Tuesday, March 27, 2012

AJC's Human Relations Award Dinner

Community heroes, Ernie and Alisa Kretzmer, were honored last night at AJC's Human Relations Award Dinner at Michael's On East.  The room was pretty by soft candlelight for this special evening.

AJC Regional Director, Brian Lipton, always gives a terrific overview of what is happening in the world in relation to AJC.  I always learn so much.  He does such a great job explaining world affairs and is so informative.  And, he's handsome to boot!

Dinner co-chairs, Marilyn Naiditch and Marie Monsky both spoke movingly about the Ernie and Alisa.  I loved what Marie said when in reference to the Kretzmers she quoted Viola Davis' character in The Help, " You are smart, you are kind, you are important".  Truer words were never spoken.

The keynote address was given by Chaim Shacham, Consul General of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico.  Among the many things he said was, "Israel has no better friend than the United States."

A musical tribute in the Kretzmers' honor was performed by Richard Storm and Lee Dougherty Ross.  The songs included, The Impossible Dream, You Light Up Our Life, and Climb Every Mountain.  I think they had most of us singing along!

I was, of course, familiar with Ernie and Alisa, having seen them at many, many events and performances over the years, but never really knew their story.  For instance, I never knew that Ernie was the Laboratory Director at Bell Laboratories.  I had seen a piece on Bell Labs on CBS Sunday Morning this past week.  I had no idea the kind of impact the research that had been done there had made on our lives.  It was very impressive.  Alisa had been an occupational therapist and they had met through their rabbi's wife.  Their philanthropy has centered on Jewish causes, social services, arts and education.  Among the local charities they have supported are the Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Ballet, Florida Studio Theatre, Embracing Our Differences, Key Chorale, G.WIZ, and JFCS. It was a well deserved honor.

Others attending not photographed below were: Mary Anne Servian, Teri Hansen, Steve Wilberding, Rose Chapman, Andria Bilan, Mindi Rohan, Marjorie Peter, Carolyn Michel, Jocelyn Stevens, Hillary Steele, Brad Robbins, Andy Maass, Bea Friedman, Ilene Friedman, Johnette Cappadona, Joseph McKenna and on and on. 

Marie Monsky and Scott Anderson

Carol Seigler and Judy Cahn

Ken and Peggy Abt

Matt and Margaret Callihan - How cool is Matt in his sunglasses?!

Renee Sheade and Harry Kartoz

Lee Peterson, Dennis Stover, and Flori Roberts

Lisa Walsh and Kathryn Carr

Molly Schechter and birthday girl, Gerri Aaron

Christine Lange and Susan Borozan

Sydney and Jerome Goldstein

Paul Reamer and Dorothy Jacobson

Sue Jacobson, Vivian Kouvant, Iain Webb, and Victoria Hulland

Richard Storm, Ina Schnell and Dr. Arthur Ancowitz

Jeremy Lisitza and Marty Katz

Julie Milton, Phil King, and Debbie Shapiro

Veronica Brady and Diana Lager

Lois and Bill Cohodas

Lynn and Dr. Arthur Guilford

Phil Delaney and Jay Brady

Elisabeth and Gil Waters

Flora Major and Ellen Berman

The Kretzmer Family

 The centerpiece

The dessert

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