Halina & Samson Bitensky with David Pernick

Charity in Fashion

AT FIRST BLUSH it would appear that everyone at a Shenkar College event has to have some connection with textiles, couture, design or the Garment Center.

So it was not surprising that the American committee for Israel’s fashion and textile technology college chose to bestow its annual International Entrepreneur Award on Halina and Samson Bitensky of FAB Industries in the US, Sir Richard Greenburg of London’s Marks & Spencer, and Brazil’s Hans Stern of H. Stern jewelers.

But what was Martin Indyk, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, doing at this dinner at the Rainbow Room?

Jill & Martin Indyk

"My father used to make suits for the Russian czar," Indyk explained.

The English-born diplomat, a former US Ambassador to Israel, added, "My father would bring out the medals that the czar gave him for his service. Furthermore, my grandfather was one of the biggest shmatta manufacturers in New Zealand."

Nahum Shar, president of the American committee, said that Shenkar is contributing to peace by breaking barriers and bringing people together.

"Jordanians are asking, what has peace brought us? Shenkar has the answer. It is training Jordanians in textiles. We are playing a critical role in improving people’s lives in Israel and Jordan."

In presenting the award to Britain’s Sir Richard Greenburg, Stephen Rubin of the Pentland Group offered a story:

Three buyers went abroad and were captured by bandits. Before executing their prisoner, the bandits gave them a choice for their last supper.

The Italian buyer opted for pepperoni pizza. He got it and got shot. The French chose filet mignon. He got it and got shot. The British buyer asked for a plate of strawberries.

"Strawberries are out of season," the bandits said.

"I’ll wait," the Brit said.

I remember at last year’s Shenkar dinner, when Sports Authority chairman Jack Smith received an award, he defined an entrepreneur:

A man left his office every day and passed a woman selling pretzels. He gave her a quarter and walked away without taking a pretzel. One day the woman stopped him.

"I bet you want to know why I never take a pretzel," the man said.

"No," she said. "I want you to know that a pretzel is 35 cents."

That’s an entrepreneur!


Copyright©1999 -
15 Minutes Magazine, Inc.

Site Designed, Developed and Maintained by
Internet Web Systems Internet Consultants - Web Site Design -  Website Hosting
Any questions or comments regarding this website, or if you would like one of your own,
please contact us at