Over 270 guests attended a glitzy New York gala at the Pierre Hotel benefiting Israel’s Open University Foundation. A total of $620,000 was raised at the event which was hosted by Foundation President Ingeborg Rennert and Baron Robert de Rothschild. Guests in attendance included Police Comissioner Ray Kelly, Nobel Laureate and Algemeiner advisory board chairman Elie Wiesel, lawyer and political commentator Alan Dershowitz and Commonwealth Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks who addressed the gathering. Sacks spoke of the distinguished Jewish record of academic achievement and early historic pioneering in the fields of education and literacy.
Following dinner, a presentation and awards ceremony was emceed by jovial Foundation Chairman Malcolm Thomson and an infectiously buoyant Mimi Perlman who awarded philanthropists Ronnie Heyman and David Sitt.
University President Hagit Messer Yaron told the Algemeiner that the funds raised allow the University to accept all applicants regardless of academic background or financial ability. “The University is multicultural,” she said, “the student body better represents Israeli society because people who attend often can’t afford to be supported by their parents.” “Charedim can get in,” she continued “as there is no policy for acceptance, we bring study courses to them so that they can study in their own environment.”
Another large constituency she says, are young married Arab women who are forbidden from leaving their homes without being accompanied by a male, “we bring our study centers to their vicinity so that they can come with their escort.”
Other notable gala attendees included Mitchell & Nina Rennert Davidson, Merryl & James Tisch, Darryl Roth, Evelyn & Leonard Lauder, Nina Rosenwald, Michael Lynne, Michael & Judy Steinhardt and Harry & Linda Macklowe.