For the past 114 years, politicians and business elites from across Pennsylvania have headed to New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel to hobnob with one another as part of the annual Pennsylvania Society gathering.
This year, for the first time, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia was one of more than 60 organizations and individuals to host a reception at the Dec. 13-15 gathering. More than 200 people attended the Federation reception.
Robin Schatz, director of goverment affairs for Federation, said the agency's leaders decided it was time to raise its profile with elected officials and other power brokers.
Despite some calls to move the Pennsylvania Society event to the Keystone State, the event has become a ritual, a place for the state’s power brokers to rub shoulders. This year, according to reports, much of the chatter was about whether Gov. Tom Corbett would be able to overcome his low poll numbers and win re-election in 2014 and whether the state’s Democratic attorney general, Kathleen Kane, is interested in running for the U.S. Senate in 2016.
Brian Gralnick, who directs Federation’s Center for Social Responsibility and who attended the festivities, said that despite the light-hearted occasion, Federation staff and lay leaders used the opportunity to raise the issues of poverty and aging in place.
Attendees at the Federation event included U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.); U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, U.S. Rep. Charle Dent, Republican Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, former Gov. Ed Rendell, David L. Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast; lawmakers such as state Sen. Anthony Williams, a Democrat from West Philadelphia; and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro.