September 25, 2018

Groundbreaking for Venice Center, Vision Awards

From left: Bennett and Allison Rosenthal; L.A. Federation Board Chair Julie Platt; Federation President and CEO Jay Sanderson; Randy and Susan Snyder; and L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the BAR Center at the Beach.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles on June 11 held a groundbreaking ceremony for the BAR Center at the Beach, formerly known as the Israel Levin Senior Center. 

The BAR Center at the Beach is located on the Venice Beach boardwalk. Construction is scheduled to begin this year and is expected to take 16 months. Once completed,
the center will be an intergenerational destination for Jews in Los Angeles, said Jay Sanderson, Federation’s president and CEO.

“BAR Center at the Beach will be a beacon of Jewish life, dynamic programming and more for all generations,” Sanderson said in a statement. “We are excited to launch the groundbreaking of this project, and look forward to the day in which The BAR Center at the Beach will be ready for the entire community!”

Bennett and Allison Rosenthal provided the naming gift for the center. Randy and Susan Snyder provided the lead gift for the project. Architect Hagy Belzberg of Belzberg Architects designed the building.

“When we were presented with the opportunity to be a part of renovating the Israel Levin Center, we were excited to be a part of an innovative addition to the Jewish landscape in Los Angeles,” the Rosenthals said in a joint statement. “We look forward to the creative Jewish engagement, learning and socializing that will take place at The BAR Center at the Beach and the positive impact it will have on the Jewish community for generations to come.”

Attendees included Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, whose district includes Venice, and Federation board Chair Julie Platt. 

“I am so excited by the beauty of the planned structure, and by the beauty of the vision for this to be a multigenerational community center where seniors and toddlers spend some time together,” Bonin said.


Architect Michael Lehrer and Wise School Head of School Tami Weiser attended the 48th annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards, which honored Stephen Wise Temple’s Katz Family Pavilion and Shalom Garden.

Stephen Wise Temple and Wise School were honored during the Los Angeles Business Council’s (LABC) 48th annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards, held June 1 at the Beverly Hilton.

The affiliated temple and school received an award in the education category that honored their Katz Family Pavilion and Shalom Garden for groundbreaking design and commitment to meeting the needs of the Wise and greater Los Angeles communities. 

“This year, we received over 275 submissions in 23 design categories, representing a historic number of high-quality projects,” Mary Leslie, president of the Los Angeles Business Council, said in a statement. 

Accepting the award from LABC were Stephen Wise Temple Senior Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback, Wise Head of School Tami Weiser, architect Michael Lehrer and Building Committee Chair Leandro Tyberg.

The Katz Family Pavilion serves as the primary athletics facility for Wise School, an early childhood and elementary school serving nearly 500 students that celebrated its 40th anniversary during the 2017-18 academic year.

The pavilion, the new centerpiece of the Wise campus, features an angular roofline pointing toward Jerusalem. It has a glass wall providing expansive views of the outdoors from inside the gymnasium, and it can accommodate additional outdoor seating during events. 

Shalom Garden honors the legacy of the temple’s Senior Rabbi Emeritus Eli Herscher, who retired in 2015 after 40 years of service. It features arc-shaped benches, olive trees and Jerusalem Stone dedication pavers, and is used as an area for reflection, gathering and worship.


Valley Beth Shalom Rabbi Ed Feinstein and Malkah Schulweis, wife of the late Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, appear in conversation at the Valley Beth Shalom “Linking Generations” gala.

More than 350 guests gathered on May 6 at Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) in Encino for its “Linking Generations” gala celebrating Malkah Schulweis, wife of the late Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis.

During the event, Schulweis spoke with VBS Rabbi Ed Feinstein about her upbringing, her life with Harold — who served as rabbi at VBS from 1970 until his death in 2014 — and her strong desire for sacred Jewish traditions to carry on to the next generation. 

The event also recognized Sheva Locke, head of the VBS Day School, for her 16 years of leadership and vision. 

Rabbi Deborah Schuldenfrei recently succeeded Locke as the new head of school at VBS.


From left: Jane Willoughby of the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education; Janis Rabin of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science; YULA Girls students Tehilla Kohanteb, Zahava Reiss and Anat Rimmon; YULA Girls High School faculty member Ethan Piliavin; and YULA Girls Head of School Rabbi Joshua Spodek participated in the CIJE Young Engineers Conference.

Yeshiva University of Los Angeles (YULA) Girls High School was one of two award winners at the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) West Region Young Engineers Conference.

The conference, held May 6 at the Santa Monica headquarters of automotive information company Edmunds Inc., was attended by 180 prospective engineers from 13 Jewish day schools in California, Texas and Washington. The students showcased their new devices, sensors and robotic innovations before judges from Silicon Beach, who awarded prizes for innovation, engineering, presentation and teamwork. 

YULA, an Orthodox high school on Robertson Boulevard, won the Social Value award for “Lockaholic,” which seeks to prevent drunk driving. The Texas Torah Institute of Dallas received the grand prize for “Combating Infant Death,” which aims to save the lives of children left in hot cars.

The winning students earned the opportunity to represent the United States at the 2019 International Physics Tournament at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

“The students dedicated their projects to saving lives using innovative technology,” Jane Willoughby, vice president and director of education, program research and development at CIJE, said in a statement. “It is fitting that these schools will now have the opportunity to participate in an international competition at the Weizmann Institute, an institution dedicated to improving lives worldwide and nurturing the next generation of pioneering scientists.”

CIJE, which was founded to enhance and enrich the quality of Jewish education throughout the U.S., supports over 40,000 students in 180 schools in 17 states, according to its website.


From left: Robert Schoenberger, Ira Dankberg, Steve Schmitt and Paul Bellaff attended Beth Chayim Chadashim’s 2018 Visions Awards gala.

Progressive congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC) held its 2018 Vision Awards on June 3 at the Skirball Cultural Center.

The event honored U.S. Rep. Karen Bass with the Harriet Perl Tzedek Award. Bass, who was the first African-American woman speaker of the California Assembly, was honored for devoting her life to public service. Additionally, in 2008 Bass officiated the wedding of BCC Rabbi Lisa Edwards and her partner, Tracy Moore.

“Congressmember Karen Bass has a special place in our BCC hearts,” a BCC statement said.

The event also presented BCC member Elizabeth Savage — who has been recognized by the city of West Hollywood and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors for her social justice activism — with the Rabbi Irwin and Agnes Herman Humanitarian Award; and recognized the work of BCC members Maggie Anton and Dave Parkhurst — the wife and husband who “have been active and generous anchors of our synagogue community since 2000” — with the Presidents Award. Anton is a longtime BCC board member and author of the award-winning trilogy “Rashi’s Daughters.” Parkhurst is an attorney, musician and member of BCC’s Shabbat morning minyan.

Attendees included BCC clergy and staff, including Rabbi Heather Miller, Cantor Yuval Porat and Interim Executive Director Lisa Barrett.

BCC is the country’s first synagogue founded by gay women and men.