Release Date: February 9, 2016

Purim Ball 2016 to Honor Isaac Mizrahi at Park Avenue Armory February 24, 2016

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Actress/Comedienne/Singer Sandra Bernhard Will Appear, Delivering a Witty Retelling of the Purim Story at The Jewish Museum’s Annual Gala

New York, NY –  This year’s Purim Ball, the Jewish Museum’s annual gala, will honor fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi and feature a unique take on the Purim story by actress/ comedienne/singer Sandra Bernhard. Held at Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan on Wednesday evening, February 24, 2016, the festive evening of celebration and dancing will also include live music by Joe McGinty and The Losers Lounge and a DJ set by Louie XIV.

Fashion designer, artist, and entrepreneur Isaac Mizrahi will be honored for his outstanding achievements and in anticipation of his upcoming Jewish Museum exhibition, Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History, opening on March 18. Joseph and Elizabeth Wilf will receive the prestigious Mayer Sulzberger Award for their lifelong commitment to the perpetuation of art, culture and education in the context of the Jewish experience.

Purim Ball 2016 will begin with cocktails at 6:30 pm, followed by dinner in the Armory’s vast drill hall, one of the city’s most dramatic and historic spaces. The gala will include an After Party with an open bar beginning at 9:30 pm and continuing to midnight.

The Jewish Museum is partnering with David Stark Design and Production to design and help plan the 2016 gala. Stark and his team will transform Park Avenue Armory’s drill hall with a wild and surprising installation composed of 10,000 paper plates.  At once fanciful and elegant, this event will continue to delight its guests with a setting akin to cutting edge installation art. 

Audrey and Zygi Wilf and Jane and Mark Wilf will be serving as Purim Ball 2016’s Co-Chairs.  Honorary Co-Chairs include Andy Cohen, Veronica Webb Del Gatto, and Betty Halbreich.  Vice Chairs include Shari and Jeff Aronson, Wendy Fisher and Dennis Goodman, Betty and John Levin, Karen and David Mandelbaum, Sheree and Nathan Mandelbaum, Nazee and Joseph Moinian, Nancy and Morris W. Offit, Tracey and Robert Pruzan, Chaya Schwartz and Michael Slocum, and Beth and Lenny Wilf.

Tickets for the gala are $1,500 or $2,500 for an individual. Tables are $15,000, $25,000 or $50,000. A $500 Associate ticket is available for individuals age 40 and younger.  Tickets for the After Party are $118 through February 7, $136 from February 8 until the day of the event, and $150 at the door.  Dress is festive attire and masks are encouraged. Ticket information may be obtained by contacting or 212.546.9032.

Masked Purim balls have been given for charitable purposes since the end of the fifteenth century. The Jewish Museum’s annual gala usually coincides with this holiday, which commemorates events that occurred during a period of Jewish history known as “the Babylonian exile,” in the 6th century BCE. Aided by her uncle Mordecai, the Persian king’s beautiful Jewish queen, Esther, thwarted a plot against the Jews devised by Haman, her husband’s chief minister.  The Jews of Persia rejoiced at their deliverance and sent gifts to one another. Centuries later, these events are celebrated every year with parties, feasting, the wearing of costumes and masks, and the reading of the story of Esther. The Purimspieler provides a comical retelling of the Purim story.


About the Honorees

Isaac Mizrahi was born in 1961 in Brooklyn, New York. Raised in a Jewish family, he attended the Yeshiva of Flatbush before transferring to New York City's High School for the Performing Arts and then Parsons School of Design. He entered the New York fashion scene in the late 1980s; his clothing line, Isaac Mizrahi New York, debuted at Bergdorf Goodman in 1986. In 1989 he received the Perry Ellis Award for Emerging Talent and was named Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Womenswear Designer of the Year, an award he won again in 1991. Unzipped, a riotous, witty, and insightful documentary about the making of his fall 1994 collection, earned Mizrahi and the director, Douglas Keeve, the 1995 Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. When his fashion house closed in 1998, Mizrahi followed other passions in theater and dance, designing costumes and sets for Mark Morris and Twyla Tharp and winning a 2002 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design for a Broadway revival of Clare Boothe Luce's The Women. In 2003 he was the first fashion designer to launch a line of well-designed, affordable clothes in collaboration with Target.

Today he stars in Isaac Mizrahi Live!, a call-in home-shopping TV show that airs weekly on the QVC network. He also appears as a judge on Project Runway All Stars. Mizrahi has directed and narrated "Peter and the Wolf" at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, directed and designed "The Magic Flute" and "A Little Night Music" for the Opera Theater of Saint Louis, and worked the red carpet at the Oscars and Golden Globe Awards. He is currently at work on a television series and memoir.

Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History is the first museum exhibition focused on Isaac Mizrahi, the influential American fashion designer, artist, and entrepreneur. Through over 250 works, this survey exhibition explores Mizrahi's unique position at the intersection of high style and popular culture, offering an expansive view of his inventive and provocative artistry. While best known for clothing design, Mizrahi's creativity has expanded over a three decade career, moving beyond fashion to embrace acting, directing, set and costume design, writing, and cabaret performance. Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History will be organized thematically, exploring key trends in Mizrahi's work-from the use of color and prints to his witty designs that touch on issues of race, religion, class, and politics. Beginning with his first collection in 1987 and running through the present day, the exhibition weaves together the many threads of Mizrahi's prolific output, juxtaposing work in fashion, film, television, and the performing arts. Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History will be on view at the Jewish Museum from March 18 through August 7, 2016.


Joseph and Elizabeth Wilf

The Wilf family have been tireless leaders in the Jewish community. From philanthropy to business, pre-war childhoods in Poland to successful adulthoods in New Jersey, the family’s story stands as eloquent testimony to the heroism, creativity, and determination of the Jewish people to never let past horrors determine the future. Regardless of circumstance, the family has never lost its desire to serve the Jewish people wherever there is a need, and to help fight the evils of anti-Semitism and intolerance wherever they may occur.

Elizabeth and Joseph Wilf met in Augsburg, Germany in 1948, were married in 1949, and immigrated to the U.S. the following year. They have two children, Zygmunt (married to Audrey) and Mark (married to Jane), and nine grandchildren. In 1954, Joseph and his brother Harry founded Garden Homes, Inc., a real estate development company based in New Jersey. Since 1964, the Wilf Family Foundations have collectively given away well over $100 million in support of educational, medical, religious, and social institutions. Joseph and Harry are original founders of the American Society for Yad Vashem, Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Memorial in Jerusalem. Elizabeth Wilf is a member of the Stern College for Women Board of Directors, and with her husband, continues to support Yad Vashem’s museum. The Wilf family is a major benefactor of Yeshiva University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest New Jersey, New York University, Princeton University, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Jewish Museum, and countless other cultural, educational, religious, scientific, and social services organizations. The family purchased the Minnesota Vikings football team in 2005.


About the Purimspieler

Sandra Bernhard recently launched her own live daily radio show on SiriusXM Radio called Sandyland, on her friend Andy Cohen’s Radio Andy channel. She also continues to tour nationally and overseas with her new live show “Feel the Bernhard” spotlighting her own unique, sharp blend of hysterical insight and outspoken views, with rock-n-roll, cabaret, stand-up and a little burlesque. The new show just debuted at her annual holiday run at Joe’s Pub in Manhattan. Bernhard’s show, which also features her band The Flawless Zircons, has been selling out venues in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and all points in between.

On the television front, Sandra appeared this past year in several episodes of the hit CBS sitcom Two Broke Girls, while also guest-starring on episodes of Fox Television’s Brooklyn Nine Nine.  Of course, from 1991-1996 Bernhard played Nancy Bartlett—the first openly gay character on a network sitcom—on Roseanne.

Bernhard’s film credits include Martin Scorsese’s iconic The King of Comedy, for which she was awarded Best Supporting Actress by the National Society of Film Critics. She has also performed in her various Broadway and Off Broadway shows over the years.


About the Mayer Sulzberger Award

In 1904, Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 objects of fine and ceremonial art to the library of The Jewish Theological Seminary of America.  Through this gesture, the initial concept of the Jewish Museum and the basis for its distinguished collection were formed.  In 1981, the Museum established the Mayer Sulzberger Award to recognize individuals for their contributions to the perpetuation of art, culture and education in the context of the Jewish experience.

About the Jewish Museum

At the heart of New York City's famed Museum Mile, at Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, the Jewish Museum is admired for its exhibitions and educational programs that inspire people of all backgrounds.  A wide-ranging schedule of significant art exhibitions, innovative educational programs, memorable family events, and stimulating presentations attracting visitors of all ages, demonstrates how the Jewish Museum illuminates art, culture and ideas for today's diverse audiences.

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