Barbra received the prestigious Scopus Laureate Award of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on December 3rd 1984 at the 15th Annual Award Gala. Past recipients include: Gregory Peck, Zubin Mehta, Nancy Reagan & Betty Ford.
Barbra was honored for excellence in her chosen profession and for devotion to Jewish education. But apart from that, this special evening brought together leaders from the entertainment and financial communities and raised $1.5 million for the Emanuel Streisand Building for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem which Barbra founded in her father's memory.
Others present included Marilyn and Alan Bergman, Burt Bacharach & wife Carole Bayer Sager and George Burns who said, “I wish Barbra was my daughter. I would like to adopt her.”.
The Gala drew such a crowd some had to be seated a separate room and they watched the presentation on video monitors. Still, at $1000 per couple, there were no disgruntled guests. Barbra's mother was also there and was with Barbra when she entered a photo session preceding the dinner.
In her acceptance speech Barbra said, “It is like the bas mitzvah I never had.”
Barbra said, “Many people think that ‘You Don't Bring Me Flowers’ was the first time that Neil and I sang together, but they're wrong. It was in the chorus of Erasmus High School in Brooklyn, when he was 16 and I was 15.”
She spoke about her father saying, “I always wanted to tell him how proud I was of him. Proud to be his daughter and proud to bear his name.” The making of Yentl paralleled Barbra's life and she added, “I know I'll be a student forever,” and she summed up her speech by saying, “Education is the key to peace.”
Neil Diamond was on hand to provide entertainment and he performed many of his songs from the film The Jazz Singer and his hits from the sixties. He said he was honored to sing for Barbra and he joked, “Who else would sing for you, not Barry Manilow!”.
Barbra looked stunning, dressed in a low cut gold-colored gown. She was escorted by Richard Baskin, who set next to her on the podium.
Barbra gave a brief interview afterwards and the reporter asked, “Barbra, if your father was here tonight...” at which point Barbra interrupted, saying, “He is here, that's what I feel.” “Well what do you think he thinks of this?” asked the reporter. “Oh, I think he's proud,” Barbra answered.
(Below: Barbra Streisand receives the Scopus Award of the Hebrew University from former Israel Ambassador to the U.S., Simcha Dinitz. Shirley MacLaine looks on.)
Aghayan on Klimt-Inspired Gown
December 14, 1984
“It's not just a dress—it's a piece of art.” That's how Emmy-winning designer Ray Aghayan described the empire-style gown he created for Barbra Streisand when she received the Scopus award from American Friends of the Hebrew University recently. Streisand asked Aghayan to create something in the style of Austrian Art Nouveau painter Gustav Klimt. Referring to a book of Klimt's paintings, Aghayan layered gold lame and embroidered it with five shades of gold beads, pale transparent sequins in peach, lavender and green and faceted stones for an overall Egyptian “mystic” pattern. “She's very inspiring,” said Aghayan of his client, with whom he has had a long association, having created her costumes, with collaborator Bob Mackie, for the movie Funny Lady. As for the gown's price tag, Aghayan insisted: “It's not as much as you might think.”
Note: The gown was auctioned in 2004 for $5,760.00.
Below: Streisand speaks in 2013 about her award, and congratulates Patricia L. Glaser on winning the 2013 National Scopus Award.