At its fourth annual Eight Over Eighty benefit gala The New Jewish Home will pay tribute to eight New Yorkers who, in their ninth and tenth decades, continue to live lives of remarkable achievement, vitality and civic engagement. The event, at the Mandarin Oriental New York on Tuesday, April 4, is expected to attract more than 450 guests and raise more than $1 million for the nonprofit’s rehabilitation, skilled nursing, and home health care programs, which together serve 12,000 older adults of all faiths and ethnicities each year.
The honorees, each of whom will be celebrated in a video vignette, are style icon and self-described geriatric starlet Iris Apfel, 95; dance legend Carmen De Lavallade, 85; civil rights leader and businessman Vernon E. Jordan, 81; activist and television pioneer Norman Lear, 94; culinary star Jacques Pépin, 81; philanthropist and business leader Morris W. Offit, 80; and New York City power couple Barbara and Donald Tober, 81 and 85, respectively. These men and women, the best of the best in their individual spheres of achievement, are movers and shakers who continue to contribute and to make waves, in the process showing the world that trailblazing is ageless.
Said Audrey Weiner, President and CEO, The New Jewish Home. “Like the city itself, the energy and excitement that our eight honorees bring to each day and everything they do demonstrate what it means to age like a New Yorker. The people we pay tribute to were innovators, pioneers and role models 50 years ago and they remain innovators, pioneers and role models today.”
Iris Apfel, Jewish Fashion Guru
The idiosyncratic fashion sense of self-described geriatric starlet Iris Apfel has captivated fashion lovers around the world and led filmmaker AlBert Maysles to make her the subject of “Iris,” his 2014 documentary.
Iris Apfel honed her personal style during her many years of traveling the world with her husband, Carl, on behalf of their textile firm, Old World Weavers. In 2005 the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art honored Iris Apfel with “RaRa Avis (Rare Bird): The Irreverent Iris Apfel,” an exhibition about her approach to fashion.
All Honoree Biographies
The career of dancer, choreographer, and theater, film and television actress Carmen De Lavallade has been unusually varied and prolific, filled with collaborations with some of the greatest artists of the age. Among other achievements she has had ballets created for her by Lester Horton, Geoffrey Holder (her husband of 59 years), Alvin Ailey, Glen Tetley,John Butler and Agnes De Mille; danced with the Metropolitan Opera and the American Ballet Theater; choreographed for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Philadanco and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; and appeared in movies andmany off-Broadway productions.
Vernon E. Jordan is a civil rights leader, business consultant and attorney whose many accomplishments include leading the National Urban League and the United Negro College Fund; holding critical positions at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Voter Education Project of the Southern Regional Council, the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, and the Southern Regional Council; serving as Chairman of the Clinton Presidential Transition Team; and receiving a variety of presidential appointments.
Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film, his television work including the creation of such groundbreaking series as All in the Family, Maude, Good Times and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. In 1999 President Clinton awarded Mr. Lear the National Medal of Arts noting that he had “held up a mirror to American society and changed the way we look at it.” As accomplished a philanthropist and political and social activist as he is a television pioneer, Mr. Lear founded the People for the American Way, the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and the Business Enterprise Trust.
Financier and philanthropist Morris W. Offit leads Offit Capital and founded and served as CEO of OFFITBANK, which later merged with Wachovia. He is a trustee of Johns Hopkins University (Chairman of the Board 1990-1996), the Jewish Museum (Chairman of the Board 1987-1991), the New-York Historical Society, and The Museum of the American Revolution, opening on April 17 in Philadelphia. Mr. Offit served a three-year term as president of UJA-Federation of New York and helped shape The New Jewish Home’s Eight Over Eighty event as one its inaugural co-chairs.
World-renowned culinary genius Jacques Pépin was chef to three French heads of state and cooked at New York’s historic Le Pavillon restaurant. His many other achievements include writing 25 books, founding The American Institute of Wine and Food, writing for The New York Times and Food & Wine magazine, and hosting many award-winning public television series. Having received three of the French government’s highest honors he is a Chevalier de L’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur, a Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and a Chevalier de L’Ordre du Mérite Agricole.
Barbara and Donald Tober are a New York City power couple. Mrs. Tober is a former longtime publishing executive who was editor-in-chief of Bride’sfor 30 years. She is president of Acronym, which invests in art-related projects, and heads the Global Leadership Council of the Museum of Arts and Design, whose board she led for 15 years.
Donald Tober is chairman and CEO of Sugar Foods Corporation, a co-founder and an executive committee member of Citymeals-on-Wheels, and a Trustee Emeritus of The Culinary Institute of America. The couple are long-time supporters of many New York City cultural organizations.
Photo credit / Film Company Magnolia Pictures