Skip To Content
Israel News

Aid for Youths Comes in a Variety of Sizes and Shapes

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 it amazing!” After mingling with 480 children, 520 parents, Radio City Rockettes and walkabout characters Pikachu and Shrek at the FAO Schwarz event, I ran into Mortimer Zuckerman, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, at the Swarovski Crystal booth, where his 5-year-old daughter, Abigail, was receiving a temporary tattoo of a crystal design. Sponsored by Scalamandré, the bash raised $250,000 for Sloan-Kettering’s pediatric department, which annually treats more than 1,000 youngsters.

* * *|

“The Art of Packaging” gala to benefit Pratt Institute’s Marc Rosen Scholarship for Packaging Design held March 12 at the University Club honored Eric Thoreux, president and CEO of Coty Beauty Americas. Rosen, an award-winning perfume-bottle designer in whose name the scholarship was established, is a professor and trustee at Pratt Institute as well as president and CEO of Marc Rosen Associates, whose clients include Estée Lauder and Oscar de la Renta.

“I grew up in Patterson, N.J…. [and I] was bar mitzvahed. My father came here in 1915 from Warsaw, Poland; my mother is American.” Rosen mentioned that his grandfather Charles, “though not a rabbi, had the honorific ‘reverend’ and translated the English dictionary into Hebrew all by hand. As far as I know, it is now at some yeshiva in Jerusalem.”

When I asked him about a comment he’d made earlier — “Finally, a nice Jewish boy like me a doctor” — Rosen chuckled and said he had been referring to an honorary doctorate he will receive in May from Pratt. “I once thought I’d become a doctor — until I volunteered at the local hospital’s blood bank.” I first met Rosen at a 1996 tribute to Milton Berle, who was 88 at the time, six years before his death.

“You know my wife, Arlene Dahl, was responsible for Joy Behar getting on ‘The View,’” Rosen said at the Pratt benefit. “Arlene was the event co-chair and invited Joy to perform. Barbara [Walters], the award presenter, had never heard of Joy.” Walters was so impressed by Behar’s riotous routine — which opened with “I’m a shiksa non grata” — that the rest is “View” history.

* * *|

Dan Doctoroff, New York City’s deputy mayor for economic development, and his wife, Alisa, hosted a March 4 reception at their Upper West Side home to celebrate the accreditation in Israel of the Jerusalem-based Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies.

“I’m passionate about the quality of Jewish education at the seminary,” said Mrs. Doctoroff, referring to the institute’s parent, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, which helped found the now independent Israeli offshoot in 1984. “The school reaches out to secular Israelis…. Judaism holds meaning and value not just for the religious,” she said.

JTS chancellor Ismar Schorsch touted the now “bona fide ideologically Conservative” Schechter Institute, “which trains native Israeli leaders,… Conservative rabbis, offers Israeli degrees and will now be part of the landscape of Israel…. [It is] no longer an extension of an American institution.” Robert Rifkind, chairman of the institute’s international board of governors, praised Schechter for “building bridges between the secular and Orthodox worlds… between modernity and tradition.” In Israel, he said, “modernists know nothing about tradition…. Traditionalists know nothing about modernism.”

Addressing the topic “Pluralism and Jewish continuity in Israel,” Israel’s consul general, Alon Pinkas, applauded “religious and cultural pluralism” as “one asset of American Jewry we should import as soon as we can.” Noting that “the Orthodox have monopolized Judaism” and citing religious schisms as “a political weapon,” he said he welcomed “secular seeding” as contributing to the “culture in Israel.”

* * *|

If you can articulate such Yiddish words as khokhmes and khometz, you’ll have no problem pronouncing Vincent van Gogh as van Khokh, as does Dutchman Jochum ten Haaf, whose stunning performance as the 20-year-old artist in the Lincoln Center Theater production “Vincent in Brixton” is reason to head to Manhattan’s Golden Theatre.

Focusing on a cameo moment in the artist’s short life (van Gogh shot himself in 1890 at age 37), the play, by Nicholas Wright, was inspired by a series of letters van Gogh sent from London to his younger brother, Theo. It homes in on van Gogh’s romantic involvement with the older Ursula Loyer, marvelously portrayed by Clare Higgins.

In addition to great performances by cast members Sarah Drew (Eugene Loyer), Pete Starrett (Sam Plowman) and Liesel Matthews (Anna van Gogh) deftly directed by Richard Eyre, is Tim Hatley’s incredible set — the kitchen features a working sink in which dishes are washed, a cast-iron stove atop which a kettle boils and within whose innards fish pies are actually cooked; a huge table atop which real herbs are chopped and food prepared in a non-stop choreographed interfacing actor-food ballet. It’s a masterpiece.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.