To celebrate the end of Natan Sharansky’s tenure as Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel, we were asked to create a coffee table book as a gift for guests at a tribute dinner. How do you summarize the life of a man who has worn so many hats: freedom fighter, refusenik, Israeli government official, and Medal of Freedom recipient? To add to the challenge, Natan is very humble and hates the spotlight. “He would rather shine the light on others,” we were told. Yet, it was his tribute book we were to write and design. And the dinner to be held at Cipriani 25 in New York City—a far cry from the gulag, where Natan was imprisoned for nine years.
Once we landed on Natan’s iconic Israeli army hat (that we multi-level embossed on the cover) as the symbol for the evening, all else fell in place.
Following a fireside chat with President George W. Bush, the evening wrapped up with a chess match between Natan and Gary Kasparov, Not one of the 600 guests left their tribute book behind—which was very satisfying (and why we only have one copy left).