Moving and Shaking: U.S. Holocaust Museum dinner, de Toledo names new head, Republican Jews meet in Vegas
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on March 2 honored Janet and Lenny Rosenblatt and Sheryl and Kenneth Pressberg with the 2017 National Leadership Award, and recognized survivor and philanthropist Max Webb on his 100th birthday.
“As we gather tonight, we are thinking about the threats to JCCs, Jewish day schools and threats to Jewish cemeteries,” dinner co-chair Carol Stulberg said in her remarks. Her co-chairs were Steven and Debbie Abrams, Jill Black, Stanley Black, Fred and Dina Leeds, Nancy Mishkin, Carol and Jac Stulberg, and David Wiener.
The evening at the Beverly Hilton supported the museum’s current campaign, “Never Again: What You Do Matters,” and drew an estimated 1,000 attendees, including actress Rachel Bloom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, restaurateur Barbara Lazaroff, Remember Us director Samara Hutman and Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.
The evening began with a video tribute to late Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel, followed by remarks by Sinai Temple Rabbi David Wolpe. Steven Klappholz, director of the museum’s Western regional office, also attended.
Wolpe spoke of Webb’s history as a dance teacher and said his survival and the survival of those like him had meant something to succeeding generations.
“Those of you who are survivors and have given us so much, like Max, you have not returned from hell with empty hands,” Wolpe said. “Your hands are full and you fill us, and we are grateful, and we bless you for that goodness, and we bless this land that opened its arms to so many of you and brought you into this nation and to our lives as a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, to the possibilities of reaching across generations and cultures to the great unending human dance.”
Celebrating Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, the third annual Jewish Community Inclusion Festival was held Feb. 26 at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services.
More than 200 members of the Jewish community turned out at the social services organization’s Cheviot Hills campus to enjoy gymnastics and fitness activities, arts and crafts, a book reading with children’s author Karen Winnick, a photo booth, a singing performance by children with special needs, and Danny’s Farm, which provides a farm setting for people living with disabilities.
The event was one of several Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles Community Service Day projects.
Attendees included Miriam Maya, director of Federation’s Caring for Jews in Need (CJIN) and the Los Angeles Jewish Abilities Center; Lori Klein, senior vice president of CJIN; Sarah Blitzstein, program coordinator at HaMercaz, a program of Federation and Jewish Family Service Los Angeles; Andrew Cushnir, Federation executive vice president; and Cathy Gott, co-founder of Education Spectrum and Danny’s Farm. Gott attended with her son, Danny, for whom Danny’s Farm was created.
Special needs children include those with autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy.
Mark Shpall has been named the new head of school at de Toledo High School (dTHS), beginning July 1, 2018, when he will replace Bruce Powell, the founding head of school, Bruce Gersh, president of the school’s board of directors, announced in a March 3 letter.
“Mr. Shpall’s history within our community and his background make him uniquely qualified to lead dTHS and to expand upon the foundation built by our founding Head of School, Dr. Bruce Powell,” Gersh wrote in the letter.
Shpall has served in a variety of positions at the school, including dean of students, director of community programming, dean of 11th and 12th grades, and Advanced Placement government teacher. He has a bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Barbara, a law degree from USC and a master’s degree in education from Pepperdine.
Shpall wrote in a letter that he is excited to assume his position: “We are a school that on a daily basis creates the next generation of Jewish leaders as we fill the souls and the minds of our students in equal measure. I look forward to deepening and strengthening this mission.”
During the 2017-18 school year, Shpall will become head of school designate under the direction of Powell.
Powell began his journey in Jewish day school education more than 30 years ago. He was the inaugural general studies principal at the boys and girls schools at Yeshiva University Los Angeles, where he worked for 13 years, and he served as principal of what is now Milken Community Schools before joining New Community Jewish High School, now known as de Toledo, in 2002.
The school, located in West Hills, has 400 students in grades nine through 12.
— Kylie Ora Lobell, Contributing Writer
Members of the Los Angeles Jewish community were among the more than 500 attendees at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual national leadership meeting at the Venetian Las Vegas Resort Hotel Casino on Feb. 24-26.
Cal State Northridge student Brandon Kaufman kvelled about the opportunity to hear from Vice President Mike Pence, who spoke on the first day of the conference.
“It was an incredible experience to hear him speak,” said Kaufman, whose attendance at the exclusive event, which drew coalition donors and their guests, was subsidized by Los Angeles philanthropist Allen Alevy.
“I’m almost 80 years old,” Alevy, who also was in attendance, said. “I’m old enough to have my eyes open. President [Franklin] Roosevelt [a Democrat] … could’ve saved 6 million Jews. He saved no one. … If you learn from history, if you care about the Jewish people, then you are a Republican Jewish Coalition member. … If you don’t care, then you can vote any way you want. Remember, the liberal Democrats have done nothing for us [Jews] ever.”
Kicking off the weekend event — called a gathering of “poker, politics and policy” — Pence discussed the U.S.-Israel relationship, the Trump administration’s support for Jews at a time of increased anti-Semitism, and President Donald Trump’s intention to scrap his predecessor’s health care plan, create jobs and enforce a strict immigration policy.
“We’re going to enact real immigration reform that gives families more choices and will end the broken system that puts the status quo ahead of our kids, and we’re going to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and the values we hold dear,” Pence told the crowd, which included Angelenos Fred Leeds, Adam Milstein, Mati Geula Cohen, Adam King, Elan Carr and Josh Kaplan.
Additional speakers included Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who is Jewish, and Rep. David Kustoff, the freshman congressman from Tennessee, who is one of two Jewish Republicans in the House of Representatives. The other is Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York.
Gabrielle Goldfarb, a student at the University of Wisconsin, attended with her father, Laurence, of Great Neck, N.Y. The younger Goldfarb told the Journal she was grateful to have a moment away from a university she described as a “very liberal school” and to spend time with like-minded people.
“It’s great to come together and be with people with similar beliefs and values,” she said, “and be surrounded by successful people who want a strong United States and Israel relationship.”
Recognizing successive generations of B’nai David-Judea Congregation members, the synagogue’s 69th annual dinner on Feb. 26 honored Gail Katz and Mayer Bick with the Migdal David Award, Steve Lowenstein with the Chasdei David Award, and Rachel Kasirer, Zev Nagel and Rabbi Ari Schwarzberg with the Tzemach David Award.
Katz, Bick and Lowenstein were honored “for their lasting contributions to the spiritual life of the B’nai David community,” and Kasirer, Nagel and Schwarzberg, members of the Modern Orthodox synagogue’s young professionals minyan, were recognized “for their commitment to communal growth,” said B’nai David-Judea executive director Adynna Swarz.
More than 300 people came to Stephen Wise Temple to celebrate the honorees, several of whom were involved with bringing to the congregation its first female clergy member, Rabbanit Alissa Thomas-Newborn. Attendees included the congregation’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky, who “has built B’nai David-Judea into a leading center of modern Orthodoxy,” according to the congregation’s website; and congregation president Shana Fishman, vice president at large Duke Helfand, secretary Nick Merkin and treasurer Ranon Kent.
“The dinner was a major success and raised important funds for B’nai David,” Swarz said.
Moving and Shaking highlights events, honors and simchas. Got a tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.