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POWER BENEFITS


Leon Charney, George Van Anson and John Rhea were honored at
Helen Yarmak Penthouse


Hassan Askari and Walter Adler meet Russell Simmons at reception

ETHNIC UNDERSTANDING
It Takes A Yes Man
To Build A Foundation

Story by Nina Boxer
Photos by Tim Boxer

ANY well-heeled individuals support the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding in its mission to bridge the gap between diverse communities. But John B. Rhea, a managing director at Lehman Brothers, stands out as a "yes man."

Hip hop impresario Russell Simmons, the foundation chairman, said that whenever he calls upon Rhea, the man says yes.

"I know why he always says yes," Simmons said. "Heís so rich."

"You should call him more often," said Rabbi Marc Schneier, the president.

Simmons and Schneier presented the foundationís Joseph Papp Racial Harmony Award to Rhea, TV personality Leon H. Charney, and George L. Van Amson, a managing director at Morgan Stanley, at a reception at the Helen Yarmak Penthouse on New Yorkís Fifth Avenue.

Charney mentioned the day he escorted Sammy Davis Jr. to Israel.

"Baby, Iím in my homeland!" Davis exclaimed.

"Sammy," Charney said, "this is Israel, not Uganda."

"No, I converted."

Among the guests were Walter Sebastian Adler, 23, and Hassan Askari, 20. Both had black eyes and bruises.

Adler and three friends were on the subway to Brooklyn from a Chanukah party in Manhattan when they were attacked recently by 14 young people. Askari was the only man on the crowded train who helped Adler fight off the Jew-bashing assailants.

"The miracle of Chanukah," Adler said, "is not just a Muslim standing up to help a Jew, but a heroic man who came to the aid of total strangers."

Schneier, spiritual leader of the Hampton and New York Synagogues, was so impressed with Adlerís talk that he announced, "Iím going to invite you to deliver a sermon."

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