On April 7, 2011, The Jewish Theological Seminary acknowledged Ruth and Stephen Hendel's longtime support of JTS with its 2011 Louis B. Marshall Award at a gala in their honor. While not the klieg lights that they're accustomed to on Broadway, this tribute illuminates how their Jewish roots have led them to use theater to teach and inspire.
From their earliest years in Hebrew school, the Hendels were taught that the cornerstone of Jewish ethics was to treat people fairly and with dignity, as they would wish to be treated themselves.
"The show of Fela! is about having the courage and commitment to insist that all human beings be treated with dignity and given a voice. For us, Fela! is an expression of what it means to be Jewish. We were motivated to help create the show because it embodied fundamental Jewish precepts." — Ruth and Stephen Hendel
The Hendels have carried forth their Jewish ideals to accomplish great things in their professional and artistic lives.
As producers of the acclaimed Broadway musical Fela!—which was nominated for 11 Tonys and won 3, among other theatrical awards—the Hendels have risen to new heights in the worlds of Broadway and Off Broadway.
"Mazal Tov to Ruth and Steve Hendel, who have brought ancient Jewish lessons about the human spirit alive on Broadway, and raised us high with dance and song. Thank you!"—Chancellor Arnold Eisen and Dr. Adriane Leveen
About Ruth and Stephen:
Ruth and Stephen Hendel are active and longtime supporters of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS).
Ruth Hendel is a devoted member of the Advisory Board of The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary, and a committed participant in the newly formed Arts Advisory Board. Stephen Hendel's involvement includes his passionate support of JTS rabbinical students, and his continued counsel to Chancellor Eisen's arts initiative.
Mr. Hendel is a founder and managing partner of Hess Energy Trading Company LLC. Previously, he was a partner at Goldman Sachs & Co., responsible for energy trading activities and segments of the company's commodity trading division, and a corporate attorney at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He received his BA from Yale University and his LLB from the University of Connecticut School of Law.
For the last decade, the Hendels have been involved in On and Off Broadway theater. Mr. Hendel's co-conceived production of Fela!, produced with Ms. Hendel, opened on Broadway in November 2009 and in London in November 2010. In addition to her work on Fela!, Ms. Hendel has been on the producing teams of numerous acclaimed plays and musicals, including American Idiot; Driving Miss Daisy; Red (Tony®); 33 Variations; In the Heights (associate); Legally Blonde; Caroline, or Change; A Raisin in the Sun; Golda's Balcony; Metamorphoses; and The Exonerated. Her latest productions are Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo; and House of Blue Leaves.
Mr. Hendel sits on the boards of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center (treasurer), The New Group, Culture Project, St. Ann's Warehouse, Afropop.org, and the Museum for African Art, and serves on various advisory committees at Yale University. Ms. Hendel serves on the boards of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center (vice-chair), LAByrinth Theater Company, The Play Company, and Zamir Chorale, and on the Yale School of Drama Advisory Board.
Ms. Hendel received a V.I.P. (Very Important Parent) Award from the Board of Jewish Education. She was honored with the School of Fine Arts Alumni Award by the University of Connecticut, where she received her undergraduate degree. She also holds an MA in Communications from Northwestern University.
Previously, the Hendels were honored by Westchester/Fairfield County's Crohn's and Colitis Foundation and the Westchester Jewish Center of Mamaroneck, New York, and received the Michael Mendelson Award for Commitment to Excellence in Theater from The New Group. The Hendels currently reside in Larchmont, New York, where they are active community members and congregants of the Westchester Jewish Center, led by Rabbi Jeffrey Segelman. They have three adult children, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren.
View the Virtual Journal of the 2011 Louis B. Marshall Award Gala at The Waldorf=Astoria in New York City.