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!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • 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.