HE top brass of IDT competed for the limelight with one-liners that would have made Henny Youngman proud. It certainly brought the desired results – $2 million from 800 guests at the annual dinner at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan.
In accepting the award for his 10 years of work on behalf of Chai Lifeline, IDT chairman Howard Jonas responded, "I feel like I was invited to go hunting with the vice president."
For the last 10 years Jonas has been helping raise funds to enable Chai Lifeline provide much needed social and psychological services for children afflicted with cancer and support for their families, as well as operating the much acclaimed Camp Simcha summer camp for those kids.
Rabbi Simcha Scholar, executive vice president, presented the Decade of Leadership Award to chairman Jonas and chief legal officer David M. Colburn, both of IDT, the leading long distance provider.
Colburn counted several reasons Chai Lifeline gave them the Decade of Leadership Award:
1. They think the decade comes every year.
2. Howard has never been honored before. [Lots of laffs.]
3. The original honoree was shot by Dick Cheney.
Colburn killed with these lines. Those who laughed loudest included fellow honorees Mitchell Steinhause, chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, Jack Miles of Kelley Drye & Warren law firm, and his wife, Esther Miles, magistrate in the New York State Family Court.
Also IDT chief administrative officer Howard Millendorf, Joseph Sprung, Chai Lifeline executive director/development Samuel Zaks and presidium member Larry Spiewak, and campaign chairmen Steven J. Prince, chairman/CEO of Sempra Energy Trading, Kenneth Grossman, CFO of Foreh Capital Markets, and Eliza Weber and Jon F. Weber of Icahn Associates Corp.
Jonas praised Colburn, the former AOL president, as "the best businessman I ever met." They go places together and Colburn outshines him. It’s like the story of the pope in a motorcade in New York. He tells the driver to drive as fast as he can over the George Washington Bridge.
It was not fast enough. The pope takes the wheel and puts the driver in the back. The pontiff enjoys the thrill as he guns the car way over the speed limit – until a motorcycle cop stops him.
The officer is amazed to see the Holy Father behind the wheel. He calls headquarters for advice.
"Who did you stop – the mayor?" No.
"The governor?" No.
"The president?" No.
"I don’t know who, but the pope’s his driver."