JEWISH HOME LIFECARE
Real Estate Magnate Larry Silverstein
Reveals How He Found His Wife
ARCIA RIKLIS, daughter of
Meshulam Riklis, dreaded the day her mother, Judith,
had to go to the hospital for one last time. She got lucky when
she found Jewish Home Lifecare on upper Manhattan. It has been
helping elders live a dignified life for 166 years.
Marcia’s mother, who was Meshulam’s
first of three wives, spent a month at the facility on 106th
Street. "Although the building was shabby," Marcia said, "the
care was anything but. That last month of her life was happy and
productive. She went cold turkey on all her medications that
were making her so weak and she proudly showed us how she had
begun to walk on her own again."
On the last night the whole family was
in her room. They turned on the electric menorah and sang
Chanukah songs. "It is a joyous memory," Marcia said.
Marcia told the story last month at
the Mandarin Oriental in Manhattan, where she chaired a gala to
benefit the Jewish Home Lifecare. The theme was "Eight Over
Eighty," celebrating eight remarkable lives: Dominic Chianese
of The Sopranos; Richard Eisner of EisnerAmper
accounting firm; Emily and Eugene Grant of the
Eugene M. Grant real estate investment firm; Joan Wachtler,
who’s been active in various social service agencies before
retiring as associate executive director of the Samuel Field
YM-YWHA; Edith Windsor, LGBT trailblazer who changed the
course of history when she challenged the Defense of Marriage
Act and won when the U.S. Supreme Court last year declared the
law unconstitutional; and Klara and Larry
Silverstein, the real estate powerhouse.
Everybody had a story. But only
Silverstein brought the house down, even though he was not
present. His daughter Lisa, senior vice president of
Silverstein Properties, found her dad’s remarks quite amusing.
Speaking on videotape, Larry offered
his own version of "How I Met Your Mother." He related how his
parents sent him to an educational summer camp in 1951, because
it was free. He was assigned to the kitchen. As it happened,
Klara was his boss and she was relentless. She made sure that
every spoon, every fork, every knife was clean as a whistle.
Larry bristled at her instructions. "She’s a bit meshugah," he
thought. "She’s overdoing it."
At summer’s end Larry was relieved he
could escape from his oppressor. "I had a terrible case of
dishpan hands," he complained on the tape. "Unbelievable what my
hands looked like. I never wanted to see her again."
Next thing he knew he got an
invitation to Klara’s surprise birthday party. "In those days,"
he said, "when you had an opportunity for a free meal, you went.
Besides I couldn’t help but notice how good she looked."
Of course they started dating. It was
difficult at times. Her father had an attitude: "No chupah, no
shtupah" [no wedding, no sex].
The video ended with a stunned Klara
whispering, "I trust that will not be on the tape."
Peals of laughter erupted from the
audience, which included Washington Post columnist
Richard Cohen, UJA president Alisa Robbins
Doctoroff, Nancy and Morris Offit, Alliance for
Downtown New York president Jessica Lappin, Pat and
John Klingenstein, Carole and Jerry Levin, Judith
Stern Peck, Susie and Jeff Stern, UJA-Federation
chair Linda Mirels, and Jewish Home Lifecare president
Audrey Weiner. The gala raised $1.25 million.