Nov 7, 2008 — New York state’s governor, the Honorable David A. Paterson, will be the keynote speaker at Yeshiva University’s (YU) 84th Annual Hanukkah Dinner and Convocation on Sunday, December 14 at The Waldorf=Astoria in New York City.
YU President Richard M. Joel will confer an honorary doctor of law degree on Governor Paterson; he will also confer honorary degrees on philanthropist David Feuerstein; Elliot Gibber, president and CEO of Deb-El Food Products; philanthropist Roslyn Goldstein; and Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, rabbi of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun and head of the Ramaz School in Manhattan.
The Honorable David A. Paterson became New York’s 55th governor – and its first African-American to hold the office – on March 17, 2008. He has held several offices over the course of his political career. At the age of 31 in 1985, Governor Paterson was elected to represent Harlem in the New York State Senate, becoming the youngest senator in Albany. In 2003, he became the minority leader of the New York State Senate, the first non-white legislative leader in New York’s history. He made history again in 2004 as the first visually impaired person to address the Democratic National Convention. He was appointed New York’s first African-American Lieutenant Governor in 2007.
Governor Paterson’s inclusive approach to governing has won him the respect of colleagues and a reputation for uniting disparate forces toward consensus that benefits all New Yorkers.
In a proclamation issued to commemorate Israel’s 60th anniversary, Governor Paterson noted, “the Empire State’s greatest strength is its diversity of people, including a vibrant Jewish population that shares a wonderful cultural heritage with all New Yorkers and, as home to the largest Jewish population in America, New York proudly supports the State of Israel.”
Governor Paterson, who is legally blind, is nationally recognized as a leading activist for the visually and physically impaired. His father, Basil Paterson, was the first non-white Secretary of State in New York and the first African-American Vice-Chair of the National Democratic Party.
David Feuerstein has dedicated his life to preserving the memory of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, both in the national and international arenas. A Holocaust survivor, he serves as president of the Chilean Society for Yad Vashem and established the Yom Hashoah Prize in 1988 to recognize Chilean citizens for their outstanding work in keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive. In 2004, Feuerstein built a memorial monument to the martyrs of the Holocaust, which stands in the Estadio Israelita of Santiago, Chile. He and his wife, Sara, are benefactors of the Valley of the Communities at Yad Vashem in Israel and recently endowed its VIP Pavilion.
Elliot Gibber, president and CEO of Deb-El Food Products, a major player in the egg products business in the United States and worldwide, has longstanding ties with Yeshiva University. He sits on YU’s Real Estate Committee with a special focus on development and acquisition for the Wilf Campus and serves as liaison to the University’s Board of Trustees for space planning and capital expenditures. With Gibber’s involvement, the University has purchased more than $100 million in real estate properties in the Washington Heights area and other locations throughout New York City. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). Gibber also served on the Board and as chairman of the Yeshiva University High Schools. His wife, Debbie, is a member of the Yeshiva University Museum Board of Directors and the Yeshiva University Women’s Organization. Five of his children are alumni of the University and his youngest son is a student at Yeshiva University High School for Boys.
Roslyn Goldstein and her husband, Leslie, recognize the duty of the private sector to fund stem cell research and its potential treatments of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases. They support the research of Dr. Mark Mehler, founding director of Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Institute for Brain Disorders and Neural Regeneration. In 1980, the Goldsteins established the Leslie and Roslyn Goldstein Foundation. The foundation is not only a key supporter of stem cell research but also supports cancer research, many Jewish agencies and synagogues, health care and other philanthropic organizations. Mrs. Goldstein sits on the board of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and is a national commissioner of the Anti-Defamation League and a board member of both Evelyn Lauder’s Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the American Friends of the Israel Museum. She also founded RB Enterprises, a jewelry design business.
Rabbi Haskel Lookstein is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun and head of the Ramaz School, one of the most influential Jewish day schools in the United States. His influence in the pulpit and his commitment to advocacy and chesed [acts of kindness] have earned him a national reputation, with “Newsweek” naming him the second most influential pulpit rabbi in America. After graduating from Columbia College with B.A., Rabbi Lookstein earned an M.A. in medieval Jewish history and a Ph.D. in modern Jewish history from Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. He received semicha [rabbinic ordination] from Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik and Dr. Samuel Belkin at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) in 1958. He serves as the Joseph H. Lookstein Professor of Homiletics (named for his father) at RIETS, where he has taught since 1979. He is a vice president of the Beth Din of America and a member of the board of directors of the UJA-Federation of New York. Rabbi Lookstein also serves on the New York City Human Rights Commission. He has served as president of the New York Board of Rabbis, chairman of the National Rabbinic Cabinet of UJA and president of the Synagogue Council of America.
For more information, go to our Hanukkah dinner Website.