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The Schmooze

Benjamin Brafman Honored At Israel Cancer Research Gala

“We want to eradicate cancer from the face of the earth,” declared Kenneth Goodman Chairman of Israel Cancer Research Fund at its 2014 Tower of Hope Gala at The Pierre. ”We attempt that by supporting Israeli scientists…ICRF helps keep those scientists in Israel [where] doing research is half the cost of in the U.S. [because] ICRF pays no overhead to the institutions that house our scientists…Since our inception we’ve issued 2,115 research grants for over $52 million which led to the discovery of Ubiquitin and Velcade.

Presenting ICRF’s “Beacon of Hope Award” to event emcee and prominent New York attorney Benjamin Brafman, Goodman said: He “was named by New York Magazine as the ‘Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in New York’ whose clients included high profile celebrities and criminals in U.S. and overseas.”

To this I can personally attest. At a November 2002 Foundation of Ethnic Understanding benefit Sean Combs aka P. Diddy — for whom Brafman won acquittal of all charges in a bribery and weapons-possession trial — dubbed Brafman “My Yiddisher Tate”(My Yiddish Daddy) who protected me as a father would…I prayed to God to help me and when I met Ben he took me in his arms as if I was his family” a teary eyed Combs told the guests. “He is a good Jew and the only one he permitted to call him “Puff Daddy.”

Brafman who over three decades emceed many ICRF dinners declared: “ Lawyers don’t have a lot of credibility with the public…. Sometimes we actually do good work because we say things that are literally truthful, but can be deceptive.” A propos, he told of a young couple with 12 children unable to rent an apartment. One day he parked his van near a cemetery, told his wife to go with 11 of the kids and walk around. Keeping one child, he rang the bell. The renter asked ‘how many children do you have?’ Man answers ‘I have a dozen.’ Guy asks where are the other eleven? ‘They’re in the cemetery with their mother.’ He got the house and now there’s one more guy who does not trust lawyers.”

“Twenty-five years ago ICRF became our beacon of hope,” said Brafman. “My wife and I did not know what to do. Dr. **Yashar Hirshaut, –a brilliant oncologist [now ICRF president emeritus] turned us to some great surgeons and doctors. My wife is here and we have fourteen grandchildren.”

Guest speaker and ICRF grant supported Nobel Laureate Dr. Aaron Ciechanover, co-discoverer of Ubiquitin credited “ICRF with “supporting something very vague…not tangible– ‘knowledge’ something that is shared by everybody and ends up doing good for society…. When I was a student people died of multiple myeloma within a year or two — and in agony. Due to our work on Velcade and another magic drug Thalidomide — people are now being cured with some living 10-15 years.” Thanks to those two drugs, my husband Joe was able to live productively for nearly all of the 18 years following his diagnosis of multiple myeloma.

ICRF’s Tower of Hope Humanitarian Award was presented to Susan and Leon Mark and its Corporate Philanthropy Award was presented by ICRF National Executive Director Eric Heffler to Sudler & Hennessey, a worldwide healthcare marketing and communications network.

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