Press Releases
Brian P. Friedman of Jefferies and Wesley M. LePatner of Blackstone are honored for their philanthropic leadership
December 6th, 2023

December 6, 2023 (New York, NY) – UJA-Federation of New York’s Wall Street Dinner raised a record-breaking $45 million for its annual campaign to support a wide network of nonprofits. Since the Oct. 7 terrorist attack against Israel, $156 million has been raised for the UJA Israel Emergency Fund — providing essential support to the people of Israel — with $75 million raised from the Wall Street community.

The December 4 sold-out event at the Marriott Marquis was held against the backdrop of Israel at war and rising antisemitism around the globe. Over 1,600 financial professionals heard from UJA Chair of the Board Marc Rowan, who said that “it’s very clear that we need the power of organizations like UJA to amplify our impact and accomplish the kind of meaningful work UJA is doing right now.” Jeffrey H. Aronson, chair of UJA’s Wall Street & Financial Services Division, spoke about his experience co-chairing UJA’s community relations and security committee during such an important time, amid the rise of antisemitism, which brings about a greater need to protect the Jewish community.

Eric S. Goldstein, CEO of UJA-Federation of New York, spoke about his recent trip to Israel and said, “I spent this recent trip meeting with many of our partners on the ground – all leading players in crafting the next stage of Israel’s civilian emergency response. And everywhere I went across Israel, people were immensely grateful for UJA’s immediate mobilization and significant support.”

Friedman, president of Jefferies, received the event’s highest honor, the Gustave L. Levy Award. Jefferies CEO Rich Handler presented the award to his partner since 2001 and said that utilizing 100% — $13 million — of Jefferies’ trading proceeds from October 10 to provide humanitarian aid in Israel is emblematic of the decisive and strategic vision of Friedman and the firm leadership.

Accepting his award, Friedman thanked the generosity of the community and extolled UJA’s work during this critical time: “We must never forget, and we must come together. I believe UJA will be our leader into the future and will be one of the key vessels through which we will be able to channel our energy, our efforts, our support, and our resources. This isn’t something that is going to wait.”

Jon Gray, president and chief operating officer of Blackstone, presented LePatner, global head of Core+ Real Estate at Blackstone, with the Alan C. Greenberg Young Leadership Award. He lauded her brilliant ascent in finance, coupled with her continued support for other women of Wall Street as “she pays it forward from generation to generation.”

“I first attended the UJA Wall Street dinner as a young analyst in 2004, where I am pretty certain I sat in one of the last tables at the back of the room,” LePatner said in her acceptance remarks. “Never in my wildest imagination could I have believed that I would be up on this stage two decades later. UJA has many super-powers, but it’s most important in my view is its power to create a sense of community and belonging and that ability to create a sense of community and belonging matters now more than ever.”

Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Israel's special envoy for combating antisemitism, delivered the keynote address. In a passionate plea to the audience, she emphasized that the war in Israel is not just about Israel or Jews experiencing antisemitism across the globe, but it is also about protecting civilization as we know it. She concluded by saying it is critical to recognize anti-Israel rhetoric as a dangerous and insidious form of antisemitism requiring the community to come together as one to stand up against antisemitism.

About UJA-Federation of New York:
Working with a network of hundreds of nonprofits, UJA extends its reach from New York to Israel to nearly 70 other countries around the world, touching the lives of 4.5 million people annually. Every year, UJA-Federation provides approximately $180 million in grants. For more information, please visit