Stephen D. Solender and
UJA-FEDERATION OF NEW YORK
Peggy Tishman Honored
For Charitable Leadership
By Tim Boxer
ERE’S a switch: UJA-Federation of New York held a dinner at the Pierre Hotel and didn’t ask for contributions. You know they need money, especially now when they created an Israel Emergency Fund with $10 million raised in four days.
Executive vice president John S. Ruskay explained that the event was being held “to honor two people who have given their lives to our sacred mission.”
He presented Peggy Tishman with the Alan C. Greenberg Keepers of the Flame Award and executive vice president emeritus Stephen D. Solender with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Sixteen years ago, Tishman helped merge the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and United Jewish Appeal. She became its first president.
Current president Larry Zicklin marveled: “No one else could have achieved that and still be loved enough to be honored here.”
On video, Tishman told how she grew up in a home where “being Jewish gave my father indigestion.”
Her family was far removed from their heritage. Her parents never discussed the Holocaust in the ‘30s and ‘40s. In fact, she said, they sent her to a private school where she learned “all the Methodist prayers.”
Alan C. “Ace” Greenberg and
She found her destiny through two people from the Federation who “converted” her. One gave her the book, Jews, God and History, which she found “so meaningful.”
“All of you were way ahead of me in being Jewish,” she said. “We are such special people. We can revel in it.”
Calling the Palestinian suicide bombers “homicide maniacs,” Israeli Consul General Alon Pinkas said the solution to end the conflict is to erect “a Berlin Wall” to separate Israelis from West Bank Arabs.
Otherwise, he warned, due to the spiraling growth of the Arab population, Jews will cease to be a majority in their own land.
Israel, he said, must remain a Jewish state and a democracy. But if the Arab demographic growth overwhelms the Jewish population, “Zionism will no longer be valid. Soon we will pay a price in terms of our own identity.”
He said he’d be “very comfortable if there would be a Berlin Wall separating us. I don’t need their culture. I don’t wait for the Qalqilya Symphony Orchestra to play in Tel Aviv.”