Hillel President Avraham Infeld (second from left), President-Elect Wayne Firestone (second from right) and Cornell Hillel benefactor Harold Tanner congratulate Abby Joseph Cohen (center) and David Cohen (left) at a dinner in their honor.
Leaders in the Jewish, academic and business arenas came together at the Pierre Hotel in New York last week to salute Abby Joseph Cohen and David M. Cohen. Hillel honored the Cohens at its annual international gala for their dedication to improving higher education and Jewish campus life at their alma mater, Cornell University, and at colleges and universities around the world.
“David and Abby, when you look around this room you see a group of people who not only admire your professional accomplishments, but who love you for the caring, generous, genuine people that you are,” said Hillel President Avraham Infeld. “You truly possess the crown of a good name. We are proud that you are members of the Hillel family.”
In addition to remarks by many of their colleagues, friends and family and entertainment by the Klezmatics, the Cohens were honored with words from Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, who was introduced by Hillel International Board of Governors Chairman Edgar M. Bronfman as “the epitome of being distinctively Jewish and universally human.” Wiesel, a best-selling author and professor at Boston University, praised the work of Hillel and its leaders, such as the Cohens, who create so many opportunities for college students to explore their Judaism and form supportive communities on their campuses.
“Hillel is giving students the possibility to not only live Jewishly, but live Jewishly with joy,” Wiesel said. “If anyone had to choose a cause which is sacred and noble and, at the same time, inspiring and inspired, it is Hillel.”
Infeld was also pleased to announce for the first time at the dinner that the Cohens have recently agreed to join Hillel’s International Board of Governors, the organization’s highest consultative body. David is also chair emeritus of the Cornell University Hillel Board, where he led the effort that has made Cornell Hillel one of the organization’s strongest foundations and is a vice chair of the Board of Directors of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. Additionally, he serves on the Cornell University Council and the School of Industrial and Labor Relations Dean's Advisory Council. Abby, a managing director at Goldman Sachs, is a trustee of Cornell University and the Jewish Theological Seminary and a member of the Board of Overseers of the Weill Cornell Medical College.
The dinner was co-chaired by Scott Black, Josephine Linder, Esta Stecher and Harold Tanner. The event Honorary Committee included Barbara and Peter Bernstein; Edgar M. Bronfman; Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.); New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine; Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel; Cornell University Interim President Hunter R. Rawlings III; Cornell Hillel Executive Director Rabbi Ed Rosenthal; Ambassador Dennis Ross; Jewish Theological Seminary Chancellor Rabbi Ismar Schorsch; Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.); Hillel International Board of Governors Co-Chair Lynn Schusterman; Barnard College President Judith Shapiro; Israel Museum Director James S. Snyder; Hillel International Board of Governors Co-Chair Michael Steinhardt; George Washington University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg; New York Councilman David Weprin; Elie Wiesel; and Bernard Yudowitz.