Moving & Shaking: Helgard and Irwin Field receive lifetime achievement award, JVSLA holds fundraiser at wax museum
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles honored Helgard and Irwin Field with the 2017 Jewish Community Lifetime Achievement Award on Sept. 17 at the Beverly Hilton, “in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the Jewish community and generous support of our life changing work,” the event program said.
Irwin Field, raised in a Zionist and charitable household, served as Federation’s campaign chair in 1973 and 1974, as its president in 1995 and 1996, and in other leadership positions. He also served as publisher of the Jewish Journal from 2003-2011.
Helgard Field, raised in Germany, has been involved with numerous organizations, including the Women’s Zionist Organization, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Israel Museum.
The Fields have four children, 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Speakers at the event included Sinai Temple Rabbi David Wolpe — who discussed how counseling the Helgards following the death of their son, Edward, was among the most profound spiritual experiences of his life — and Federation President and CEO Jay Sanderson.
The event featured cocktails, dinner and musical entertainment from the Jewish vocal ensemble Guys and Meidels.
The more than 450 attendees included Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), Federation Board Chair Julie Platt, Adat Shalom Rabbi Nolan Lebovitz, Federation Executive Vice President Andrew Cushnir, Sinai Temple Rabbi Erez Sherman, and Leon Janks, a managing partner at Green Hasson Janks.
The event raised more than $1 million for Federation’s Special Needs Engagement Fund, which will increase access to Federation programs for Jewish children and teenagers with special needs.
Jewish Vocational Service of Los Angeles (JVSLA) held its fall fundraiser, “An Evening at Madame Tussauds,” at the famous wax museum in Hollywood on Sept. 16.
The costume-optional “party with a purpose” drew more than 200 guests, who snapped photographs with the museum’s wax celebrities and mingled while enjoying food, drink and dance until midnight.
The event raised nearly $100,000 to benefit JVSLA programs for veterans and at-risk youths in foster care and on court-ordered juvenile probation.
JVSLA is a nonprofit, nonsectarian agency dedicated to empowering people to overcome barriers and achieve sustainable employment.
“This was absolutely a first-of-its-kind event for JVS and the beginning of an entirely new approach to our annual fundraiser,” JVSLA Board President Harris Smith said. “We wanted to create both a memorable experience for our longtime donors and an opportunity to engage a new circle of supporters. In addition to a great evening, our guests had a chance to learn firsthand about the life-changing impact of our work in the lives of veterans and youth through the very moving stories of our former clients, Alex and Rasika.”
Alex was former JVSLA Veterans First program client Alex Tapanya, who was stationed at the Pentagon on 9/11 and set up a triage unit to handle injuries. When he was discharged from the military, his work experience didn’t translate to the private sector, forcing him to take whatever job he could get. He then was referred to JVSLA, and the organization made it possible for him to become certified in cyber security. JVSLA also paid to train his wife, also a veteran, in data analytics.
“For both of us, JVS Veterans First was the linchpin not only for funding but for the compassion and support and understanding of our fellow veterans,” Tapanya said. “The program has made a world of difference to our family, and we are deeply grateful.”
The “Rasika” referred to by Smith is Rasika Flores, a former JVSLA Youth Program client who grew up in an unstable, homeless family and dropped out of high school to take care of her siblings.
“Not only did JVS hire me, but they pushed me to want more from myself,” Flores said at the event. “I enrolled in Santa Monica College … something no one in my family has ever done. With the help of JVS and all of you here tonight, I started to become greater than my sufferings.”
The event’s co-chairs were Adam Abramowitz, managing director at Intrepid Investment Bankers; Jason Kravitz, director of national sales at Mortgage Capital Associates; Heidi Levyn, a client partner at Facebook; Steve Seigel, president of Silversheet; and Aaron Suzar, managing director at L&S Advisors.
— Esther D. Kustanowitz, Contributing Writer
Shelters for Israel celebrated its 69th anniversary with a luncheon on Sept. 10 at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills.
Drawing about 225 people, the event benefited Sulamot–Music for Social Change, an education program for at-risk children and a collaboration between the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), Tel Aviv University and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
“We chose Sulamot because we were impressed with their model — in partnership with the IPO, the IDF and Tel Aviv University — to reach out to thousands of disadvantaged, at-risk children throughout Israel and provide musical instruments and instruction to them,” Shelters for Israel President Myra Gabbay said.
Shelters for Israel, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, was founded in 1948 by a group of female Hungarian Holocaust survivors who moved to the United States following World War II. Aware of a housing shortage in Israel due to an influx of immigrants, they used money from a regular card game to create a loan fund for the new arrivals to the fledging Jewish state.
To date, the volunteer-led organization has sponsored more than 50 capital projects in Israel serving the elderly, Negev and the Galilee communities, disadvantaged youth and others. Among its current projects is a three-year program in Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev, where the city has committed to match the organization’s funding and build a music school for graduates of the Sulamot program.
Participants in the the event included David Jackson, Shelters for Israel co-president; Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, director of the Orthodox Union’s West Coast region; Holocaust survivor Eva Brettler and Beverly Hills High School 2016 graduate Lauren Aviram.
The highlight of the luncheon was when the Sulamot Klezmer Band from Israel performed klezmer and classic Jewish and Israeli music, Gabbay said. “It was special to dance with the survivors and subsequent generations to the music of these exceptional young people.”
American Friends of Hebrew University (AFHU) honored Renae Jacobs-Anson and Helen Jacobs-Lepor, prominent civic and Jewish communal leaders, at its annual AFHU Bel Air Affaire on Sept. 16 at the home of Brindell Gottlieb.
The honorees received the AFHU Humanitarian Torch of Learning Award for being “dedicated supporters of Israel and members of AFHU’s national and western region boards,” an AFHU statement said.
Jacobs-Anson, an actor and singer, and Jacobs-Lepor, vice president of business development for US Medical Innovations, have co-chaired the annual event for nine consecutive years.
Additional chairs of the event included Glaser Weil lawyer Patricia Glaser, AFHU western region board vice chair; Glaser’s husband, Sam Mudie; and May Ziman and her husband, Richard, AFHU western region board chair. Hebrew University President and professor Asher Cohen also attended.
The gala raised more than $1 million to support scholarships for Hebrew University students.
AFHU, a nonprofit, raises funds and awareness for Hebrew University, a leading academic institution and research facility in Jerusalem. The university has four main campuses — the Mount Scopus campus for humanities and social sciences, the Edmond J. Safra campus for exact sciences, the Ein Karem Campus for medical sciences and the Rehovot campus.
The eighth annual Walk4FriendshipLA, a 2-kilometer walkathon benefiting Friendship Circle of Los Angeles, was held Sept. 17 at Shalhevet High School.
The gathering is the biggest annual community awareness program and fundraiser for the Chabad-affiliated organization serving Jewish children with special needs.
Friendship Circle Development Director Gail Rollman said this year’s event was a success, raising $220,000 for social, recreational and educational programs.
“It was a thrill to see close to 800 people in pink T-shirts that said ‘Step up for Friendship’ walk in support of our Jewish children who have special needs,” she told the Journal.
Rollman and her husband, Fred, were top walkers, raising nearly $23,000 for the organization through their participation in the event. Other top walkers included Yonatan Mark, Alana Bess, Jonah Weiss and Rabbi Michy Rav-Noy, Friendship Circle of L.A.’s executive director.
The opening ceremony featured a performance by Broken Chains, an Alice and Nahum Lainer School teen band led by Friendship Circle volunteer Zev Gaslin.
Volunteers included Sydney Siegel, a USC graduate student paired with Shauna Esfandi, a child with cerebral palsy.
“I absolutely loved meeting Shauna,” Siegel said. “That is certainly an interaction I will never forget.”
The walk began at 2:45 p.m. and took participants on a route that passed the Petersen Automotive Museum at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. The walk was followed by a family festival that featured Rosh Hashanah crafts, a photo booth, carnival activities, a barbecue, shofar demonstrations, a live DJ and more.
Established 15 years ago, Friendship Cricle operates 25 programs for Jewish children with special needs with the help of 500 teen volunteers.
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