ETTA, an organization that provides programs and services that help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live independent lives, held its 24th annual gala on Nov. 29 at the Beverly Hilton hotel.
The event honored Jonathan and Miriam Istrin and Susie and Fred Toczek, who together announced a scholarship program — Summer@ETTA — for the ETTA summer camp. The program serves teens and adults with developmental disorders, including autism and Down syndrome.
Also feted were longtime ETTA staff members Leah Schachter, director of volunteer services and special events, and Josh Taff, director of the Isak Boruchin Adult Day Program, who received the inaugural “Etty” award for outstanding professional achievement. Eight ETTA youth board members received the Youth Leadership Award. The Pujols Family Foundation, a nonprofit that supports families living with Down syndrome, received the Community Philanthropy Award. And the Don and Lorraine Freeberg Foundation, which recently donated a van to the organization, received the Builders of Tomorrow award.
The 700 attendees included Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who turned out with his older brother, Champ, who has Down syndrome. Pederson accepted the award on behalf of the Pujols Family Foundation, which is named for Los Angeles Angels player Albert Pujols.
Dan Freeberg and James Geary accepted the award on behalf of the Don and Lorraine Freeberg Foundation. Actor Bradley Whitford (“The Post”) emceed. Actor Gary Cole (“Veep”) also attended.
Civic, political and community leaders in attendance included former Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, state Sen. Ben Allen, L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian, attorney and ETTA board member Sam Yebri, ETTA Board of Advisors member Davis Factor and ETTA Executive Director Michael Held.
More than 1,500 people turned out for screenings of “Fiddler on the Roof” at Laemmle Theatres outlets across Los Angeles on Christmas Eve, marking the 10th consecutive year that the theater chain has shown Norman Jewison’s 1971 musical film about the shtetl of Anatevka on the night before Christmas.
“We totally rocked the shtetl at six venues with seven packed auditoriums,” said Laemmle Theatres spokesman Marc Horwitz.
As they have done every year, folks who turned out at Laemmle theaters in Beverly Hills, Encino, Pasadena, Santa Monica and elsewhere sang along with favorites “Tradition,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “Sunrise, Sunset” and “If I Were a Rich Man.” The screenings also feature a host who leads the crowd in “Fiddler” trivia before the start of the film.
The hosts were Temple Beth Ami Cantor Kenny Ellis, a comic and entertainer who recently appeared as a rabbi in an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”; klezmer bandleader Gustavo Bulgach; actress Susan Edwards Martin; Jason Moss of the Jewish Federation of Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys; Steve Sass, president of the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California; Cantor Phil Baron of Valley Beth Shalom; and Temple Beth Israel Cantor Paul Buch.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) held its 2017 annual gala celebration on Dec. 6 at the Beverly Hilton hotel.
The event honored Leah Weil, senior executive vice president and general counsel at Sony Pictures, with the Jurisprudence Award. Weil, the child of Holocaust survivors, said she has always been focused on pushing back against anti-Semitism, in part, because of her family history.
Additional honorees were husband and wife Joe and Sarah Kiani, who were presented with the Humanitarian Award by retired U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. Joe Kiani is CEO and chairman of Masimo Corp., a medical technology company, and Sarah Kiani is a board member of the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare.
According to a press release, Sarah Kiani described the ADL as “our nation’s David, slinging rocks against the Goliath of prejudice and hate, and standing up for those who are voiceless.”
The event raised nearly $1.1 million to support ADL efforts combating racism and bigotry.
Attendees and participants included Los Angeles Assistant Supervising Deputy City Attorney Anh Truong; ADL National Youth Leadership Mission participant Haley Pak; comedian and actor Wayne Federman, who emceed; and songwriter Alan Bergman.
Stephen Jensen, Anthony Vinciquerra and Karen and Alan Weil co-chaired.
On Feb. 1, Howard Kaplan will join Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries as its new general manager. For the past 13 years, Kaplan served as executive director of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, where he was instrumental in reviving its summer camp programs and spearheaded the 2011-15 renovation and expansion of its Erica J. Glazer Family Campus. Kaplan previously held key positions at Temple Aliyah and the Brandeis Bardin Institute.
Since its inception in 1964, the Mount Sinai general manager position has been held by only three people. Kaplan will succeed Leonard (Len) Lawrence, who is stepping down after 15 years to pursue new business opportunities. The mortuary praised Lawrence for promoting the importance of Jewish funeral traditions and for increasing the popularity of Mount Sinai’s park in Simi Valley.
“We are excited to have Howard Kaplan join this group of esteemed professionals who have led Mount Sinai for nearly 60 years and look forward to his continued leadership,” said Eric J. Diamond, chairman of Sinai Temple’s Cemetery Management Committee. Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries is the largest exclusively Jewish mortuary and cemetery organization in California.
Young Israel of Century City (YICC) synagogue celebrated its annual Tribute Award dinner on Dec. 17 at Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel.
About 400 guests joined in celebrating the completion of YICC’s new facility at 9315 W. Pico Blvd., which opened on Dec. 1 after 18 months of construction.
YICC Senior Rabbi Elazar Muskin paid tribute to all those who devoted their time and talent to making the new building possible.
The synagogue presented Rabbi Yisroel Boruch Sufrin, head of school at the Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy, with the YICC Arthur Kranzler Keter Shem Tov Award in appreciation of his allowing the synagogue to use the school’s facilities during YICC’s construction project.
The synagogue’s treasurer, Aric Zamel, and his wife, Sabrina, were honored with the Leadership Award for serving on the building committee and for their many years of commitment to the synagogue.
Synagogue President Gil Goldschein and his wife, Ilana, received the Tribute Award for their dedication in leading the congregation during the new building’s construction.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Global Teen Twinning Program on Dec. 10 at Stephen Wise Temple.
The event acknowledged the impact the program has had on thousands of students and their families, and recognized Bruce Powell, the outgoing head of school at deToledo High School, for 20 years of leadership and support of twinning.
The Federation program connects 20 schools in Los Angeles with 20 schools in Tel Aviv and one in Vilnius, Lithuania, through jointly prepared curricula, teacher training and exchanges lasting 10 days or more.
The initiative has supported more than 60,000 middle and high school students, parents and faculty, some of whom attended the event.