Hebrew Home Helps for Hurricane
As harp and violin music played gently in the background, the buzz among the 500 black-tie guests at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale Foundation’s 95th anniversary dinner on November 11, which raised $2.2 million, was about the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. Previously called the Hebrew Home for the Aged, the organization is a full-service geriatric care facility offering various programs. “Where were you and your family? Any damage?” people asked one another. From across dinner tables at the Waldorf-Astoria’s Grand Ballroom, guests described how they and their loved ones, neighbors and friends had been affected by this disaster. Jeffrey Maurer, the Hebrew Home’s board chairman thanked event co-chairmen Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, chairman and CEO of C.V. Starr & Co., and Sanford Weill, chairman emeritus of Citigroup Inc., for their “time, resources and wisdom.” The Hebrew Home’s president and CEO, Daniel Reingold, described the organization’s work during the hurricane: “Our professionals helped hundreds of New Yorkers relocate through its 24-hour call center... took in critical patients through the night when NYU Hospital Langone’s generators went out.... Staff members knocked on doors of their 2,000 residents to make sure they were okay.” The event’s honoree was Ronald Perelman, chairman and CEO of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc.
“Fifty years ago we moved Hebrew Home from Harlem [where it was founded in 1917] to Riverdale, [a] location overlooking the Hudson River on an 18-acre campus” Reingold said. “Boy! Did they have a vision! Who could have imagined they were smart enough to locate us 100 feet above the water line! Last year we were able to obtain an additional 14-acre parcel of land. The 32-acre campus, the largest waterfront campus in New York City, will be named the Maurice R. [“Hank”] and Corinne P. Greenberg Campus. It is particularly meaningful to make this announcement on Veterans Day, because Hank [Greenberg] is one of the veterans here tonight. He left home at 17, was [with] the U.S. Army Rangers and among the first wave to storm Omaha Beach on D-Day. Hank [helped] liberate Dachau and returned to service in Korea and received the Bronze Star.” Reingold introduced Greenberg as coming “from humble beginnings... [to] build [American International Group] into the largest insurance company in the world.... As Tom Brokaw wrote about him in [his book] ‘The Greatest Generation,’ ‘it’s next to impossible to get Hank to talk about what he went through... He is too busy moving along to his next objective.’”
A chipper 87-year-old Greenberg bounded to the podium: “The Home means a great deal to my family. My mother... and currently my daughter-in-law’s mother are there.” Surveying the room, he said: “There are a number of veterans in the audience this evening, and many in harm’s way in countries around the world. I’d like to show support for them.” Several World War II and Korean War veterans residing at the Hebrew Home were recognized and applauded.