The King David Award: The Highlight of Jewish Heritage Month at the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.
I have never been more proud to be a Jewish American as I was on this past May 3rd. I had the privilege to participate in Aish International’s and the Jewish Heritage Commission’s King David Award ceremony held at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. This event is part of Jewish Heritage month which was proclaimed by President George W. Bush in 2008 and reaffirmed by Presidents Barack Obama in 2014 and Donald J. Trump in April of this year.
I was the master of ceremony for this prestigious event, which since 1994, has recognized men and women who have made dramatic contributions to American society and Jewish heritage. Past honorees have included such luminaries as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Dr, Henry Kissinger, Rudy Guliani, Kirk Douglas, Steven Spielberg, Alan Dershowitz, and many other industry leaders and philanthropists.
I also had the privilege of helping craft the prayer which was given to open of the House to Representatives on May 3rd, by Aish International’s Executive Director, Rabbi Boruch Richard Rabinowitz.
GOD, we thank you for giving wisdom to presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama for proclaiming May as Jewish Heritage Month. The Jewish people of this country are grateful and indebted to you, GOD, for the opportunity to contribute in making the United States a great nation.
Aish founder, Rabbi Noah Weinberg, of blessed memory, would say to young people, “when older people see your idealism they might say, “you’ll grow up,” but what they really mean is, “you’ll give up!” Rabbi Weinberg would say, “never give up – get tougher, instead.”
Let us pray for the members of Congress and this great nation: GOD, please grant us clarity and courage to always do right and never give up on our principles. GOD Bless the Unites States of America.
I still am somewhat amazed that I have found myself in this important event since I was raised in a household that was as secular as it gets – as detached for traditional Judaism as it gets. We did not celebrate any of the Jewish holidays, I never went to Hebrew school, never had a Bar Mitzvah, never went to Temple and somehow I have become the Chairman of the Board of the Aish Center in New York and be an integral part of the King David Award. Judaism and spirituality became a vital part of my life at a later time in my life and of course there are no chance happenings. I had the opportunity to share how this happened to me at a talk I gave at the Aish Center Gala a few years back.
Here’s a recap of the King David Award ceremony held at the U.S. Capitol on May 3rd, 2017:
This year’s King David Award was presented to the following six distinguished honorees:
Dan Amos – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aflac, Columbus, GA
Courtney Anixter – Founder, Consult Courtney, Chicago, IL – (first ever young-professional King David Award Winner)
Jack Belz – Chairman and CEO, – Belz Enterprises, Inc., from Memphis, TN
Peter Friedmann – Managing Director FGC Holdings/ IGF Investments, Toronto, ON, Canada
Kenneth Goldman – Yahoo CFO, Sunnyvale, CA
Daniel Rose – Chairman, Rose Associates, Inc., New York, NY
We were honored to have the follow Senators and Representatives speak at the ceremony:
US Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN)
US Representative Grace Meng (D-NY)
US Representative David Kustoff (R-TN)
US Senator Bob Corker (R-TN)
US Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
US Representative Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD)
US Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY)
US Representative Don Bacon (R-NE)
US Representative Sander Levin (D-MI)
US Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
US Representative Ed Royce (R-CA)
US Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA)
US Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
US Representative Tom Suozzi (D-NY)