It was a July 4 weekend like no other, with friends, family and glorious weather!
With much anticipation (in fact, a year in the making) Jack’s House opened with the magnificent Chihuly windows on display at the dedication of the new campus.
Donna Schneier, who became my dear friend when I launched Dan’s Papers Palm Beach, came to stay with me, along with her children and grandchildren, for the dedication ceremony of Jack’s House at her son Rabbi Marc Schneier’s Hampton Synagogue.
I had just moved into my new home, but I pushed my contractors to be able to welcome them. But there was almost a disaster!
Friday night, I was hosting a dinner party and invited my dear friends Todd and Liz Shapiro to join us. I had gotten great steaks from Justin’s Chop Shop in Westhampton Beach and they were marinating in the refrigerator, ready to be cooked.
But to my shock, my oven was not working!
I had bought a grill, but that wasn’t working, either, as it wasn’t connected to the gas line! But hope was not lost!
The Shapiros to the rescue! Liz went back to their house and brought me the propane tank they had just bought. Todd hooked it up to the grill and perfectly cooked the steaks himself!
Saturday’s service was led by Rabbi Schneier. Cantor Netanel Hershtik closed the service by singing Adonolum with the choir, to the music of “God Bless America.” I cried! How remarkable it was!
That evening, for the first time in the Hamptons, Metropolitan Opera singers performed to a jam-packed audience in the synagogue’s sanctuary! What a treat it was!
Sunday was the most anticipated day of the weekend, with the dedication of Jack’s House, located across the street from the synagogue, featuring a new campus with a children’s chapel, a playground, classrooms, a school and a day camp!
I was delighted that my daughter Samantha and her husband Spencer joined me in being given the honor to write with the scribe in the new children’s Torah.
It is pure genius that Rabbi Schneier and board chair Carol Levin came up with the idea to build a children’s campus. Mona Sterling and her sister Bonnie Greenfield had recently lost their father, Jack Gora, a devoted member of the congregation, and felt it would be a great legacy and tribute to him. So Jack’s House was conceived and she and her family donated the property and funded the building.
Then the community raised $13 million to enable the unique project to become a reality.
For me, the privilege of supporting the synagogue and the world famous Chihuly’s art (he’s the modern day Tiffany) extended to Dan’s Papers, which featured his glass sculptures on the chapel’s windows on the front cover!
After the signing of the Torah, it was marched around the block and brought to its home in the Barnet Family Children’s Chapel.
And, as with any celebration, there was a lavish luncheon with the most beautiful flowers on every table and the Stephen Scott Band making us all get up and dance!
In the evening, we were invited by Barry and Este Brahver to see the Westhampton Beach Country Club’s fireworks from their comfortable porch! What a sparkling, dynamic, booming and glorious way to end the day of dedication!
On July 4, I joined friends Carol and Jerry Levin at a barbecue fundraiser for Our Children (a drug rehabilitation program). Then I was off to celebrate Geraldo Rivera’s birthday with his wife Erica, family and friends at their home in Quogue. I headed to Sagaponack to see my friend Hans Van de Bovenkamp, who is recovering from COVID, on his 8-acre home and sculpture garden. Then, only a mile away, I was off to the home of Ralph and Cornelia Heins for a beautiful cocktail party to complete the joyous July 4 weekend!
It doesn’t get much better than this: A weekend filled with memories I will cherish always!