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Real Estate Division Honors Pickets, Raises $16 Million rss

Posted on: June 16th, 2011

Reflecting the “family values” found in one of the region’s most powerful industries, UJA-Federation of New York’s Real Estate and Allied Trades Division honored the father–son team of Joel I. and David L. Picket at Cipriani 42nd Street on June 15th.

More than 500 people attended the lunch event that raised $16 million.

Many speakers at the event lauded the leaders of the real estate industry for their enormous long-term support of the Jewish community and others in need. John S. Ruskay, executive vice president and CEO of UJA-Federation, said real estate leaders “dream about what this city should be, and make it happen.” Their generosity in philanthropic giving is an expression of the words “we are responsible,” he added.

Recipients of Jack D. Weiler Award

David L. Picket (left) and Joel I. Picket, recipients of the Real Estate & Allied Trades Division’s Jack D. Weiler Award, flanking presenter Larry A. Silverstein. Photo Credit: Michael Priest/Michael Priest Photography

“How Essential”

Larry A. Silverstein, a developer and longtime lay leader of UJA-Federation, called the annual campaign roll of honor, a tradition at the event, and said, “I do this with a sense of privilege and a deep recognition of how essential it is that we do what we do.”

Silverstein then presented the coveted Jack D. Weiler award to the Pickets. He said they are top-flight builders and real estate operators as heads of Gotham Organization Inc., and they also stand out for the depth of their commitment to the Jewish community through charitable gifts and communal service.

Joel Picket, chairman and CEO, said it was “a great feeling of pride and accomplishment to accept this award with my son” because it is symbolic of both the values of the real estate industry and “what makes UJA-Federation of New York such a success.

His son, David, Gotham’s president, said, “UJA-Federation is dedicated to the idea that to let the whole world spin, we have to be dedicated to each other.” Both paid tribute to each other and said the family collaboration has been extremely meaningful.

John S. Ruskay with Real Estate division Chairs and Honorees

Real estate division vice chair Andrew J. Singer (left), UJA-Federation executive vice president and CEO John S. Ruskay, honorees David L. Picket, Joel I. Picket, and real estate division chair Lloyd Goldman. Photo Credit: Michael Priest/Michael Priest Photography

In his remarks, Ruskay said, “The Pickets have helped set the standard of communal responsibility in this city.” Real Estate Division Vice Chair Andrew J. Singer said the size of the audience was testimony to the high regard in which the Pickets are held.

“Great Friend” of Israel

The guest speaker was Ido Aharoni, Israel’s consul general in New York, who stressed Israel’s appreciation for UJA-Federation being “a great friend.” Aharoni said UJA-Federation had helped support Israel through its funding of Taglit-Birthright Israel and other programs, and “is helping us change the conversation about Israel and broaden how Israel is perceived.”

Turning back to UJA-Federation, Ruskay said, “UJA-Federation is unique not for the amount of money we raise, but for what we make possible.” Lloyd Goldman, the Real Estate Division’s chair, added, “UJA-Federation inspires us to act on our Jewish values and invest in our community to create a better world together.”