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Annual Gala

Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award

Since 1986, AJHS has presented the Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award to an individual or group whose contribution reflects the highest values of the American Jewish community. Among our treasures is the original manuscript notebook of Emma Lazarus’ poetry including her handwritten draft of “The New Colossus” which she penned for an 1883 auction to help fund the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty.

Lazarus (1849 – 1887) was a strong supporter of Jewish immigrants’ rights. The Emma Lazarus collection at AJHS includes correspondence, articles, the notebook of her poetry, and published copies of her poems. “The New Colossus” was read at the Statue of Liberty’s dedication on October 28, 1886, and engraved on the pedestal in 1903.

Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award Recipient, 2022: Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey

Advocate, Trailblazer, Humanitarian

Nita Lowey was born in the Bronx, attended and graduated from the elite Bronx High School of Science, and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Mount Holyoke College. She served as Assistant Secretary of State for the State of New York her election to Congress. Lowey was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1988. In 2001 and 2002 she served as the first woman and the first New Yorker to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Lowey was the first woman to lead either party on the House Appropriations Committee as Ranking Member from 2013 to 2018; and, in 2019, she became the first woman to chair the Committee.

Nita and Stephen Lowey have been married for over 60 years, have three grown children, and eight grandchildren.

Previous Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award Recipients

2020 Jack Weiler & the Weiler Family
2019 Two Generations of the Russ Family of Russ & Daughters
2018 Nicki Newman Tanner
2017 125 Years of AJHS
2016 Larry King
2015 Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr.
2014 Simon Schama
2013 Avital Sharansky
2012 Harry Ettlinger and the Monuments Men
2011 Ralph Lowenstein and Machal
2010 Seth Lipsky
2009 Kenneth J. Bialkin
2008 Sidney Lapidus
2007 George P. Shultz
2005 Honorable Edward I. Koch
2003 Mortimer B. Zuckerman
2002 Elie Wiesel
2001 Ambassador Felix G. Rohatyn
2000 Sanford I. Weill
1999 Henry Kissinger
1998 Beverly Sills
1996 Aaron Feuerstein
1994 Sylvia Hassenfeld
1989 Edgar M. Bronfman
1987 Armand Hammer
1986 Abram L. Sachar