By Rochelle Maruch Miller
They came, they inspired, and they imbued us with an immense sense of nachas and pride. It was truly an enchanted evening paying homage to an astonishingly accomplished and diverse group of individuals who have reached the pinnacle of their respective fields while maintaining a Torah-observant lifestyle.
Jew in the City’s fourth annual Orthodox All-Stars Premiere Party was an elegant red-carpet event that took place at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City on Thursday, March 31. Surpassing all expectations, it featured VIP opportunity to meet the all-stars, a world-class buffet by “Top Chef” Alex Reznik of Bedford Kitchens, and chances to win once-in-a-lifetime prizes in the All-Stars Experience Auction. This Chinese-style auction offered exclusive access to prizes that only Jew in the City could offer, such as experiences and opportunities from all-stars past and present, including autographed boxing gloves, in-person cooking classes, and a live taping of the Big Bang Theory.
This year’s Jew in the City honorees included Ahmed Zayat, owner of triple-crown-winning thoroughbred racehorse American Pharoah; Baroness Ros Altmann, United Kingdom’s Minister of Pensions and member of the House of Lords; and Five Towns resident Ilana Wernick, Emmy-award-winning co-executive producer of the hit TV series Modern Family. Joining them were Lawrence Burian, executive vice president of the Madison Square Garden Company, owner of the famed arena in New York City, as well as of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, and New York Liberty sports teams; Jeremy England, the MIT physicist referred to as “the next Darwin” for his mathematical theories and explanations of the origins of life; Zahava Reisman, creator and founder of Sarah Chloe Jewelry, whose Hollywood collaborators include Gwyneth Paltrow; Gregory Zuckerman, award-winning business journalist for the Wall Street Journal and bestselling author; Gail Hoffman, treasurer of Columbia University; Ambassador Norman Eisen, former United States envoy to the Czech Republic and champion for ethnic government practices; and Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, creator of Kids Kicking Cancer, combining therapy and martial arts for children fighting cancer.
Through a website (JewintheCity.com), YouTube channel (where its videos have been viewed over one million times), and via Facebook and Twitter, Jew in the City explains important contents such as Shabbos, keeping kosher, and taharas ha’mishpachah. With a mix of light humor and rich content, Jew in the City explores these and other topics in a pleasant and easy-to-understand fashion, appealing to anyone who wishes to learn more about observant Jews and Orthodox Judaism.
For Allison, seeing the sense of camaraderie that exists between past all-stars and observing new bonds being forged between this year’s all-stars and those individuals who were previously honored is a joy to behold. “They share so much in common. Each all-star has achieved tremendous success in his or her respective field, despite facing challenges as an Orthodox Jew, and has demonstrated a constant kiddush Hashem by comporting themselves according to the Torah.”
Featured on the outstanding program was a film with interviews of the all-stars. Mesmerized, the audience learned that Ambassador Norman Eisen, former U.S. envoy to the Czech Republic, is the son of a Holocaust survivor from Czechoslovakia who spoke of Hashem’s great chesed in surviving the Shoah, and her son’s distinguished appointment and return to her homeland on Air Force One.
Addressing the audience on that special evening one week after Purim, Allison drew an analogy between Mordechai and the miracle of Purim and the honors accorded the all-stars. “Just as Mordechai was given the highest honors and prestige because of his convictions and for remaining steadfast and unwavering in observing the Torah–a true leader of Bnei Yisrael–the all-stars are proud Torah-observant Jews who are a source of pride and nachas and exemplars of Orthodox Judaism.”
Rochelle Maruch Miller is a contributing editor for the Five Towns Jewish Times. She is a journalist, creative media consultant, lecturer, and writes for many magazines, newspapers, and private clients. She can be reached at Rochellemiller04@aol.com.