An Evening of Bob Dylan, a Tribute to Tolerance
Jonathan Dolgen wanted Bob Dylan. Jonathan Dolgen got Bob Dylan.
Dolgen, chairman of Viacom Entertainment Group, received the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Humanitarian Award on Wednesday at the Beverly Hilton with Bob Dylan as the headline entertainment.
“I love Dylan,” Dolgen said. “He’s one of the great American cultural influences since the war. He’s the poet of my generation without question.”
Though Dolgen’s enthusiasm makes it terrifying to imagine what a prolonged car trip with him and his CD collection would entail, the musician played well to a crowd pretty much split between show business execs and the center’s older Jewish supporters.
Cutting-edge comedian Chris Rock had a harder time. His comedy recalls the urban styles of Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. The words “obscenity laced” have been used more than once to describe his act. A number of the people here were probably not his core audience.
The dinner raised more than $1.6 million for the center’s work. “Anyone who reads a newspaper knows hatred did not die with Hitler in the bunker,” said dean and founder Rabbi Marvin Hier. “It’s in every community. We’re interested in promoting and teaching human dignity.”
Besides Dolgen, honored at the dinner were Col. Richard Seibel, the liberator of the Mauthausen concentration camp; Army chaplain Rabbi Abraham Klausner, who counseled Dachau survivors; Dr. Ruth Gruber, who reported on Holocaust victims struggling to reach what was then Palestine; Rudolph Patzert, the captain of a ship that brought refugees to Palestine; and Clifton Truman Daniel, who represented his late grandfather, the president who recognized Israel.
The dinner was co-chaired by Michael Douglas and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Among the 1,000-strong crowd were Sumner Redstone, Sherry Lansing, Sid Sheinberg, Harrison Ford, Nicolas Cage, Kurt Russell, Melissa Etheridge and the honoree’s parents, Abe and Selma Dolgen.
“It’s not possible to imagine any problem in the world being solved without tolerance,” Dolgen said. “This is a fundamental prerequisite, a minimum requirement for life on the planet.”