Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame 2016
“BJHI was created to tell the extraordinary story of the Jewish community of Brooklyn, so the world would know’ said Howard Teich, BJHI Founder and Co-chair, “and the BJHI Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame will recognize the leading Brooklynites who have truly made a difference in the world, and there are many.”
“We wanted to be sure that the first class had a representative balance,” said Sarina Roffé, BJHI Co-chair. “So we have someone from the Russian community, the Syrian community, etc., as well as business leaders, social activists and entertainers.”
Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame Celebration
Simon Bergson is the Founder, President and CEO of Manhattan Beer Distributors. He started Manhattan Beer Distributors in 1978 with not much more than a dream, a desire to work hard and a handful of employees. Manhattan Beer Distributors' first warehouse was a 4,000 square foot garage located on East 5th Street in Manhattan, hence the name. Today, Manhattan Beer Distributors has grown to employ over 1,800 people and is one of the largest beer distributors in the country, delivering over 45 million cases of beer annually. Operating out of five warehouses: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Wyandanch, and Suffern, Manhattan Beer Distributors’ warehouse capacity has grown from 4,000 square feet to over 1,500,000 square feet. [expand title="Read More"] Manhattan Beer Distributors represents over 75 beer suppliers and over 250 brands. Simon was born in a U.S. Government Displaced Persons Camp in Austria and was 6 months old when the Bergson family came to the United States. Both of his parents survived the Holocaust and Hitler’s Auschwitz death camp. Simon learned at a very young age the meaning of survival, perseverance, and drive. He earned an Associate of Arts Degree majoring in language (Spanish) from Queensborough College. In addition to being the Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Manhattan Beer Distributors, Simon serves as: Board Member of SOBRO (South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, Past Chair); Past Board Member and Past Chair of the New York State Beer Wholesalers Association; Past Board Member of the National Beer Wholesalers Association; Trustee of the Museum of Jewish Heritage- A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, in Battery Park, NY; Chairman of the Board of Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation in Oswiecim, Poland. Simon was awarded with the “Knights Cross of the Order of the Merit of the Republic of Poland” for his dedication and work toward Polish-Jewish relations. In addition, he was knighted by the “Belgium Brewers Guild” for his dedication to Belgium Brewing. Simon resides in NY with his wife Stefany and has three grown children, Brianne, Alex and Mitchel.[/expand]
Neshama Carlebach, a leading superstar in Jewish Entertainment, is continuing the legacy established by her father Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Like her father, Neshama's talent and charisma captivate and endear her to people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds. Neshama has performed and taught in cities worldwide, sung on the Broadway stage, sold more than one million records, and was a six-time entrant in the 2011 Grammy Awards. Neshama was one of the creators of the Broadway play "Soul Doctor" Her ninth recording, Soul Daughter, features performances by the original Broadway cast of the musical. Neshama is currently touring with a new band and gospel choir and joyfully raising her two sons, Rafael and Micah.
Nicole Dweck holds a BA in Journalism and a Master's Degree in Global Affairs from NYU. When The Debt of Tamar, her debut novel, was published, it was a USA Today bestseller and received a fiction award from Writer's Digest. She lives in New York City with her husband and children and is currently working on her second novel.
Jake Ehrenreich is a musician, author and performer. A Brooklyn born child of Holocaust survivors, he is best known for his award winning show A Jew Grows in Brooklyn, which broke box office records at the historic Lambs Theater in the heart of Broadway, and is now also a best selling book by HCI (the Chicken Soup for the Soul publishers). The Borough of Brooklyn and the City of New York honored Jake by proclaiming March 17, 2012 A Jew Grows in Brooklyn Day, and the Carnegie Deli followed suit by likewise naming a sandwich to honor the occasion. [expand title="Read More"] Jake is privileged to have his writings appear in the Academic Anthology Summer Haven, The Catskills, The Holocaust and the Literary Imagination alongside Isaac Bashevis Singer and Art Spiegelman. He is featured in several films including Making Light in Terezin, and The Last Laugh along with Mel Brooks, David Steinberg, Louis CK and Carl and Rob Reiner. Jake has appeared on Broadway in Dancin’, Barnum, and They’re Playing Our Song, and toured internationally as Ringo in Beatlemania. He starred for Joseph Papp at the Public Theater, and performed with such diverse artists as with Richie Havens, Greg Allman, Whitney Houston and Tito Puente. Jake’s most recent CD release is Yiddish Unplugged, and he is currently working on a TV variety show scheduled to premier nationwide in 2017. Jake lives with his wife of 20 years, Lisa Ehrenreich– a 4th dan black belt Tae Kwon Do Master instructor – and his 18 year old son Dovy, who is currently studying in Israel on a gap year (his room is for rent). Jake is extremely honored to be among the class of 2016 inductees into the Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame – and to be emceeing again this year. [/expand]
Raoul Lionel Felder (born in Brooklyn, is an American lawyer and matrimonial attorney. Felder has written eight books and has published numerous articles related to matrimonial law, politics and social issues. Felder is listed in New York Law Journal’s 100 Most Powerful Lawyers in America and in all editions of Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Law and was profiled in the cover article of the May, 2008 issue of The New Yorker Magazine. In 1961 he was appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York and in 1964, appointed Special Assistant U.S. Attorney to argue appeal before U.S. Court of Appeals. [expand title="Read More"] Felder has practiced divorce law for more than forty years, and has represented clients such as Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Robin Givens, Stephanie Adams, Carol Channing, David Merrick, Riddick Bowe, the former Mrs. Carl Sagan, the former Mrs. Tom Clancy, the former Mrs. Patrick Ewing, and the former Mrs. Martin Scorsese. In 2003, he was appointed by Governor to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct and elected its Chair in 2006. Felder was made Honorary Police Commissioner by the Police Department of the City of New York in 2000. He was a Member of the Board of Directors of Cop Cares and the New York City Economic Development Committee. He received the Defender of Jerusalem Award from Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in 1990. Jake is privileged to have his writings appear in the Academic Anthology Summer Haven, The Catskills, The Holocaust and the Literary Imagination alongside Isaac Bashevis Singer and Art Spiegelman. He is featured in several films including Making Light in Terezin, and The Last Laugh along with Mel Brooks, David Steinberg, Louis CK and Carl and Rob Reiner. Jake has appeared on Broadway in Dancin’, Barnum, and They’re Playing Our Song, and toured internationally as Ringo in Beatlemania. He starred for Joseph Papp at the Public Theater, and performed with such diverse artists as with Richie Havens, Greg Allman, Whitney Houston and Tito Puente. Jake’s most recent CD release is Yiddish Unplugged, and he is currently working on a TV variety show scheduled to premier nationwide in 2017. Jake lives with his wife of 20 years, Lisa Ehrenreich– a 4th dan black belt Tae Kwon Do Master instructor – and his 18 year old son Dovy, who is currently studying in Israel on a gap year (his room is for rent). Jake is extremely honored to be among the class of 2016 inductees into the Brooklyn Jewish Hall of Fame – and to be emceeing again this year. [/expand]
The Handwerker Family
BJHI Family Recognition – Handwerker Family The Handwerker Family is famous for Nathan’s Famous, the hot dog stand in Coney Island that began in 1916 by Nathan and Ida Handwerker, that is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year. A jewish immigrant, Nathan arrived in New York in 1912 and found work in Coney island, then a resort that attracted thousands each summer to its rides and beach. Nathan and Ida spent their life savings of $300 to begin the business. Nathan’s expanded, franchised, and was sold in 1987 to private investors. The original Coney Island hot dog stand still exists and is open for business 365 days a year. There is a Nathan’’s hot Dog Eating Contest each year. Nathan’s Famous is an iconic New York restaurant. Lloyd Handwerker is grandson of Nathan and Ida Handwerker, and will be receiving the Family Award on its behalf.
Brooklyn-born Lainie Kazan (born May 15, 1940) is an American actress and singer. She was nominated for the 1988 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for St. Elsewhere, and the 1993 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for My Favorite Year. She had previously received a Golden Globe Award nomination for the film version of My Favorite Year (1982). Her other film appearances include The Delta Force (1986), Harry and the Hendersons (1987), Beaches (1988), My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016). Lainie Kazan was born Lanie Levine in Brooklyn, the daughter of Carole and Ben Levine. Her mother was from a Sephardic Jewish family from Jerusalem, and her father, of Russian Ashkenazi Jewish descent, worked as a bookie. She graduated from Hofstra University.
Jack Laub’s incredible basketball career, his service as a U.S. Officer during World War II and his pioneering initiatives in the pharmaceutical world testify to his great accomplishments which have earned him distinct honors during his lifetime. Laub’s basketball career began at an early age, as a varsity player for Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, NY. After graduating with Honors in 1943, Laub joined the City College of New York, playing for two varsity years under the famous coach Nat Holman during the 1943-1945 seasons. He was recognized for his impressive performance with the Honorable Mention Award from the NY City All-Stars, and his election to the City College of New York Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.[expand title="Read More"] Upon graduating, Laub served in the Merchant Marine during World War II, where he was commissioned as Ensign Officer in Maritime Service, and was later discharged as a Lieutenant of Senior Grade. In October 1946 he served as a Staff Officer for the US Coast Guard. After returning from service, Jack headed to Cincinnati with the hope of pursuing medical school. Mr. Laub was awarded a basketball scholarship at the University of Cincinnati (UC), where he would play for four years, making him the only player in NCAA history to play for six varsity years. At Cincy, Laub became known as the Black Cat, as he played with other returning World War II veterans, contributing to the team’s winning of four conference championships. This team put UC on the basketball map as they were in the top teams in the country. Due to his talent, Coach John Wiethe appointed the Black Cat as Assistant Coach and later Head Scout for the UC team, after he completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology at age 24. In this capacity, Laub helped lead the team into its first appearance in the National Invitation Tournament in 1951. Laub became one of the first professional basketball players in the NBA as he was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets, traded to the Minneapolis Lakers and later acquired by the Scranton Miners, who won two championships during his tenure. In 1959, Laub returned to basketball as Head Coach at the U.S. Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy at age 32. Laub became one of the first UC players in 1950 to be drafted in the NBA by the Baltimore Bullets, traded to the Minneapolis Lakers and later acquired by the Scranton Miners who won two championships during his tenure. Jack Laub’s life accomplishments extend far beyond his basketball career. In May 2010, the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Cincinnati honored Laub with the Distinguished Alumni Award for his contribution to the reduction of prescription drug costs for consumers, hospitals and insurance companies in the US. He also established the first mail-order pharmacy in New York and streamlined the purchase of generic drugs to consumers through his businesses. Recently, Jack Laub was conferred the honor of “Chevalier” of the Legion of Honor by the President of the French Republic, in recognition of his contribution to the United States’ crucial role in the liberation of France during World War II. [/expand]
Bruce Ratner is the Executive Chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies, a New York-based real estate development company which he started in 1985. As one of the largest urban real estate developers in the country, Mr. Ratner has developed 44 ground-up projects in the New York City area over nearly 30 years, including several important to Brooklyn. Mr. Ratner developed Barclays Center, the new state of the art entertainment venue in Brooklyn. By making Barclays Center the home of the Brooklyn Nets, Mr. Ratner is recognized for bringing the first major professional sports team to Brooklyn since the Dodgers left in 1957. The arena is part of the Pacific Park Brooklyn development, which will include 6,400 residential units, 2,250 of which will be affordable. [expand title="Read More"] In addition to Barclays Center, Mr. Ratner recently completed several critically-acclaimed buildings including New York by Gehry, a residential apartment building designed by architect Frank Gehry, and The New York Times Building, designed by architect Renzo Piano. Mr. Ratner’s MetroTech Center, an 11- building corporate campus, is occupied by over 20,000 workers and has often been credited with helping spur the renaissance of downtown Brooklyn. Mr. Ratner currently serves on a number of boards including Weill Cornell Medical College; the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, where he serves as Chairman; and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Mr. Ratner is a graduate of Harvard College and the Columbia University School of Law. He holds honorary degrees from Brooklyn College, Medgar Evers College, the Pratt Institute and Long Island University.[/expand]
Alice Fisher Rubin
A graduate of Brooklyn Law School, Alice Fisher Rubin has had an auspicious career as an attorney (2011-) and a NYC Civil Court Judge (1998-2011). A Brooklyn native, she was An Administrative Law Judge for the Dept of Motor Vehicles (1994-1998) , Associate General Counsel for the Health Insurance Plan of NY (1992-1993), and Law Secretary for the NYS Supreme Court in Kings County (1991-1992). Alice was a full professor at Long Island University (1975-1999, 2012) and lecturer at CUNY Technical College (1986-1988). She was President of the Board of Trustees of Brooklyn Public Library (1991-1994), and is also on the Board of Trustees of the Kings County Law Library, and the NYC College of Technology, CUNY Foundation, where she is also chair.
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