The Algemeiner Journal has become a well known part of the Jewish newspaper world. Its utilization of over 200 bloggers for obtaining material in addition to an excellent editorial staff headed by its very capable editor in chief Dovid Efune, has given The Algemeiner a unique ability to deliver original and interesting journalism to its readers.
The Algemeiner was conceived by journalist Gershon Jacbson in 1972 as a Yiddish publication entitled “Der Algemeiner Journal”. After Gershon Jacobson’s demise in 2005, his elder son Simon Jacobson, a well known writer and lecturer, continued its publication as a weekly English print paper and as an internet delivered daily Jewish news source.
Over the years Simon Jacobson has produced a number of events in memory of his father Gershon Jacobson following his launching of the Gershon Jacobson Jewish Continuity Foundation, “GJCF”. These events have served as a method of supporting the continued publication of the Algemeiner. In 2014, the yearly event morphed into a large gala with its core being the selection of the top 100 people who have most positively influenced Jewish life.
This year, the second “Top 100” gala event was held on Tuesday night February 3, at So Ho’s chic Capitale on the Bowery. With an attendance of over 500 people, the star-studded gala included as honorees; actress Joan Rivers, business tycoon Donald Trump, Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein and philanthropists Joseph and Deborah Aronow.
Philanthropists, Joseph and Deborah Aronow were presented by publisher Gershon Jacobson as the Algemeiner 43rd Anniversary Gala Honorees. Jacobson recounted the story of the paper’s evolution over 43 years. He spoke warmly about the Aronow family and how they spearheaded the campaign to continue publishing The Algemeiner after the demise of Simon Jacobson’s father Gershon Jacobson.
Algemeiner Chief Editor Dovid Efune stated that the paper’s mission is “to serve as the voice of the Jewish people.” Efune further stated, “Friends by your attendance here tonight, by your strengthening of our voice, each of you has made a statement, we will not be silent.”
Joan Rivers, who passed away on September 4, 2014, was posthumously given the paper’s “Warrior for Truth Award”. The tribute was accepted by her daughter Melissa Rivers, in memory of the entertainment icon’s continued support of Israel and the Jewish people. Melissa Rivers commented, “Not only was my mother proud of her Jewish heritage but she was a fearless and beyond vocal supporter of Israel, especially at a time when it was not popular to be so.”
Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein was also awarded the “Warrior for Truth Award”. In his award acceptance, Edelstein speaking about Truth stated: “The Knesset is the most democratic parliament in the world …. in a country like Israel with the most mosaic society you can imagine everyone is represented …. there is no significant minority in Israel who is not represented and whose voice is not heard …. this is the truth about Israel it is a full fledged democracy.”
Donald Trump proudly entered the dinner hall flanked by his wife Melania, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Also in attendance were Jared’s parents, Charles and Seryl Kushner. At a Jewish Voice interview, Trump was asked how he felt about being the grandfather of Jewish children, Trump stated, “Not only do I have Jewish grandchildren I have a Jewish daughter and I am very honored by that.”
Trump received the Algemeiner Liberty Award. In his award acceptance speech, he proudly stated about his daughter Ivanka, who converted to Judaism in 2009, “I have a Jewish daughter, it wasn’t in the plan but I am very glad it happened.” Trump continued with a statement about Israel, “We love Israel, we will fight for Israel 100 per cent, 1000 per cent, it will be there forever.”
The list of the top 100 people positively influencing Jewish life was presented at the gala. The long list included such diverse individuals as Leonard Cohen, Steven Spielberg, Scarlett Johansson, Stephen Harper, Benjamin Netanyahu, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Jonathan Medved, Rupert Murdoch, Yechiel Eckstein, Malcolm Hoenlein, Sheldon Adelson, Racheli Frankel, George Rohr and Alan Dershowitz.
The exciting evening was hosted by Heather Nauert of Fox News.