March 28, 2014

UJA’s celebrity speakers

Filed under: found in the archives, UJA people — susanwoodland @ 5:14 pm

Henry C. Bernstein’s subject files towards the end of his tenure as EVP for UJA include a file labeled, “Appointments” from 1968. In the folder are mainly index cards, which serve as a record of some of the speaking engagements Bernstein was involved with planning that year.

Arthur Lourie's speaker's card in Henry C. Bernstein's file, 1968

Arthur Lourie’s speaker’s card in Henry C. Bernstein’s file, 1968

One of the cards is for Arthur Lourie, then a member of the permanent delegation of Israel to the U.N., and interesting to me because he was married to longtime Hadassah Executive Secretary/Executive Director Jeannette Leibel. Until Arthur’s duties took him back to Israel and to diplomatic positions in other countries Jeannette remained as the top staff leader at Hadassah in New York.

Another speaker that year was then Israeli Ambassador to the United States in Washington, Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin, who spoke at the 1968 UJA Inaugural Dinner at the Americana Hotel.

Yitzhak Rabin's speaker's card, 1968.  He spoke at UJA's inaugural dinner that year, at the Americana Hotel on March 21.

Yitzhak Rabin’s speaker’s card, 1968. He spoke at UJA’s inaugural dinner that year, at the Americana Hotel, not far from the UJA office, on March 21.

Note on the Americana Hotel: According to Wikipedia, the Americana of New York was completed in 1962 at 7th Avenue between 52nd and 53rd, and built, along with the New York Hilton nearby on 6th Avenue, to serve the huge number of tourists attending the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The hotel was constructed by Laurence Tisch and his brother, interesting because Laurence held many leadership positions at UJA; in 1971 he was Campaign Chairman with Meshulam Riklis. One can only hope that UJA was able to negotiate competitive prices for the events they held at the Americana.  In 1979 the Americana became a Sheraton Hotel which it remains today.

Other speakers in the file were not as well-known but were leaders in Israel, and were available to speak to smaller groups. Ruth (Mrs. Moshe) Dayan spoke to the Women’s Division at a rally at the Americana. H.E. Yosef Tekoah, Ambassador of Israel to the United Nations spoke at a number of lunches and dinners, including an informational lunch with the Campaign Cabinet (a rare event that did not include fundraising), at the Night of Stars gala at Madison Square Garden, and at several Person-to-Person lunches at UJA headquarters.

The file appears to be a planning file, with final documentation no doubt having been completed and retained by the PR dept.  Unfortunately, although the collection contains many boxes of UJA photographs from this period, no related subject files have been found.  Many of the UJA photographs document events from 1968, and an interested researcher could match them up with Henry C. Bernstein’s subject files like this “Appointments” file, but none of the corresponding files from PR appear to be part of this collection. The vast majority of PR material in the collection is from Federation, as has been reported in previous posts.  Processing is complete for all of the UJA files brought in from storage to date, but we continue to hold out hope that more will turn up in boxes we have yet to look at.

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: