This year’s three honorees included seven-time Emmy winner Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant), who was presented the coveted “Community Impact Award” by award-winning actor Richard Kind.
Dori Frumin Kirshner, the executive director of Matan, made the opening remarks. She presented the “Influencer Award” to comedian Pamela Schuller. Matan Board President Suzanne Aisenberg presented the “Leadership Award” to author and advocate Liane Kupferberg Carter.
On this year’s three Matan honorees, Kirshner said, “We are just honored that they took the time to share their voice with a larger audience tonight, and I really, really hope that people will learn more about them, because they are incredible advocates for all kinds of people with disabilities.”
Other celebrity attendees at the 2018 Matan event included Matthew Broderick, Emmy winner Armand Assante, and Tony winner Denis O’Hare. “I have such profound admiration for these people that are doing this work, because what is being accomplished is astonishing. It takes tremendous patience and understanding. They are an inspiration for the rest of the country. The rest of the country is not really educated to the issue of autism,” Armand Assante said, about the nonprofit organization Matan.
Matan’s mission is to create inclusive learning environments, so that every Jewish student can have access to a meaningful Jewish education, where one’s special needs do not become a barrier to full participation in Jewish life. It empowers Jewish families, educators, students and educational institutions.
Ed Asner talks Matan
When asked about how it feels to be at Matan, Ed Asner said, “It feels very good. It’s a beautiful setting. They really didn’t really spare any effort in buying this wharf to put me on.”
On receiving the “Community Impact Award,” Asner joked, “It’s a hell of an impact. I got a hernia from it.” For his fans, Asner said, “Hi fans. How nice of you to not show.”