Michael Douglas gets a tour of society’s
exhibits with George Blumenthal, board
chairman of NTL Communications and
Corecomm Communications, and an AJHS
board member.

Kennth Bialkin (right), society president,
and Adam Barsky

Erica Jesselson, Robert Morgenthau,
Seth Lipsky

Checking out the exhibits are (from left)
Susan Woodland, Hadassah archivist;
Norman and Gerry Sue Arnold, exhibit
sponsors, and Jane Zolot, head of
Hadassah’s archives committee.

You Get What You Ask
So Always Ask for More

HEN the American Jewish Historical Society was seeking funds to reestablish itself in New York City, where it began in 1892, president Kenneth Bialkin approached Mayor Rudy Giuliani. The organization had been housed for many years in Waltham, Mass, near Brandeis University, where it still maintains a presence.

Gotham being the capital of the world, the mayor responded, “We’ll do it. How much do you need?”

At the opening last month of the society’s new offices, Bialkin confessed,  “I’ll never forgive myself for asking for only $10 million.”

Michael Douglas left Catherine Zeta-Jones and little Dylan at home to join a horde of VIPs in dedicating the society’s gorgeous new space at the just built Center for Jewish History on 16th Street. District Attorney Robert Morgenthau,  Leon Levy, philanthropist Erica Jesselson, and Adam Barsky, director of New York City’s Office of Management Budget who represented the mayor, participated in the opening ceremonies.

American Jewish Historical Society is the nation’s oldest ethnic or religious historical organization. Among its collection of 50,000 books, pre-Revolutionary and federal portraits and artifacts, is the original handwritten manuscript of Emma Lazarus’s sonnet, The New Colossus, which adorns the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Norman and Gerry Sue Arnold of Colombia, S.C are sponsoring the opening exhibit. He serves on the AJHS board and she’s a member of  Hadassah’s national board.

Already president Kenneth Bialkin has ambitions to expand the scope of the society.

“We intend to open an archive of Jewish sports,” he announced. “We want to emphasize the remarkable role Jews have played in American sports.”


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