What a spread -- sushi and more sushi -- and what a dais.
More than 30 people arrayed in tiers at the front of the New York Hilton ballroom last night included Alan “Ace” Greenberg, former Bear Stearns chief; William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management LP, Daniel Och of Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC and Lawrence Robbins of Glenview Capital Management.
The occasion was the UJA-Federation of New York Wall Street Dinner, organized by the group’s Wall Street and Financial Services Division. A tradition for almost 50 years, this installment drew 1,200 guests and raised $22 million for the philanthropy, which serves needy Jews and non-Jews in New York, Israel and around the world.
Highlights: Comedian Susie Essman’s liberal dropping of the F-bomb; an Occupy Wall Street moment when an uninvited woman began speaking her mind at the dais (security guards escorted her out, with Essman joking that the woman was her mother); and plenty of networking by the likes of Gary Cohn of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Greg Mondre of Silver Lake Management LLC, Robert Kapito of BlackRock Inc., and Arthur Samberg, formerly of Pequot Capital Management Inc., who is now managing his own money.
The honorees were Paul Taubman, co-president of institutional securities at Morgan Stanley, who received the Gustave L. Levy Award; and Scott Shleifer, a managing director at Tiger Global Management LLC, who received the Wall Street Young Leadership Award.
Shleifer won a SPAM-eating contest at the University of Pennsylvania, according to Jonathan Harris, president of Alternative Investment Management LLC, who introduced him.
Scott’s mother, Susan Shleifer, said he loved playing Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit growing up in Portland, Oregon. He also learned a lot by working in the family’s business, a furniture store started by his great grandfather.
“I brought my son up to have a merchant mentality,” said Scott’s dad, Stuart Shleifer. “That means, keep your eyes on it closely, whatever ‘it’ is.”
Shleifer told a story about JDate, the dating website. After he researched the company, Tiger Management Group invested in parent Spark Networks and he joined the board.
One day Laura Lauder, a fellow board member, asked him if he gave back to the Jewish community. She then made introductions for him at the UJA-Federation of New York.
“So JDate made a match, but not the kind it intended,” said Shleifer, who is married.
Taubman’s UJA mentor was Peter W. May, president and founding partner of Trian Fund Management LP.
“He helped me realize that if we all keep to ourselves, not everyone’s going to give or know how to give,” Taubman said.
The evening ended with casino games and candy. Taubman filled his miniature Chinese take-out container with Swedish Fish.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)