Moving and shaking: A fabulous night, Sunday shvitz and Andrew Hoffer


Beverly Hills real estate magnate Stanley Black and Temple of the Arts Rabbi David Baron were honored on Oct. 12 during “A Fabulous Night” at the Saban Theatre. 

The event featured comedian Rita Rudner and Beatles tribute band The Fab Four in concert while also spotlighting the contributions of entertainment mogul Haim Saban, after whom the venue is named. Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse presented Saban and his author-wife, Cheryl, with a plaque that acknowledged the theater’s designation as a historic landmark. 

The evening, attended by an estimated 1,200, was presented by the Beverly Hills Performing Arts Center and Temple of the Arts at the Saban. It benefited a new children’s film series for children in need and raised funds for the final stages of restoration for the theater. The event raised $3 million. 

The venue’s lobby also was dedicated in honor of Black and his late wife, Joyce Black.


 During separate, surprise ceremonies earlier this month, two local teachers were honored as recipients of the 2014 Jewish Educator Awards. The winners were Ariela Nehemne, of the Harold M. Schulweis Day School at Valley Beth Shalom (VBS), and Barry Schapira, of Brawerman Elementary School West of Wilshire Boulevard Temple. 

The distinctions from the Milken Family Foundation come with an unrestricted prize of $15,000. Two more winners will be honored Nov. 3. 

Nehemne is a kindergarten teacher, a peer mentor and a technology leader at the Conservative day school in Encino. VBS Senior Rabbi Ed Feinstein saluted the likes of Nehemne during an Oct. 14 ceremony at VBS. 

“According to the Torah, the most special thing you can do in the world is become a teacher,” he said. “It’s teachers who keep the world going.” 

Richard Sandler, executive vice president and a trustee of the Milken Family Foundation, participated in the ceremony at VBS. 

Schapira was honored Oct. 14 at Brawerman in West Los Angeles, where Gil Graff, executive director of BJE — Builders of Jewish Education, opened the assembly with inspiring lessons from the Torah. Schapira is a physical education coach who developed a successful afterschool program and more. 

The Jewish Educator Awards, first given out in 1990, honor Jewish educators’ contributions to day schools affiliated with BJE and those who “exemplify the Jewish day school mission to prepare our youth for successful lives in the context of our values as a people,” according to jewisheducatorawards.org.


Michael Sarid departed from his position as director of the Western region of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) at the end of September. He had served in the position for more than four years and is “moving to New York for personal reasons,” said interim director, Carol Stulberg, who also is the senior adviser for leadership gifts at the USHMM Western region. “[He is a] lovely person and a seasoned fund-raiser. It was pleasure working with him.” 

The museum will hire a permanent replacement by the beginning of 2015, according to Stulberg. 

The Western region director is charged with working with donors and bringing museum programming to communities in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii. The office represents one of five regions for the museum, which has welcomed 36 million visitors since its inception in 1993, according to its website. 

Coming up locally, USHMM will mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of all the concentration camps during World War 

II. The event will be held March 16 at the Beverly Hilton as part of the USHMM Western region gala fundraiser. Ken and Sheryl Pressberg and Jesse and Stacy Scharf are co-chairing the event, which will honor Holocaust survivors, according to Stulberg.


American Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) has appointed Andrew Hoffer as the associate director of its Southwest regional office. He joined the AABGU staff at the end of August. 

Andrew Hoffer, Photo courtesy of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Hoffer previously served as development director at the Jewish Home Foundation, where he helped “coordinate a $215 million capital campaign and major gift programs,” according to a Oct. 12 AABGU press release. He has also worked for the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Anti-Defamation League.

“I am honored to represent such an outstanding university, which is making significant contributions in many areas to the State of Israel and for the betterment of our global community,” Hoffer said in a press release regarding his new job. 

He brings to AABGU nearly 20 years of experience in working on major gifts, capital campaigns and special events for a broad range of education, health-care and social service organizations. 

Philip Gomperts, AABGU Southwest regional director, welcomed Hoffer to the AABGU team in a statement: “We are excited that Andrew Hoffer has joined AABGU with his credentials and experience to increase donor support for the university’s initiatives. It is more important than ever to support Israel, and working together we will continue to have a meaningful impact on the growth and success of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.” 

AABGU’s mission, according to its website, is “raising funds and awareness for the [Israel-based Ben-Gurion] University across the United States, showcasing BGU’s academic excellence and cutting-edge research from the desert for the world.” BGU is known for its achievements in scientific innovation, applied sciences and interdisciplinary research. 


Celebrity fitness trainer Simone De La Rue of Body by Simone led a group of 35 women in Sunday Shvitz, a cardio dance class hosted by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Young Leadership Los Angeles on Oct. 5 in West Hollywood. 

From left: FIDF Western region executive director Miri Nash; Simone De La Rue; and FIDF director of Young Leadership Molly Soboroff. Photo by Amanda Epstein

“I wanted to help build awareness of a cause that is important to those who support me,” said De La Rue, who donated her time to teach the group and who worked everyone into a sweaty frenzy. “I was excited by the opportunity to share my love and passion for Body by Simone with a new group of women; to show them how much fun exercise can be and to be able to help raise money for a honorable cause.” 

De La Rue led the group through three routines while raising $1,500 for FIDF’s Wounded Veterans Project. The program assists soldiers in their postwar recovery process by helping them strengthen their mental and physical abilities. 

The event was chaired by Jamie Bernstein, an FIDF Young Leadership board member. 

— Amanda Epstein, Contributing Writer 

Moving and Shaking highlights events, honors and simchas. Got a tip? Email ryant@jewishjournal.com.