ZOA Justice Louis D. Brandeis Award Dinner 2023


The 2023 Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) Justice Louis B. Brandeis Award Dinner held at the Marriot Marquis in New York on Sunday night, December 3rd, certainly did not disappoint. Over 400 people attended this special event, which paid tribute to some of the Jewish people’s and Israel’s most ardent supporters. Rita Cosby, journalist and radio personality, was terrific as Mistress of Ceremonies. “Must get together for Israel” was the title of the night’s event, she said. She professed to be a friend of ZOA and Israel her entire life. She declared that there cannot be a moral equivalence between the massacre perpetrated by the terrorists on October 7th and Israel’s response. The IDF is fighting not only for Israel but for the entire Western civilization.

Elise Stefanik, a congresswoman from New York, has been a staunch supporter of Israel and the Jewish people. We need more people in Congress like her. “Israel’s fight is the world’s fight,” she declared. She developed her sensitivity to Jewish causes on account of her father, a Polish Catholic, who brought weapons to the Jews in the ghetto during World War II. She went on to introduce ZOA National Vice President Myron Zimmerman, who introduced Lee Zeldin, a former Congressman from New York, as the recipient of the Myron Zimmerman Award for pro-Israel activism. We can only encourage Mr. Zeldin, a true friend and ally of the ZOA, to run for public office again.

Mr. Morton Klein, the outstanding and indefatigable leader of the ZOA, spoke of the ZOA being the most successful Zionist organization in the United States for 124 years. Its mission statement is to acquire friends in Congress on both sides of the aisle and to fight anti-Israel bias in the courts, schools, and everywhere. Mr. Klein went on to introduce Mr. Ed Lewis, a prominent real estate lawyer in Los Angeles who received the Judge Louis D. Brandeis award. Mr. Lewis, a second-generation American, gave credit to his grandfather, who taught him to be a Zionist. Mr. Lewis is now a Zionist activist and a blessing for Israel. He recalled how he saw President Trump pray at the Western Wall on May 17, 2022. He praised the former president for bringing the American embassy to Jerusalem and for being instrumental in Israel signing peace agreements with four Arab countries.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and ZOA supporter Miriam Adelson welcomed Mike Johnson, Speaker of the House, who was presented with the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Defender of Israel Award.  His first act as Speaker was to show support for Israel and condemn the barbaric acts by Hamas against Jews. Speaker Johnson most deservedly received an invitation from his counterpart in Israel’s Knesset to speak there soon. Mr. Johnson becomes a member of our family because he clearly has our interests at heart. What a contrast with the former Democratic Speaker of the House!

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik – New York Jewish Guide

The most passionate voice of the night belonged to Miri Ben Ami, mother of 23-year-old Yoseph Chaim, who was taken hostage by Hamas. She bemoaned the fact that the ICRC (the International Red Cross) has yet to visit the hostages. We pray and plead for the immediate return of her son and the other hostages.

Missouri Senator Eric Schmitt was presented with an award for being a great Zionist.  He unabashedly supports stand-alone aid for Israel and funding munitions and the Iron Dome for Israel. He has fought against funding Iran, which finances Hamas and Hezbollah. Most importantly, he has come out in opposition to Jacob Lew being designated the next ambassador to Israel. Mr. Lew has supported the Iran deal and said that land liberated by Israel after the 1967 War is not Jewish land. Bring back David Friedman. We need a senator like Eric Schmitt here in New York.

As a journalist, I have been privileged to attend many Jewish functions. But the ZOA Award Dinner stands out for its advocacy and the defense of the Jewish people and Israel, which is surely needed. Uncomfortable facts are revealed, and the speakers, whether Jewish or not, support our values. This is certainly a very worthy organization to support. I look forward to next year.

Austin Rybstein- New York Jewish Guide