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The American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science 2008 Gala

News Release • TAGS: Community, Philanthropy

NEW YORK, NY—September 11, 2008—The New York Region of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science will hold its annual dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City on Thursday, September 25, 2008. The event will honor three families whose philanthropic activities with the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science have been passed down from generation to generation: Rhoda and Gerald Blumberg and Robin Lynn and Lawrence Blumberg; Phyllis and Joseph Gurwin, Laura Flug, and Eric Gurwin; and Gladys and Morton Pickman and Ellen and Stephen Danetz.

Rhoda and Gerald Blumberg first established their ties to the Weizmann Institute 35 years ago, and have been devoted supporters ever since. Their enthusiasm was passed down to their son, Larry, who is currently the American Committee's Chairman and, like his father, worked his way through the ranks of leadership, serves in both legal and lay capacities. Larry is also an Institute Governor and the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Institute. As experts in estate planning and charitable giving, Jerry and Larry have both lent their legal services to the American Committee. A former American Committee Vice President, today, at age 97, Jerry is an Honorary Vice Chairman and a Governor Emeritus of the Institute. Jerry, Rhoda, Larry, and Robin are all members of the President's Circle and pillars of the Weizmann family.

President's Circle members Joseph and Phyllis Gurwin have made philanthropy a priority, and Joseph's children, Laura Flug and Eric Gurwin, have inherited this dedication to Weizmann. Laura is a member of the American Committee's national Executive Committee and President's Circle, following in the footsteps of her father, who is a Board member, Institute Governor, and recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Institute. Joseph's wife, Phyllis, has recently been elected to the American Committee's Board as well.

Presenting Sponsors Gladys and Morton Pickman have set an impressive example of generosity for the next generation, inspiring Gladys's daughter and son-in-law, Ellen and Stephen Danetz, to become active supporters of the Weizmann Institute of Science. The philanthropic ethic cultivated by Gladys and Morton reflects the spirit of unity and history that characterize the Institute. Gladys and Ellen are descendants of one of the founding fathers of the Institute and the State of Israel, Harry Levine. Their close relationship with him inspired their fervent commitment to Israel and Weizmann, and Mac has led the way as a Board member, Institute Governor, and, along with Gladys, a member of the President's Circle.

The benefit will also commemorate the 60th birthday of the State of Israel, as well as the 60th anniversary of the naming of the Weizmann Institute (founded 15 years earlier as the Daniel Sieff Research Institute). Political analyst Jeff Greenfield will act as the master of ceremonies, and the evening will feature entertainment by Miri Ben-Ari, known as the "Hip-Hop Violinist."

All proceeds from the 2008 New York Gala will be applied to purchase a DNA Sequencing System—a critical piece of instrumentation required by Weizmann scientists working in a variety of research disciplines. The success of the Human Genome Project marked the beginning of a new era in genetics research, medical care, and technology: the era of individualized medicine. Thanks to advanced technology, the field of genomics is moving at an exponential rate, and reached another landmark in the fall of 2007 with the first-ever sequencing of the entire genome of an individual. Weizmann scientists include world-renowned genomics researchers, and the Institute was Israel's liaison to the Human Genome Project. This prestige and brainpower must be fully utilized in order to keep up with the fast-moving science of the future, and to fulfill the Institute's mission of "Science for the Benefit of Humanity."

Today, the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, is one of the world's top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions. Noted for its wide-ranging exploration of the natural and exact sciences, the Institute is home to 2,600 scientists, students, technicians, and supporting staff. Institute research efforts include the search for new ways of fighting disease and hunger, examining leading questions in mathematics and computer science, probing the physics of matter and the universe, creating novel materials, and developing new strategies for protecting the environment.

The Dinner Chairs are Gershon Kekst, Ellen Merlo, Andrew R. Morse, Bruce G. Pollack, and Larry Simon.

The American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science (ACWIS), founded in 1944, develops philanthropic support for the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, one of the world's premier scientific research institutions. The Weizmann Institute is a center of multidisciplinary scientific research and graduate study, addressing crucial problems in medicine and health, technology, energy, agriculture, and the environment. For additional information, please visit