Rodin Museum Gala Attracts 350 Patrons


Chair of the Philadelphia Museum of Art trustees, the Honorable Constance Williams, joins His Excellency François Delattre, the French ambassador to the U.S., and Michael Scullin, Esq., Honorary French Consul in Philadelphia. Photo: Bonnie Squires.

— by Bonnie Squires

Jules Mastbaum, the Jewish philanthropist who, in the early 20th century, created and donated to the City of Philadelphia his fabulous collection of Rodin sculptures and the “jewel box” of a museum to house it, would have been very pleased with the number of Jewish philanthropists who turned out on September 15 for the Rodin Gala and fundraiser.

Mastbaum, who made his fortune as a movie theater mogul, spared no expense in having his “jewel box” of a Beaux Arts museum designed and built to house his collection.

More after the jump.  


Daniele Cohen, her husband Jerry Grossman, and her French-born friend Michele Rosen, who served on the Rodin Gala Committee. Photo: Bonnie Squires.


Committee members Hope Cohen (left) and Richard Green (middle), of Firstrust Bank, join Marina Kats, Esq. (right). Photo: Bonnie Squires.


(Left to right) Roberta and Carl Dranoff join  Constance Williams at the gala. Photo: Bonnie Squires.


(Left to right) Sheldon Margolis, committee members Jeanette and Joe Neubauer, and Marsha and Dr. Richard Rothman. Photo: Bonnie Squires.


Joyce and Dr. Herbert Kean. Photo: Bonnie Squires.


(Left to right) Lyn Ross and Leslie Anne Miller, Esq. Photo: Bonnie Squires


In the Balzac room at the Rodin Museum, Joe Rishel, of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum, welcomes (right) Iris Cantor, of the Iris and G. Bernard Cantor Foundation, and  (left) Iris’ friend Pamela Hoefflin. Photo: Bonnie Squires

The four-year restoration of the Rodin Museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway was guided by the original blueprints and now sparkles as it did when it first opened in the 1920s. Joe Rishel, the Art Museum’s curator of the Rodin Museum, escorted Iris Cantor, Chairman and President of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, to the gala. Her foundation, a major collector of Rodin sculptures, has loaned the massive “The Three Shades” to the museum, and it sits in the rejuvenated Rodin Museum gardens.

You could not walk two steps without bumping into either a patron of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which also runs the Rodin Museum, or a genuine Francophile.  In fact, the French Ambassador to the U.S., the Honorable François Delattre, was in cheerful attendance, along with Catherine Chevillot, Director of the Musée Rodin in Paris, and Michael Scullin, Esq., the Honorary French Consul in Philadelphia and Wilmington..

Among the 350 guests who paid a lot of money to attend the gala and to support the Rodin Museum at 22nd and the Parkway were many leaders of the Jewish community.  Many of them are also major donors at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and other arts and culture institutions in the region, including Lynne and Harold Honickman, Richard Green and Hope Cohen, Lyn Ross, and the chair of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Honorable Constance Williams.

After hors d’oeuvres and cocktails in the fabulous gardens, as well as remarks inside the totally restored museum, guests were treated to a gourmet dinner in a tent on the grounds of the museum.  Going from day to night, the sculptures and gardens glowed, first in sunlight, and then in artificial lights after sunset.





Admiring the sculptures are Judge Arlin Adams and his wife Neysa.
Photo: Bonnie Squires.



(Left to right) Alison Perelman, her mother Marsha Perelman, and friend Maya Capellan.
Photo: Bonnie Squires.



(Left to right) Lynne Honickman and Joyce deBoton
Photo: Bonnie Squires.

Israel Wants More of Obama’s Policies, Not Less

— by Max Samis

Following Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s assertion that he would “do the opposite” of President Barack Obama when it comes to Israel, Steven Grossman wrote in Haaretz that Israelis in fact want more of Obama’s policies — not less. Grossman went through Obama’s policies piece by piece, finding that to reverse them would simply mean “a less secure Israel.”

Grossman wrote:

Romney has taken his outrageous campaign rhetoric to a new level of hyperbole. Romney told religious conservatives he would do ‘the opposite’ of what President Barack Obama has done on Israel. Which raises the question: what has the President done, and what would Romney change?

Let’s start with the facts. Under President Obama, security assistance to Israel has increased to unprecedented levels. The Administration has dramatically increased funding for the Iron Dome system – which has already saved Israeli lives from the terror of Hamas rockets. The President has given Israel access to our most sophisticated military systems, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and initiated the largest joint exercise between the U.S. and Israeli militaries. While working to strengthen Israel’s security, the President has insisted that any future Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza be demilitarized.

Following the Romney plan and doing the opposite would mean, simply, a less secure Israel.There’s more. The Obama Administration has fought for Israel’s inclusion in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It has vetoed every UN resolution condemning Israel and defended Israel against the Goldstone Report. It boycotted the anti-Israel Durban II Conference and stood up for Israel in the wake of the Gaza Flotilla incident when no one else would.

The President has demanded that Palestinians negotiate directly with Israel, rather than pursue a misguided and dangerous statehood strategy at the UN. Meanwhile, he has refused to recognize Hamas until it renounces terrorism, accepts Israel’s right to exist, and abides by all prior agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.

Doing the opposite would only serve to weaken Israel’s hand in diplomacy and on the global stage.

Going above and beyond the realms of security aid and diplomatic engagement, President Obama has acted – swiftly and forcefully, in moments of imminent danger – to save individual Israeli lives.

To take one example: when Israelis faced an angry mob at their embassy in Cairo and Prime Minister Netanyahu called the White House in the middle of the night for help, President Obama didn’t hesitate to act. He took the initiative, called the Egyptian military leadership immediately, protected the Israelis from harm, and got them home safely.

And in the face of the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, the President’s policy has been clear: Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons is unacceptable. He worked with Congress to impose some of the toughest sanctions ever enacted on the Iranian regime. He built an international coalition to follow suit, creating a united front to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Today, our sanctions are biting and stronger than they have ever been.

Now, back to Governor Romney’s proposal: if we suspend rational belief for a moment and take him at his word, what would ‘the opposite’ look like? What could we expect from a Romney Administration when it comes to the U.S.-Israel relationship?

The impact of reversing course is plain: an Israel that’s less secure and weaker on the world stage, facing an Iran closer to a nuclear weapon, without a White House ally willing to protect Israel’s people at a moment’s notice. Is this really what’s in store from a Romney White House? Is this honestly what Mr. Romney believes?

At the end of the day, there are only two things we can believe about Mitt Romney when it comes to the U.S.-Israel relationship. Either he is engaged cynical partisan demagoguery or he is woefully ignorant of the state of the U.S.-Israel relationship under President Obama’s leadership.

Doing ‘the opposite’ is a risk the American people can’t afford to take.