Manhattan Jewish Historical Initiative, 4th Annual Jewish Hall of Fame Class of 2020

By:Dr.Adal M.Hussain,Phd (AKA) Dr.Abbey ,Editor @ Large for World Liberty TV

The New York Jewish community could well be considered one of the greatest centers of Jewish living, intellectual and cultural achievement, and participation and contribution to our home country as any community in the entire 5,000 year history of our Jewish civilization.


Incredibly, this local history has never systematically been put in place for Manhattan (in the past decade, local Jewish historical societies have been established for Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island).

This is a legacy project, and one that could not have been accomplished in the planned scope until now. The new technological age creates the possibility to use website and social media to integrate information, including pictures, neighborhoods, stories, oral and video histories, among so many other things.The outreach to the local, national and international community, Jewish and non-Jewish, is now self-evident.

Dan Beiderman President Bryant Park Corporation

Through the Manhattan Jewish Historical Initiative, the story of the Jewish community can be marketed to the world, serving as a means by which the life, institutions, and cultural activities of the New York Jewish community can be defined, and marketed for the purpose of giving due recognition to its great achievements, and its role in fostering the Jewish religion, Jewish cultural life and thinking, and Tikkun Olam, in its contribution to the greater multicultural community it has lived with in Manhattan, NYC, America, Israel and the world.

Quarterly meeting have been held since July, 2012, bringing together leaders representing the broad spectrum of the Jewish community of Manhattan, including the Jewish cultural institutions and organizations, Jewish elected officials, religious community, educational institutions, and others.Initially there has been an exploration of resources in the community. The Manhattan Jewish community has vast resources to call upon, whether it be collections, research and histories already in place at the museums and organizations, city and organizational archives, and so forth, whether it be in terms of the technical expertise of those involved, or the outreach to young people.

Dr.Abbey with Howard Teich

This needs to be collected and coordinated, and added to with the collections and stories of the Jewish community at large. Additionally, as an example, the coordination of MJHI with elected officials in their districts for stories of neighborhoods and personal stories would be a boon to everyone involved.As to the direction for the Initiative, initially it will be low-budgeted, with not much more than a consultant to establish a website, which will be necessary as the backbone and vehicle for this project. The website will be sophisticated, and in many ways be structured similar to the model that has already been created by the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative.

Dr.Abbey with Billionaire Businesswoman Laurie Tisch

Target date for a MicroSite was suggested for late, 2013, with full Website projected for late Spring, 2014.  An initial event was planned, and held in Fall, 2013 to showcase the Initiative, and also let the community participate directly.Clearly the project will need funding, although this Initiative is not conceptualized to create a significant overhead, as the bulk of the effort will be community and technologically driven. Social media campaigns will be incorporated in all planning, both for marketing and fundraising, as that is today’s outreach.

Awards given to hall of fame honoree’s

Larger take-on’s will be conceptualized as the Initiative progresses, including the possibility of using the Initiative as a vehicle for increasing Jewish culture tourism to NYC.MJHI is conceptualized to not be competitive with any current organization in the Jewish community, and to be supportive of a longer-term legacy project of the entirety of the Jewish community.Manhattan Jewish Historical Initiative (MJHI),  Jewish Hall of Fame , Class of 2020, took place on Tuesday May 5th 2021, at the Bryant Park , 42nd St Between 5th and 6th Avenues.

The Following were honored in the class of 2020: Georgette Bennett, Dr. Bennett—an award-winning sociologist, criminologist, and journalist—is Founder and President of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.

Georgette Bennett Receiving award from Tina Weiss

The Center is firmly committed to the idea that religious pluralism is one of the linchpins of a democratic society. To that end, the Center takes action against the destructive effects of religious hatred through a range of innovative domestic and international programs. These programs, which bridge theology and practicality, focus on: schools and after school programs, the workplace, deadly sectarian conflicts, special consultations and educational forums.

The field of religious diversity in the workplace was pioneered by Dr. Bennett at the Tanenbaum Center. As a result, the Tanenbaum Center is now the leading resource in this field and was cited in a global study by the International Labour Organization as one of the few entities in the world doing systematic work in this arena. Dr. Bennett’s 2003 publication, Religion in the Workplace: Navigating the Complex Landscape, also broke new ground and is the first comprehensive, interactive managers’ toolkit to deal with religious diversity issues.

Dr.Abbey with Howard Lorber Chairman Douglas Elliman

Howard Lorber:  Howard M. Lorber is the Executive Chairman of Douglas Elliman, one of the nation’s oldest and largest real estate brokerage firms with approximately $29.1 billion in annual sales volume and approximately 6,700 affiliated real estate agents. Mr. Lorber became Chairman of Douglas Elliman in 2003 and has since achieved record sales year over year. These record results are the product of Mr. Lorber’s transformational leadership and business acumen; and, under his direction, Douglas Elliman continues to display unprecedented economic might and influence in the industry.In addition to his role at Vector Group, Mr. Lorber serves as Executive Chairman of Nathan’s Famous Inc. and as a director of Clipper Realty Inc. In 2017, Mr. Lorber received a Presidential appointment to serve as Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Gale Brewer With Guests in attendance

He is also Chairman of the Southampton Hospital Foundation; Co-Chairman of the Silver Shield Foundation – a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance towards the educational costs of children of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty – and serves on the board of Garden of Dreams. Additionally, he is a trustee of Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami; a trustee of the University of Miami Real Estate Advisory Board and Citizen’s Advisory Board; a trustee of Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi); and is on the Citi Private Bank North American Advisory Board.Mr. Lorber holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Master of Science degree in Taxation and an Honorary Doctorate from Long Island University, where he is also a trustee.

L-R Howard Teich Chair MJHI with Rabbi Joseph Potasnik

Laurie Tisch:  Laurie M. Tisch is the President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, which strives to increase access and opportunity for New Yorkers. Ms. Tisch’s philanthropy stems from her family’s legacy of giving in New York City, from years of experience serving on boards, building institutions, and developing partnerships, and from an engaged civic life.She has served as Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Whitney Museum of American Art and is a current member of the Executive Committee and is Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and a Trustee of the Aspen Institute. She is also a co-owner and member of the Board of Directors of the New York Football Giants.Ms. Tisch is Chair Emeritus of the Center for Arts Education (CAE) and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM).

Rabbi Robert Levine with Josie Levine


Rabbi Robert Levine: Robert Levine, Senior Rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom since 1991, is an inspiring speaker, teacher, and counselor to congregants and community alike. A clear thinker with a terrific sense of humor, he is a sought-after speaker and media guest on national radio and television programs.

Especially active in communal affairs, he currently serves on The Clergy Advocacy Board of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and on The Muslim Jewish AdvisoryCouncil. He is a member of the Commission of Religious Leaders of New York City, the American Jewish Committee as well as Synergy/UJA Federation. He is a past President of the New York Board of Rabbis, and has served as Vice-President and Chairman of its Interfaith Committee. He has chaired the Catholic/Jewish Dialogue with the Archdiocese of the City of New York, the publications committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

Bryant Park NYC

Rabbi Levine is the author of three books. His latest book, What God Can Do For You Now: For Seekers Who Want to Believe (Sourcebooks, Inc. 2008), represents his personal faith journey and is for Jews, Christians and secularists who want to find a way back from skepticism and self-doubt about God. He asserts that with all our reservations, we can still have a real relationship with God that matters for our lives and for the world that needs action emerging from faith. Where Are You When I Need You? Befriending God When Life Hurts (HarperSanFrancisco, 1996) offers timeless stories and anecdotes for readers of all ages and faiths to strengthen and renew their relationship with God, even in the face of one’s gravest doubts. In There Is No Messiah and You’re It: The Stunning Transformation of Judaism’s Most Provocative Idea (Jewish Lights, 2003), Rabbi Levine urges us to recognize that the powerful messianic ideals we’re waiting to have delivered to us are already present in our own lives.

L-R Dr.Abbey with David Price of NBC Rabbi Potasnik and Mark Jaffe GNYCC

David Price: Dave Price is the weather anchor for NBC 4 New York’s 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. newscasts.  He also serves as a fill-in weather anchor for NBC’s TODAY.Prior to joining NBC 4 New York, Price co-anchored FOX 5’s Good Day New York and served as weather anchor for CBS’s The Early Show. He has also covered major weather events for the CBS Evening News, include Hurricane Katrina.For more than a decade, Price has travelled to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Djibouti and military installations around the globe during the holiday season, performing comedy for U.S. troops.  He is also an active volunteer and supporter of children’s charities across the Tri-State region.A native New Yorker, Price lives in New York City with his wife Jacqueline, along with their son Eli, daughter Caroline and adopted golden retriever Wally.

L-R Honoree Judge Jonathan Lippman with Doron Gopstein

Joan Roth: Joan Roth is an internationally acclaimed portraitist and American social documentarian based in New York City. Her powerful visual portrayals of the universal strength and beauty of Feminist activists, women who are homeless, Jewish women, Ethiopian Jews, and other subjects, as they exist, influence, and are influenced by a variety of cultural surroundings.From Ethiopia to Yemen, India and Israel, and back to the streets of New York – Roth’s remarkable life and photographic odyssey is a celebration of the strength of women around the world. She hopes that her work will allow people to see ourselves as the mirror to one another.

2020 Honorees and officers of MJHI

Judge Jonathan Lippman: The Honorable Jonathan Lippman, former Chief Judge of New York and Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, is Of Counsel in the New York office of Latham & Watkins LLP and a member of the firm’s Litigation & Trial Department. He provides strategic counsel to clients on New York Law and appellate matters nationwide, and is a leader of the firm’s pro bono practice.

Judge Lippman served as Chief Judge of the State of New York and Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals from February 2009 through December 2015. During his tenure on the Court of Appeals, Chief Judge Lippman authored major decisions addressing constitutional, statutory and common law issues shaping the law of New York, the contours of state government, and the lives of all New Yorkers.

Judge Lippman was the 2016 American Bar Association’s John Marshall Award recipient, an award whose prior recipients include Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor. Judge Lippman presently serves as the Chair of the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, a 27 person blue ribbon commission, formed to examine the future of the Riker’s Island jail facilities in the context of systemic criminal justice reform.

L-R Joan Roth honoree with Lori Weissman

Jamie deRoy:  Jamie deRoy is a show business tour de force — an award-winning producer; cabaret, stage, film and TV performer; recording artist/producer and humanitarian. In addition to seven Tony Awards®, Jamie has won eight MAC Awards, eight Drama Desk awards, two Audience Choice Awards, eight Drama League Awards, four Back Stage Bistro Awards, 13 Telly Awards and CaB Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been honored by Theatre Works/USA, Primary Stages and the Ruth Kurtzman MAC Award.

A frequent presence on the New York nightclub scene, Jamie has produced nine CDs in the Jamie deRoy & friends series on Harbinger and PS Classics labels. Her long running shows benefit her favorite charitable causes, such as “The Actors Fund: Jamie deRoy & friends Cabaret Initiative,” a program to assist people in the cabaret industry with help for medical needs and concerns.Jamie’s has co-produced 60 Broadway shows and 46 off-Broadway shows.

Dr.Abbey with Liz Neumark Founder Great Performances

Liz Neumark: Liz Neumark founded Great Performances as a waitress-staffing agency for women in the arts, which has since transformed into one of the country’s foremost catering companies. Under her guidance, Great Performances continues to set the pace on business development, innovation, equality and thought leadership in the hospitality industry.

In 2006, Liz established Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, NY, and founded The Sylvia Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing issues in children’s health. Liz and her colleagues are activists in tackling food-related issues and engage in a number of initiatives including food rescue, anti-hunger, healthy food access, local agriculture and the full utilization of food.Liz sits on the boards of GrowNYC,, The Fund for Public Housing, The Sylvia Center and is Board Chair for Hudson Square Business Improvement District and was recently, named one of New York’s Most Powerful Women by Crain’s New York. She was recently featured on Her Big Idea as a woman entrepreneur who transformed a simple concept into a thriving business.

Jamie deRoy Broadway Producer with Howard Teich

Liz is a third generation Manhattanite, majored in Urban Studies and Political Science at Barnard College, is a perennial activist and has raised her family in NY. Liz is the author of Sylvia’s Table, a seasonal cookbook for families.

David Zaslav: David Zaslav net worth and salary: David Zaslav is an American business executive who has a net worth of $200 million dollars. David Zaslav was originally focused on a career in law, graduating from Boston University’s School of Law, and serving as an attorney for LeBouef, Lamb, Leiby & MacRae. He also worked as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, teaching a course on the business of cable television. He began working for NBC in the late 80s, and developed both CNBC and MSNBC while with the company. He also helped develop multiple NBC affiliates, including Bravo, Syfy, Telemundo, USA Network, A&E, The History Channel, and The Sundance Channel, to name a few. He also served as President of Cable and Domestic TV and New Media Distribution for NBC Universal. In 2007, he became the President and CEO of the Discovery Channel. Since becoming head of Discovery, he has launched multiple successful initiatives, including partnering with Oprah Winfrey to launch the Oprah Winfrey Network, and developing Planet Green, the award-winning network devoted to sustainable living.

L-R Rosanne Gideon with Dr Abbey and Jill Fine Mainelli

Conversant/presenters included: Tina Weiss, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Josie Levine, Lori Weissman, Doron Gopstein, Howard Teich.

Live performance was by Rachel Maria Barsness, of NYC Street Theater and world renowned Israeli performer Avram Pengas.

World Renowed Israeli Entertainer Avram Pengas

Co Emcee of the event were, Howard Teich , chair of Manhattan Jewish Historical Initiative, and the brain child of the  MJHI’s Jewish Hall of Fame, alongside Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of New York Board of Rabbis.

Close to fifty people were in attendance at the ceremony, due to the COVID-19, Strict CDC Guidelines were followed.

See more about the Manhattan Jewish Historical Initiative (MJHI’s) Manhattan Jewish Hall of Fame class of 2020, in our World Liberty TV, Cultural Channel and blogs by clicking here.

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