Nov 18, 2009 — Dr. Lawrence H. Summers, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to President Barack Obama for Economic Policy, will be the keynote speaker at Yeshiva University’s (YU) 85th Annual Hanukkah Dinner and Convocation on Sunday, December 13 at The Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Prior to his appointment by President Obama in 2008, Dr. Summers served as the Secretary of Treasury under President Clinton and as president of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006, making him the first Jewish president in the institution’s history.
YU President Richard M. Joel will confer the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on Dr. Summers. He will also confer honorary degrees on community leader and prominent clinical social worker Froma Benerofe, a member of the Board of Overseers of YU’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work; investment executive Roger W. Einiger, a member of the Board of Overseers of YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine; award-winning actress, singer and playwright Tovah Feldshuh; inventor and entrepreneur Maurice Kanbar; and the renowned Cantor Joseph Malovany, of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Synagogue and Distinguished Professor of Liturgical Music of YU’s Philip and Sarah Belz School of Jewish Music.
Dr. Summers began his public service career as a domestic policy economist with the Council of Economic Advisors from 1982 to 1983 under President Ronald Reagan. He then began teaching at Harvard, where he was Professor of Economics for a decade. During this period, he also served as Vice President of Development Economics for The World Bank.
Dr. Summers returned to Washington, D.C. in 1993, where he served as Under Secretary for International Affairs with the United States Department of Treasury. He was named Deputy Secretary of the Treasury from 1995 to 1999, when he was appointed to the department’s top post by President Bill Clinton. His research contributions were recognized when he received the John Bates Clark Medal, given every two years to the outstanding American economist under the age of 40, and when he was the first social scientist to receive the National Science Foundation’s Alan T. Waterman Award for outstanding scientific achievement.
Froma Benerofe graduated from Vassar College and received an M.S.W. from Columbia University. A clinical social worker currently in private practice, she has counseled and assisted children and adolescents, victims of interpersonal trauma and domestic violence, survivors of sexual abuse, and parents coping with the needs of their children, for more than 20 years. She serves as a director of the Hadassah Foundation, Westchester Jewish Community Services, UJA, and the Parsons Dance Foundation. Mrs. Benerofe and her husband, Andrew, established the Benerofe Family Scholarship at Wurzweiler.
Roger W. Einiger is President of Hardscrabble Associates, LLC, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Hardscrabble Associates, he spent three decades at Oppenheimer & Co. and its successor companies, most recently serving as Vice Chairman. He joined the Einstein Board of Overseers in 2005 and currently serves as Treasurer and Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, and as a member of Einstein’s Executive Committee. He is also a member of both the Finance and Investment Committees of the YU Board of Trustees. His commitment to Einstein began with his parents, Glory and Jack Einiger, who became active in the earliest days at Einstein, joining the Society of Founders in 1961. His mother continued as a leader of Einstein’s National Women’s Division for many years. He is also on the boards of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of New York City, Jewish Communal Fund, UJA-Federation of New York and the Anti-Defamation League.
Tovah Feldshuh, who has had a remarkable career as an actress, singer, and playwright on stage, television and film, illuminates the Jewish diaspora through her portrayals of strong, complex women. She has earned four Tony nominations for Best Actress and won four Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Obie, the Theatre World Award and the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actress for Golda’s Balcony, which became the longest-running one-woman show in the history of Broadway. Film audiences recognize her from such movies as Kissing Jessica Stein; A Walk on the Moon; Brewster’s Millions and Daniel. On television, she received her first Emmy nomination for her portrayal of the Czech freedom fighter Helena in Holocaust. She has taught at Yale, Cornell and New York Universities. She is a supporter of Seeds of Peace, a non-profit, non-political organization that helps teenagers from regions of conflict and is the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitas Award and the Israel Peace Medal, among others.
Maurice Kanbar, an inventor and entrepreneur born and raised in Brooklyn, has made an indelible impact on American culture. He has changed the way we view films, receive medical injections, socialize after a tough day at the office, zip through traffic, see the world, and pick fuzzy little balls from our sweaters. Indeed, he created New York’s first multiplex theater, and invented the Safetyglide hypodermic needle protector, SKYY Vodka, a new LED traffic light, a cryogenic cataract remover, and the D-Fuzz-It comb for sweaters. His latest inventions include Blue Angel Vodka and Zip Notes. He is also a real estate investor, film producer and author whose book, Secrets from an Inventor’s Notebook, outlines five proven steps to turning your good idea into a fortune. He produced the animated film, Hoodwinked, a offbeat and humorous retelling of the classic tale Little Red Riding Hood, which debuted in January 2006 and is currently completing Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil. A YU Benefactor, Mr. Kanbar established a scholarship fund for deserving law students at Cardozo.
Cantor Joseph Malovany, one of the world’s most accomplished tenors, has served as Cantor of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue since 1973. He began singing at the age of seven and studied at Bilu Synagogue School in Tel Aviv. His musicality was so profound that he became director of the choir at age 12, and his mother sold her wedding ring to pay for the piano. He holds diplomas from the Music Academy in Tel Aviv, and Royal Academy and Trinity College of Music in England, where he is also a Fellow. He holds the Joseph Malovany Chair for Advanced Studies in Jewish Liturgical Music at the Philip and Sarah Belz School of Jewish Music. Cantor Malovany is also Dean of the J.D.C. Moscow Academy of Jewish Music, which he helped establish in 1989 with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He tours extensively throughout the world, singing with major international symphony orchestras, and traditionally sings memorial prayers at Holocaust commemorations at Madison Square Garden and the U.S. Capitol. An honorary president of the Cantorial Society of America, he is a former chairman of the American Society for Jewish Music. Cantor Malovany is the first Jewish cantor to receive the Poland Legion of Honor and also a recipient of the Poland/UNESCO International Prize for Tolerance in 2007.