Community Briefs

L.A. Legislators Head to Israel

Los Angeles’ City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, City Council President Alex Padilla, Fifth District City Councilman Jack Weiss and Andres Irlando from the Cesar Chavez Foundation are going to Israel Nov. 6-16 as part of The Jewish Federation’s Legislator’s Mission to Israel. Participants in the Legislator’s Mission will discuss with Israeli experts issues of Homeland Security relative to the City of Los Angeles and will visit some of The Federation’s programs in Israel, including the Genesis Tel Aviv-Yafo urban revitalization project, modeled after the Genesis L.A. initiative, of which Delgadillo was the architect. Delgadillo, Padilla and Weiss will be keeping a journal of their experiences which can be viewed starting Monday at — Staff Report

Producer Addresses Al Jazeera’s Portrayal ofConflict

Al Jazeera co-founder, producer and on-air personality Omar al-Issawi told a UCLA audience on Oct. 30 that the Arab world needs, “some kind of catharsis” and must, “look at ourselves” internally to discover why, “you have half the Arab world [that] cannot read or write.”

The broadcaster’s comments came in a two-person media panel at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and hosted by the Burkle Center for International Relations. When asked by one of the panel’s 60 audience members about Al Jazeera using terms like “martyr” to describe Palestinian suicide bombers, the low-key al-Issawi said the Qatar-based network has stopped calling such actions, “operations of martyrdom.”

“There are many conspiracy theories in the Arab world that blame the ills of our society on imperialism, colonialism and Zionism,” al-Issawi later told The Journal. “At the same time, there are internal problems that have not been addressed adequately yet, that compound the problems caused by the legacies of imperialism.”

Al Jazeera correspondents, he said, in the past have made, “expressions of sympathy” with Palestinian bombers, which management is trying to curb.

Speaking on the panel with al-Issawi was Norm Pattiz, chairman of Westwood One radio network, who also sits on the federal Broadcasting Board of Governors where he created Radio Sawa, the Middle East’s U.S.-run, Arabic-language FM pop music station.

“You’re talking about a very passionate and emotional part of the world,” said Pattiz, who added that in such a region, being considered anti-United States can increase a media outlet’s popularity.

Al Jazeera generates income from selling TV pictures to other networks, al-Issawi said; about $5 million was earned from footage of last spring's liberation of Iraq. — David Finnigan, Contributing Writer

Day Schools Tackle FinancialMatters

“We think with our hearts, but we’re a business,” said Eileen Horowitz, the head of school at Temple Israel of Hollywood Day School. Horowitz’s sentiment was a common thread among the professional and lay leaders at the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE) Financial Management Conference for Jewish Day Schools from Oct. 26-27. Fifty-eight participants from 26 local Jewish day schools gathered at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles to gain financial insight for keeping their respective schools afloat. Presenters from accounting firms like Green Hasson & Janks and Ernst & Young and independent financial consultants addressed topics like nonprofit accounting, budgeting, legal and tax issues, salaries, tuition and fee-setting.

“I went to get some tips on how to get more meaningful numbers into our budgetary projections,” said Jeff Kandel, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy’s Finance Committee chief and senior vice president of Feld Winters Financial in Sherman Oaks. “[The conference] was very helpful.”

The concept of working together to face financial issues was a key theme throughout the two-day event.

“In the final analysis, for day schools to survive depends on collaboration,” said Dr. Gil Graff, executive director of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Los Angeles during a lunchtime presentation.

PEJE is currently considering replicating this pilot conference in other cities across the country. — Sharon Schatz Rosenthal, Education Writer

West Valley JCC Fitness DirectorRetires

After nearly 50 years of sports and fitness that has stretched from Jewish Community Centers (JCC) in Boyle Heights to West Hills, West Valley JCC health and physical education director Eli Sherman is retiring on Nov. 7.

“It’s the right time for me to say goodbye,” he said.

Sherman, 71, will continue to serve as director of the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, an endeavor he founded at the Westside JCC in 1989. He hopes to grow and promote the hall of fame — now located at the Milken Jewish Community Campus in West Hills — with fundraising, a documentary and a speaker’s bureau.

“It’s my baby and I’m not prepared to walk away from that,” he said.

The hall of fame recognizes the contributions of more than 200 athletes, referees, journalists and other sports figures.

The All-American and Maccabi basketball star first started working for the centers at Boyle Heights’ Soto Michigan JCC in 1947. From 1955 to 1999, Sherman served as the health and physical education director for the Westside JCC, where he worked with a young Lenny Krayzelburg. He described his move to Milken as a “real second coming for me. It gave me a chance to recharge my batteries.”

West Valley JCC is the process of looking for both a director and an assistant director to fill the gap left by Sherman’s departure.

“When you’re leaving after almost 50 years, the shoes can’t be filled,” said Don Goodman, health and fitness chair. “We would like to see them measured, however, and fill them over a period of time.”

Sherman has met dozens of sports legends in his five decades with the centers of Southern California, but what he treasures most are the students who have become part of his extended family.

“These 6- and 7-year-olds today are men in their early 50s, and I’ve had the privilege of working with some of their children,” he said. “That’s something you just can’t put a price on.” — Adam Wills, Associate Editor