Community Briefs

Aid for Terror Victims

A Passover appeal by Rabbi David Wolpe at Sinai Temple raised $700,000 in pledges for organizations in Israel helping victims of terror. The Magbit Foundation, a Persian Jewish charitable organization, will provide matching funds for this drive.

Magbit chairman Parviz Nazarian, a member of Sinai Temple, approached Wolpe with the joint fundraising suggestion. On Thursday, March 28, Wolpe made an appeal to the 1,800 congregants gathered for the first day of Passover. As congregant after congregant stood to pledge support, Magbit treasurer Abraham Simhaee announced that the Foundation, which had agreed to match funds up to a half-million dollars, would step up to whatever level Sinai reached. With 5,000 envelopes taken home by Sinai congregants and thousands more sent out by Magbit, the joint effort expects to raise over $2 million. Representatives from the temple, Magbit and The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles will meet soon to decide which organizations serving Israeli victims of terrorism and their families will receive the money. — Mike Levy, Staff Writer

Anti-Semitic Fliers Found in Thousand

Residents on two streets in Thousand Oaks found anti-Semitic fliers rolled up on their driveways on Sunday, March 31, according to the Eric Nishimoto, public information officer for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.

Words on the fliers wished for Jews to have a good Passover and noted that it was time to have another exodus — the exile of the Jews from the United States. An address and Web site for the National Alliance, a West Virginia-based white supremacist organization were listed at the bottom. However, Nishimoto said, “We don’t know if someone from the organization was responsible.”

There have been anti-Semitic fliers distributed before, both at area homes and at Thousand Oaks High School. — Shoshana Lewin, Contributing Writer

Decision Time for Two Area JCCs

The Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) may have to put its Silver Lake-Los Feliz JCC property up for sale, and terminate all health and gym services at West Valley JCC, because of a lack of funding, JCCGLA officials said. The decisions for both situations could come as early as next week, effective June 30 and May 1, respectively.

JCCGLA representatives are waiting for a written confirmation from the The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles that it will allocate funds toward both sites, before they make a decision. On April 2, JCCGLA sent a letter to The Federation asking if the organization will assume the expenses of Silver Lake’s early childhood education program, as well as the cost for occupying space in that building. If The Federation does not commit funds to these aims, JCCGLA said that it will need to close Silver Lake after June 30 and list the center among its properties for sale. Silver Lake-Los Feliz will join Bay Cities JCC (Santa Monica) and North Valley JCC, which have already been listed for sale following an April 1 JCCGLA Transition Committee decision. Bay Cities and North Valley are scheduled for closure as of July.

JCCGLA is also awaiting word on whether The Federation will take over operation of West Valley JCC’s health and gym services, which JCCGLA will terminate by May 1 if funding is not provided. JCCGLA spokesman David Novak said that Federation confirmation must come soon, as a window of notification is required to inform employees of lay-offs.

As of April 3, Federation President John Fishel told The Journal that he had not received JCCGLA’s letter (The Federation’s offices were closed through April 4 for Passover).

“We are committed to services in West Valley and Silver Lake, and, to that end, we are talking to the leadership [of both centers] and in consultation with JCCGLA,” Fishel said. “We will work to find a solution to this projected action by the JCCGLA. I don’t think there’s a need for the JCCGLA to take precipitous action. We’re talking to JCCGLA to find a solution to these crisis. We feel that a solution can be and will be found.”

Fishel added that, given the situations in Israel and Argentina (which The Federation is moving rapidly to address), arbitrary deadlines such as those set by JCCGLA are counterproductive.

Novak said that the Westside JCC, which has 60 kids enrolled, and Valley Cities JCC, which has 35 kids enrolled of a maximum 75, are both meeting their fall enrollment quotas, which means that the early childhood education programs at both sites are all but assured for fall 2002.

“The community needs to come forward now and continue supporting fundraising efforts,” Novak said. — Michael Aushenker, Staff Writer