On Wednesday evening, December 12th, the fifth night of Chanukah was ushered in with a most joyous “Vodka and Latke Reception” sponsored by the prestigious New York Board of Rabbis and hosted by Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, celebrated CUNY trustee.
The lively event, which attracted panoply of rabbinic figures and local dignitaries, was held at the Bernstein Global Wealth Management company in Manhattan; with a portion of the proceeds being earmarked for disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. This year’s list of distinguished honorees included CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and President and CEO of Hiltzik Strategies, Matthew Hiltzik.
For 131 years, the New York Board of Rabbis has shaped the future of Jewish life in New York, educated rabbis and the public, and responded to the changing needs of the Jewish community. With over 750 members, the NYBR is the largest inter-denominational rabbinic body in the world. With an imperative of being “a moral voice regarding global concerns”, the NYBR works to create a more caring society through its varied chaplaincy programs including professional development and ongoing education.
“Our goal at tonight’s event is to accord recognition to those people who perform a most valuable service to our community,” said Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis. “Dr. Matthew Goldstein and Mr. Matthew Hiltzik are both proud Jews, each extraordinarily successful in their fields of endeavor and are exceptional supporters of the Jewish community,” he added.
Since September of 1999, Dr. Matthew Goldstein has served as chancellor of the City University of New York and is the first CUNY graduate to lead the nation’s most prominent urban public university, which comprises 24 colleges and professional schools throughout New York City. Under Dr. Goldstein’s stellar leadership, CUNY has significantly raised academic standards, improved student performance, increased enrollment, built its faculty corps, created new colleges and schools, and expanded its research capacity.
For more than 30 years, Dr. Goldstein has held faculty and administrative positions at several colleges and universities and was president of both Baruch College and Adelphi University. He is also well regarded in the academic community for his extensive writings in mathematics and statistics. In addition to holding positions as president of the Research Foundation and acting vice chancellor for academic affairs of CUNY, Dr. Goldstein is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the JP Morgan Funds and the Museum of Jewish Heritage
As a patron of the arts, Dr. Goldstein is a director of the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education, ex officio and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Recognized for his multifarious talents and expertise, Dr. Goldstein was appointed by New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo as co-chair of the New York City Regional Economic Development Council and a member of the New NY Education Reform Commission. He has previously served as chair of the 2010 New York City Charter Revision Commission at the appointment of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Among Dr. Goldstein’s honors are the 2011 Association for a Better New York “Spirit of ABNY” Award, the 2007 Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Academic Leadership Award, the 2005 John H. Finley Award, the 2005 Medal of Honor “Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, First Class,” the 2002 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the 2000 Townsend Harris Medal.
As president and CEO of Hiltzik Strategies, a strategic communications and consulting firms, Matthew Hiltzik has provided profile and crisis management for a bevy of both corporate and individual clients including Katie Couric, Alec Baldwin, DreamWorks, The New York Mets, Justin Bieber, Glenn Beck, Sean Parker, Ryan Braun and many others.Mr. Hiltzik has also served as head of the corporate communications and government relations at Miramax Films, representing company co-chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein and their various divisions.
As an active and involved member of the New York Jewish community, Mr. Hiltzik serves of he board of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, The Jewish Week, and is vice chair of the UJA Media and Entertainment Division.
Using his vast knowledge of the film industry, Mr. Hiltzik served as executive producer of three documentaries; the award winning “Paper Clips” which inspired “One Clip At a Time,” a non-profit of which Matthew is a founding member, “Holyland Hardball” and “Connected.”
“People like Chancellor Goldstein and Matthew Hiltzik maintain their dignity in their private lives by maintaining their faith,” said Rabbi Potasnik. “Dr. Goldstein is a Jew who deeply cares about his people and his community. Through dedication and hard work he has single handedly advanced the standards at CUNY, thus providing our city with graduates who are highly educated professionals, he added.
Speaking of Mr. Hiltzik’s varied accomplishments, Rabbi Potasnik said, “While making the film, “Paper Clips” which chronicles a middle school project in the small southeastern Tennessee town of Whitwell, that turned into a world renowned memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, Mr. Hiltzik maintained his traditional Jewish lifestyle; he donned tefillin everyday and never slacked off in his observance in a place where he was one of the very few Jews.”
With palpable emotion reverberating in his voice, Rabbi Potasnik said, “What I can say about tonight’s honorees is that being a mentsch is a great accolade but being a Yisroel mentsch is the greatest accolade.”