Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, a fixture at New York Yankees games, stole the show from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the ADL’s Annual Meeting Thursday when he apologized for making an anti-Jewish comment. At the dinner, Tynan received a standing ovation after delivering a dramatic rendition of "God Bless America" — which he regularly sings at Yankee Stadium during the sevent inning, until he was temporarily banned by the team.
Tynan was invited by ADL national president Abraham Foxman, who said he accepted Tynan’s public apology for the joke as sincere.
"We need to give a message to people that they can be forgiven if they own up to their bigotry," Foxman said. "Otherwise, it’s counterproductive to our fight against racism."
Who connected Tynan with the ADL? Meet Abraham Cohen, 37, from Teaneck, N.J. Cohen spoke exclusively to the JTA about how the shiduch came into being.
"When I heard what happened, I called Jeff Sulivan, who’s a mutual friend of mine and Ronan Tynan’s, and I said ‘what happened? This isn’t the guy! It isn’t him!’ Then Ronan called me and said ‘Abe, I may have said something but I didn’t mean it.’ Then it was in Sports Illustrated and other meida. It got worse and worse. I called Jeff again and I was livid. At this point Ronan was starting to lose business. I said, hey, I live in Teaneck, New Jersey," where Foxman also lives, "and the ADL is someone who stands up for you."
"It was a lesson well learnt," Tynan, who was standing nearby, added. He said he hopes to sing at Yankee Stadium again in the future.
As he departed, the soft-spoken Irish singer said "lehitraot," the Hebrew equivalent of see you later.
UPDATE: Click here and scroll down to read Sullivan’s defense of Tynan.