Celebrating the culture of giving

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Cocktails under the Sphinxes in Untermyer Park and Gardens in Yonkers, New York.

The Untermyer Gardens Conservancy held its annual fall gala, Mehregan, on Sunday, September 22.  A celebration of Persian culture that has its roots in the ancient Persian harvest festival, the event took place at historic Untermyer Gardens in Yonkers, which is home to the finest Persian garden in the Western Hemisphere. Cocktails in the garden were followed by Persian cuisine in an open tent with spectacular views of sunset on the Hudson River.

Nazee Moinian and Shirin Neshat.

Cyrus Amir-Mokri delighted the audience by reading a poem by 14th-century Persian poet Hafez in English and in Farsi. Legendary Iranian-born pop star Aref inspired joyful dancing throughout the night. The Conservancy honored renowned artist Shirin Neshat, subject of a major new retrospective at The Broad in L.A.


Gala co-chairs were Nazee Moinian, Katy Palizban, and Victoria Sakhai. The event raised funds to support the Conservancy’s efforts to sustain the Persian garden and restore its Persian Pool.

Jon Corzine, Katy Palizban, Diana and Frederick Elghanayan, Victoria Sahkai, and Nazee Moinian.
Alice Cary Brown and Mélie Spofford.
Nazee Moinian, Shiva Sarram, Katy Palizban, and Victoria Sakhai.
L. to r.: Elbrun and Peter Kimmelman; Ella Foshay and Michael Rothfeld.
Eleanora Kennedy, Sima Ghadamian, Roberta Loucks, Victoria Sakhai, Ellen and Kamran Hakim, Katy Palizban, and Stephen Byrns.
Tom Lollar, Katie McClendon, Barbara Israel, and Polly Reed.
Whitney Robinson and Marc Karimzadeh.
Hormoz Sabet, Jonathan Yaraghi, and Marjan and Cyrus Yaraghi.
Gabriella Sultanik and Jake Elghanayan.
Reza Momeni, Katherine Liu, and Cyrus Amir-Mokri.
Ebby Moussazadeh, Katy Palizban, Nazee Moinian, Ann Carmel, Victoria Sakhai, and Devorah Nazarian.
Richard and Elizabeth Fitzgerald.
Ramin and Golnoosh Rak.
Nadia Eshaghpour, Michael Abraham, and Gabrielle Eshaghpour.
Judy and Sirgay Sanger.
Hedieh Samadi Aminzadeh.
Michele Chammah, Betsy Pinover Schiff, Ezra Chammah, Ed Schiff, and Navina Haidar.
Haideh Ghaffari and Mahin Moezinia.
Navina Haidar and Shirin Neshat.
Shifra and Roxana Mokhtarzadeh.
Ceremonial burning of esphand for good luck.
Marjan Ghara and Betty Emamian.
Mahtab and Joe Moinian.
Samira Askari.
Stephen Byrns.
Katy Palizban.
Temple of the Sky at night.

Maha Alami, Jane Singer, and Leila Straus hosted cocktails at The Pembroke Room of the Upper East Side’s elegant Lowell Hotel to greet and hear Ramzi Aburdewan, founder of Dal’Ouna Ensemble, a music group performing both classical and folkloric Palestinian, Lebanese, and Syrian repertoire. The evening was in support of his Al Kamandjati foundation offering music lessons to Palestinian children in refugee camps and in villages on the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Lebanon.

Tareq Rantisi , Edwin Buger, Ramzi Aburedwan, and Ziad Ben Yousseff.

Ramzi first came to prominence as the eight-year-old child throwing stones at Israeli tanks in photographs printed round the world.  A bitter childhood spent in the Am’ari refugee camp in Ramallah, his life was transformed by music.  A scholarship from the Edward-Said National Conservatory of Music allowed him to study the viola in France, and today he is a much-acclaimed viola and a bouzouq player. While still a student, he created the Al Kamandjti Association in order to bring the same opportunity to the other Palestinian children. His story is chronicled in Children of the Stone, by Sandy Tolan. 

Among the guests at Lowell reception, many of whom made generous donations, were Radhika Balakrishnan, Lawrence Burstein, Mike Daly, Lena Diab, Kathleen Gerard, Frances Kazan, Deborah Krulewitch, Jeanne Linnes, Betsy Perry, Nicholas Lusiani, Mazen MaKarem, Tal Recanati, Sana Sabbagh, Gayfred Steinberg, and Kathy Steinberg.  A lavish buffet included delicious Maha Chocolates.

David Krulewitch, Richard Ledes, Jane Singer, and Ramzi Aburedwan.

Following the cocktail Ramzi rushed downtown to an appearance at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater where he performed with his Dal’Ouna Ensemble and special guest singer Marian Layouse.  Many of the same faces from the Lowell were on hand to cheer him on.  His U.S. tour also included performances at San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, Woodbridge CT, Worchester MA, Baltimore, and Bethesda.

From more information see: http://www.alkamandjati.org

Gene Zuriff, Nabil Mishalani, Jeanne Linnes, and Sherry Jacobson.
Heiko Kuenstle and Omar El Okdah.
Hope Winthrop and Kathleen Gerard.
James Heintz, Radhika Balakrishnan, Stacy Greene, Fred Wistow, and Nico Lusiani.
L. to r.: Antoinette and Marco Botarelli; Milton Speid and Carla Singer.
Jane Singer, Lois Akner, Debbie Krulewitch, and Betsy Perry.
Leila Straus, Ramzi Aburedwan, Jane Singer, and Maha Alami.
L. to r.: Lorinda Ash, Gene Zuriff, and Sherry Jacobson; Dana Farouki and Mazen Makerem.
Lena Diab, Lina el-Fil, Maha Alami, and Sana Sabbagh.

Photographs by Ralph Gabriner & Jessica Norman (UGC); Kirstin Boncher (Ramzi)

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