Giving The Gift Of Life

At its annual dinner, the Gift of Life foundation brings bone marrow recipients onstage to meet their donors for the first time. You know it’s going to be an emotional moment when you see boxes of tissue on every table.

Lillian Baharestani, 27, was raised in Queens where her father taught her to always help others. So at Syracuse University she started a drive for swabs for the Gift of Life registry. As it turned out, her own swab saved a life.

While working as director of community relations and development at Hillel at Stanford University, Baharestani was called to donate bone marrow.

In 2007 in Cypress, Texas, 1-year-old Daisy was diagnosed with a bone disease. She’s the daughter of Mexican immigrants, Violeta Quilantan and Francisco Sanchez, an alarm technician.

Baharestani’s swab was found to be a match. It enabled her to give the gift of life to Daisy in a bone marrow transplant last year.

Daisy, now 4, met her donor for the first time at the Gift of Life 10th annual gala in May at the Grand Hyatt.

As Baharestani picked Daisy up and hugged her tight, there wasn’t a tissue left in the box on my table.

First Get Jewelry

Susan Sanders, co-chairman with her husband Martin of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art gala dinner here in May, looked lovingly at her husband as she recited from the Book of Ruth: “Where you go I will go, where you live I will live, your people are my people, your God is my God, and where you die I will die.”

“After that,” Martin exclaimed, “the only thing I can do is go to heaven!”

“No!” Susan shrieked. “Buy me some jewelry!”

Applause erupted from all the women in the audience at the Metropolitan Club.

Easy To Stay Young

Adrien Arpel, founder of the world-famed cosmetic and skin-care line, revealed the secret of perpetual youth at the Einstein College of Medicine’s annual luncheon in April at the Pierre.

“You lie. Say you’re 10 years younger. I’m 49, and my husband still doesn’t know.”

On the other hand, Sylvia Smoller, head of the division of epidemiology at Einstein, took a scientific approach to aging. She’s engaged in studying genetics and strokes in women.

“Inside every older woman,” she said, “is a younger woman wondering, what the hell happened?”

Hoda Kotb, a co-host of NBC’s “Today Show,” said one can make big changes in your life by changing the small things.

“I hold on tightly to the things I love and get rid of the other things. I’m divorced.”

Dr. Ruth’s Advice To Rabbi

Park East Synagogue on the Upper East Side in June celebrated its 120th anniversary and the 80th birthday of Rabbi Arthur Schneier who has served since 1962.

Rabbi Israel Lau, former chief rabbi of Israel, said, “80 is just a beginning. Moses began his mission as leader of the Jewish people at 80. So don’t give up.”

Rabbi Schneier said he’s not slowing down, especially after Dr. Ruth Westheimer urged him, “Rewire, don’t retire.”

Rabbi Schneier, a native of Vienna who was liberated in Budapest by the Red Army, came to the United States in 1947.

“I came with a heavy German/Hungarian accent,” he said. “I’m sorry I lost it. Henry Kissinger, with his accent, became secretary of state.”

To Be An Honoree

Radiologist Dr. Monique Katz was a reluctant honoree at a May event of the National Women’s Division of Shaare Zedek Medical Center of Jerusalem at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

“To be an honoree is a mitzvah — like maror,” Katz chuckled, referring to the requirement to eat something bitter at the Passover seder.

Barbara Gluck Weichselbaum paid tribute to her parents, Jean and Eugen Gluck, who sponsored the Department of General Pediatrics in the new Wilf Children’s Hospital at Shaare Zedek.

“The saying goes that behind every great man stands a great woman,” Gluck Weichselbaum said. “In our family the saying goes that for every great man stands a great woman beside him.”

About the Author
Tim Boxer is a former New York Post columnist, and is longtime columnist for the New York Jewish Week. He is also editor of, is the author of Jewish Celebrity Hall of Fame, interviews of Hollywood stars about their Jewish roots.