Jay Feinberg and his bone marrow
donor, Becky Faibisoff, a teacher
from SAR School in Riverdale, N.Y.

Gathering of Heroes
Giving Gift of Life

By Tim Boxer

ON RIFKIN has a problem. He’s afraid of speaking extemporaneously before large audiences. But give him a script and send him out on stage, and he’s terrific.

“There are two groups of actors,” he said.

“One group is terrific and can speak in front of any gathering. Second group is terrified unless they’re playing a character. I am of the second group.”

After that confession he went on to serve admirably as emcee of the third annual Gift of Life gala at the Hilton New York.

“This dinner has raised one million dollars,” Rifkin announced. “If that’s not enough, dinner chairman Warren Spector says he’ll match anyone for more.”

Jay Feinberg founded the organization, which tests thousands of organ donors to match up with individual recipients.

Howard Jonas and Pat Robertson

Spector, president and co-chief operating officer of Bear Stearns, is the brother of Dr. Ruth Spector, a transplant recipient who met her donor, Josh Hoffman, at the gala. Both are from Long Island, N.Y.

Dr. Spector thanked Feinberg: “You have given me life. It changed my life. I now choose carefully the fights with my husband.”

Dan Brown, a potential transplant recipient who suffers from leukemia, told a Mae West story to make a point:

Cindy was wrapped in a gorgeous fur coat as she made her entrance into the bar to meet her friend Mae West. “I met a man with a thousand dollars,” she said.

Months later they meet again, and this time Mae West is wearing a beautiful fur coat.

“Oh, Mae, did you meet a man with a thousand dollars?”

“No, Cindy, I met a thousand men with one dollar each.”

“Sometimes,” Brown explained, “it takes a thousand people to have the impact on a single individual.”

Lois Lautenberg, a Gift of Life
supporter, with Jay Feinberg and
Warren Spector

“What an extraordinary group of people we have in this room,” Rabbi Avi Weiss said. “You don’t strap yourselves with explosive belts and take life—you give life.”

“This is the best dinner I’ve ever been at,” IDT chairman Howard Jonas remarked. “I’ve been in this room with total heroes. I cry at movies. I definitely don’t cry at dinners. At this dinner I cried.”

Dr. Pat Robertson, founding chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network and a personal friend of Jonas, revealed that last year he suffered from prostate cancer. An Israeli urologist operated on him and now the noted evangelist is cancer free.

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