Moving and Shaking: Israel Cancer Research Fund, Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project and more


On Sept. 13, Israel Cancer Research Fund’s (ICRF) Rachel’s Society, which focuses on women’s cancer awareness and research, held an event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills that raised more than $62,000 toward cancer research. 

Dr. Steven Rosen, provost and chief scientific officer at City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, a leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, was a guest speaker. Rosen was awarded the ICRF Lifetime Achievement Award last November.

Additional speakers included Benjamin Bonavida, a member of the ICRF executive committee and chairman of the Los Angeles board of ICRF.

Philanthropists Beverly and Bob Cohen made “a substantial and generous donation” to underwrite the cost of the event, according to Heath Blumstein, executive director of ICRF.

Approximately 65 people turned out.

ICRF was founded in 1975 by a group of Americans and Canadians to provide funds for postdoctoral fellowships for young Israeli doctors.


From left: Karina Gordon, Susan Berman, Lisa Kodimer and Chana Heller were the Los Angles delegation at the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) leadership conference. Photo by Shlomo Cohen

Four Jewish women from Los Angeles traveled to Maryland last month to be part of this year’s Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) leadership conference.

The Maryland-based organization cuts across national and denominational borders to empower women to bring their Jewish values to life through education, community events and Israel programs, hoping to inspire a global Jewish women’s movement. The Sept. 18-20 conference in College Park, near Washington, D.C., drew more than 300 participants from as far as Greece and Panama.

The Los Angeles delegation included Chana Heller, who leads the Jewish Women’s Initiative, a program of Aish in Los Angeles. The other women were Susan Berman, Karina Gordon and Lisa Kodimer.

The conference honored Rachel Fraenkel, whose son’s murder helped foment Israel’s 2014 war with Hamas, and Lihi Lapid, the feminist author and wife of perennial Israeli prime minister contender Yair Lapid. Speakers included Warren Goldstein, chief rabbi of The Union of Orthodox Synagogues of South Africa, and Zeev Ben Shachar, director of Israel education at the Hebrew University.

Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, a JWRP partner since 2014, co-hosted the conference.

— Eitan Arom, Staff Writer


Susan Freudenheim, Rob Eshman at the executive editor’s farewell party. Photo by Julia Moss

Susan Freudenheim is leaving her post as executive editor at the Jewish Journal to become executive director at Jewish World Watch (JWW), an Encino-based nonprofit that works to combat genocide and mass atrocities worldwide.

Freudenheim, a member of Temple Israel of Hollywood, has served as an editor at the Jewish Journal since 2005 and served as executive editor from 2011 to 2016. Before coming to the Journal, Freudenheim spent 13 years as an editor and staff writer at the Los Angeles Times.

Freudenheim’s final day at the Journal was Sept. 30; she begins at JWW on Oct. 5.

JWW was co-founded by Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, the late Valley Beth Shalom spiritual leader. Schulweis believed that the Jewish promise to never again allow another genocide occur after the Holocaust must be extended to communities around the globe.

“Rabbi Schulweis’ vision was to have the Jewish world work with all peoples to see the world as one, and to try to bring our values — not necessarily our vision for them but our values — to people who have suffered from genocide in the way that the Jewish people did. To not see them as the other, but to see us all as one large family,” Freudenheim said in an interview at the Journal offices.

Since its inception in 2004, JWW has worked to assist at-risk populations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and South Sudan. Additionally, JWW holds an annual community-building event, the Walk to End Genocide, which raises awareness and funds for the organization’s work. JWW’s 2015 annual budget was more than $1.7 million.

Freudenheim said her goals include identifying advocacy organizations that are potential JWW partners so that the organization’s work can be broadened.

“You can’t solve [everything in] the world, but you can save some lives,” she said.


Ryan E. Smith

Ryan E. Smith has been named managing editor of the Jewish Journal, effective Oct. 1.

“I’m really excited,” Smith, who has been associate editor at the Journal since 2012, said of his promotion. “I think community journalism is a great thing, and I look forward to having an even greater role in shaping that here at the Jewish Journal.”

Smith, who is married to Cantor Jen Roher, previously worked as a reporter and columnist for The Blade newspaper in Toledo, Ohio. After moving to Los Angeles in 2010, he was a freelance writer for various publications and worked at the local campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. 

He also served as an editor of TRIBE Magazine, a monthly magazine published by the Journal that focused on the San Fernando Valley and surrounding areas.

“Ryan joins a long line of superb editors (and writers and ad reps and administrators and designers and digital staff) committed to helping the Journal evolve and improve,” Journal Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Rob Eshman said in an email to Journal staff.

Smith graduated from Yale University in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in English.


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

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