Good together.

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Summerfest Reaches New Heights rss

Posted on: August 11th, 2011

“We do the most good when we do it together.”

With that line, Todd Richman, a chair of UJA-Federation of New York’s Summerfest brought a roar from the crowd of 1,400 at the 21st annual concert event on Long Island, held August 10th. The size of the audience was a record and so was the total gift of $1.6 million.

The evening was a festive one, with pre- and post-concert parties bookending a high-energy concert by Meat Loaf that had the audience on its feet dancing and singing. Scott Jaffee, a longtime lay leader of UJA-Federation, and owner of the Metropolitan Realty Group, received the Robert S. Boas Award for his more than 20 years of service.

Frank Zuckerbrot and Gary Podell present the Robert S. Boas award to Scott Jaffee.

(L to R) Frank Zuckerbrot and Gary Podell present the Robert S. Boas award to Scott Jaffee at UJA-Federation’s Summerfest Concert featuring Meat Loaf.
Photo by Michael Priest Photography.

Richman and other speakers during the evening at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury stressed the community’s ability to come together and make a difference. “When you connect to UJA-Federation, you will actually change lives,” Richman said.  “You make our community and world a better place,” added Scott Smith, corporate chair of Summerfest.

“UJA-Federation is the catalyst of all my Jewish philanthropy,” said Jaffee in accepting the evening’s honor. He explained how his work for Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds, a beneficiary agency that provides the camping home for 18 different programs, had blossomed into activism for many of the 24 UJA-Federation network agencies located on Long Island. Thanking his parents and in-laws for teaching him about the value of UJA-Federation and charitable giving, he also spoke about how moved he and his wife have been by the intense interest in philanthropy shown by their two sons.

Talking about the need for work like Jaffee’s and others in UJA-Federation, Richman said, “I know that some of us are feeling uncertain tonight. The markets are up; the markets are down. We’re feeling it. But we’re not feeling as uncertain as the people served by UJA-Federation and its beneficiary agencies. We’re not feeling as uncertain as the mother who doesn’t know if she can give her kids dinner or the senior who is trying to figure out how to pay for that prescription that he needs.”

“Reach Out and Care”

“We’re still lucky,” Richman continued. “It’s up to this part of the Jewish community to reach out and care for the part of our community that is not quite as lucky. You will be the one who feels great. The people you help will feel good, but you will feel better.”

Richman was joined as Summerfest chair by his wife, Vera, along with Joanne and Scott Silverman, and Amy and Andrew Sirotkin. Rachel and Frank Zuckerbrot are the New Leadership Campaign chairs.

The evening began with food and drinks in a giant tent furnished all in white, and ended there after the concert with a disc jockey playing music as people danced. Outside the theater, instead of the usual signage to promote upcoming concerts, there were signs that detailed a wide range of programs UJA-Federation supports—testimony to how the organization, supporters, and projects are “Good Together.” A silent auction also raised money for UJA-Federation’s 2012 Annual Campaign.

During the concert, Meat Loaf reprised his hits from as far back as the 1970s, as well as playing more recent songs. “Keep up the good work, UJA-Federation,” he said. “It is an honor and a pleasure and a privilege to be here tonight.” As he closed with his signature “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” the crowd was on its feet, clapping, dancing, and singing loudly along with the lyrics.