Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

UJA Celebrates 100 Years By Taking Over Rose Hall at Time Warner Center

The Rose Hall
All photos Lieba Nesis

On Monday January 9, 2017 UJA celebrated its 100th year at Jazz at Lincoln Center beginning with a red carpet at 7:30 PM. This event was sold out weeks in advance and contained an illustrious group of Wall Street heavy hitters such as: Daniel Och, David Moore, Jeff Schoenfeld, Boaz Weinstein, David Wassong, and Real Estate mogul Lenny Wilf. David Moore was still reminiscing about the success of the UJA Wall Street dinner which he said had an incredible lineup of the most important people on Wall Street with Michael Douglas inspiring many to rediscover their Jewish heritage.

David Moore-CEO of Moore Holdings, Daniel Och-President of Och-Ziff Capital,
Jeff Schoenfeld-President of UJA

Moore was also looking forward to this evening with over 400 people coming to celebrate and appreciate all the organization accomplishes. The night featured a varied list of entertainers at a spectacular venue overlooking Central Park. The last time I was at Rose Hall was to attend the HBO premiere of "Girls" so it was safe to say UJA went all out for this evening.

Entertainer Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Actor Mark Feuerstein

The night started with a film where Eric Goldstein and some of his cohorts took a Suburban to Rose Hall with a puppet as a driver and announced "Live from New York it's the UJA Centennial." Actor Mark Feuerstein of "Royal Pains", emceed the evening, joking that it was his dream to emcee a UJA event giving a special shout out to his parents who were so proud that he at least played a doctor on television.

Dr Ruth Westheimer

After we were treated to a comedy sketch by the Avenue Q puppets and a delightful performance of Chopin by Emanuel Ax, Dr. Ruth took to the stage and exhorted the audience to have sex every night like it was Shabbos and to try a new position as often as possible - assuming you were married. Westheimer informed the audience that she was shot in both legs when she was in the Haganah - but that was not why she was so short. While she never expected to become famous by discussing sex she was happy to announce that at the ripe age of 88 she continues to teach at Columbia University's Teacher College.

Left to right Eric and Rebecca Feuerstein, Samantha Massell-singer from Fiddler on the Roof, actor Mark Feuerstein with parents Harvey and Audrey Feuerstein

There were some more funny observations from the performers including comedian Judy Gold who said she loved dating chasidim because they had the best curling irons, and that Passover was annoying because she had a yeast infection - a joke she said only this audience understood. After she ridiculed the arm fat on the side of her arm she introduced Vanessa Hidary, the Hebrew mamita, a performer and poet who gave a moving rendition of what it means to be Jewish with rousing applause from the enthusiastic audience.

NY1 Anchor Jessica Abo

Some more spellbinding entertainment included Samantha Massell who sang a song from her hit play "Fiddler on the Roof" and David Broza the famous Israeli singer, who sang "Yihye Tov"-All Will Be Good - and said when he first composed this song he never thought he would be singing it daily for the next 40 years.

Betsy Cohn and Julie Ratner

The night even contained African American performer Joshua Nelson singing a Motown version of "Mi Chamocha" which showcased the diversity of UJA. To cap the festivities off, the evening concluded with Brian Stokes Mitchell belting out Man of La Mancha's "To Dream the Impossible Dream" and thanking the amazing audience for letting him breathe the same air.

On that note I grabbed some dessert and headed home to breathe some incredibly frigid air and recount the incredible evening I had just experienced.

- Lieba Nesis

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