October 16, 2018

Ambassadors of Peace, Kickin’ Cancer!

From left: Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) honorees Neil Jacobson, Aton Ben-Horin and Scooter Braun pose with David Renzer, co-founder of CCFP and chairman and CEO of Spirit Music Group. Photo by Ryan Torok

Pro-Israel group Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) honored entertainment industry leaders Scooter Braun, Neil Jacobson and Aton Ben-Horin during its inaugural Ambassadors of Peace event on Oct. 4.

The gathering drew 400 people to the Hancock Park home of entertainment attorney Aaron Rosenberg and television producer Danny Rose.

“CCFP is the leading organization that is countering the cultural boycott of Israel,” CCFP co-founder and Spirit Music Group Chairman David Renzer told the Journal on the red carpet. “We believe in building bridges and not in boycotts.”

In his acceptance speech for the Ambassador of Peace Award, Braun, founder of entertainment and media company SB Projects, spoke of the need for CCFP to ensure that artists not only perform in Israel but do not let politics get in the way of bringing their art to as many people as possible.

“I’m a firm believer that the best way we can change the world is coming together and having a dialogue with the intention that all people are good people, and I think this organization pushes for that, and I am honored to be part of it,” Braun said. 

Braun, who has taken one of his biggest clients, pop star Justin Bieber, to Israel, spoke of the powerful experience Bieber had performing in Israel. Braun, 37, attended the event with his wife, Yael Cohen.

The evening’s other honorees spoke of their personal journeys in the music business. Jacobson, president of Geffen Records, said he has always tried to be kind to others, while Ben-Horin, global vice president of A&R at Warner Music Group, said his parents did not always believe that he could make a profession out of his love for music. 

Additional attendees included Renzer’s wife, Esther; Israeli musician Ninet Tayeb; businessman and philanthropist Neil Kadisha; reality TV star Josh Flagg (“Million Dollar Listing”); actors Josh Duhamel (“Transformers”) and Michael Mando (“Better Call Saul”), and artists Alec Benjamin, Daniel Skye, Madison Love and Twinnie-Lee Moore.

“I just want to say to all the artists — I don’t know if they hear me, but I hope they will — come to Israel. Playing music for the people is the most important thing,” Tayeb said. “Take the politics out.”

“CCFP is an organization comprised of prominent members of the entertainment industry who promote the arts as a means to peace, support artistic freedom, and counter the cultural boycott of Israel,” according to the CCFP website.


From left: “Three Identical Strangers” director Tim Wardle with Jewish Journal’s David Suissa at the Museum of Tolerance. Photo by Melanie Chapman

The acclaimed documentary “Three Identical Strangers” — the true story of three men who discover at age 19 that they are identical triplets separated at birth and adopted by different parents — was shown at the Museum of Tolerance on Sept. 22.

After the sold-out screening, attended by more than 320 people, the film’s director, Tim Wardle, participated in a Q-and-A discussion with Jewish Journal Publisher and Editor-in-Chief David Suissa. 

During their conversation, Wardle and Suissa discussed how many adopted children in the world have been separated at birth or shortly thereafter but have never been reunited with their siblings. 


Supporters of Kickin’ Cancer! Included (from left) Michele Hamburger, Kerri Lauter, Erin Cohen Berk and Madelyn Berk.
Photo by Angela Daves-Haley

More than 2,000 people, including members of 31 teams and several local sponsors, participated in the 17th annual Kickin’ Cancer! 5K Run, Walk, Stroll in Brentwood on Sept. 30, benefiting the Lynne Cohen Foundation. 

Among the walkers, runners and strollers were the Milken Wildcats from Milken Community Schools, who continued their long-standing dedication to the event. The 23-member team, comprised of cross-country runners and other students, raised more than $1,000. 

“I was thrilled with Kickin’ Cancer! this year!” Amy Cohen Epstein, president and executive director of the Lynne Cohen Foundation, told the Journal. “We had hundreds of families come from near and far to honor and celebrate the women in their lives. The awareness we raise at Kickin’ Cancer! every year just gets better and better.”

The organization also raised about $200,000 to support the Lynne Cohen Foundation Preventive Care Clinics, which serve women at increased risk for breast and/or ovarian cancer, including women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent who have a slightly higher cancer risk due to the BRCA gene mutation passed on to them. Through education and preventive care programs established at cancer centers across the country, the foundation provides these women and their families with knowledge, tools and clinical support to help them take action early against the disease.

— Debra Eckerling, Contributing Writer


From left: Valley Beth Shalom Rabbi Noah Farkas, Dr. Steven Siegel, Dr. Bridgid Mariko Conn and Susan Auerbach.
Photo courtesy of Valley Beth Shalom

More than 200 people from all over the Los Angeles region attended the launch of the Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) initiative, “So Healthy Together: A Community Response to Mental Health and Suicide Prevention,” on Sept. 30. 

The program, led and hosted by VBS Rabbi Noah Farkas and held at the Conservative congregation’s Encino campus, included a panel of doctors, psychiatrists and authors who spoke about a variety of mental health issues. Dr. Steven Siegel, Dr. Bridgid Conn and Cal State Northridge professor and author Susan Auerbach answered audience questions and concerns regarding such issues as insurance, medical privacy laws and supportive protocol. 

Volunteers from several organizations — including Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, Teen Line, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, National Alliance on Mental Illness, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, San Fernando Valley Community Mental Health Center and the VBS Counseling Center — provided information and follow-up opportunities for families and individuals seeking information about mental health. 

A subsequent series of events for different demographics within the community will take place throughout the year, starting with a teen and parent series at VBS led by Teen Line on Oct. 18.


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Email ryant@jewishjournal.com.