The Russian Tea Room was the perfect venue to host a “Broadway Luncheon” for the launch of the new musical “DOCTOR ZHIVAGO.” The exclusive event organized by American Friends of Rabin Medical Center’s executive director Joshua Plaut for seventy-five lucky guests, who got to meet “Zhivago” producer Anita Waxman and songwriter and composer Lucy Simon sister of Carly Simon and daughter of the Simon & Schuster publishing magnates.
Lucy Simon informed: “When [luncheon guest] Alan Dershowitz asked me why I wanted to do Doctor Zhivago—fifteen years of songwriting but really germinating my whole 72 years of life—I always liked Russian music and literature. Fifteen years ago, when I finished my musical ‘The Secret Garden’ I realized there is nothing with Russian flavor that’s been on Broadway. And I decided on ‘Dr. Zhivago.’ The reason I love the message of ‘Doctor Zhivago’ is that it is about art and love surviving chaos and destruction…of living on in to the future.”
“Zhivago” producer, Waxman said of the “fifteen years’ long journey: “Lucy’s music is extraordinary. This is one of the reasons I produced ‘Dr. Zhivago’... It was meant to be. It is beautiful, important and relevant and happening right now in the world.”
An annual event of the American Friends of the Rabin Medical Center to benefit Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), it was coincidental that Lucy Simons’ daughter-in-law studied at the Sackler School of Medicine --an affiliate of Israel’s Rabin Medical Center.
Dr. Felix Benninger a neurologist from Rabin Medical Center who made aliyah from Germany in 2006, spoke about the high quality of Acute Myeloid Leukemia clinical medicine and research projects at Rabin’s Davidoff Cancer Center. “Today we can only cure AML by bone marrow transplants. These are life-saving projects needing an incredible amount of coordination and expertise that we provide at Rabin Medical Center.” He concluded: “Rabin Medical Center has become my home and you in the United States and the American Friends of Rabin Medical Center are my new family.”
The luncheon paid tribute to AFRMC member Wendy Siegel who has AML and concluded with a speech by Nicolas Hudson a representative from the Gift of Life Donor Program. Nicholas donated bone marrow to a four year old boy with AML “who is still living because of this gift.” Nicholas amplified: “The only chance of living is finding a ‘miracle match’ and 75% of the time it is a complete stranger.” Urging the guests to participate in the bone marrow drive “because matches are based on genetic and ethnic background” he lamented, “there are too few Jews on the bone marrow data base.”
And then the guest went off to see the show.