Pared-Down, But Memorable Benefit

December 18, 2001, 12:00 AM EST

The Simon Wiesenthal Center annual dinner Marriott Marquis Thursday, 12.13.01 6 PM onward
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For many post-September 11 events--especially benefits--priorities have changed, and some of the most memorable evenings have pared-down but meaningful elements. The Simon Wiesenthal Center annual benefit dinner at the Marriott Marquis was such a night, honoring three people who have worked for tolerance and peace: Senator George Mitchell, Congressman John Lewis and Judy Feld Carr, who raised money to ransom 3,000 Syrian Jews over a thirty-year period.

Though long, the program was very moving and dramatic with well-made videos, something the Wiesenthal Center--which has won two Academy awards--knows how to do.

The kosher food catered by Newman and Leventhal was another high point: a vegetable napoleon over field greens, a particularly tasty Cornish hen with a waffle baked potato, and a delicious apple crisp for dessert. Rhonda Barad, eastern director of the center, opted for no flowers, and pared-down d?cor. But the national anthems of the United States and Israel, the Chanukah candles lit by four Holocaust survivors, and the emotional invocation by Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, chaplain of the New York Fire Department marked special moments at a serious but still celebratory event.

--Susan Silver

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