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It is the mission of Yad Vashem to keep the memory of the Holocaust and the legacy of its survivors alive. The World Remembrance Center in Jerusalem founded 64 years ago, serves as the conscience of humanity and the voice of the Jewish people. It preserves and shares the stories of the 6 million murdered during the Second World War.
We were honored to attend the gala sponsored by the American Society of Yad Vashem at the Beverly Wilshire honoring famed KISS co-founder Gene Simmons and his Holocaust survivor mother, Flora Klein, The Spiegel Family and the feature film, “Denial.” Simmons, who was born in Israel, emigrated with his Mother to NYC when he was eight. Flora, who lost most of her family in the Nazi death camps, instilled in him, “Never Again.”
Beautiful Rita Spiegel accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of her deceased parents, Holocaust survivors, Abraham and Edita Spiegel. For 25 years, she has managed the Siegel endowment for the creation of the Children’s Memorial at Yad Vashem that commemorates the lives of over one million children who were murdered. Also honored was the film “Denial”, produced by Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff. Thanks to Gala Chair, Karen Sandler, Leonard A. Wilf, Chairman Phil Blazer, and their supporters for a memorable evening. The best news is that $800,000 was raised to benefit Yad Vashem.
Diane Keaton received the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dolby Theater, and brought out more stars than the Academy Awards, including former honorees and presenters Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep and Al Pacino. Others celebrating the 50th anniversary were Candice Bergen, Richard Dreyfuss, Meg Ryan and Jane Seymour.
Steve Martin and Martin Short opened the tribute to Keaton with an amusing musical roast of the actress and her body of work. Other highlights included clips of her films and anecdotes from guests with an emphasis on the feminist spirit and empowerment. The surprise guest was a rare appearance of Woody Allen, who presented the award to his favorite actress and co-star. We all remember her as his Annie Hall, a role, which earned her the Best Actress Academy Award in 1977.
Accepting the prestigious honor, Keaton concluded the evening by singing a rendition of Seems Like Old Times, the love theme from Annie Hall. Kudos to Keaton indeed!