Scene at the UJA-Federation of New York Wall Street Dinner
Last night was the annual Wall Street Dinner to benefit the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York. A large (over 1,700) and generous crowd of bankers and hedge-fund managers gathered at the New York Hilton and raised more than $26 million, up from $23 million last year and the biggest sum in its history. Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd C. Blankfein was honored with the Gustave L. Levy award. “Lloyd, I’d like to welcome you to your second bar mitzvah,” David K. Wassong, the co-head of private equity at Soros Fund Management, said. “The only difference is that tonight the money goes to UJA.”
Addressing the attendees, Blankfein said the award was meaningful because he benefited from Jewish agencies growing up in a tough neighborhood. “The only person I knew who put on a suit every day was our rabbi,” Blankfein said. That rabbi “encouraged me to think about the world beyond East New York,” and found funding for him to attend after-school programs and summer camp. Those experiences shaped “what I could aspire to and what I could accomplish,” Blankfein said.
The keynote speaker, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, was presented with a shofar, the ritual ram’s horn used on Rosh Hashana. “I have been known to actually blow this and make noise come out of it,” Mr. Kelly said. “But I’m not going to try it here; this is a tough audience.” Mr. Blankfein saw an opening. “I was hoping for the shofar,” Mr. Blankfein said when it was his turn to stand behind the lectern. “Can you please tell the commissioner his chauffeur is waiting?” The audience roared at the wordplay.
Among those spotted in attendance were: Daniel S. Och; Alan Greenberg; Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan; John Paulson; David Soloman; Gary Cohn; Robert Kapito; Laura Blankfein; Josh Kushner; David Blitzer; Michael Karsch; Larry Robbins; Boaz Weinstein; Joshua Nash; Bruce Richards; Robert Soros; Antoine Chiche; Olivier Sarfati.