Victoria’s Secrets: An extraordinary week

I was honored to have the governor join me and my family at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

From opening night at Barry Manilow’s musical, “Harmony,” to honoring 60 extraordinary women at our Power Women of Long Island Gala to welcoming our superb Governor Kathy Hochul to help cut the ribbon for Life’s WORC headquarters that was named for me in Garden City, it was truly a week for the memory books!

Friends Carol and Jerry Levin invited me to the white tie opening night of Barry Manilow’s long anticipated show “Harmony.” Carol, who heads up the National Yiddish Theatre — who performs at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park — had the show in previews the previous year.

Following the “tryouts,” I had the joy of being at the dinner with Barry Manilow, my favorite “song meister,” and his musical partner Bruce Sussman.

With my favorite singer Barry Manilow

He is a warm, friendly person who writes the songs that make the world a better place. I was delighted to again see his fine tuned, 20-years-in-the-making musical, “Harmony.”

The scene of women dressed in elegant gowns and men wearing tuxedos filling the sold out theatre was a show by itself! The audience gave standing ovations to the performers over and over again!

Then we and hundreds others went to Guastavino’s, nestled under the 59th Street Bridge, for a celebratory opening night party. What a night!

The next evening, it was my greatest joy to host a glorious night at the Crest Hollow Country Club for Long Island Press’ sold out Power Women of Long Island event!

My events team, led by my daughter Elizabeth Aloni and decadeslong employee Toni Cimino, celebrated the women who have achieved great success. Each woman was a star! What a joyous night!

Power Women Frances Kweller & Olivia Phillips with the next generation

It touched my heart that, after I asked for a moment of silence in memory of those lost in Israel and Palestine, a man approached me after the presentation and said, “Thank you. I truly appreciate your mentioning the Palestinians.” He was a Palestinian with a mosque in Deer Park.

We grieve that war kills beloved people from both sides of the conflict.

During times of war, it’s so good for the soul to find time to celebrate.

It was my honor to welcome our powerful and caring Governor Kathy Hochul to cut the ribbon on Life’s WORC headquarters in Garden City that is now named for me. I founded the organization over 50 years to serve people like my Lara who have special needs.

With my son Josh & grandson Blake Sohmer before the ribbon-cutting

After the ribbon-cutting, I told the governor I wore a green suit because I needed to ask her for money to increase the salaries of the direct care service workers in group homes who dress, feed, diaper and take care of the people like my Lara who needed total care every day.

With Gov. Hochul & Rabbi Marc Schneier at the ribbon-cutting ceremony

The governor replied, “I thought you were wearing a green suit because you know I’m Irish!” I’m so grateful that we can laugh together.

The fight for people with autism and disabilities never ends, but it was a celebratory afternoon that will forever be embedded in my mind!

It truly was a wondrous week!

Powerful words

Dear Readers,

Since the atrocities Hamas committed against innocent men, women and children on Oct. 7, I’m shocked by the ignorance of history I hear all around me.

Our dedicated New York City Mayor Eric Adams addressed Central Synagogue and his powerful words need to be shared!

Here is a sampling of Mayor Adams’ words.

“We may not share the same faith, but we share the same fate. We’re in this together. And here’s my commitment to you.

We’ll never surrender. We will never surrender to hate. We will never surrender to antisemitism. We will never surrender to attacks. We will never surrender to Islamophobia. We will never surrender to anti-Christian or anti-LGBTQ or anti any other group.

We will never surrender. This is New York City, and if New York City never surrenders, the country would never surrender.

Our hearts go out to over 1,400 people we lost. We all feel the pain. And as I stated then, I’ll say again, we’re not all right, but we’re going to do everything possible by coming together to be alright. God bless you. God bless New York. God bless America.”

Please pass these words on to all you know!

Wishing all of my readers a warm and Happy Thanksgiving!