Consul General Ido Aharoni came to praise Israeli-born Chaim Katzman, one of three honorees who helped raise more than $1.6 million at the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) dinner on March 25 at the Pierre Hotel.
Chaim Katzman is founder and chairman of Gazit-Globe Ltd. which owns or operates more than 540 shopping centers on three continents. He manages $22 billion in its assets in 20 countries. And he’s a top flight philanthropist.
“We in Israel find it hard to say something good about each other,” the ambassador said. “What Chaim Katzman does he’s the best in the world … and one of the best in Israel.”
JCRC executive vice president/CEO Michael Miller presented the corporate leader award to Josh Tyrangiel. The honoree responded by relating how he became “a wandering Jew” even though his great uncle was Judah Nadich, rabbi of Park Avenue Synagogue and Dwight Eisenhower’s Jewish adviser during the Second World War.
Tyrangiel's path was set early on when he was kindly asked not to return to the Beth Tfiloh day school “for sins against the faith.”
That included composing a Weird Al Yankovic version of the Sh’ma. There was also a class picture that featured young Josh extending a single finger salute to his fifth grade Hebrew teacher, Mrs. Friedman, that “terrible Menace of the Midrash.”
“It’s hard,” he said, “to get kicked out of a Jewish day school when your mother is a teacher there.”
Yet Tyrangiel maintains he’s not disconnected from his faith or his people, merely “I’ve had questions and haven’t always asked them in the most graceful ways.”
What he values most about Judaism, and how it has guided the course of his life, is what his parents taught him about Tikkun Olam: “Our obligation as Jews is to help repair this broken world. This world needs all our expertise and all our voices, and it just so happens that I found mine in journalism.”
His path took him from writing for Rolling Stone to deputy managing editor of Time magazine and, currently, chief content officer at Bloomberg Media and editor of Bloomberg Businessweek.
He said he enjoys working for his “shy and indecisive boss.”
Third to be honored were Neil and Robin Goldberg of Syracuse, owners of the Raymour & Flanigan furniture empire, with 106 stores across seven states.
“It’s the first time Robin and I shared a podium,” Neil said. “We had hard discussions who will speak first and who will get the last word.”
Tim Boxer was a columnist at the New York Post for two decades. At the same time he has been a columnist for The New York Jewish Week for 35 years, and editor of 15MinutesMagazine.com for 16 years. He is the author of Jewish Celebrity Hall of Fame, interviews of Hollywood stars about their Jewish roots.