Hollywood writer, producer and director Judd Apatow organized an evening of comedy called “Judd Apatow and Friends” in support of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Aug. 24 at Largo at the Coronet in Beverly Grove.
Apatow (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up”) was joined by comedians Natasha Leggero (“Chelsea Lately”), Wayne Federman (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Neal Brennan (“Chappelle’s Show”) and Jerrod Carmichael (“The Carmichael Show”).
Apatow said he was inspired to organize the performance in response to the Aug. 11-12 white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Va., that included anti-Semitic chants, acts of intimidation against local Jews, neo-Nazi demonstrations and the death of woman who was a counterprotester.
Apatow, who is Jewish, publicized the event on Twitter, where he has been active in criticizing the administration of President Donald Trump.
During the event, Apatow “touched on several ADL areas of concern, including anti-Semitism, women’s rights, racism and immigration reform,” the ADL said in a statement.
ADL Regional Director Amanda Susskind also spoke at the event and discussed “ADL’s role in monitoring and exposing extremist and hate groups, and protecting civil rights in America,” the ADL said.
The sold-out event raised $8,700 in support of the ADL, which fights anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in the United States.
In addition, in a current online campaign, Apatow has pledged to match contributions of up to $10,000 to the ADL’s national office.
Honeymoon Israel, a national Jewish organization that subsidizes newly married couples with at least one Jewish partner to take part in group trips to Israel, recently received a $1.5 million grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation. Some of the grant money will help pay for Honeymoon Israel’s overall operations, while part will go toward the $600,000 invested in its local branch, said Michael D. Wise, co-CEO of Honeymoon Israel.
The 2-year-old organization works to help new couples build connections to local Jewish communities and encourages them to experience a deeper sense of Judaism by visiting Israel with other local couples.
“Seeing, touching and feeling Israel together as a newly married interfaith couple was a profound experience,” Diana and Karen Lovati, a couple from Los Angeles, said in a statement.
Whitney Kirk and her wife, Lindsey Arnold, of Playa del Rey, took Honeymoon Israel’s third trip, which left from Los Angeles in September 2016.
“Honeymoon Israel allowed my wife and me the opportunity to visit and experience the wonders of Israel as a couple, without the fear of being judged as a married, interfaith, lesbian couple,” Kirk said. “Before Honeymoon Israel, we were looking for a local Jewish community, and a year later, not only do we still stay in touch and spend time with the couples and staff we met on the trip, but our community continues to grow through couple-hosted events.”
In a statement, Barry Finestone, president and CEO of the Jim Joseph Foundation, said the future looks bright for Honeymoon Israel, which continues to grow and expand to more cities.
“The foundation is excited,” Finestone said, “to engage even more couples from a range of backgrounds in this powerful experience.”
— Julie Bien, Contributing Writer
The Valley Jewish Community Center’s boys soccer team for players age 16 and under took the gold medal at the 2017 JCC Maccabi Games in Albany, N.Y., which were held Aug. 6-11.
The team dedicated its victory to the memory of Dr. David Fett, whose son played on the team eight years ago. Fett, an ophthalmologist who also was a supporter of the Valley JCC, died a few days before the tournament began.
Lori Larcara, mother of Jake Larcara, one of the Valley JCC players, said the team was proud to be playing in Fett’s honor.
“They never lost sight of their goal and the task at hand,” she said. “More importantly, they never forgot that this tournament was for them and Dr. Fett.”
The other team members were Amit Bitton, Ori Bitton, Tal Bitton, Yoav Cohen, Evan Davila, Edan Klier, Mikey Levy, David Luner, Dor Moskowitz, Benjamin Newman and Harel Spivak. The team was coached by Oren Diamant.
Larcara credited the support that all of the Valley JCC’s soccer teams have received from Shay Diamant, Philip Benditson and Kobi Koren, who has been coaching local JCC Maccabi teams for 25 years.
“These gentlemen volunteer their time, compassion and commitment and bring in donations of approximately $20,000 to help cover costs and offer financial aid,” Larcara said in an email.
The JCC Maccabi Games, held each summer in North America, also had competitions in Birmingham, Ala., from July 30 to Aug. 4, and Miami, from Aug. 6-11.
Several people from Los Angeles made aliyah to Israel in August thanks to the nonprofit Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN) organization.
Founded in 2001, NBN works with numerous agencies — including the Jewish Agency for Israel, Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Immigration Absorption, and the Jewish National Fund-USA — to facilitate emigration from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. In 2016, the organization surpassed bringing its 50,000th oleh (immigrant) to Israel.
Los Angeles-area residents who made aliyah in August included Pesach (Paul) Nisenbaum and his wife, Lida Baker; Carey Fried, Sara Chana Morrow, Rivka Grob, Yehuda Frischman and Robin Silver-Zwiren.
Nisenbaum, 66, a retired special education teacher, said the recent death of his mother, Faye Franks Nisenbaum Gelb, led him to decide it was the right time to fulfill a longtime dream of immigrating to Israel.
“We have been to Israel many times, over decades,” he said in an email. “I have been waiting to make aliyah for decades.”
Marty Adelstein, CEO of Tomorrow Studios, has joined the advisory board of the Creative Community for Peace (CCFP), the organization announced on Aug. 21.
CCFP is composed of prominent members of the entertainment industry who promote the arts as a means to achieve peace, support artistic freedom and counter the cultural boycott of Israel. In August, the organization supported British rock band Radiohead’s decision to perform in Israel, despite the protests of some musicians, including former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters, who called on Radiohead to cancel its performance.
Adelstein’s career spans 25 years as an agent, manager and feature film and television producer. Other entertainment industry professionals involved in CCFP include Adam Berkowitz, co-head of the television department at Creative Artists Agency; Jody Gerson, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group; and Rick Krim, West Coast president of Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
“[Their] success and wide-ranging relationships will help us in our mission to promote the arts as a means to peace, defend artistic freedom, and counter the attempted cultural boycott of Israel,” CCFP said in a statement.
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