Out & About

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The New York Sun

At breakfast and luncheon events today, the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York plans to raise 10s of millions of dollars for the Israel Emergency Campaign. But with New York being a generous town, the fund-raising for local issues is also proceeding, albeit under the shadow of the Israeli conflict.

Comptroller William Thompson held his audience’s attention yesterday speaking in support of Israel. He also acknowledged the needs of the city to guests at Tavern on the Green for the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty’s annual Builders’ Luncheon by iterating their role in keeping New York strong.

“New York City may be the financial capital of the world, but real estate drives New York, because our ability to grow and expand depends on your industry,” Mr. Thompson said.

The senior vice president for agency and external relations of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York, Louise Greilsheimer, expressed a similar sentiment. “All of you in this room, you change New York for the better,” she said. “You help by building and supporting our economic growth. And you build not only here but in Israel and that is extremely important,”

The real estate folks in the room appreciated the kind words, but they were there to single out the generosity of one man: the council’s Man of the Year, developer Shaya Boymelgreen. His holdings downtown were most often mentioned, but his reach spreads across continents, his father-in-law, Gabriel Rubaszkin, said.

“Our honoree is a very special man whose devotion to his family and community is an example to us all,” the chief executive officer of the council, William Rapfogel, said of Mr. Boymelgreen. Mr. Rapfogel met Mr. Boymelgreen three years ago and has worked with him on the council’s many affordable housing developments. At the moment, there are four under construction in Manhattan, one under construction in Brooklyn, and two in the final planning stages in Staten Island.

In a room of Mr. Boymelgreen’s friends, partners, and employees, it was difficult to find an unbiased opinion.

“He’s there when you need him. I find him to be a humble fellow,” a member of the Political Action Committee of Crown Heights, Eli Slavin, said.

Mr. Boymelgreen was also acknowledged as a compassionate boss. “When I came to the company three years ago, it was my first job in the U.S. [after] I came from Israel. And I was treated as one of the sons,” the manager of Boymelgreen Development’s legal department, Eugene Zlatopolsky, said.

Mr. Boymelgreen spoke briefly, just long enough to urge his colleagues to be generous. For inspiration, he cited those who helped build Israel’s earliest settlements. One man started with $6 million and his investments in settlements are worth $180 billion today. “Let us hope that their good deeds will continue to multiply again and again,” he said.

The event raised $300,000 for the council. Luncheon sponsors included Extell Development Company, Liberty Pointe Bank, Newmark Knight Frank, Forest City Ratner Companies, and Alexico Management Co.


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