World Values Network Hosts Seventh Annual Champions of Jewish Values Gala
Carnegie Hall might be known for their world renowned musical performances, but a room in this iconic venue was transformed into an upscale setting where high profile politicians and pillars of the community came together to support Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s World Values Network, complete with dining, mingling and of course, music!
Hundreds of supporters came out on Thursday, March 29th, for the seventh annual Champions of Jewish Values Gala which recognized those who stand up for Israel. Honorees included Academy Award winning actor Jon Voight, human rights icon Marion Wiesel, President Trump’s Director of the National Economic Council and TV personality Larry Kudlow, former Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White, Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic director, Sir Clive Gillinson, and Discovery Communications Chairman and CEO David Zaslav.
Guests ranging from young professionals to philanthropists were treated to a cocktail reception featuring cuisine from top kosher restaurants while meeting other like-minded supporters and watching the honorees arrive on the red carpet. The attendees were then ushered upstairs for the program which featured a full-course meal, meaningful speeches, and even a surprise performance by singer Michael Feinstein as well as a klezmer type band which had the crowd on their feet.
“Israel is important to me,” Voight explained to the crowd. “All through the Bible, the stories of the Jewish people in their land are so magnificent, so mysterious and so vulnerable. We must all come together now to be the blessing (God spoke of when he promised Israel to Abraham and the descendants of Sarah) because a blessing for Israel is a blessing for America.”
President Trump’s assistant, Jason Greenblatt, who arrived with this wife and six children, spoke of his work leading the team of negotiators that are developing a peace plan on behalf of the president which he said requires understanding the claims of both Jews and Palestinians while ensuring Israel’s security and right to defend herself is never compromised.
“Each day, I drive through the White House gates with excitement and awe knowing that I’m privileged to serve and give back to my country in many meaningful ways,” Greenblatt said. “My job is inspirational, exciting, frustrating, uplifting, tragic and amazing each and every day. (When we started our work) we were determined to seek the truth because we firmly believe that peace can only be built on truth. That’s why President Trump has been absolutely clear about Israel’s right to defend itself in the face of terror, most recently the attacks emanating from Gaza. That is why President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved our embassy there.”
Throughout his career on both television and radio, Larry Kudlow has been an outspoken supporter of Israel and expressed his views on how Israel is constantly facing challenges as a democratic society in the Middle East while being surrounded by hostile and authoritarian regimes. This economic expert, who has also advised Benjamin Netanyahu, applauded Israel’s economic growth – he said he doesn’t know how they do it himself!
“Each year, it gets more and more difficult for Israel,” Kudlow said. “We should be holding Israel up as a phenomenal example of how the world should work.”
Journalist Bret Stephens also spoke to the audience about Israel’s unique place in the region while attendees gave accolades to honoree Marion Wiesel, the recipient of the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Light of the Jewish People Award, and compared her to the great Jewish women of our time, calling her a modern day Queen Esther. Marion’s son Elijah also told the crowd what an amazing woman his mother is and how she has remained a pillar of strength and wisdom.
With an auction, live music and libations in an intimate and iconic venue, the evening was both fun and full of meaning. Most importantly, funds were raised for the organization whose mission is to disseminate universal Jewish values in politics, culture, and media, making the Jewish people a light unto the nations. The Values Network is based on the teachings of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who is best known for his many books including Kosher Sex and former TLC show Shalom in the Home. Rabbi Shmuley’s teachings provide a means for healing and strengthening families, diverting society’s focus from material greed and inspiring children to practice caring and compassionate relationships. His lectures, debates, radio and TV broadcasts, religious services, websites, social media, and published essays cater to a broad international audience. The goal is to inspire people to apply Jewish values into their everyday lives, ultimately conveying Jewish values in print and on the airwaves to both help America heal some of its greatest ills and to inspire Jewish youth with the power of its ideas.
By Julie Sagoskin– New York Jewish Guide