Long Branch – As you drive east on Laird Street entering Pier Village you will be greeted by a full size, colorful sculpture of a leaping dolphin. That dolphin, donated by Robert and Sheila Benrimon, traveled 5,668 miles from Netanya, Israel to Long Branch. The Benrimons, who now live in the city, have just opened Baldy Art Gallery in the newest section of Pier Village with their son Jonathan and daughter Stephanie Rich. Removing his hat to reveal a shiny head Robert laughs, “This is why the art gallery is called Baldy.” In case anyone was wondering.
Robert Benrimon is a self-proclaimed philanthropist who owns over a dozen successful businesses. “I was having dinner in New York City with Miriam Feirberg, Mayor of Netanya, who was asking me for a donation. I told her that I had a better idea,” said Benrimon.
During the ribbon cutting on Tuesday, Benrimon admitted he had a sadden heart. “Today was supposed to be a happy day, however the tragic killing of those 19 students and two staff members in Texas just breaks my heart,” he said. He paused for a minute and said he had another idea. “I would like to donate 19 dolphins to the students of Long Branch for those killed in Texas. I would also like to donate two additional ones for the teachers that were murdered. Hopefully the mayor and the superintendent of schools will accept this donation, decorate the dolphins and place them along the oceanfront here in Long Branch in memory of those lost.”