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Sonny Shar and Robert Lee Morris

Sonny Shar and Deborah Defusco

Charlotte Fainblatt,
Prof. Amotz Weinberg and
Deborah Defusco

No Confusion Honoring
Morris And Defusco

By Tim Boxer

OBERT LEE MORRIS, known for his designer jewelry, is a child of the world. His Jewish father, Jack, of Chicago, was a pilot in the Air Force and moved often to different locations. His mother Sandy is a Southern Baptist.

Robert was born in Nuremberg where his father was a witness at the Nazi war crimes trial.

But he wasn’t raised there for long. Getting uprooted all the time meant he was in constant struggle with his identity.

“I went to the synagogue on Saturday, Bible school on Sunday and the psychiatrist on Monday,” he said.

I laughed, but he said it was true: “I was confused.”

There was no confusion on the part of Nahum G. Shar, president of the American Committee for Shenkar College in Israel. Shar presented Morris with the organization’s international jewelry design award at a dinner at the United Nations.

Morris was the first designer to open a store in Soho, New York, in 1978. His jewelry gallery Artwear is known around the globe, earning him a reputation as the father of designer jewelry. He has worked with such fashion luminaries as Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld and Anne Klein among others.

Shar also had an award for Deborah L. Defusco, head of merchandising at Mimi Maternity of Philadelphia. Unlike Morris, who’s never been to Israel, Defusco visited with her mother Geri.

She also became so enamored of the classes in engineering and design at Shenkar College in Ramat Gan that she started sponsoring scholarships for students who can’t afford the tuition.

Defusco pointed out that she’s not Jewish or Italian but German/Polish/Irish. In accepting the international merchandising award she quipped, “This is the bat mitzvah I never had.”

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