In the midst of the snowstorm on Thursday, February 25th, over two-hundred young professionals assembled in SoHo, NYC for The American Friends of Rabin Medical Center's 5th annual New Circle real estate charity event. The gathering was a world apart from the frosted city streets. In the three-floor showroom of Sicis: The Art of Mosaic, attendees enjoyed live jazz, fine dining, and a magician's slight of hand. For the fourth year, guests marveled at the vivid tile masterworks: walls in the style of Chinese laquerwork, impressionistic flowers, and Persion arabesques; surreally patterned mannequins; and luxurious bathtubs in the shape of giant stiletto heels.
Optimism proved to be the central theme of the night. Daniel Libeskind, the architect famed for his monuments to the holocaust and the World Trade Center as well as various other civic and academic buildings, explained to the crowd of real-estate professionals that "in its truth, in its deeper dimension, architecture is a story telling profession...and the only criterion for the story teller is optimism." Those who would bestow buildings upon future generations "[create] a place of stability," he said later, "but we often underestimate the spiritual stability that a place provides."
Ofer Yardeni, Stonehenge Partners' Managing Partner & Executive Board Member to the American Friends of Rabin Medical Center, entreated attendees to participate in that greater spirit, to "be part of Theodor Hertzl's dream" by giving a day of their salary, as the pioneering builders of the hospital had given two days' wages each week back in 1936.
As Michael Stoler, Managing Director at Madison Reality Capital and host of the Stoler Report led the ceremonies, funds were raised for medical equipment for the Rabin Medical Center's new $20 million emergency trauma center opening in 2012, an unprecedented facility that will be prepared to handle large-scale emergencies such as warfare and terrorist attack as no hospital has before. "We are on Israel's front line of defense," declared Dr. Joshua Plaut, Executive Director of the American Friends of Rabin Medical Center. By blunting the impact of vicious extremism and intolerance, the Rabin Medical Center will be demonstrating "the way the future of the Middle East should look: peaceful coexistence, just as the hospital treats Jew and Arab alike at its facilities."
Also that night, Oren Heiman, Managing Partner of Shibboleth LLP and creator of the first event in 2006 received the inaugural Yitzhak Rabin Young Leadership Award for having seen the opportunity to foster among the unproven and ambitious members of New York's professional community a vision of Israel's future and the passion to support it. He was joined by Joe Berko, President of Berko and Associates and event Co-Chair, who helps the American Friends of Rabin Medical Center garner, with the aid of a large committee, major support and attendance for the most successful events.
NYC Police Commissioner and Israel's Former Director of Shin Bet in Charlie Rose's Spotlight at Rabin Medical Center Gala
by Masha Leon, The Jewish Daily Forward