Noting that few things in life would be possible without a successful system of transmitting ideas, veteran broadcaster Larry King presided over a gala fundraiser benefitting a Florida Jewish organization.
Supporting Chabad-Lubavitch of S. Petersburg, the second-annual event brought more than 300 people to the grand ballroom of the Vinoy Renaissance resort for a buffet dinner, auction, and talk-show style presentation by the Jewish broadcaster, whose signature “Larry King Live” program went dark in December after 25 years on CNN.
At the event, he received an 18-inch sculpture designed by Tampa artist Clayton Swartz and a plaque celebrating King for “keeping people informed and connected across the global expanse, [thereby enabling] the human spirit to shine forth in all of its dynamism, truth and vitality.”
Rabbi Alter Korf called the event a fitting way to highlight the power of personal interactions, a principle that underlies the activities of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries in more than 950 cities around the world. A committee, led by local businessman Elliot Kahana, invited King, who, in the rabbi’s words, “gracefully accepted.”
“I love the work you do,” King told Korf. “You ought to be very proud of what Chabad does. I salute you.”
Emmy-award winning entertainer Roy Firestone, who called King his “mentor,” similarly took the stage to marvel at how the ranks of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries keep growing.
Audience member Dr. Richard Sorkin said that he was impressed by the affair.
Larry King (Photo: Sherry Keenan/Best View Photography)
“Getting Larry King and Roy Firestone to appear in S. Petersburg is no small feat,” said Sorkin, who moved to the area about eight years ago, around the same time as Alter and Chaya Korf.
The Korfs’ openness and willingness to help everyone has made a mark on the Jewish community, said the physician. “They go out of their way to make your life richer.”
For his part, Korf pronounced the benefit a success.
“Successful is an understatement,” he stated. “Many people attended who were new to Chabad, and it really opened their eyes to what we stand for. People walked away saying, ‘Wow. This is an organization I want to be part of.’ ”
Plans are already underway for next year’s gala.
“G‑d gives us a journey,” said the rabbi. “And we have to allow him to guide us as we climb from step to step.”