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Right Hand Man

Binyamin Rose

Much of what went on in the smoke-filled backrooms of Bahrain, Kuwait, and Dubai will remain secret forever. But attorney and political confidant Philip Rosen — who was presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s top advisor and Shimon Peres’s secret negotiator — is as amiable and open as he can be considering the limits of confidentiality on the relationships that have shaped the economic and political map.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Shortly after assuming the position of rabbi at Congregation Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, New York, Rabbi Moshe Weinberger gave a shiur on making decisions. To illustrate his point, Rabbi Weinberger related a story from his freshman year at Yeshiva University. Rabbi Weinberger was standing on the registration line when he struck up a conversation with a boy, who he remembered best for his full head of curly hair. Each one said they either wanted to be a rabbi or a lawyer, but while the curly haired boy had his course curriculum figured out for his entire four years in college, Rabbi Weinberger was still undecided about his first year classes. So he asked the curly haired boy to show him his list and, after reviewing it, decided to enroll in the same courses. As Rabbi Weinberger related in the story he told to the congregation, he attended those classes for the next four years, but never saw the curly haired boy again. On graduation day, the curly haired boy not only made a cameo reappearance, but he was also graduating near the top of his class. “Where were you all these years?” asked Rabbi Weinberger. The curly haired boy said: “I was here. I just didn’t like going to class.” When the shiur ended, a congregant walked over to Rabbi Weinberger. “I’d like to introduce myself to you. My name is Phil Rosen.” Rabbi Weinberger looked up in shock: “You’re the guy I was just talking about! Where’s the hair?” Rosen may have lost his hair in the ensuing years, but in the succeeding 35 years, he hasn’t lost the knack to excel at what he loves, and he also worked on his zitzfleish. Today, Rosen, 57, clocks anywhere from 60 to 80 hours a week at New York’s Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, a legal firm with 1,200 attorneys in 20 offices worldwide that Rosen has been with almost his entire career. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center in 1981, he clerked for a federal judge for one year, and joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in 1982. Philip runs the firm’s real estate, hospitality, and infrastructure divisions; has won a coveted spot on Law360’s list of Real Estate MVPs, (most valuable players); and often makes an appearance in the business press for his involvement with multibillion dollar real estate mergers and acquisitions. He hasn’t been written up for his many business dealings in the Arab world, although Rosen willingly shared some of those stories during a conversation at his 29th floor office with a panoramic view of Central Park, an office that has also turned into a beis tefillah for Minchah and Maariv every day for the last 23 years.

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