Local Jewish philanthropists receive local heroes award

Delivering his acceptance speech to approximately 300 people from the stage of Club Nokia on the evening of Oct. 23, Abner Goldstine, joined by his wife Roslyn, said that the words of talmudic scholar Hillel inspired the couple to assist low-income Holocaust survivors in Los Angeles.

“If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” said Goldstine, accepting KCET and Union Bank’s annual Local Heroes Award, along with his wife.

Annette Shapiro, president of the board of Culver City-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation center Beit T’Shuvah, also received the annual Local Heroes Award.

Public television station KCET and Union Bank present the award annually because “diversity is one of our core issues, one of our core beliefs, and as a result of that, we wanted to figure out ways to reach back in our communities and highlight people doing phenomenal work,” said Frank Robinson, senior vice president and public affairs manager at Union Bank.

In 2007, the Goldstines established a fund at Jewish Family Service-Los Angeles (JFS-LA), the Abner D. and Roslyn Goldstine Fund for Holocaust Survivors, which provides essential emergency services to aging survivors.

The Goldstines are heavily involved in Los Angeles’ Jewish life: Abner has served as a past president of Sinai Temple and Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) and is a member of the board of directors at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Roslyn is a member of the board of directors at JFS-LA, JVS and Sinai Temple and of the advisory board at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies of American Jewish University

Shapiro, too, is a leader in numerous Jewish organizations. In addition to serving as president of the board of directors at Beit T’Shuvah, she is a member of the board of advisers at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs; she established the David Alan Shapiro Memorial Synagogue Center at American Jewish University in memory of her son David and has raised millions of dollars for diabetes research, among other endeavors. 

KCET and Union Bank recognized 13 individuals from various communities throughout Los Angeles, including the African-American, LGBT, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific and women’s communities. The Goldstines and Shapiro were selected from a group of more than 40 nominees in the Jewish community. Last week, the honorees convened with friends and family at a ceremony downtown. 

Abner Goldstine remains humble about his and Roslyn’s efforts. 

“What we do we don’t think of as heroic but just things we have a responsibility to do,” he said. “It’s our responsibility to help when we can.”

— Ryan Torok, Staff Writer