On Tuesday, May 6, 2008, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research held its 7th Annual Heritage Luncheon honoring Warren Grover, former YIVO National Board member, newly appointed YIVO National Board member Maks Etingin, and Blanche and Emanuel Binder.
Warren Grover served on the National YIVO board for more than twenty years. His clear commitment to YIVO and its mission has helped to guide YYIVO into a new era. His MA in Russian History from New York University reflects an ongoing interest in history that culminated in his book, Nazis in Newark (2003). Owen Grover introduced his father, describing how much YIVO has meant to Warren over the years because of its dedication to Jewish history and scholarship, its world class Library and Archives, and its outreach to younger generations. Warren Grover received the Special YIVO Recognition Award to thank him for his many years of leadership and service to YIVO.
Maks Etingin, a native of Vilna and survivor of the ghetto, is a newer member of the YIVO National Board. Etingin embodies the history of the lost Jewish communities of Lithuania, and he remembers Vilna as the thriving Jewish community it had once been. He is a living bridge between prewar Jewish Vilna and the postwar diaspora of that community to America, where he was able to start a new life. Dr. Alexander Seidlis, a childhood friend from Vilna, introduced Max Etingin, and offered reminiscences from those days. Max Etingin received the YIVO Vilna Award.
Blanche and Emanuel Binder, both native New Yorkers who were raised in Yiddish-speaking homes. In fact, Blanche is the daughter of Fischel Bimko, a noted Yiddish author and playwright whose have been performed in theaters all over the world. Fischel Bimko’s home was a magnet for Yiddish actors, writers, musicians and professors who gathered there to share music, stories and ideas. Introduced by their daughters Leah Peskin and Andrea Binder. Blanche and Emanuel Binder accepted the YIVO Lifetime Achievement Award in memory of Fischel Bimko.
As emcee Ruth Levine, a member of the YIVO National Board, noted, “These honorees truly represent the very best of YIVO and our mission: the preservation and continuation of Eastern European Jewish culture and history. I am proud to have had the opportunity to help honor such distinguished members of our YIVO family, along with their families.”
The 7th Annual Heritage Luncheon was a tremendous success, raising over $190,000 to support YIVO programs.