Victoria’s Secrets: Gratitude and reflection

Henry Higgins training Eliza Doolittle
Photo via Twitter/@MyFairLadyBway

Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish New Year on Sept. 19, is a time of reflection and gratitude.

During prayers, I beat my chest with my fist, asking for forgiveness for my sins. I also spent hours in the synagogue listening to the magnificent ancient prayers sung by the robust melodic large choir of men and women. They left me in awe.

Just these past weeks, I felt so grateful to spend time with my daughters. We went to see “My Fair Lady” at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center as a belated birthday gift.

Sitting in the first row of the three-quarters theater-in-the-round, I felt up close and personal with the action and the voices of the magnificently talented actors. They carried me off to another place. I forget how powerful their talent is and how it moved me.

The revival of “My Fair Lady” is as fresh as its first performance in 1956, with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews in the lead roles.

The towering talents breathed new life into every role, with Lauren Ambrose as the perfectly pitched Eliza Doolittle and Harry Hadden-Paton as stately professor Henry Higgins.

Professor Higgins lamenting with his house staff. (Photo via Twitter/@MyFairLadyBway)
Professor Higgins lamenting with his house staff. (Photo via Twitter/@MyFairLadyBway)

What a gift to be touched by the cast’s talent in telling a timeless story of love and relationships with brilliant music, costumes and sets. They won a Tony Award for the sets, but how Norbert Leo Butz didn’t win is beyond me. His rendition of “Get Me to the Church On Time” brought down the house. It was an inspired performance.

Another inspiration was meeting and helping Manda Kalimian whose passion for saving wild horses led her to create the Cana Foundation, an organization devoted to saving the horses out west.
Manda researched and investigated the way our government has corralled the horses to make way for fracking and cattle ranching.

Manda Kalimian
Manda Kalimian

The Long Island Press partnered with her and held a press conference at the Hampton Classic, sharing the problem and asking for support from our legislators. Find out more about the Cana Foundation by visiting their website, canafoundation.org. One person can make a difference.

Saluting the Power Women of Staten Island

Dr. Dyanna Coomer with Rachel Rusi, CEO of Goal Mine Health Club
Dr. Dyanna Coomer with Rachel Rusi, CEO of Goal Mine Health Club

Over 17 years ago, when I attended a Chamber of Commerce business awards dinner and found that not one woman was recognized, I took action. I created the Power Women in Business event, which has grown since then to honor women in Queens, Brooklyn, Long Island, the Bronx and Staten Island.
Last week, I had the privilege of giving awards to 35 people on Staten Island who have been successful in many fields in their county. The elegant Hilton on Staten Island was the venue for the event that made many people proud.

We also raised $2,500 for the Florina Rusi Marke Comprehensive Breast Center, Staten Island University Hospital / Northwell Health.

It was an inspiring night to recognize each person’s achievements and learn more about them. I cried as I heard the journey of Dr. Dyanna Coomer, an outstanding breast surgeon at Staten Island University Hospital, who received the Health Hero award. As an outstanding breast surgeon, she shared her journey of coming to America and pursuing her dream to become a doctor.

Perseverance and passion made it possible. She is now the proud mom of two children, a wife of a surgeon and a recognized expert in her field.

Her story is the American dream come true. I felt such joy to recognize her, and I stand in awe of all the people who we’ve honored and have enhanced our lives with their passion.

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