New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg missed an appearance at the annual Hadassah conference because of last-minute talks with allies of another of the state’s Jewish power brokers.
Bloomberg was slated to accept the organization’s highest honor, the Henrietta Szold Award, during a dinner ceremony Tuesday night in front of thousands of guests at the Hilton Hotel in midtown Manhattan. But as former Hadassah President Bonnie Lipton took to the podium to introduce the mayor, she was informed that Bloomberg – who provided the money for a wing of the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem named for his mother, a decades-long member of the organization – would not be coming. The program proceeded as scheduled, with Lipton’s introductory remarks and a short film lauding Bloomberg, but Lipton was forced to stall until Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris showed up to accept the award on the mayor’s behalf.
Soon after, sources said, Hadassah learned that Bloomberg was caught up in negotiations with officials in Albany stemming from the opposition of New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and other Democrats to the mayor’s plan to ease traffic congestion in Manhattan. Silver, an Orthodox Jewish lawmaker representing the Lower East Side, previously derailed Bloomberg’s plan for a new sports stadium on the West Side that was a key piece of the city’s bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics.