November 15, 2018

Moving and Shaking: Tommy Lasorda visits TEBH, Yiddishkayt names new development director

Former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, 86, was the center of attention during Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills’ “Baseball Day” on Jan. 14, and his star power was enough to draw more than 150 attendees. 

A Q-and-A conducted by Ben Platt, national correspondent for Major League Baseball Advanced Media and a Temple Emanuel congregant, was one of many highlights. The event featured a video tribute to Lasorda, a lecture by the baseball icon and, of course, kosher hot dogs. 

“This is my 65th year with the Dodgers, and 64th married,” Lasorda told the crowd, when asked how long he’d been in the game. 

The intergenerational gathering was part of “an ongoing effort [at Emanuel] to connect children, teens, adults and seniors through innovative programs and activities,” according to a synagogue press release.

Yiddishkayt, which describes itself as the “premier Yiddish cultural and education center in Los Angeles,” has named David Levitus, Bend the Arc’s former interim Southern California regional director, as its new director of development.

Robert Adler Peckerar, executive director at Yiddishkayt, expressed confidence that Levitus is the best fit for the organization.

“We have big plans at Yiddishkayt. In the coming years, we’re going to experiment with exciting new forms of local programming in Los Angeles. … David is a key part of this plan to help us grow because of his considerable skills and relationships. He embodies much of what Yiddishkayt means — compassionate, critical engagement with his fellow human beings and the wider world,” Peckerar said.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Yiddishkayt mishpachah,” Levitus said. “No one else brings the beautiful diversity of Jewish culture to life in quite the same authentic, unexpected and democratic ways. Yiddishkayt never forgets that Jewish history is neither a string of endless tragedies nor a triumphal crescendo to the present.”

Levitus said that Yiddishkayt, which organizes Yiddish-focused theater events, concerts and more, helps Jews in their ongoing search for identity.

“The vitality and variety of the Jewish experience is bursting with lessons for life in a global, multicultural age, and Yiddishkayt shows us exactly where to start looking,” he said.

Peckerar said that Levitus will have many responsibilities. They will include expanding the organization’s Helix Project, which takes college students on three-week-long immersion trips to Europe for visits to destinations that represent “the historical heartlands of Jewish life,” according to the Yiddishkayt Web site.

More than 110 people attended an American Technion Society (ATS) event at the Museum of Tolerance’s Peltz Theater on Jan. 16. The program featured a presentation by Technion-Israel Institute of Technology associate professor Alon Wolf, who discussed robotics innovation used in surgical procedures and search and rescue. He also lectured on advances in osteoarthritis and knee replacement.

Attendees included Jared Hakimi, North American representative at the Technion International School; Diana Stein Judovits, ATS Western regional director; Rena Conner, ATS Southern California chapter president; and Irwin Field, ATS national board member and former Jewish Journal publisher.

ATS is a fundraising partner for the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

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