Moving and shaking: Friends of Sheba Medical Center; ETTA gala; Sharon Freedman and more


Friends of Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer held its 45th anniversary gala, “Honoring Our Heroes,” at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Nov. 15. The event, hosted by actor Jason Alexander, honored local heroes, Sheba doctors and their patients, and raised more than $2 million.

From left: Friends of Sheba Medical Center President Parham Zar; wife and board member Shoshana Zar; and honoree Zeev Rotstein, director general and CEO of Sheba Medical Center; come together at the organization’s Nov. 15 gala in Beverly Hills. Photo by Orly Halevy 

In his remarks, Alexander told the 600 guests that Sheba is responsible for “the long-term rehabilitation and tertiary care of 100 percent of wounded Israeli soldiers.” He added that Sheba sends medical relief to disaster locations worldwide. 

Marion Brucker, who at 108 is Sheba’s oldest and most longstanding donor, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Her nephew, former Beverly Hills mayor Barry Brucker, and his wife, Sue, accepted the award on her behalf.  

Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles David Siegel and his wife, Myra Clark-Siegel, presented the Valor and Courage Award to Evie and Stuart Steinberg, in memory and honor of their son Max Steinberg, an L.A. native and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier who was killed in Gaza during 2014’s Operation Protective Shield.

Rosanne Ziering and Steve Hitter co-chaired the evening; the Siegels served as honorary chairs. Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) presented a flag that had flown over the United States Capitol to Margie Pressman

Additional honorees included doctors and patients from Sheba Medical Center: Dr. Eyal Winkler, chief of the Plastic Surgery Department and Burn Center; director general and CEO Zeev Rotstein; and IDF Deputy General Shai Siman Tov, who was paralyzed from the neck down on a mission in Gaza in 2014.

 — Esther D. Kustanowitz, Contributing Writer


The 600 guests attending the Nov. 19 ETTA gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel couldn’t help but notice the striking black-and-white photographs of young adults with developmental disabilities on display, taken by photographer Davis Factor, founder of Smashbox Studios and Cosmetics. Each individual’s personality was captured in an instant, reflecting the theme of the evening — that these young adults should be defined by who they are as people, not by the labels of disability. 

Michael Held, executive director at ETTA; and Lauren Potter, actress, disability activist and recipient of the ETTA Champion Award; at the Nov. 19 ETTA gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Photo by @jonahlightphoto

National spokesperson for the Special Olympics, Lucy Meyer, who was born with cerebral palsy, introduced actress Lauren Potter, best known for her role as Becky Jackson on “Glee,” as the recipient of ETTA’s Champion Award. Potter, 25, who began acting at an early age, has Down syndrome. She told attendees how she’d been disappointed in high school when she wasn’t allowed to participate in her school’s cheerleading squad. “But then I got to play a cheerleader on TV,” Potter said, to the cheers of the audience. 

“Special in Uniform,” the Israeli Army inclusion program that gives youth with disabilities opportunities to join the Israel Defense Forces, received ETTA’s Service Award. The program, now operated by the Jewish National Fund, is a three-year service program.

The Community Leadership Award was given to Adam and Taaly Silberstein for their longtime dedication as ETTA volunteers, opening their Valley Village home for many ETTA Shabbat dinners and other events.

Other notables attending included The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles CEO Jay Sanderson, State Assemblymen Miguel Santiago and Richard Bloom, retired L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, former L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Community College board member Scott Svonkin. Also on hand were film producer Gary Gilbert and Factor.

ETTA, an affiliate of OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services, offers a wide range of residential housing, job training and placement, life skills, and educational and social programming for people with developmental disabilities. The gala raised $500,000.

Michelle K. Wolf, Contributing Writer


Sharon Freedman, a national campaign director for the Jewish National Fund (JNF), a nonprofit that promotes the prosperity of Israel and its communities, has relocated to the Los Angeles area to focus on managing and supervising West Coast operations. 

Sharon Freedman, national campaign director for the Jewish National Fund. Photo courtesy of the Jewish National Fund 

I am overwhelmed by the impact we have on building our homeland. I am … excited to have relocated to Los Angeles, which is filled with passionate, caring and generous individuals,” Freedman, who moved to Los Angeles in August, wrote in an email.

Freedman joined JNF in 1999 and previously was campaign director for New England (which she continues to oversee), as well as Ohio, Pittsburgh, Denver and Northern California. She became national campaign director four years ago and oversees California, the Pacific Northwest, desert states, mountain states and New England.

Locally, there have been numerous changes to JNF Los Angeles, too. In August, Marina Brodetsky joined as senior communications associate, after handling media and public relations at the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles for six years.

Robert Wise joined JNF in September as executive vice president for the greater L.A. area. Wise has more than 20 years’ experience in fundraising and nonprofit management, having held positions at UCLA, the Rand Corp. and American Friends of Tel Aviv University, among others.

Louis Rosenberg was promoted in September to executive director of the area branch after spending the last three years as associate director for the JNF. Previously, he worked in sports marketing for 20 years for the Los Angeles Clippers, L.A. Avengers and Women’s World Cup Soccer.

— Virginia Isaad, Contributing Writer

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

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