Columnist Bret Stephens to Deliver Keynote; David Samson and Rabbi Meir Goldwicht to be Honored at December 3 Event
New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Bret Stephens will be the keynote speaker and receive an honorary degree at Yeshiva University’s 93rd Annual Hanukkah Dinner on Sunday, December 3, 2017. The black-tie gala will be held at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel in New York City beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, presiding over his first Hanukkah Dinner as YU president, will also confer an honorary degree upon Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Board of Overseers Chair David P. Samson ’93C. YU Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Meir Goldwicht will receive the Presidential Medallion.
“The Yeshiva University community serves as the Judaic voice in the global conversation,” said Dr. Berman. “Our honorees this year each exemplify the very best of that tradition. Bret Stephens is renowned for his penetrating insight into the world of public affairs; David Samson is a celebrated leader in the dynamic international marketplace; and Rabbi Meir Goldwicht is an iconic steward of a 3,000 year old heritage of Jewish learning.”
“This year’s dinner has been recrafted to reflect Yeshiva University’s position at the nexus between tradition and the pioneering spirit of tomorrow,” said Vice President for Institutional Advancement Alyssa Herman. “The program will pay tribute to students, faculty, alumni and members of the community who have harnessed their God-given talents to exert a positive impact on the world at large.”
The annual Hanukkah Dinner draws hundreds of the country’s leading Jewish philanthropists and community leaders. Past speakers and honorees have included former President George W. Bush, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Secretary of State and then-Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Vice President Al Gore, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Senator John McCain.
Stephens began working as a contributing columnist at The New York Times in April 2017 and as a senior political contributor for NBC News two months later. He is the recipient of many industry awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2013. He formerly wrote for The Wall Street Journal and is a regular panelist on the Journal Editorial Report, a weekly political talk show broadcast on Fox News Channel. Stephens has also served as editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post and is the author of the acclaimed 2014 book America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder.
Samson spent 18 seasons in Major League Baseball and 16 as president of the Miami Marlins, where he presided over a World Series championship in 2003. In 2017, Samson completed the negotiation to sell the Marlins to a group led by Derek Jeter. Previously, he served as president and founder of News Travels Fast, the first company to deliver The New York Times to Europe on a same-day basis, and as an investment banker. Samson is an alumnus of Cardozo School of Law and serves as its Board chairman, overseeing a period of exciting growth as the school expands its impact as a transformative source for good in the world. He concentrates his charitable efforts on helping underprivileged and sick children experience summer camp and improved education and health care.
Rabbi Goldwicht is the Joel and Maria Finkle Visiting Israeli Rosh Yeshiva at YU’s Mazer School of Talmudic Studies, and Head Rosh Yeshiva in the University’s Irving I. Stone Beit Midrash Program. He received semicha [rabbinical ordination] from the renowned rabbinic authorities Rabbi Zalman Nehemia Goldberg, former Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Betzallel Zolti and former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Ovadia Yosef. Rabbi Goldwicht delivers more than 1,000 inspiring shiurim [lectures] every year, and is known for captivating audiences nationwide and in Israel.