October 20, 2018

Moving and Shaking: Simon Wiesenthal Center gives 2013 Humanitarian Award, J. Steven Emerson honored

From left: Janice Prager, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Jim Gianopulos, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Larry Mizel and Rabbi Meyer May. Photo by Ruth Andal Photography

The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) honored Hollywood executive Jim Gianopulos with its 2013 Humanitarian Award on June 11 in recognition of his support of the SWC and the Museum of Tolerance, raising $2.2 million in the process. 

“The truly great legacy of Simon Wiesenthal and the work of the center is that those who have suffered and died did not do so in vain,” Gianopulos said after accepting the award. He is chairman and chief executive officer of Twentieth Century Fox Film.

The annual National Tribute Dinner took place at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation; Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the SWC; and Rabbi Meyer May, executive director of the center, presented the award — an honorary menorah — to Gianopulos. 

Dinner co-chairs included Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive of the Walt Disney Co.; Rupert Murdoch, founder, chairman and CEO of News Corp. and past SWC honoree; and Ron Meyer, president and COO of Universal Studios and SWC trustee.

Additionally, SWC presented posthumous Medals of Valor awards to Waitstill and Martha Sharp, American Unitarians who helped save Jews during World War II, and to Mother Maria Elisabetta Hesselblad and Mother Ricarda Beauchamp Hambrough, Catholic nuns who sheltered Jews from the Nazis in Rome. Murry Sidlin, a renowned conductor who found and re-created a powerful musical performance by Jewish concentration camp inmates, also received the award.

A nonprofit, SWC focuses on racism in America and the history of the Holocaust. It oversees the Los Angeles-based Museum of Tolerance.

J. Steven Emerson

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology awarded Los Angeles entrepreneur, activist and philanthropist J. Steven Emerson an honorary doctorate earlier this month. 

The citation announcing the award reads: “In honor of your passionate support for Israel and its people.” A private investor and founder of the Emerson Investment Group, Emerson received the honorary degree during the June 10 Technion International Board of Governors meeting in Haifa.

Emerson’s contributions to the Technion include serving as past president and current chairman of the American Technion Society’s (ATS) Southern California chapter. ATS’ mission is to promote the Haifa-Israel based Technion Institute, which specializes in technology and the sciences. Emerson and his wife, Rita, have donated to various ATS and Technion projects.

From left: Naomi Western, Amos Shapira, Sharon Nazarian and Younes Nazarian. Photo by Leslie Barton

Iranian-Jewish community leader Younes Nazarian and his daughter Sharon co-hosted a breakfast in Los Angeles last month in honor of University of Haifa President Amos Shapira.

Appearing before supporters of higher education on May 1, Shapira described plans for the university to play a leadership role in Israel’s academic community. 

“Cognizant of the important social role we play, we are determined to create excellent research in a tolerant and diverse environment,” Shapira said. The event was held at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills.

The Nazarians, who are benefactors of the University of Haifa, hosted the breakfast as a way to welcome Shapira, who became president of the University of Haifa last year. Younes Nazarian is a philanthropist, industrialist and businessman.

The Natural History Museum (NHM) of Los Angeles County’s grand centennial celebration featured Richard Volpert, founding publisher of the Jewish Journal, and his wife, Marcia, as honorary chairs, along with Lynn Booth. The June 8 black-tie event marked the 100th anniversary of the museum. 

Constructed in 1913, NHM has undergone significant renovations in recent years. The event unveiled the Otis Booth Pavilion, the museum’s new six-story-high entrance.

Attendees mingled over cocktails and dinner, followed by an after-party. 

Moving and Shaking acknowledges accomplishments by members of the local 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.