On September 12th, the American Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU) hosted an elegant dinner fêting the career of celebrated Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis to benefit TAU’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.
Professor Lewis is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University and has long been affiliated with the Dayan Center, an internationally renowned think tank. At the ripe age of 96, Lewis is considered the foremost scholar of postwar Islam and the Middle East in the world.
On Wednesday evening, Lewis’ contemporaries like Henry Kissinger, New York Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman, former Israeli Ambassador Itamar Rabinovich, as well as Barclays Vice Chairman and Tel Aviv University International Board of Chairmen Harvey Krueger lauded his achievements in front of a full house at The Pierre’s ornate ballroom.
VIP attendees like Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal and former US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz enjoyed a lovely cocktail hour followed by a delicious kosher dinner with a brilliant American take on an Israeli salad. A special tribute from MacArthur Fellow and Middle East academic Fouad Ajami closed out the speakers prior to Professor Lewis taking the stage.
Guests were then treated to a decadent buffet of desserts, and gifted a copy of Lewis’ recent memoir publication, Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian before the evening of enlightenment and fundraising ended.
One of the strongest take-home messages was when a speaker quoted Lewis, in that “there is no compromise between existence and non-existence.”