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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Southampton Chabad held its sixteenth annual dinner at The Hamptons Designer Showhouse on 195 Magee Street with cocktails beginning at 5:30 PM.  This event is the major fundraising event of the year for the only synagogue that brings Judaism to Southampton along with a warmth and merriment that is contagious. Rabbi Rafe and Chany Konikov are an incredibly dynamic couple who lead the community with a nonjudgmental guidance. Tonight illustrious businessmen Howard Lorber and Richard Miller came to pay tribute to their friends-the Konikovs. 

Lorber, a real estate legend and great friend of Donald Trump, is a staunch supporter of the rabbi and says he has only missed the dinner once in the past 16 years. The busy Lorber, who heads Douglas Elliman, attends services nearly every Friday night and enthusiastically assists the Rabbi in every way possible. I enjoy spending my Friday nights discussing current events and what's going on in the Hampton's with the Konikov's. Rabbi Rafe, 48, who was ordained in 1992 and worked for the Chabads in La Jolla, Orlando, Venice and Austin settled in Southampton in 1994 with the help of founder Jacqui Ekstein. In 1999 they purchased the nine bedroom cottage on 214 Hill Street, where the shul currently resides, for $432,500. 

After recently paying off the mortgage with the help of donors such as Chetrit and Wilzig the shul has embarked on an ambitious program of weekly Torah classes, an inspirational youth group and a Jewish Film Festival. Additionally, Chany Konikov, the Rabbi's magnificent wife, runs the only Jewish Day Camp in the Hampton's, Camp Gan, which has served children from ages 2-14 for the past 11 years. It is hard to explain how Chany is able to raise 8 beautiful children, run a day camp and cook the Friday night meals with little help from the outside-it must be G-d's guidance. The Rabbi is similarly extremely busy and has been planning this dinner for months along with the help of chairpersons Larry and Amy Zakarin and Irwin and Daryl Simon. 

This year's honorees were Daniele and Steven Bleier who have been with the community for ten years. Steven, a successful partner and portfolio manager at Brigade Capital Management, resides in Englewood with his wife and five children during the winter months. Steven spoke about how it was beshert to meet his wife, start his business and daven at Southampton Chabad and how grateful he was. A live auction was then held where many of Bleier's friends walked away with dinner at Rao's, tickets to the Golf US Open and a trip to Cabo San Lucas for bargain basement prices. The Rabbi even mentioned that Rao's would cook a glatt kosher meal upon request. 

Speaking of kosher food, a phenomenal dinner of short ribs and polenta was served while guests enjoyed entertainment from hilarious comedian Juston McKinney and superstar singer Alex Clare who has sold more than $3 million albums. The Rabbi also presented an award to Michael Milken who was in Washington working on building four new museums. Milken is a dynamo who has singlehandedly changed the face of prostate cancer through his tireless efforts. We also learned this evening that he is a devoted Jew starting a Hebrew School in California and working for numerous Jewish organizations including UJA. At the conclusion of the evening, after a delicious dessert table, guests headed home with a $120 Steve Madden bag. While most dinners in the Hampton's start at $1,000 this $360 night containing plentiful food, top rate entertainment and illustrious guests is one of the best kept secrets in the South Fork. 

By: Lieba Nesis