2009 April 2

No Fooling for UJA

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(NEW YORK) “Happy April Fool’s Day,” said InStyle's  Hal Rubenstein as he welcomed luncheoners into the Plaza Wednesday afternoon. “Don’t worry--I won’t touch that,” he laughed. “We’ve seen enough fools already.” The grand ballroom was full of the chic supporters of UJA-Federation at the philanthropy’s Fashion Luncheon, honoring Neiman Marcus president and CEO Karen Katz and Allen Sirkin, president and COO of Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation (the company behind the likes of Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, DKNY and more). “Talk about a turnout,” observed one guest; indeed, between Rubenstein giving the welcoming address, designer David Meister acting as master of ceremonies, and Donald Trump and Pamela Fiori presenting the awards, it truly was a full house.

“I’m a big believer in charities and giving back,” said Meister, “And when you learn about the UJA and how far reaching it is, how many programs they support and fund, it’s really quite amazing. I was fortunate enough to go and visit some of these programs yesterday, and it’s amazing.” Meister claimed not to be nervous before his big emceeing gig (“I’m pretty good with talking!” he assured), and audience members like Trump, Cindi Lieve, Nicole Miller, and Elie and Rory Tahari seemed to respond well--the event raised over $700,000 for UJA-Federation, and international organization that combats poverty, helps the elderly age with dignity, promotes Jewish identity and renewal, strengthens children and families, and opens doors to those with disabilities and special needs.

With UJA supporters like Prada Gucci, Balenciaga, Tory Burch, Etro, Ferragamo, and more, the ties to fashion were evident. “We are all, in our way, making people feel better about themselves,” said Rubenstein. And though the current economy has hit charities hard, he and Meister asked attendees to open up their wallets. “There’s no one in this room here that isn’t bailing water out of their boat,” said Rubenstein, “but because we’re all in here, none of us has sunk.”

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