Hundreds of supporters and A-listers came out to support The Algemeiner’s 6th Annual J100 Gala on September 26th in New York City. The glamorous gala celebrated the release of the Algemeiner’s J100 List, recognizing those individuals who influence Jewish life. The evening’s honorees included famed actor Sir Ben Kingsley, who is known for his iconic roles in films such as Eichmann and Schindler’s List, and U.K. Channel 4 TV star Rachel Riley.
Editor In Chief and CEO, Dovid Efune, addressed the audience about today’s anti-Semitic state. “How does the tragic story of antisemitism end? Who can say? What we do know is that we are called on today to write our chapter in the book. We are determined that it shall never be said that under our watch the beast of antisemitism reawakened and that it did so unopposed” said Efune.
Holocaust survivor Halina Silber, number 16 on Oskar Schindler’s list, presented Kingsley with the newspaper’s meaningful Warrior For Truth award. The actor, who has portrayed prominent Jewish figures, including Itzhak Stern in Schindler’s List, spoke of his moving relationship with the late Eli Wiesel and how he has felt a strong duty to ensure we never forget the atrocities that have befallen the Jewish people. “When I met with the great Steven Speilberg to discuss playing Itzhak Stern I asked him ‘what is my narrative function in this role?’ and he said ‘Conscious. Witness’. As I was filming, I had in my pocket a photograph of Anne Frank and I would say to this beautiful photograph ‘dear girl, I’m doing this for you’. Every day on the set I would say that. Well, dear friends, tonight I can assure you that if given another opportunity to tell your story I can say wholeheartedly, ‘I’m doing this for you.”
Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart, President of the World Jewish Congress Diplomatic Corps., presented TV personality Rachel Riley with her award. Riley told the audience about her own story, and how just a year ago she thought “antisemitism wasn’t a ‘thing’ anymore.” Riley continued to share her views on how to overcome the challenges in today’s trying climate. “In the face of hate, there is a moral duty to act. I have a voice and I am going to use it. But I also have a brain too, and I’m going to use everything I have. We must speak out. If we’re quiet, the conversation is by default dominated by extremists. We have to speak with intelligence and not in ways that compound the evil, give it new life and amplify it, or lend it credibility. I’m supporting a Bill in the UK Parliament that would make administrators of social media forums, such as Facebook groups, filled not just with hate speech, but also with fake cures for autism that physically harm young children, with material that incites violence against women, against Muslims, indeed against any group they seek to target with their bile, to make them civilly and criminally liable for the content they recklessly allow to be published there. I’ve made a commitment to do one thing above all else. I’ll not cower in the face of hate.”
CEO of Talent Resources, Michael David Heller, was also honored. Kelly Bensimon gave her dear friend the award saying “I have seen and developed great respect for his passionate support for Israel and pride in the Jewish heritage”.
The evening’s Master of Ceremonies was CNN journalist Bianna Golodryga, while speakers included Consul General of Israel in New York Ambassador Dani Dayan, David Sterling and Ben Newhouse. Recognizable guests included Ira and Ingeborg Rennert, the Mayor of Beverly Hills John A. Mirisch, Sima and Morad Ghadamian, David Steinmann, George Farmer, Joseph and Deborah Aronow, Sam Herzberg, Shalom and Iris Maidenbaum, Gail Propp, Michael and Dana Cohen, Richard Miller, Mark Moskowitz, Ariel and Aleta Grunberg, Michael and Tanya Grunberg, Martin Sanders, Sol and Meri Barer, Jeffrey H. Rosen, Jonathan Holtzman, Ron Agam, James Taranto, Rickie Freeman, Buck Sexton, Dominic Green, Marty Peretz, Jere Van Dyk, Sir Clive Gillinson, Tuvia Tenenbom, Tunku Varadarajan, and Erwin Pearl. Event Chairs were Robert H. and Amy Book, and Neil and Sharon Book. Honorary Chairman was Bernard-Henri Levy.
Billed as the Jewish answer to the TIME 100, the 2019 list includes Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sacha Baron Cohen, Julian Edelman, Karlie Kloss and Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump, Jake Tapper, Lachlan Murdoch.
Now celebrating its 47th anniversary, The Algemeiner has recently been labeled the “fastest growing Jewish newspaper in the US” by CNBC. It has been described by former Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor as “the voice of the Jewish people and Israel” and hailed as “brave and relentlessly accurate” by longtime New Republic editor Marty Peretz.
Photo Credit: PMC/Sean Zanni for The Algemeiner