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Children's Author, Historian to be Inducted into Bronx Jewish Hall of Fame

By Eddie Small | June 7, 2016 3:55pm
 Five people will be inducted into the 2016 class of the Bronx Jewish Hall of Fame.
Bronx Jewish Hall of Fame Round II
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THE BRONX — A children's book author, a Bronx historian and the woman behind the Toys 'R' Us jingle are among this year's inductees into the Bronx Jewish Hall of Fame.

A total of five people will be inducted into the Hall of Fame's 2016 class: advertiser Linda Kaplan Thaler, children's book author Arlene Alda, actor Avi Hoffman, lawyer Ezra Levin and historian Lloyd Ultan.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and the Bronx Jewish Historical Initiative will co-host an event honoring this year's class at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

Thaler has been behind many famous advertising campaigns in recent years including the Aflac duck, "Kodak Moments" and the jingle "I Don't Wanna Grow Up, I'm a Toys 'R' Us Kid." She now works as a motivational speaker and as president of Kaplan Thaler Productions.

Alda performed as a professional clarinetist in the Houston Symphony but became a photographer and writer when her children were young, authoring a total of 19 books, many of them for children.

Her latest is called "Just Kids from The Bronx: Telling It The Way It Was" and is based on interviews with people including Colin Powell, Regis Philbin and Carl Reiner.

She is married to the actor Alan Alda, who will be at Tuesday's ceremony at the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

Hoffman was recently nominated for the Drama Desk Award for portraying Willy Loman in the Yiddish Death of a Salesman. He has also appeared in shows including "Law and Order," "Magic City" and "Bloodline" and starred in the award winning one-man shows "Too Jewish?" "Too Jewish, Too!" and "Still Jewish After All These Years."

Levin is the senior counsel of the law firm Kramer, Levin, Naftalis and Frankel and treasurer of the Jewish Communal Fund of New York. He has also served as president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

Ultan has lived in The Bronx since 1938 and served as the Bronx Borough Historian since 1996.

He has written almost a dozen books and his latest—co-authored with Shelly Olson—is called "The Bronx: The Ultimate Guide to New York City's Beautiful Borough."

This is the second class being inducted into the Bronx Jewish Hall of Fame. The inaugural class was inducted last year and included famed comedian Robert Klein and former New York State Attorney General Robert Abrams.