Outgoing Senator Joseph Lieberman and his wife Hadassah were honored at the annual gala for Israel’s Open University which took place recently at Manhattan’s Upper East Side Pierre hotel.
The couple shared the podium gracefully as they accepted the Yigal Allon Award. They praised one another and the work of the Open University in increasing access to higher learning opportunities for socially and economically disadvantaged Israeli youths.
“The dream of Israel could not have happened without the work of men and women like Yigal Allon — who was not religious. We are the People of the Book. We don’t carry icons or statues. We carry the Torah — The Book. And Open University is founded by the People of the Book,” said Lieberman.
The foundation also recognized the contributions of Alberto Sutton, founder of Middlegate Securities, and Galia Maor, former chief executive of the Bank Leumi Group.
“…we are all here on this earth for two reasons in my view,” said Sutton, ”To strive to make it a better world than when we arrived and to make a difference.”
“I feel that by helping Open University we achieve both goals. By making a substantial difference in the lives of the students that attend who in turn make for a better, more productive and prosperous society,” he concluded.
Open University Foundation President Ingeborg Rennert welcomed the over 300 attendees, and Gala Chair Mimi Hass-Perlman delivered the greetings. Gillat Kol, an Open University graduate addressed the gathering, sharing her personal story of salvation from a disadvantaged upbringing through study provided free of charge by the University.
“I grew up in a small apartment, in a tough neighborhood, with my four younger siblings. Our parents worked hard and made sure we had a roof over our heads and food on our table, but there was simply no money for anything else,” Kol shared, “I guess someone at the Open University believed in me, and I was given a full scholarship to study math and computer science,” she added thankfully.
Other notable attendees included Ira Rennert and Elie and Marion Wiesel.