Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Nobel Laureate Chemistry.
(Autobiography) I was born on April 1, 1933 in Constantine, Algeria, which was then part of France. My family, originally from Tangiers, settled in Tunisia and then in Algeria in the 16th century after having fled Spain during the Inquisition. In fact, our name, Cohen-Tannoudji, means simply the Cohen family from Tangiers. The Algerian Jews obtained the French citizenship in 1870 after Algeria became a French colony in 1830.
My parents lived a modest life and their main concern was the education of their children. My father was a self-taught man but had a great intellectual curiosity, not only for biblical and talmudic texts, but also for philosophy, psychoanalysis and history. He passed on to me his taste for studies, for discussion, for debate, and he taught me what I regard as being the fundamental features of the Jewish tradition – studying, learning and sharing knowledge with others.
As a child, I was very lucky to escape the tragic events which marked this century. The arrival of the Americans in Algeria, in November of 1942, saved us from the nazi persecutions that were spreading throughout Europe at the time. I completed my primary and secondary school education in Algiers. And I was also lucky enough to finish high school in very good conditions and to leave Algiers for Paris, in 1953, before the war in Algeria and the stormy period that preceded the independence.
In 1988, when sub-Doppler temperatures were observed by Bill Phillips, who had been collaborating with us, we were prepared with our background in optical pumping, light shifts and dressed atoms, to find the explanation of such anomalous low temperatures. In fact, they were resulting from yet another (low intensity) version of Sisyphus cooling. Similar conclusions were reached by Steve Chu and his colleagues. At the same time, we were exploring, with Alain Aspect and Ennio Arimondo, the possibility of applying coherent population trapping to laser cooling. By making such a quantum interference effect velocity selective, we were able to demonstrate a new cooling scheme with no lower limit, which can notably cool atoms below the recoil limit corresponding to the recoil kinetic energy of an atom absorbing or emitting a single photon. These exciting developments opened the microKelvin and even the nanoKelvin range to laser cooling, and they allowed several new applications to be explored with success.
These applications led to the research for which we were awarded the Nobel Prize.
The Boston Globe has described David Amram as “the Renaissance man of American music”. He has composed over 100 orchestral and chamber works, written two operas, and early in his career, wrote many scores for theatre and films, including Splendor in the Grass and the Manchurian Candidate. He plays French horn, piano, guitar, numerous flutes and whistles, percussion, and a variety of folkloric instruments from 25 countries. He has conducted and performed as a soloist with symphony orchestras around the world, participated in major music festivals, and traveled from Brazil to Cuba and from Kenya to Egypt. While actively assimilating the musical cultures of the countries he has visited, he has kept up a remarkable pace of composing, incorporating his experiences in the worlds of jazz, folk and ethnic music as inspiration and basic material for his formal compositions. He has collaborated with such notables as Leonard Bernstein, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus, Dustin Hoffman, Thelonius Monk, Willie Nelson, Jack Kerouac, Betty Carter, Odetta, Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, and Tito Puente.
Since being appointed first composer-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic in 1966-67, he has become one of the most acclaimed composers of his generation, listed by BMI as one of the Twenty Most Performed Composers of Concert Music in the United States since 1974.
For the past twenty-seven seasons, Amram has been the music director of young people’s, family, and free summer concert programs for the Brooklyn Philharmonic. As conductor, narrator, and soloist on instruments from all over the world, he combines jazz, Latin American, Middle Eastern, Native American, and folk musics of the world, in conjunction with the European classics. In the spring of 1995, the Brooklyn Academy of Music honored his quarter of a century as a pioneer of multicultural symphonic programming. He appears as guest conductor and soloist with major orchestras around the world, as well as touring internationally with his quartet, while continuing to produce a remarkable output of new compositions.
Recent commissions include A Little Rebellion: Thomas Jefferson, premiered at the Kennedy Center with E.G. Marshall narrating and Amram conducting members of the National Symphony Orchestra. This work was recorded in 1998. In January of 1997, Kokopelli: A Symphony in Three Movements, received its world premiere with Amram conducting the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. It was recorded in June of 1997, conducted by Kenneth Schermerhorn
Isaac Mizrahi (born October 14, 1961) is an American fashion designer, TV presenter, and creative director of Xcel Brands. He is best known for his eponymous fashion lines.
Mizrahi presented his first collection in 1987 at a trunk show held by famed New York department store Bergdorf Goodman. The line immediately earned praise from fashion editors, prompting several top retailers to place orders. In 1989, he discussed his designs in an interview with Elizabeth Cannon. He described them as “controlled and glamorous”, “elegant”, “distilled, refined”, inspired by decadence, and by the diversity of New York City. He also expressed his interest in appealing to a refined and exclusive clientele. In 1992, the French fashion house Chanelbought a stake in the company and began to bankroll its operations. Despite continued critical acclaim, sales were inconsistent; Bloomingdale’s executive Kal Ruttenstein stated that Mizrahi had “good years and bad years.” This volatility is mainly attributed to the designer’s failure to establish a defined aesthetic or “Mizrahi Look,” as the frenetic designer was famed for changing gears each season. Though the company grossed between $10–20 million a year, it never made a profit, and in fact lost substantial amounts in its final four years of operation. Chanel eventually tired of the mounting losses and pulled financing in October 1998, forcing the closure of the company after the Fall 1998 collection. Among Mizrahi’s fans and clients were Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman, Selma Blair, Julia Roberts, Sarah Jessica Parker, Debra Messing and Natalie Portman, to name a few.
From 1995 to 1997, Mizrahi also designed a diffusion line, named “IS**C” in an act of “name effacement” intended to prevent dilution of the designer’s full name (cf. the use of “G-d” by some members of the observant-Jewish community in which Mizrahi was raised). This lower-priced line (in the $275 to $850 range) was meant to diversify the label from the very expensive Isaac Mizrahi collection, but it failed to gain traction and was shuttered in 1997.
Mizrahi returned to fashion in 2002 when he began designing another diffusion collection, Isaac Mizrahi for Target. The line was an enormous hit, and soon spread to cover accessories, bedding, housewares, and pet products. Sales volume tripled over five years to over $300 million and introduced the designer to mainstream America. The line was discontinued in 2008 as Mizrahi left for Liz Claiborne.
Mizrahi designed for Claiborne for only one year, 2009. Although advertising campaigns for his Claiborne work—featuring Mizrahi and women of all sizes, races, and ages—were found in major fashion magazines, the line was a disaster almost from launch. The clothes and accessories were very difficult to find, as only a few minor departments stores, which were not found in major cities, carried Claiborne clothes. Gottschalks carried only a few pieces before declaring bankruptcy and liquidating, only weeks after Mizrahi’s launch. Furthermore, the few Liz Claiborne outlets that existed were also far from major cities and were found at outlet malls that were too remote for most customers to visit. As a result, on December 2009, the Liz Claiborne website was closed and rumors abounded that the company was bankrupt and in serious debt. As of Fall 2010, Liz Claiborne clothes are sold at J.C. Penney, and are not designed by Mizrahi.
In 2010, Mizrahi launched a label called IsaacMizrahiLIVE! exclusively on QVC.
In 2011, Mizrahi sold his brand to Xcel Brands, Inc. In addition to continuing the IsaacMizrahiLIVE! business on QVC, Xcel Brands is launching various categories under the Isaac Mizrahi New York, Isaac Mizrahi Jeans, and Isaac Mizrahi brands. As of August 2012, footwear and denim have launched in Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, and Mizrahi’s first ever fragrance, Fabulous, is set to debut September 6 on QVC, and in Bloomingdale’s in October. Mizrahi remains a shareholder, creative director, and media personality for his namesake brand under Xcel.
During the 1990s, Nucci played characters who are unceremoniously killed off in three blockbuster films — Eraser, The Rock and Titanic (as Fabrizio De Rossi, Jack Dawson’s Italian friend) — which were released within 20 months of each another between 1996 and 1997. His character in Alive: The Miracle of the Andes (1993) survives.
Elsewhere in film, he starred as Spider Bomboni in Book of Love (1990) and as Petty Officer Danny Rivetti in the Gene Hackman-Denzel Washington thriller Crimson Tide (1995). He played the roles of Benny Rodriguez in the straight-to-video film The Sandlot: Heading Home (2007) and a Port Authority police officer in World Trade Center (2006).
Nucci appeared as Gabriel Ortega on the CBS soap opera Falcon Crest from 1988 to 1989, and as Vincent Sforza in the television miniseries Firestarter 2: Rekindled (2002). Other notable TV appearances include Growing Pains, Out of This World, Quantum Leap, Family Ties, The Twilight Zone, Tour of Duty, Snoops, Just Shoot Me, House, Without a Trace, Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, CSI: NY, two episodes of Castle and one episode of Arrow. Along with Ernie Hudson, he co-starred in the short-lived police drama series 10-8: Officers on Duty. He provided the voice of Alberto the Chihuahua in The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue.
In 2010, he portrayed John Gotti in Sinatra Club, and Dante McDermott in the science-fiction film Nephilim. In 2011, he co-starred in the mystery thriller Escapee. Nucci currently plays Mike Foster on the ABC Family drama The Fosters.
Nucci portrayed Pop, the father of main character Felix Funicello, in the 2014 Lifetime television movie Wishin’ and Hopin’.
Popular Israeli singer and actor and the son of Sephardic immigrants. Yehoram Gaon grew up in Jerusalem and aspired to be an actor. During his army service he performed in the Nahal entertainment troupe, but he did not formally begin his singing career until his release from the army. He performed with several singing groups, and achieved his first major professional appearance with his leading role in the musical Kazablan. Since then, Gaon’s career as a singer, actor, and director has flowered. He has produced almost fifty albums, including of Ladino music, has performed extensively in Israel and abroad, and has starred in television and movie productions. Among these is Operation Thunderbolt, the movie made about the 1976 rescue at Entebbe which starred Gaon as Yoni Netanyahu. He has recently compered the Israel Broadcasting Authority documentary series for the Jubilee Year, entitled, “T’kuma”.
In addition to his work in performing arts, Gaon has recently entered the political arena. In 1993 he was elected to the Jerusalem City Council and has worked extensively for the city, primarily in the area of cultural and municipal arts. He has indicated that he may well be interested in pursuing a political career, but retains his interest in promoting Israel, together with its popular and folk music.
Salvador Edward Luria, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine, was born in Torino, Italy to a Sephardic family.In 1929 he started his studies in Medicine at the University of Torino, where he obtained his M. D. summa cum laude in 1935. From 1938 to 1940 he was Research Fellow at the Institute of Radium in Paris; 1940-1942, Research Assistant in Surgical Bacteriology at Columbia University; from 1943 to 1950 he was Instructor, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor of Bacteriology at Indiana University; in 1950 he was appointed Professor of Microbiology at the University of Illinois; from 1959-1964 he has been Professor of Microbiology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; in 1964 he became Sedgwick Professor of Biology at the M. I. T. and in 1965, non-resident Fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. In 1970 Luria was appointed Institute Professor at the Department of Biology of the M.I.T.
Professor Luria was honoured with the following awards: 1935, Lepetit Prize; 1965, Lenghi Prize, Accademia dei Lincei; 1969, Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, Columbia University.
He was Guggenheim Fellow, 1942-1943 at Vanderbilt and Princeton; during the year 1963-1964 he worked again in Paris, this time at the Institut Pasteur. He is, or has been, Editor or Member of the Editorial Board of the following journals: Journal of Bacteriology, Virology, Experimental Cell Research, Journal of Molecular Biology, Photochemistry and Photobiology, American Naturalist, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Annual Review of Genetics.
Professor Luria is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society, American Academy of Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology (President, 1967-1968), American Society of Biological Chemists, Society for General Microbiology, Genetics Society, American Naturalists, Society for the Study of Development and Growth, A.A.A.S., Sigma Xi, A.A.U.P.
Salvador Edward Luria was, in 1945, married to Zella Hurwitz, they have one son, Daniel, who is studying economics. His wife, Zella Hurwitz Luria, Ph. D., is a Professor of Psychology at Tufts University.
Eydie Gorme, Grammy winning singer and artist of Sephardic ancestry. Usually paired vocally with her husband, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme cashed in on a Latin-flavored dance craze in 1963 with her bubbly “Blame It on the Bossa Nova” for Columbia Records. The Bronx, NY, product signed on as a regular on Steve Allen’s “Tonight Show” in 1953, and the next year had her first chart hit with “Fini” on Coral. Moving to ABC-Paramount, Gorme’s perky pipes rode the charts with the likes of “Love Me Forever” in 1957 and “You Need Hands” the next year. She married Lawrence, another “Tonight Show” regular, in 1957, and they’re a popular TV and concert attraction to this day. Bill Dahl
Elias Canetti, Nobel prize winner in Literature was born in Ruse, a small port in Bulgaria on the Danube river, into Sephardic Jewish family. The family were well-to-do merchants, who spoke old Spanish. German was the fourth language Canetti acquired – after Ladino, also known as Judaeo-Spanish, Bulgarian, and English. He eventually chose to write in German and retained a lasting love of German culture. When Canetti was six, his family moved to Manchester, England. After the sudden death of his father, his mother took the family to Vienna, where he learned German. With the outbreak of World War Two, he was forced to flee from the Nazis.
His most important works, all written in German, are the novel Auto-da-FÃ© (1935, tr. 1946), a searing picture of a man as degraded and evil, and Crowds and Power (1960, tr. 1962), a study of mass psychology. He also wrote plays, autobiographical works, essays, and a study of Kafka. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981.
David Ricardo, Father of Classical Economics (1772-1823). The brilliant British economist David Ricardo was one the most important figures in the development of economic theory. He articulated and rigorously formulated the “Classical” system of political economy. The legacy of Ricardo dominated economic thinking throughout the 19th Century.
David Ricardo’s family was descended from Iberian Jews who had fled to Holland during a wave of persecutions in the early 18th Century. His father, a stockbroker, emigrated to England shortly before Ricardo’s birth in 1772. David Ricardo was his third son (out of seventeen!).
At the age of fourteen, after a brief schooling in Holland, Ricardo’s father employed him full-time at the London Stock Exchange, where he quickly acquired a knack for the trade. At 21, Ricardo broke with his family and his orthodox Jewish faith when he decided to marry a Quaker. However, with the assistance of acquaintances and on the strength of his already considerable reputation in the City of London, Ricardo managed to set up his own business as a dealer in government securities. He became immensely rich in a very short while. In 1814, at the age of 41, finding himself “sufficiently rich to satisfy all my desires and the reasonable desires of all those about me” (Letter to Mill, 1815), Ricardo retired from city business, bought the estate of Gatcomb Park and set himself up as a country gentleman.
Egged on by his good friend James Mill, Ricardo got himself elected into the British parliament in 1819 as an independent representing a borough in Ireland, which he served up to his death in 1823. In parliament, he was primarily interested in the currency and commercial questions of the day, such as the repayment of public debt, capital taxation and the repeal of the Corn Laws. (cf. Thomas Moore’s poems on Cash, Corn and Catholics)
Ricardo’s interest in economics was sparked by a chance reading of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (1776) when he was in his late twenties. Bright and talkative, Ricardo discussed his own economic ideas with his friends, notably James Mill. But it was only after the persistent urging of the eager Mill that Ricardo actually decided to write them down. He began in 1809, authoring newspaper articles on currency questions which drew him into the great Bullionist Controversy that was raging at the time In that affair, he was a partisan of the Bullionist position, which argued for the resumption of the convertibility of paper money into gold. He wrote a pair of tracts (1810, 1811) articulating their arguments and outlining what has since become known as the “classical approach” to the theory of money.
Neil Sedaka, Sephardic Jew, composer, and rock and roll singer. Those who have followed the career of Neil Sedaka are overwhelmed by a great sense of awe. This 60 year old youthful, international superstar is a complete musician, because there has always been a duality between his classical roots and that of the rock n’ roll singer song-writer. Born in Brooklyn, New York on March 13th 1939, Neil Sedaka began his interest in music at the age of four, by listening to the radio programme, The Make – Believe Ballroom. At the age of 8, Neil began playing the piano for five hours a day.
Sedaka was a promising pianist as a youngster, and was once selected by Arthur Rubinstein to play on New York City’s classical radio station; he also studied at New York’s prestigious Juilliard school. At the same time, he set down rock’n’roll and doo-wop roots by singing in an early version of the Tokens. After he had his first songwriting success with Connie Francis’ “Stupid Cupid” in 1958, he got a deal with RCA in the late ’50s as a solo artist. Sedaka’s own hits were well-crafted, but were probably the most innocuous, saccharine smashes to come out of the early Brill Building crowd. His rather thin, high vocals were boosted by multi-tracking, which was still a novel technique at the time.
The big hits stopped rolling in for Sedaka a good year or so before the Beatles became popular in America. He concentrated more on the songwriting end of the business for the next decade, continuing to write with Greenfield and scoring occasional successes. He made an unexpectedly successful comeback in England in the early ’70s, where three of his albums were co-produced by Graham Gouldman of 10cc. By the mid-’70s he was recording for Elton John’s Rocket label, and got a #1 hit with the ballad “Laughter in the Rain” in 1974. That and “Love Will Keep Us Together,” which he and Greenfield wrote for the Captain and Tennille, did much to get MOR pop off the ground, and consequently make many wish that Sedaka had never re-emerged.
Sedaka got another #1 hit, “Bad Blood,” in 1975, with Elton John helping out on background vocals. A slow remake of “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” made the Top Ten the following year, and although he would never enter the Top Forty after 1980, he was assured of a successful career as a perennial on the MOR circuit.