U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut is headline speaker for an almost-sold-out gala to benefit the Chabad Community Center for Jewish Life and Learning in Oklahoma City.
The event, characterized by organizers as “a memorable evening of spirit
and unity” will celebrate 13 years for the Chabad movement in the
community, including the continued success of an-almost-new headquarters
near Lake Hefner. The gala will be held there on November 3.
In an interview with CapitolBeatOK, Rabbi Ovadia Goldman of the center
explained the 13th year is an apt moment for the gala. “In the Jewish
tradition, 13 is when a young man becomes responsible, becomes an adult.
Similarly, 13 years signifies for our work a milestone. The event will
allow us to recognize and honor people, individuals who have become
‘angel-like’ in their support for this work,” Goldman said. Some have
termed the gala a “Bar Mitzvah” for the local Chabad community.
Lieberman is arguably best known as the 2000 Democratic nominee for vice
president. He and Al Gore won the popular vote but fell short in the
Electoral College when Texas Gov. George W. Bush carried Florida by
several hundred votes.
Sen. Lieberman’s views on international relations led him to support
many Bush administration policies, and provoked some Democratic
opposition to his reelection in 2006. However, running as an Independent
he gained reelection by 100,000 votes.
Lieberman is widely known for a bipartisan approach to challenging
issues, with a philosophy of governance that does not readily place him
in either major party camp. Since the 2006 election, he has retained the
Independent label, but caucuses with U.S. Senate Democrats.
has been a strong advocate of sanctions against the government of Iran
for developing nuclear capabilities, in defiance of international norms.
He is frequently allied with Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Republican, on
national security and defense policies. The two recently joined to
applaud the Obama administration for criticizing Iranian government
officials for serious human rights abuses.
Lieberman is a devout and observant Jew. His wife, Hadassah, is the
child of survivors of the Holocaust. Her father was a rabbi in
On September 29, Governor Brad Henry extended to Chabad his
congratulations on 13 years of service in Oklahoma City. In a letter to
Rabbi Goldman, he wrote, “Oklahoma is home to diverse people of many
faiths from across the world. In this diversity lies our greatest
strength, and the opportunity to build bridges of understanding and
engage more fully with the world in which we live.”
Henry continued, “The Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning has not
only served Oklahoma City’s Jewish community, but reached out to
residents of all faiths. Your programs offer education programs that
benefit all of Oklahoma City.”
Gala honorees include Richard and Glenna Tanenbaum, Linda and Justin Gardner, and Edward Kaswan.
Glenna Tanenbaum is an Oklahoma City native, while Richard was born in
Cuba. She has been involved in charitable good works throughout her
life. Richard is a successful businessman in commercial real estate, and
a leader at the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.
Linda, a native of England, is past president of the Jewish Federation
of Greater Oklahoma City. Among other activities, Justin has carried on a
family tradition as a president of Emanuel Synagogue.
Edward Kaswan was born in Austria. In early stages of the Holocaust, his
parents sent him on the “Kindertransport” to England, assuring his
survival from the horror that unfolded in mainland Europe. After growing
up, he came to America, served in the U.S. Air Force, worked at the
Federal Aviation Administration in Oklahoma City, and later owned a
contracting business. He has been a strong supporter of the Chabad in
Goldman reported he and his wife Nachoma have come to love Oklahoma
City, “where so many people from different walks of life have welcomed
us from the very beginning. It is an honor to be among the great
non-profits in this great city.”
The Chabad-Lubavitch movement in which the Goldmans work and live is a vibrant element in the Orthodox tradition of Judaism.
The November 3 Gala’s host committee includes many of the most prominent
Jewish leaders in Oklahoma City, and several longstanding allies of
Rabbi Goldman, his wife and the Chabad community.
Co-chairs include Dr. Eli Reshef and his wife, Edie Roodman (executive
director of the local Jewish Federation), and Melvin & Jasmine
Moran. The host committee will include Michael & Anita Barlow, Larry
& Ronna Davis, Paul & Amalia Silverstein, Stephen & Juliana
Tanenbaum, Irina Aizenman, Andria Kaplan, Rick Lupia, and Diana
Robinson. Also participating are Gary & Connie Bachman.
Dinner coordinator is Goldman’s colleague, Rabbi Zalman Notik. In an
interview with CapitolBeatOK, he reflected, “I’ve been here in Oklahoma
for only a short time. The entire community has rallied behind our work
in a wonderful manner. There has been no distinction made between people
or categories. This is inspiring to me.”
While the November 3 event is nearly sold out, information about it and the other work of the Chabad is available at http://www.jewishokc.com/.