The Tree of Life Award, the most prestigious award of the Jewish National Fund went to Benjamin D. Holloway, chairman and chief executive officer of Equitable Real Estate Group, Inc., at its annual Real Estate Divisions dinner dance in the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Donald Trump, JNF’s 1983 awardee, was chairman. The Holloway Park and Recreation area is being established at the Hazorea Forest, Haifa, in his honor.
Trump, in lauding Holloway, pointed out that the Hyatt Hotel was renovated by him (Trump) with the financial backing of Holloway’s Equitable group “What better place to hold this gala affair,” the young wizard of the New York real estate scene noted. More than $700,000 was realized at this JNF’s largest fundraising affair in this division or any other,” Dr. Cohen, executive vice president of the JNF told me. The Tree of Life Award was seeded in 1981 with Evangeline Gouletas Carey (wife of then New York Governor Hugh Carey) and her brother, Nicholas Gouletas, to officially launch JNF’s real estate benefactors.
That this set of builders should by their interest and concern be responsible for the continued upbuilding of a land 6,000 miles away is a welcome development. More than half of the guests were not of the Jewish faith. But this JNF affair was introducing them to Israel in the language they understand best — upbuilding barren areas. Hank Sopher, the New York area president, seemed to sum it up and tie up the strings well from USA to Israel, in his brief address. In praising Holloway, he noted that he gave more than financial support, “but also your time, your energy and your ideas.”
Then referring to his American creative genius, “I also want to express the appreciation of your colleagues and friends in the real estate industry for your vision and imagination, which have transformed the skyline of New York and dramatically improved the architecture of cities across the United States…It is exciting and encouraging that when Israel is faced with so many problems today, we can count on your support and commitment to the cause of Zionism and to the work of the JNF.” Then referring to the park in Haifa that will bear his name,” and the residents of Haifa and all of this great little land, will enjoy its environment.” Enjoying the evening were the almost 1,000 guests.