October 18, 2018

Moving and Shaking: Board of Rabbis SoCal president named, Sephardic Temple childhood center opens

Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe Bernhard. Photo courtesy of Adat Ari El

The Board of Rabbis of Southern California’s executive committee has elected Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe Bernhard, senior rabbi of Adat Ari El in Valley Village, as its new president. Bernhard officially began in the leadership position on April 23. He succeeds Rabbi Judith HaLevy of the Malibu Jewish Center & Synagogue, who concluded two years of service as Board of Rabbis president. 

“I am eager to continue the great work the Board of Rabbis has done in its 75 years, as well as forge new paths to better serve the rabbis and the broader community,” Bernhard, former vice president of the Board of Rabbis, said in a statement. 

Operating under the auspices of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, the Board of Rabbis is the region’s only cross-denominational rabbinic professional organization, and it counts more than 330 rabbis as members. In addition to being a place where rabbis with different backgrounds can confer on common issues, the Board of Rabbis offers professional development through seminars on topics like chaplaincy, social media and its annual pre-High Holy Days sermon seminar. 

Bernhard’s responsibilities will include leading the Board of Rabbis at a time of transition, said Board of Rabbis Interim Executive Director Jonathan Freund. “Since we are in a period of reimagining and re-envisioning the work of the Board of Rabbis and its connection with The Jewish Federation, Rabbi Bernhard will be directing and overseeing that,” he said. 

Bernhard, a member of the Conservative moment, will be honored during Adat Ari El’s 75th anniversary gala celebration in June.

From left: A new classroom at the Levy Family Early ­Childhood Center, Early Childhood Center Director Eva Wysocki and the new playground at the Levy Family Early ­Childhood Center. Photos courtesy of Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel

This month, Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, one of the country’s largest congregations for the Sephardic community, received licensing to open the Levy Family Early Childhood Center, a preschool, parent-and-me program and summer camp, on its Wilshire Boulevard campus. The schools and summer camp include three state-of-the-art classrooms and an outdoor yard. Construction of the facilities began last September and wrapped in January. The school is currently accepting enrollment for all three programs: the summer camp (ages 2 to 5), which begins in June; the parent-and-me program (ages 4 months to 2 years), which begins in August; and the preschool program (ages 2 to 5), which begins in August. 

“There will be some Sephardic [students], but different people who are looking for the Judaica, the Hebrew, a kosher hot lunch … they’ll definitely find it here,” said Early Childhood Center Director Eva Wysocki, who was hired last November and previously worked at Temple Adat Shalom in Los Angeles. California Community Care Licensing, which oversees both day care and residential facilities for children and adults in the state, issued the license to the temple community on April 30.

From left: Harry Corre and Janice Kamenir-Reznik

World War II veteran Harry Corre and Jewish World Watch (JWW) co-founder and president Janice Kamenir-Reznik have been named the 2013 Jewish American Heritage Month honorees. Part of Union Bank and KCET’s Local Heroes program, the award recognizes and pays tribute to ethnic, religious and minority leaders who are making a difference and enriching the lives of others. 

Corre, who was captured by the Japanese and was part of the Bataan Death March, has committed his life to working for fellow veterans, as a patient advocate at the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center and at American Ex-Prisoners of War, a nonprofit. And with Kamenir-Reznick at the helm, JWW has raised more than $11 million to implement its mission of advocating for as well as providing relief and support to survivors of genocide and mass atrocities taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. 

May is Jewish-American Heritage Month, and KCET, the Southern and Central California public broadcast service of KCETLink, will air a video profile of each honoree. Union Bank, a commercial service bank, is the primary subsidiary of UnionBanCal Corp.

Moving and Shaking acknowledges accomplishments by members of the Jewish community, including people who start new jobs, leave jobs, win awards and more, as well as local events that featured leaders from the Jewish and Israeli communities. Got a tip? E-mail it to ryant@jewishjournal.com.