Caren Constantiner, Event Chair; Susan Oppenheim and Carol A. Stahl, Co-Chairs
Entitled "A Heritage Journey Me'dor Le'dor," the luncheon drew more than 160 people to the Center for Jewish History to honor Dr. Ruth Gruber, Vera Stem, Jacob Waisbord, Myra Treitel and Bernice P. Slutzman, with a united commitment to preserving East European Jewish culture for future generations
Dr. Ruth Gruber, recipient of the YIVO Lifetime Achievement Award, is best known for escorting 1,000 World War II refugees from Europe to America in a covert mission for the Roosevelt administration, while serving as Special Assistant to Harold lckes, the Secretary of the Interior. An acclaimed journalist and author, Gruber was honored for her constant vigilance and dedication to Jewish culture and Israel.
Stern, recipient of the Vilna Award, has selflessly committed herself to the arts and to humanitarian causes. As president of the American-Israel Cultural Foundation (ATCF) and throughout her 40 years of leadership, she has engendered many artistic innovations and successes. To honor her Vilna roots, she works to preserve Vilna yidishkayt and is committed to maintaining its culture. "To be honored by my friends is a special moment for me," Stern noted, after an introduction by her grandsons, Eytan and Noah.
Waisbord and Treitel, father and daughter recipients of the Me'dor Le'dor Award, exemplify dedication and love for Jewish culture and the act of sharing between generations. "We are so pleased to be here. It is just wonderful to be honored together with my father," Myra Treitel said after being introduced by Stuart, her son. "My father was an early member of YIVO - his student card from Vilna, dated April 8, 1940, is reproduced on the back of each program."
Similarly, Slutzman, recipient of the Goldene Keyt Award, and Vice President of The New Cracow Friendship Society, credits her father, Roman Weingarten, as her inspiration in keeping alive the history and traditions of Jews from Cracow. Weingarten spoke briefly about his pride in his daughter and her commitment to Jewish continuity.
Guest speaker Mimi Sheraton, acclaimed author and food critic, entertained the crowd with stories of her childhood and explored the role that food plays in all families. She pointed to the Food as Roots series, of which she serves as Honorary Chair, as an "important opportunity to use food to reconnect people to Jewish culture." Proceeds from the Third Annual International Women's Division Luncheon will support the Educational Program on Yiddish Culture (EPYC), a comprehensive high school level curriculum, and other important YIVO programs.