Israeli Consul General Yaron Sideman is welcomed to the American Friends of Ben Gurion University of the Negev reception in his honor by hostess AImee Katz and her daughter Kathy Katz-Hall. Photo by Bonnie Squires.
— by Bonnie Squires.
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, held a reception to welcome the new Mid-Atlantic Region Israeli Consul General, Yaron Sideman. Aimee Katz, of Bala Cynwyd, hosted the event, with Julia and Steve Harmelin, Esq., serving as co-hosts. Derek Gillman, President and CEO of the Barnes Foundation, spoke briefly about his pride in the fact that limestone from the Negev had been selected as the building material for the new museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Sideman had served previously in Lagos and in the New York Consulate. He told the large group assembled about cooperative ventures between America and Israel, going on right now, particularly with military forces.
The Consul General talked about Israel’s concerns, regarding the Arab Spring and the unrest and uncertainty in the region. During a question and answer period, he spoke of Turkey’s trying to gain favor with other Muslim countries, asserting that the break in relations between Israel and Turkey was initiated by the latter.
More after the jump.
Derek Gillman (right), President and CEO of the Barnes Foundation museum, introduced the new Mid-Atantic Region Israeli Consul General, Yaron Sideman, pointing out the architects of the new Barnes museum selected granite from the Negev for the new building. Photo by Bonnie Squires.
He also said that Tunisia, the country which initiated the overthrow of dictators in Arab countries, had benefited from Israel’s support in prior years, although he was not certain what Israel is doing currently or can do to assure the transition in Tunisia to a democratic state.
A few years ago, the American Associates had spent time in Tunisia before going on to the Negev in Israel. The president of Ben Gurion University, Dr. Rivka Carmi, is a geneticist who has done much research on the occurrence of Fragile X Syndrome in communities of Tunisian Jews from Djerba who have migrated to Israel.
Connie and Sam Katz, co-chairs of the Philadelphia region’s AABGU, were unable to get back to Philadelphia in time for the reception because of Hurricane Sandy. But the Charlotte and Dr. Carroll Weinreb, who will be honored at an AABGU brunch on November 11 at the Ritz- Carlton in Philadelphia, were delighted to be congratulated by Consul General Sideman at the reception. Sideman will also be at the brunch and will be joined there by the Honorable Barukh Binah from the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Julia Harmelin (right) represented her husband, Steve Harmelin, Esq., who was traveling and could not make the reception. Photo by Bonnie Squires.
Irwin and Adele Lipton were delighted to be part of the crowd which welcomed Consul General Sideman. Photo by Bonnie Squires.
Murray Shusterman, Esq., was delighted to meet the new Israeli Consul-General. Photo by Bonnie Squires.
(Left to right) Consul General Sideman chats with hostess Aimee Katz and friend of AABGU committee Dottie Wasserman before Sideman spoke at the reception in his honor. Photo by Bonnie Squires.
Arlen Specter and his wife, former City Councilwoman Joan Specter, enjoyed the Barnes Foundation opening gala this past May a few months before Specter learned his cancer had returned for the third and final bout. Photo: Bonnie Squires
— by Bonnie Squires
Har Zion Temple was the site of the funeral for Senator Arlen Specter, and the thousands of people who poured into the main sanctuary, which had to be opened up to include the ballroom behind it, represented a cross-section of America.
Judges and lawyers and U.S. Attorneys and academics and heads of charities and former Specter staffers by the score populated the seats at Specter’s funeral. Candidates and former candidates from both sides of the aisle came to pay tribute to a mover and shaker who according to every speaker, did the right thing, the fair thing, even when voting for President Obama’s stimulus package would cost him his seat in the Senate.
Specter’s influence crossed political boundaries, racial differences, and economic backgrounds, as evidenced by the huge diversity of those in attendance to pay their respects to Joan Specter and her family.
Federal officials, past and present, like Senator Bob Casey, former Senators Ted Kauffman and Harris Wofford, and former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies; state officers, including Governor Tom Corbett; federal and state judges; leaders of academia; and hundreds and hundreds of other notables, like Gwen Goodman, former executive director of the National Museum of American Jewish History, and Lee Ducat, founder of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Ducat nodded as each speaker mentioned Specter’s passionate defense of funding for cancer research and stem cell research, even when various Presidents decided to cut funidng of the National Institutes of Health.
Chief among the notables, however, was Vice President Joe Biden, who teared up as he spoke about Arlen Specter, his dear friend, who always was there for him, especially in times of personal crisis.
Biden and Specter seved in the U.S. Senate, and Biden said in his remarks that he knew he had spent more time with Specter than anyone else in the sanctuary, sitting with him in the Senate and especially in the Judiciary Committee meetings and hearings.
Biden also let people know that he had foregone campaign stops in two critical swing states, Colorado and Nevada, to pay tribute to his dear friend at Har Zion Temple.
President Obama that very morning had ordered all American flags to be flown at half-staff on all government properties, military bases, embassies, etc., in the nation and around the world, to salute Senator Arlen Specter on the day of his funeral.
But the people asked to speak by Joan Specter were close personal friends, like Biden. Like Ed Rendell. Like Flora Becker, widow of Judge Ed Becker. Like Judge Jan DuBois. Like Steve Harmelin, Esq. Like Shanin Specter’s long-time law partner, Tom Kline. Like Shanin Specter, the Senator’s son, and two of Arlen’s four grand-daughters.
Perhaps most remarkable, in all of their praise of Specter’s fairness and acumen, was the telling of how, less than two weeks before his demise, Specter insisted on teaching his class on the Constitution at Penn Law School. I guess that was why Penn President Amy Gutmann was also in attendance.
Probably half the people in the throng owed their careers to Arlen Specter, either through having been hired by him when he was either District Attorney, or having been appointed by him when he chaired the Judiciary committee.
Although each of the speakers, including life-long friends Flora Becker, Judge Jan DuBois, attorney Steve Harmelin, Governor Ed Rendell, Specter’s son Shanin, and Vice President Biden shared wonderful anecdotes and memories of Specter, going back to Penn undergraduate and Yale Law School days, it was two of Specter’s granddaughters who made the greatest impact. Sylvie Specter, by the way, is a friend and classmate at Penn of Biden’s own granddaughter.
Sylvie and Perri Specter told us that their grandfather had spent two weeks before his passing, working on yet another book – one that was a memoir with photographs from his amazing collection. They announced that the family plans to complete the book and have it published, joining the array of Senator Specter’s other remarkable books.
Rabbi Kieffer, Rabbi Knopf and Cantor Vogel of Har Zion contributed to the testimonials, making this a remarkable send-off for a remarkable man.
Major movers and shakers in Philadelphia’s economy were among the 1500 supporters at Saturday night’s 155th Anniversary Academy of Music Concert and Ball, including (left to right) Ron and Rachelle Kaiserman, Robert and Caroline Zuritsky, and Renee and Joe Zuritsky.
— by Bonnie Squires
Philadelphia’s premier white-tie event took place at the historic Academy of Music, preceded by receptions and dinner at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue.
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 155th Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball featured the debut on the Academy of Music stage of. Music Director Designate Yannick Nézet-Séguin , with special guests multiple Grammy Award®-winners singer/pianist Diana Krall and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Tipping its hat once again to the first Academy concert, the program was a mix of popular and classical music, just as the 1857 opening concert was.
Jazz performer Krall surprised the audience by calling back on stage her friend and collaborator, Yo-Yo Ma, to the delight of everyone.
More after the jump.
Terese Casey, wife of Senator Bob Casey, and Felice Wiener
Yannick also had the Philadanco dancers, reflecting the rainbow of colores which lit the stage and columns of the Academy, perform to the strains of the orchestra. A surprise finish was the appearance of the Society Hill Dancers, dressed in formal attire of the 1850s, doing a waltz.
The Jewish community was among 1500 supporters of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Academy of Music, an historic monument to music, opera and dance. The Gala evening began with a pre-concert dinner. Guests could choose from two exciting offerings this year: the President’s Cocktail Party and Dinner at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue, or a Dine Around option, which allows patrons to dine at selected restaurants along the Avenue of the Arts, or on their own. In a nod to the Academy’s early years, and in a unique departure from recent history, both the Anniversary Concert and the Academy Ball were held entirely within the Academy of Music. A “symphony in three movements,” this unique evening gave attendees the chance to celebrate the “Grand Old Lady of Locust Street” within her very walls.
Public officials attending the evening included Governor and Mrs. Tom Corbett, Senator and Mrs. Bob Casey, a number of city and state officials, and corporate, cultural, arts organizations and philanthropic foundation leaders.
Christina and John Saler
The gala was co-chaired by Joanna McNeil Lewis, president and CEO of the Academy of Music, and John R. Saler, chairman of Stradley and Ronon’s Government Affairs Practice Group, who also serves on the board of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Corbetts greet Richard Worley, chairman of the Philadelphia Orchestra, with Joanna McNeil Lewis and John Saler, co-chairs of the Academy of Music Concert and Ball, in the background.
In the receiving line with the co-chairs and the Corbetts were Richard Worley, chairman of the Philadelphia Orchestra board of trustees, and Allison Vulgamore, CEO of the Orchestra.
The energy of Yannick, the Orchestra, the guest artists and the dancers enthralled the audience. And the impressive program journal, reflecting the support of various segments of the community, was the parting gift as people finally left the Academy balls, held in various sections of the Grand Old Lady of Broad Street.
Photos credit: Bonnie Squires.