The Shmooze

Marian and Abraham Sofaer Honored

By Masha Leon

  • Print
  • Share Share

“We love the Forward!” Marian Scheuer Sofaer and Abraham Sofaer exclaimed in tandem when I was introduced to the husband-wife honorees at the American Numismatic Society’s 2014 Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria.

During our reception chat, the Sofaers confided, “Our favorite column is ‘Philologos.’ We’ve been Forward readers since we knew [about the paper]…. But, let’s talk later when we get back home [to California].”

The dinner notes informed: “Abe realized that coinage provided a unique opportunity to explore the rich cultural history of the Holy Land. Their collection includes coins from the early Persian period of the fourth century BC through the Macedonian, Seleucid, Ptolemaic, Roman, Byzantine, Jewish and Arab States to the Crusaders of the 13th century — a period of 1700 years…. Coins as manifestations of political and economic policy as well as religious and dynastic ideology which open a unique window on the past and present.”

Marian Scheuer Sofaer and Abraham Sofaer // Credit: Karen Leon.

Mrs. Sofaer, a Bryn Mawr College and Columbia law School graduate, boasts credentials that include New York City Asst. Corporation Counsel in the Affirmative Litigation Bureau from 1982-1985. She later represented families whose property in former East Germany had been confiscated by the Nazis and also co-produced the award-winning documentary “Poumy,” about an Alsatian-Jewish woman’s role in the French Resistance during World War II.

Mr. Sofaer — a Yeshiva University and NYU School of Law graduate —  is the George P. Schultz Distinguished Scholar and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, whose work focuses on the power over war within the U.S. government and on issues related to international law, terrorism, diplomacy and national security. His most recent book is “Taking on Iran: Strength, Diplomacy, and the Iranian Threat.” An irrepressible spirit, during dinner, backed up by the band, Mr. Sofaer took the microphone to sing the lyrics to “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”

Catching up with Mr. Sofaer in California he told me “I was born in Bombay, as was my mother. My father was born in Rangoon —my mother’s father was born in Burma — of the same Baghdadi background. I came to America when I was 14.”

He recalled his meeting with David Hendin, coin curator of a coin collection of New York’s Jewish Museum…”being introduced to Yaacov Meshurer, chief of Archeology and Numismatics at Israel Museum who taught me about coins and the history of the Holy Land…. and so I started collecting.” His first purchase was a shekel of the first year of the Jewish Revolt against Rome in 66/67 CE.

As benefactors of the American Numismatic Society, the Sofaers have donated part of their Holy Land collection — some 5000 coins — as a lasting legacy in the United States and in Israel with access scholars from both countries to study and publish. In 2013 The ANS published the two-volume catalogue “Coins of the Holy Land.”

When I asked Mr. Sofaer when his unlimited energy and joie-de-vivre, he replied: “I exercise. I walk every day. We have a gym in the basement, I married a young woman.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.