NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The inaugural Jewish Values Gala will be held on Tuesday, honoring those who have demonstrated the core morals of the Jewish faith, and human values in general.
The honorees at the first gala include Holocaust survivor and renowned author and professor Elie Wiesel, and Dr. Mehmet Oz – who is actually a Muslim, but who organizers say demonstrates core Jewish values just the same.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, executive director of the organization This World, is the organizer of the gala. He told WCBS 880 the values of the Jewish faith are a useful guide for all.
“Jewish people have excelled at building strong communities; integrated families; inspire children; being charitable; being educated, and so our values, I believe, have to go well beyond the confines of our own community and inspire communities far afield, and that requires us to celebrate and highlight the people in our midst who promote Jewish values,” he said.
Boteach added that Jewish values could solve numerous problems that are plaguing society, he said.
“My great belief is that the Jewish people have a lot of solutions to offer mainstream society as far as social ills are concerned; political partisanship; the disunity of this country; breakdown of the family; a lot of the problems we’re experiencing in achieving happiness; the skyrocketing rate of depression, and people who are turning to miracle drugs to Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil in order to find contentment rather than finding it within,” he said.
The Romanian-born Wiesel is the author of 57 books – most notably including Night, the harrowing story of his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz, Buna and Buchenwald concentration camps.
“Elie Wiesel is the first recipient. There is no more celebrated Jewish personality in the world. He’s a champion of Jewish spirit. He has brought the light of the Jewish people to countless millions,” Boteach said. “He reconciled God and man to the extent that reconciliation was really necessary after the Holocaust. He did that by allowing people a voice in their relationship with God; to challenge God instead of just blind submission, which I think is a huge problem in modern-day religion.”
And Dr. Oz has gained celebrity as a medical expert ever since he first appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2004.
“Dr. Oz, who’s not Jewish – he’s Muslim – he’s one of my very dear friends. He’s one of the great men in the world today – the world’s most famous doctor, and he’s a champion of human life,” Boteach said. “He has taught us all to value our health, that life is of infinite value, and that all lives are equal. The Bible famously says you must love your fellow man as yourself, so it begins from within. It begins with ourselves, and Dr. Oz has spearheaded that movement.”
Also to be honored at the gala are philanthropists Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, according to Jewish Press.
The event will be held Tuesday evening at the New York Marriott Marquis in Midtown. Proceeds for the event will go to the Rambam Medical Center in Israel, and American Friends of Rambam Medical Center.
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