SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER’S SOUTH FLORIDA TRIBUTE DINNER WELCOMES MORE THAN 200 GUESTS, HIGHLIGHTED BY KEYNOTE ADDRESS FROM REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL) AND HONOREE BONNIE SCHAEFER
Dinner Chairs Judy and Michael Adler Spearhead Annual Event
SOUTH FLORIDA –The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s South Florida Tribute Dinner chaired by Judy and Michael Adler and including leading members of Miami’s philanthropic and Jewish community welcomed more than 200 supporters of the acclaimed international Jewish human rights organization, and honored the extraordinary activism and philanthropy of SWC Trustee Bonnie Schaefer.
Hosted at the Fairmont Turnberry Resort, the evening was also highlighted by a keynote address from Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who was appointed chairperson of the Democratic National Committee just days before the dinner.
“The dinner was a tremendous success, on so many different levels. First and foremost, it reinforced the critical importance of the SWC as a voice for social justice and tolerance, and generated much-needed funding to continue its mission,” said Mr. and Mrs. Adler. “The event also gave us an opportunity to honor our dear friend Bonnie Schaefer, an incredible woman whose commitment to her beliefs inspires and amazes us every day; and to celebrate Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s remarkable new position in Washington, DC as the first Jewish woman to head either political party.”
“During her wonderful speech, I was delighted to hear Bonnie discuss her beloved father Rowland Schaefer’s influence on her life, and his belief in our organization,” said Rabbi Meyer H. May, the SWC’s Executive Director. “But this was a night to honor her own exceptional legacy, including her generous and dedicated service to the Center, her commitment to confronting global anti-Semitism, and her establishment of Jewish resources in North Carolina.”
In her keynote address, Rep. Wasserman Schultz honored the SWC by describing it as “the global model of Jewish values”; outlined her commitment to Holocaust survivors; voiced her “cautiously optimistic” view of the dramatic recent political changes in the Middle East, and expressed her unwavering support of Israel’s safety, security, and close relationship with the United States.
Ms. Schaefer is the former co-CEO and co-Chairman of the Board of Claire’s Stores, Inc., the leading international specialty retailer. During her tenure with Claire’s, the company’s shareholder value increased approximately 200 percent. In May 2007, Ms. Schaefer and her sister, Marla, consummated the sale of the company to a private equity group for $3.1 billion.
Very active politically, and also an active participant in a number of charitable and community organizations, she is an ardent and global supporter of women’s rights. Through her participation with the Women’s Media Center, Ms. Schaefer works for greater visibility and power for women in the media. She works with Equality Now to improve conditions for women and girls around the world. She and Marla co-chaired the Ms. Foundation for Women’s 2007 and 2008 Gloria Awards, and Ms. Schaefer was the honoree at the 2009 Gloria Awards, receiving the Woman of Vision and Action Award. She is also a member of Women Moving Millions, a partnership of visionary donors, the Women’s Funding Network and its member funds. Ms. Schaefer is also active locally and globally on behalf of Israel and Jewish causes. In addition to her service as a Trustee of the SWC, she holds leadership positions with Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Representative Wasserman Schultz is one of the region’s most visible and productive elected officials. The first Jewish Congresswoman ever elected from Florida, she leads a number of initiatives with concern for supporting Jewish causes and the State of Israel.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.