YIVO's 4th Annual Heritage Luncheon at the Center for Jewish History, was held on October 21, 2004. Cindy Stone and Burt Feinberg were the Event Chairs, and Esther Peterseil was the Co-Chair. Honorees included Tony-nominated actor and Broadway star Tovah Feldshuh and longtime community activists Cathy Zises, Ida (z"l) and Max Lubliner and Hanna Hirshaut. The luncheon raised more than $95,000.
Feldshuh, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, portrayed Golda Meir, a native Yiddish speaker, on Broadway in "Golda's Balcony." Feldshuh first contacted YIVO while researching documents by Isaac Bashevis Singer for her Broadway role in "Yentl the Yeshiva Boy." Observing that YIVO not only preserves our East European Jewish Heritage, but also the sound of it, Feldshuh sang a Yiddish song about a little boy beginning his study of Torah.
Cathy Zises, Chair of YIVO's Leadership Forum, was honored with YIVO's Me'dor Le'dor Award. She traces her strong commitment to the Jewish community to her childhood and sees herself following in the footsteps of her grandmother, matriarch of the Horowitz Margareten matzo bakery. Zises is involved with the UJA-Federation and the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services. She also helped create KIDS2KIDS, a program to put the "mitzvah" back into Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
Arriving at YIVO in 1998 to study Yiddish, Zises helped found the Leadership Forum. As its chair for the past three years, she has attracted younger activists to the Forum and has helped raise funds for EPYC and other YIVO programs. Zises received her award from her proud father, Dr. Bernard Weiss. Ida (z"l) and Max Lubliner received a Lifetime Achievement Award. Originally from Lodz, Poland, and liberated from Auschwitz, Max and Ida arrived in the United States in 1949. After Max established a successful business, the Lubliners devoted their lives to international Jewish philanthropy. They shared their love by helping ordinary people marry, come to America and succeed. The Lubliners have been honored by Israel Bonds, the UJA-Federation and Masada-Farband. Eta Wrobel, President of the YIVO International Womens Division and a personal friend of Max Lubliner and his children, introduced him. Dr. Jerry Lubliner and his sister, Roslyn Shapiro, presented their father Max with his award.
Hanna Hirshaut, a survivor and author, received the Goldene Keyt Award. After liberation, Hirshaut raised funds to help 32 war orphans immigrate to Israel. In 1951, she came to the United States with her husband and daughter, having lost the rest of her family. Founder of the Queens Chapter of Holocaust Survivors, she also serves on the board of the Warsaw Ghetto Resistance Organization (WAGRO). Hirshaut has donated her husband's papers, which trace his work as founder and editor of the Polish daily Life of Warsaw, the Yiddish-language Ikhed, and the Polish-Jewish Opinia, to YIVO. She is the author of Voice of the Woman Survivor and Survivor's Chronicle. Hannah Sara Rigler, a member of the Womens Committee, introduced her.
The event chair was Fanya Gottesfeld Heller, Chair of the YIVO International Women's Division. Cindy Stone, Burt Feinberg and Esther Peterseil served as co-chairs and emcees. Speaking to the more than 200 guests, YIVO Chairman Bruce Slovin observed, "These good and accomplished members of the Jewish community exemplify our core values, strengths and concern for helping others. As role models, they understand the need to remember and teach our history and culture."