Archive for the 'Marc Hazan' Category

19
May
14

Manhattan Sephardic Congregation’s Celebration


Yesterday, Sunday the 18th, the Manhattan Sephardic Congregation celebrated its 24th anniversary at Manhattan 101 Club on Park Avenue. The congregation held its annual dinner which coincided with the end of LaG ba’Omer and the beginning LaD ba’Omer. Dinner was at 7:30, but the smorgasbord started at 6:00…

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A partial view of the crowd and one of the serving tables.

A partial view of the crowd and one of the serving tables

There was song and music even during the smorgasbord…

Hazan Marc Hazan entertaining the crowd with traditional Moroccan tunes.

Hazan Marc Hazan entertaining the crowd with traditional Moroccan tunes.

After ma’ariv, the dinner got under way…

Rabbi Raphael opens the dinner and the tzaddikim candles auction.

Rabbi Raphael opens the dinner and the tzaddikim candles auction.

A partial view of items auctioned…

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, Rabbi Meir Ba'al Haness, various members of the Abuhatzera family and more...

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, Rabbi Meir Ba’al Haness, various members of the Abuhatzera family and more…

Items were auctioned off ranging in price from a high of $25,000 to as low as $5,000.

After buying a Rabbi Meir Ba'al Haness candle, Regina Schild adresses the congregation as Irving Schild looks on.

After buying a Rabbi Meir Ba’al Haness candle, Regina Schild addresses the dinner participants as Irving Schild looks on.

The evening was catered by Foremost Caterers. Years ago, while I was still leaving in Monsey I used to be a mashgiach for this caterer, usually at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. It presented its clients with superb food then, and yet only managed to get better with the passage of time. Great food, great company, a beautiful venue, a superb evening! Who can ask for more?

CS

14
Mar
12

The Knighting of a Rabbi


This past Sunday, March 11th, a most extraordinary singular ceremony was held at the auditorium of the Center for Jewish History, in Manhattan, to a standing room only crowd. Rabbi Raphael Benchimol, chief rabbi of Manhattan Sephardic Congregation became a Knight of the Order of the Throne by order of His Majesty the King, Mohammed VI (Ṣāḥib al-Jalālah al-Malik Muḥammad al-Sādis) of Morocco.

The evening opened with Mistress of Ceremonies, Founder and Honorary President of the American Sephardic Federation, Liliane Shalom introducing the event, and dignitaries present (members of the diplomatic corps, activists and more).

Liliane Shalom, Founder and former President of the American Sephardic Federation, was the evening’s emcee. She was knighted in 1987 by His Majesty the King Mohammed VI’s father, King Hassan II, in 1987.

Marc Hazan, Cantor at Manhattan Sephardic Congregation sang beautiful renditions of the American and Moroccan national anthems.

Marc Hazan, singing with feeling!

Mr. David Dangoor, President of the American Sephardi Federation, followed with the opening remarks. Rabbi Marc SchneierPresident of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and Rabbi of the star-studded Hampton Synagogue, spoke next. He opened his speech with an amusing and well known anecdote concerning Pablo Picasso.

An art dealer once came to Pablo Picasso with a painting, purportedly signed by the artist, to have its authenticity verified. Picasso quickly looked at it and pronounced it a fake. Three years later, the same dealer came back with another painting and an impoverished artist in tow, and once again Picasso pronounced it a fake.

Enraged, the impecunious painter cried out: “But Pablo, I saw you paint it and you yourself gave it to me!” to which Picasso responded, “Pablo Picasso also paints fake Picassos sometimes.”

The point of the anecdote was that we all “paint fakes,” all except the evening’s honoree,whose indefatigable work on behalf of his people radiates his true luminosity constituting Rabbi Raphael Benchimol’s  core badge of honor… Rabbi Raphael Benchimol, whose genuineness, has repeatedly shown he does not “paint fakes;” his work as a rabbi, his travails on behalf of his congregation, his espousal of causes that benefit Moroccan Jewry, his heartfelt speeches and deep wonderful insights on Torah prove he only is capable of “painting” what’s truly real…

Royal Ambassador Serge Berdugo – who flew in from Morocco followed. He spoke of the Moroccan Jewish Community then and now, the love of His Majesty for the tradition and rich history of Jews in in the kingdom and the peaceful coexistence between the kingdom’s various faiths.

Royal Ambassador and President of the Jewish community of Casablanca, Serge Berdugo.

He mentioned the Preamble of the New Constitution adopted by Referendum on the 1st of July 2011, establishing that the National Unity, forged by the convergence of its Arab-Islamist, Berber [amazighe] and Saharan-Hassanic, [saharo-hassanie] components, is nourished and enriched by its African, Andalusian, Hebraic and Mediterranean influences [affluents]“.

Ambassador Berdugo presented Rabbi Benchimol, a medal bestowed on him by King Mohammed VI and a proclamation naming him a Knight of the Order of the Throne.

Wearing the medal making him a Knight of the Order of the Throne, Rabbi Raphael Benchimol accepts the honor, humbly but eloquently.

Rabbi Benchimol concluded his remarks with a blessing in Hebrew for the King of Morocco and the Royal Household in and then translated it to English for the enthralled attendees. He then unveiled a gift to His Majesty, a magnificent silver crown encased in a glass case and wood case.

Rabbi Benchimol, Ambassador Rachad Bouhlal (Morrocco’s Ambassador to the US), Royal Ambassador Serge Berdugo Kink Mohammed VI’s representative to this event), Consul General of Morocco, Mohamed Karmoune standing beside the silver crown given to His Majesty the King Mohammed VI.

Rabbi Benchimol explained that the silver crown is traditionally used to adorn the holy Torah scroll.  He elaborated that this gift was specifically chosen in gratitude to His Majesty and to his predecessors, who as Commanders of the Faithful have for generations protected and preserved Judaism in Morocco.

The inscription on the display case reads:

To His Majesty, Mohammed VI King of Morocco
With our Deepest Gratitude
Manhattan Sephardic Congregation
“May G-d Always watch over you and protect you”

A partial view of the crowded auditorium.

Ambassador Serge Berdugo gave a video presentation on the extensive and elaborate Jewish cemetery project under way in Morocco.

The ceremony ended with the Moroccan Ambassador to the US, His Excellency Rachad Bouhlal reminiscences of his childhood and the respect Moroccan children were taught to have for their elders regardless of religious creed.

The evening ended with light dips, salads, cakes and a superb Moroccan coffee in a room transformed to look like a Moroccan lounge. A truly memorable evening for a most exceptional man. May his many merits, both hidden and known, inspire us all to meritorious action on behalf of our people and fellow citizens of the world.

CS




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