November 15, 2018

Moving and Shaking: 12th annual Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture, Rabbi David Baron honored

The 12th annual Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture, honoring the life and legacy of the Wall Street Journal reporter murdered by Islamic extremists in Pakistan in 2002, was held on Feb. 23 at UCLA. Samantha Power, United States ambassador to the United Nations, delivered the lecture and spoke out against the longtime exclusion of Israel from U.N. regional groupings. The diplomat was introduced to the audience of some 600 listeners by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The United States firmly opposes any boycotts of Israeli institutions and products “as disruptive of the peace process,” Power declared. (Her complete remarks on BDS are at

She went on to hail the Jewish state’s admission earlier this month to the U.N.’s JUSCANZ group of 15 democratic countries, including the United States, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Norway and New Zealand.

Her generally non-controversial talk drew some unexpected media attention when she tweeted afterward that “Daniel Pearl’s story is a reminder that individual accountability and reconciliation are required to break cycles of violence.”

The tweet drew puzzled or indignant responses instantly, with some asking whether Power believed that Pearl himself was responsible for his own death.

Early Feb. 24, Power posted a correction, which explained that her reference was to the global outreach of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, established by the slain journalist’s parents, Ruth and Judea Pearl.

Power added, “As I said last night, the men who murdered Daniel Pearl did so because he was an American and, most of all, because he was a Jew.”

Although the Irish-born Power came to her U.N. job with a reputation as a feisty journalist, author and academic, as President Barack Obama’s chief representative to the international body, she delivered her remarks on current world problems with considerable circumspection. She did become visibly moved while describing the civil war in Syria as an unmitigated human disaster.

— Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor


From left: Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters Los Angeles (JBBBSLA) CEO Randy Schwab with JBBBSLA honorees Weston Cookler, Shoshana Kline, John Shane and Aaron Levy.  Photo by Vince Bucci

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA) honored John Shane, Weston Cookler, Aaron Levy and Shoshana Kline on Jan. 30 at the Beverly Hills Hotel during an evening dubbed “The Big Event.” 

Shane, a recipient of the organization’s Spirit Award and a member of the organization’s board of directors, has funded JBBBSLA camperships and more. He practiced law for more than 20 years and also has worked as a real estate developer. He previously served as chairman of the board of the JBBBSLA non-denominational Camp Max Straus.

Cookler, Levy and Kline were named the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Year.

Cookler, who joined the JBBBSLA board in 2013, has served as a mentor for the organization since 2008. He is vice president of Avalon Investment Co.

Levy serves on the organization’s board of directors, the scholarship committee and on the match activities committee. He became a JBBBSLA mentor in 2008 and is a manager at Lodgen, Lacher, Golditch, Sardi, Saunders and Howard.

Kline began mentoring in 2010. Her efforts include aiding adults with special needs. She is director of operations at Irmas Financial Holdings.

“The mission of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles is to assist children and young adults in achieving their full potential through innovative, impactful programs,” according to the organization’s Web site.

From left: Meir Fenigstein and Bob and Greg Laemmle. Photo by Abraham Joseph Pal

The 28th Israel Film Festival honored Rabbi David Baron of Temple of the Arts; Laemmle Theatres co-owners Robert and Greg Laemmle; and Israeli actor Sasson Gabai during a luncheon on Feb. 12. The event was held at the London West Hollywood and raised funds for the coming festival, which will take place f Oct. 23-Nov. 6. 

IsraFest, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit and organizer of the annual film festival, recognized Baron’s leadership of a synagogue that serves members of the entertainment industry with the IFF Community Leadership Award. It honored the Laemmles with the IFF Community Partnership Award for running a company that, among other things, exposes audiences to Israeli films. The IFF Career Achievement Award celebrated the career of Gabai, whose work includes the acclaimed film “The Band’s Visit.” 

The event also spotlighted a milestone for the Laemmle Theatres. Last year, the theater chain celebrated its 75th anniversary.

The Israel Film Festival “has grown to become one of the most important Israeli cultural events in America and the largest showcase for Israeli films in the United States,” according to its Web site. Los Angeles is one of three cities that host it every year. The others are New York and Miami. For more information about the festival, visit

From left: Jane Zuckerman and Jeffrey Popkin. Photos courtesy of ETTA.

ETTA announced this month that it has brought on Jane Zuckerman to be the organization’s director of development. Zuckerman is the nonprofit’s first employee to hold this position.

Zuckerman’s work experience includes serving as executive director of Temple Israel of Hollywood, director of resource development at Temple Beth Am and development director for Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles’ SOVA Community Food and Resource Program.

In a press release, Zuckerman expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity to work with ETTA, which provides support to people living with special needs.

“ETTA is a vital agency to our city — no one else provides the range and type of services they do for our Jewish population,” Zuckerman said. “I am very excited to be a part of this team and help the organization grow.”

Additionally, the organization has taken on veteran special-needs professional Jeffrey Popkin as its new director of operations. Popkin, whose hiring became effective Feb. 10, said that ETTA’s track record of meeting a diverse set of needs for an oft-neglected community makes him excited to be joining the organization.

“I look forward to be beintg part of the ETTA team, which is meeting the goal of providing additional quality, community-based living arrangements,” he said.

Popkin previously served as associate director of Kern Regional Center, which coordinates services for Californians with developmental disabilities. 

From left: L.A. City Councilman Bob Blumenfield, Ryan E. Smith, Susan Freudenheim, Wendy Coleman Levin, Armin Szatmary, Leon Shkrab, Sidonia Lax, Stephen M. Levine, Councilman Paul Koretz. Leslye Adelman.  Photo by Paul  Michael Neuman

The Jewish Journal and subjects of its 2014 Mensch List were honored at Los Angeles City Hall on Feb. 14. A plaque was presented to the Journal’s editorial staff on behalf of the City of Los Angeles by L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz.

The community newspaper’s annual Mensch List profiles volunteers who do great — often unheralded — work on behalf of others. Representing the publication at the ceremony, which took

place in the council’s chambers, were Susan Freudenheim, executive editor, and Ryan E. Smith, associate editor. 

Members of Los Angeles City Council and honorees from this year’s 10-member Mensch List were present as well.

Moving and Shaking highlights events, honors, simchas and more. Got a tip? E-mail