August 26, 2011
The Hampton Synagogue
|Rabbi Marc Schneier with Imam Shamsi at the the Today, I'm a Muslim, Too rally in Times Square, hosted by Russell Simmons|
For the past twenty years The Hampton Synagogue has played host to a long list of esteemed diplomats and notables, from the prime minister of Israel to the Clintons and even Glenn Beck. “When it comes to The Hampton Synagogue, you expect the unexpected,” says founding Rabbi Marc Schneier of his synagogue and its newly instated Shabbat Diplomat Dinners. Schneier, who is also vice president of the World Jewish Congress and founding Rabbi of The New York Synagogue, began the summer Shabbat dinner series to create a dialogue between his congregation and ambassadors from around the world. “It’s important for not only the congregation to hear from different ambassadors but important for the ambassadors to hear from a prominent Jewish congregation—whether it’s the ambassador of Russia, Peru, Germany or Austria,” says Schneier. The dinners, which take place every Friday, begin with a fabulous spread courtesy of Hamptons kosher caterer Mark David and then lead into a question and answer period between Schneier and the evening’s guest followed by an open forum.
How do you choose your dinner guests?
There has to be some connection to the state of Israel or to a particular Jewish issue. For example, why did we have the ambassador to New Zealand? At the time, New Zealand was having some issues with the state of Israel: the parliament had just discussed the banning of the ritual slaughter, which was an issue of great duress to the New Zealand Jewish community. There’s a lot of effort that goes into sending the invitation and making the choice.
What sorts of questions most commonly arise from your congregation?
Palestinians declaring unilateral statehood; September at the U.N. and how [a] particular country feels or will respond to that; questions concerning the Jewish community in [a] particular country.
Any moments this summer that have been particularly thought-provoking for you personally?
One of the most intriguing moments was the night when the [U.N.] ambassador of Iraq [Dr. T. Hamid Al Bayati] came. His visit was juxtaposed with the new Israel ambassador to the U.N. [Ron Prosor] coming Saturday morning. In fact, [Prosor] had just been appointed to that post and decided that his initial inaugural address to the American Jewish people would be at The Hamptons Synagogue during services that morning. [Bayati] had never been to a synagogue before. And it was a very interesting exchange—an eye-opener on both sides.
Tonight, you have the U.N. ambassador for Peru coming to dinner.
Why Peru, right? Because Peru is the only country in Latin America that has spoke with Israel and said that they will not support Palestinians having a unilateral state. I think it’s important to hear their perspective. It’s important both for the ambassador and the congregation.
What sort of questions do you have planned for him?
I think I’m going to focus on the issue of Iran, [which is] beginning to make in-roads in Latin America through Brazil, through Venezuela, through Argentina.
What about the Hamptons and its community do you think draws these diplomats from all corners of the world to Shabbat dinner at The Hampton Synagogue?
I think the Hamptons is uniquely positioned as a community of communities. When you’re speaking at a Friday night dinner or Saturday morning service, you have leaders from 40 or 50 Jewish communities there. They come from the Upper East Side, they come from the Upper West Side, from Scarsdale, from Great Neck, from anywhere in New Jersey, Connecticut; we have our group from Palm Beach, Florida, from Boca, from California—it truly is a community of communities. It’s not a monolithic audience and you’re also speaking to a group of leaders. I’ve often said at The Hamptons Synagogue that I am a Rabbi of a group of all chiefs and no braves.
The next and final summer Shabbat Diplomat Dinner will take place on September 2 and will feature guests Stuart Beck, the permanent representative of Palau to the U.S., and Israeli Consul General Ido Aharoni. RSVP here.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL STEWART/WIREIMAGE.COM (RALLY)
August 25, 2011
These suede boots by Lanvin ($1,090) get us excited for fall. The embossed python print is subtle enough for the office and the low stacked heel keeps things comfortable. Gail Rothwell, 66 Newton Ln., East Hampton, 631-324-6666
August 25, 2011
Jamie Wolf’s collection of gold baby bracelets for Little Edit are adorned with tiny diamonds and precious gems. They’re the perfect accessory for a baby girl – and one that she won’t immediately grow out of. Edit, 1368 Lexington Ave., 212-876-1368
August 23, 2011
Sonja Morgan at a Danskin charity event in Southampton
The reality of The Real Housewives of New York City is that it has a fun-loving scene-stealer in Sonja Morgan, who makes no apologies for using her humor and charm to offset some very heated moments. But the series is only one facet of her life, and in the name of summer who better to talk with about all things fun, fabulous and Hamptons-oriented? During our chat one of the favorites on “Team Blonde” held nothing back, hosting graciously as we navigated the terrain.
You have a wonderful sense of self. How did you come to fit so nicely into your skin and what advice would you give to those who are still feeling a little awkward?
Sonja Morgan: I came to New York City to study at The Fashion Institute of Technology. Maybe my skirts were a bit too short and my socks a bit too high, but no one cared, no one commented and most importantly whatever they did say was loving and supportive. The moral of this story? Be yourself, be your best and surround yourself with people who accept and enjoy you.
You spend a great deal of time in the Hamptons. What is the allure?
SM: I have traveled the globe and the Hamptons have some of the most remarkable beaches. I also enjoy the parties. Out here there is a unique sense of style. People dress with a casual elegance that is not about being pretentious, but rather speaks to the essence of summer, fun. Not to mention I can go from the beach to a business meeting in under two hours.
It wouldn’t be summer without the beach. What do you need in your beach bag?
SM: Some people walk softly and carry a big stick. I walk proudly and carry a huge beach bag. Inside… the New York Post, Hamptons magazine, reading glasses, sunglasses (Prada and Porsche), sunscreen, MAC lip gloss, iced green tea I make myself, hair clips and a headband.
Any secret hideaways that you are willing to share?
SM: Without sounding “difficult,” no. The reason they are a secret is because I don’t tell anyone about them. I may be Team Blonde, but my momma didn’t raise a fool.
What are your guilty summer pleasures?
SM: I don’t feel guilty! But I do enjoy a little sun, a lot of dancing and more than a few good books: the Kabbalah; AstroTwins' Love Zodiac; and The Younger (Thinner) You Diet.
What’s next for Sonja Morgan?
SM: The world is changing, the economy is changing and I feel I owe it to my fans to offer recipes, entertaining, style tips and most importantly how to do so in the name of affordable luxury.
PHOTOGRAPH BY GETTYIMAGES.COM
August 20, 2011
So many animals get injured every year in the Hamptons, and no one knows whom to call or what to do. I learned this after finding a snapping turtle on the road that was run over by a truck. Thank goodness for hard shells! Although the turtle was fine, his shell was not, and he needed a lot of attention. This was plainly a job for the Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons, which rehabilitates animals so they can go back into the wild. While some cannot be returned to their natural habitat, they are provided a good home and serve to teach children and adults about our environment and the creatures in it.
Situated on thousands of acres stretching from Tiana Bay to Peconic Bay, the WRC is a professional wildlife hospital. Unlike a veterinary hospital, there are no ambient noises or smells to stress the wildlife recovering within. There are 100 trained rescuers, and the center answers more than 10,000 calls a year. The center provides high-quality educational programs and classes everywhere from Montauk to NYC; they promote the balance of wildlife and humans to better both our future and that of the animals.
I have had so many experiences with the WRC. I have brought in several birds, some of which I returned home with. (I did not realize the mother bird pushes the babies out of the nest in order to teach them to fly. Some land on the ground until they get the hang of it.) The center has saved so many wonderful birds—owls, geese, swans, hawks and even an albino robin. On the property there are also foxes, deer, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, birds, snakes, bats, turtles and rabbits. It is a wonderful place to visit to see what is going on in the environment and how these animals can be helped.
The Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons Summer Benefit will take place at the waterfront estate of Liz Brown & Leslie Alexander on August 20 from 6 to 8 PM.
PHOTOGRAPH BY RICKY GREENING OF THE WILDLIFE RESCUE CENTER OF THE HAMPTONS