2022 Humanitarian Awards


November, 2022  |   6 pm
















Dessert Reception & Awards Presentation | 7:30 PM

Master of Ceremonies | Rabbi Joseph Potasnik


We would like to thank

the following Elected Officials

& Diplomatic Representatives

for their support

Mayor Eric Adams

Commissioner Anthony Annucci

Justice Stephen Breyer

Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh

Consul General Konstantinos Konstantinou of Greece

Consul General Elias Levy of Panama

Councilmember Farah Louis

His Grace Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzos

Dep Consul General Israel Nitzan

Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar

Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez

Councilman Kalman Yaeger

Consul General Asaf Zamir


— Evening Program —

Presentation of the Colors

FDNY Ceremonial Unit & Emerald Society Pipes and Drums


FDNY Lt. John Leary & Bishop Robert Stearns

Founder and Executive Director of Eagles’ Wings


The Star-Spangled Banner
The Hatikva

Invocation | Rabbi Howard Stecker


Scott and Jill Epstein | Event Co-Chairs


A Brief Video on the NYBR


Reflection on Interfaith Partnerships | Rabbi Rachel Ain


— Presentation of Awards —

 Rabbi Jason Herman | NYBR Vice President, Hudson Yards Synagogue 
Presententation of Humanitarian Award to

Alan Abramson and Cynthia Swartz

Rabbi Deborah Bravo | NYBR Officer, MakomNY on Long Island
Presententation of Humanitarian Award to 

Steve and Beth Dorfman


Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove, Ph.D. | NYBR Vice President, Park Avenue Synagogue

Presententation of Humanitarian Award to

Rabbi Jeremy and Riki Wiederhorn

Rabbi Elie Weinstock | NYBR President, Jewish Center of Atlantic Beach

Presententation of NYBR Lifetime Acheivement Award to

The Honorable Stephen Breyer

— Honorees —

— Lifetime Achievement Award —

THE HONORABLE STEPHEN G. BREYER was born in San Francisco, California, August 15, 1938. He married Joanna Hare in 1967, and has three children – Chloe, Nell, and Michael. He received an A.B. from Stanford University, a B.A. from Magdalen College, Oxford, and an LL.B. from Harvard Law School. He served as a law clerk to Justice Arthur Goldberg of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1964 Term, as a Special Assistant to the Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Antitrust, 1965–1967, as an Assistant Special Prosecutor of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, 1973, as Special Counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, 1974–1975, and as Chief Counsel of the committee, 1979–1980. 

He was an Assistant Professor, Professor of Law, and Lecturer at Harvard Law School, 1967–1994, a Professor at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, 1977–1980, and a Visiting Professor at the College of Law, Sydney, Australia and at the University of Rome. From 1980–1990, he served as a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and as its Chief Judge, 1990–1994. He also served as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, 1990–1994, and of the United States Sentencing Commission, 1985–1989. President Clinton nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat August 3, 1994. Justice Breyer retired from the Supreme Court on June 30, 2022.

— Humanitarian Awards —


CYNTHIA SCHWARTZ got her start in the film industry working under the wings of her first mentor, Renee Furst. After working at Miramax and co-founding 42West, she founded her own company, Strategy PR/Consulting, a bi-coastal entertainment public relations and consulting firm that launched in September 2011. The firm, which has offices in New York and Los Angeles, focuses on national film publicity campaigns; digital entertainment strategy;
and importantly awards campaigns. 

Cynthia, a veteran film and awards strategist with three decades in the film industry, has been instrumental in creating, implementing, and overseeing initiatives for a wide array of studios, financing and production companies, filmmakers, and talent. Here are just a few of the films Cynthia has worked on over the course of her career: “Lady Bird,”  “Moonlight,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Argo,” “Steve Jobs,” “The Revenant,” “No Country For Old Men,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Shakespeare in Love,” “Chicago,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Amelie,” “Bridget Jones Diary,” and many many others.

Cynthia also uses her skills as a publicist in many of her outside activities. As a major supporter of the new Brooklyn Prospect Charter School, where our child Sarah attended high school, Cynthia recognized that the founders of the school had developed an extraordinary concept for educating children. The school admits students via lottery as opposed to an exclusionary selection process with the belief that all children should receive an excellent education. The school also has the International Baccalaureate program which gives students an opportunity to participate in an world renowned educational program. In only its second graduating class, the school was able to place students in some of the best colleges and universities in the country including Yale and Wellesley College along with local colleges and universities throughout NYC and NYS. Cynthia is so dedicated to the school that she organized its most successful fundraising event and has remained a strong supporter of the school years after our child graduated.

Most recently Cynthia has used her skills in a most extraordinary way. Recognizing the political divisions in the country, Cynthia has turned her attention to Voter Protection efforts across the United States. She has organized incredibly successful funding raising efforts and organized dozens of people to go out into communities across the country to work with voters to insure that all legal votes are counted. In the past two weeks Cynthia and Alan and about a dozen friends went to Nevada and spent several days traveling across Nevada teaching voters how to make sure that their ballots would be counted. On Election Day, Cynthia, Alan and her team worked the polls as poll observers. It was a most gratifying experience as they met so many wonderful citizens who were determined to vote and have their voices heard. For everyone in the group it reinforced our faith in America.

Cynthia is a graduate of Harvard University and a lifelong Red Sox fan. Regrettably she is not as convinced as Alan on the extraordinary merits of the music of Bruce Springsteen.

ALAN ABRAMSON, began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Kings Country District Attorneys Office under the leadership of Elizabeth Holtzman. He started off in the office as a trial attorney and completed his career in the Rackets Bureau prosecuting white collar crime and organized crime cases.Alan has always said that the DA’s office was the perfect place to start his career, that the training and opportunities he had there were invaluable, and the relationships he developed turned into life long friendships that have lasted to this day.

One day Alan was approached by a former legal aid society attorney. He told Alan he was looking for a law partner and that he had been watching Alan’s work as a prosecutor over the years. He admired Alan’s ethical approach as a prosecutor and his style in the court room. Shortly thereafter, a law firm was born. The firm grew and today, 35 years later, proudly practices criminal defense law. Alan handles state and federal matters as well as regulatory issues in New York and jurisdictions throughout the United States. Alan is most proud of the firm’s extensive Pro Bono efforts. Alan has spent countless hours representing clients including military veterans, charter schools and their students, parochial schools, clergy members of all faith traditions, and various charitable organizations all on a Pro Bono basis because of Alan’s deeply held belief that a lawyer has an obligation to provide legal assistance to all who are in need regardless of their financial condition. Alan finds his Pro Bono work to be one of the most satisfying elements of being a member of the bar. For the past ten years Alan has also served as a member of the Lay Advisory Board of the New York Board of Rabbis and also serves as Pro Bono Counsel to the Board. Alan finds this work to be particular gratifying because the issues that arise present challenging questions that always require a thoughtful and careful approach to their successful resolution.


The firm is also proud of their internship program. The firm recruits interns from law schools through the city and offers students a birds eye view of criminal law. Alan takes great pride in the fact that every intern upon graduation has obtained a position in a District Attorney’s Office or Legal Aid organization in the city. The first intern that was hired 25 years ago has recently been appointed as a Judge to the NYC Criminal Court Bench.


The greatest thing that has happened in Alan’s life is his marriage to Cynthia. Cynthia and Alan have just celebrated their 30th anniversary and have created a wonderful life in Brooklyn, Maine, and throughout the world through their extensive travels.


As a couple their greatest joy is their two children, Eliza and Sarah. Eliza works for a major streaming service and is currently based in London. Sarah is on a 2 year fellowship in Hong Kong sponsored by their alma mater, Wellesley College. Alan and Cynthia deeply believe that because of their children’s work ethic and deep sense of obligation to so many charitable organizations and worthy causes that somehow their children will help show the way to a better world. Both parents have been a constant guiding force in their lives and a role model for how to live an ethical productive life and always be a source of love and strength in your family.



Finally, Alan and Cynthia would like to thank Rabbi Potasnik for his friendship, guidance, kindness and good humor these past 30 years. They are deeply grateful to have him in their lives.


RABBI JEREMY WIEDERHOR(65th president of the NYBR) has served as the spiritual leader of TCS Westport for the past 15 years.  Prior to that, he was the rabbi of Midbar Kodesh Temple in Henderson, Nevada for eight years. The first President of the NYBR from Connecticut, Rabbi Wiederhorn helped guide the organization through two years of the pandemic. 


RIKI WIEDERHORcurrently serves as the Director of Year-Round Programming for Camp Ramah New England. She has worked for over 25 years as a teacher and Jewish educator in various formal and informal settings, including the Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy in Stamford, CT for nearly a decade. 


STEVE DORFMAN has been married to the most fabulous woman in the world, Beth, for over 37 years. They have 2 wonderful children and terrific respective partners, Mike & Maggie and Jen & Guy. On September 10th Jen and Guy had the honor and privilege of being married by Rabbi Potasnik.


After graduating Dartmouth Steve decided to join the family insurance business and worked closely with his dad for many years. Elliot was his best friend, buddy, confidant and mentor. Steve is the 3rd generation and daughter, Jen is the 4th generation of a 102 year old business that thankfully flourishes today due to lots of hard work and effort.

Outside of family, Steve’s greatest joy is helping other people by volunteering time, resources and energy. Steve just retired as the President of his co-op, The Eagle Tenants Corp., after serving as President for 37 years.

Steve and Beth are supporters of Joe and Ali Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation since it’s inception in 2003. What an amazing organization they created to help victims of domestic violence by providing support, counseling and safe spaces in schools to those that need help and protection.

Steve serves as a member of the Community Mayors organization since 1992 as the Mayor of Wall Street. As volunteers they help children with special needs by creating opportunities and bringing joy to these kids. Their next event is Operation Santa Claus, 3 weeks from today, where they bring over 1000 children to the Delta Hangar at Newark Airport and give them holiday presents donated by Macys and others, and a day filled with lots of entertainment and fun, and even Santa arrives via Delta Jet to the amazement of the children. Additional events run during the year include the NY Aquarium, Dino’s Wonder Wheel, Casino Night, and a host of others, simply to put a smile on a child’s face.

Steve also started his volunteer youth hockey administrative career in 1998 running a local hockey travel organization skating out of Chelsea Piers, the New York City Cyclones, which had approximately 500 children skating for them, then took on additional responsibilities becoming the Assistant Commissioner of the New York State Amateur Hockey League and their Director of Discipline, overseeing 22 youth travel organizations skating out of 20 different rinks representing over 12,000 children practicing 2-4 nights a week and playing 2-3 games each weekend. One might ask why? The answer was very clear to him. Steve spearheaded various fundraising efforts with the Cyclones so that if a child had the talent to play for a team and his parents could not afford the fee for uniforms, equipment, travel, tournaments, etc, the organization would provide a scholarship to the child. These scholarships ranged from $3,000 to $7,000 per child, based on need. Roughly half of the kids on each team received scholarships. He took that model and expanded it to the other 21 organizations in the league and it caught on like wildfire. This has been one of the most satisfying endeavors for Steve because he supported over 6,000 children every year with the opportunity to learn and play hockey, understand teamwork, build friendships, and most of all, keep these kids off the street and give them support with opportunity to succeed in life. He saved some really difficult children from some really bad situations- from joining gangs to dealing drugs to ending up in jail or ending up dead. Steve is most gratified when he sees some of those former at risk children, now adults, at a rink coaching the next generation and sharing pictures with him of their wife and kids.

In his spare time he’s an avid golfer and tennis player, and loves being with his wife and children whether they’re together in the City, in the Hamptons, or in Miami.

BETH DORFMAN, after graduating from SUNY Binghamton and Hofstra Law School, Beth has spent her professional career working on Wall St in a variety of legal roles. Currently she is a Managing Director at Bank of America running the risk teams for Merrill Lynch and the Consumer Bank . In her volunteer life Beth has been on the Executive Committee of the SIFMA Compliance and Legal Society ( an organization comprised of several thousand legal and compliance professionals in the financial services industry)  and served as its first woman president from 2006-2008.

After successfully launching her 2 children Mike and Jennifer on their college path, Beth became involved with the Financial Women’s’ Association, a not for profit dedicated to advancing women. As the first in her family to attend college, Beth was passionate about paying it forward and became involved in the high school mentoring program. Not only was she an active mentor, but shortly thereafter she began to run the program and was asked to join the FWA board.  For the past 12 years under her leadership, she has changed the educational and economic trajectory of hundreds of  underserved high school girls in her program at Murry Bergtraum High School and the High School for Economics and Finance.  Students accepted into the program are paired  with an individual mentor, are enrolled in SAT prep courses, college essay writing workshops , go on overnight college visits and participate in a variety of cultural activities.  Through weekly meeting over the course of their high school years, they develop the skills and confidence needed to be successful in their college years and beyond. Defying statistics on NYC public school graduation rates and college matriculation ,all of the students n the program graduate high school and go to college , receiving scholarships and continued support from this program. Students have gone on to be accepted in the very prestigious Posse scholars program and are attending highly selective public and private colleges.

While there are many success stories, Beth is most proud of the work she has done over the past 10 years mentoring one of her students. When they first met, this particular student was a 15 year old teenage mom living in a homeless shelter. Shortly thereafter she ended up in the foster care system living in a group home with her infant son. Through Beth’s dedication, caring and commitment, this student began to believe in herself and Beth encouraged her to go to school and apply to college. Ultimately she was accepted at Endicott College on a full scholarship  where they have a special program for teenage moms to live on campus with their children. She graduated and she is now attending Harvard University where she is seeking her masters degree in Urban planning.

Beth has been married for 37 years to her wonderful husband Steve. They have 2 children Mike and Jennifer and have been thrilled to welcome Jen’s husband Guy and Mike’s girlfriend Maggie into their family. Among them they have 4 dogs and 2 horses. When she is not working or  mentoring students you can find Beth at the barn riding or doing Pilates.

2022 Humanitarian Awards

— E-Journal —

Powered By EmbedPress