent Wall Street Hotel. Joel Katz, the first attorney inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and “a definitive leader…Read More


Reaching Out to the Unaffiliated; Honoring Pooch Power

By Masha Leon

As the orchestra played a waltz, the black-tie crowd filed into the Waldorf-Astoria’s ballroom for the National Jewish Outreach Program’s annual dinner February 4. Master of ceremonies and philanthropist Sam Domb — a Holocaust survivor introduced by NJOP founder Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald as “a close and constant advisor to Prime…Read More





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  • 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?
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  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
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