From left: Jay and Laura Sanderson and Ellen and Richard Sandler attend the Valley Beth Shalom Harold M. Schulweis Humanitarian Award dinner. Jay Sanderson, president of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, chaired the event, which honored Richard Sandler with the Humanitarian Award. Photo courtesy of Valley Beth Shalom

Moving & Shaking: Valley Beth Shalom, American Friends of Hebrew University and more


Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) honored Richard Sandler with the Harold M. Schulweis Humanitarian Award at the Encino synagogue’s annual gala on May 7 at VBS, which drew approximately 300 attendees.

Sandler, son of founding VBS members Helen and Ray Sandler, “has been instrumental in the growth of the community,” according to a VBS statement. He previously served on the VBS board of directors. His current leadership positions include serving as executive vice president and trustee of the Milken Family Foundation; as board chairman at Milken Community Schools; and as chair of the board of trustees at the Jewish Federations of North America, an umbrella organization for Jewish Federations. He is a partner at the law firm Maron and Sandler.

Attendees included Sandler’s wife, Ellen; Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles CEO and President Jay Sanderson and his wife, Laura; Malkah Schulweis, widow of Rabbi Harold Schulweis, who was one of the best-known pulpit rabbis in America before he died in 2014; and VBS Senior Rabbi Ed Feinstein.

The Harold M. Schulweis Humanitarian Award recognizes “an individual who transcends the ordinary and recognizes the highest level of social conscience,” a VBS statement said.

The event featured a Champagne welcome, the award reception and a dinner.


American Friends of Hebrew University (AFHU) Western Region Vice Chair Patricia Glaser (center) congratulates and thanks outgoing AFHU Vice President Renae Jacobs-Anson (left) and outgoing AFHU President Brindell Gottlieb for their dedication and leadership. Photo courtesy of American Friends of Hebrew University

The American Friends of Hebrew University (AFHU) Western Region held its Evening of Tribute at Brentwood Country Club on May 3 and honored outgoing regional President Brindell Gottlieb and outgoing regional Vice President Renae Jacobs-Anson.

Regional Vice Chair Mark Vidergau installed Mark Genender as the organization’s new regional president.

AFHU raises funds and awareness for The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Established in 1918, it is Israel’s second-oldest university.

Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Sam Grundwerg, among the the evening’s guest speakers, shared his perspective on “the important role of Hebrew University in Israel’s past, present and future,” according to an AFHU statement.

More than 130 people attended the event, including longtime donors and supporters Patricia Glaser, Bari and Steve Good, Shirley and Lou Gram, Hella and Chuck Hershon, Corie and Michael Koss, Ronda and Barry Lippman, and Janet and Marvin Jubas.


About 5,000 people turned out May 14 for the Great
Lag b’Omer Parade in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles. Photo by Yossi Percia​

About 5,000 people turned out May 14 for the Great Lag b’Omer Parade in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles.

“It showed unity from all walks of life,” said parade chairman Rabbi Mendel Duchman, spiritual leader of Kol Yakov Yehuda. “It was Mother’s Day. We had the local Orthodox community from Pico, the community from Hancock Park, and people who were still celebrating Israel.”

The street fair, rides, carnival games, live music, kosher food and more delighted those who turned out to Pico Boulevard, which was closed between Doheny Drive and Robertson Boulevard. Entertainers included children’s performer Uncle Moishy and Eli Marcus, a Crown Heights-based musician who fuses Chasidic soul melodies with influences from around the world.

Kol Yakov Yehuda and Chabad of California co-organized the event, which drew representatives from the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Fire Department. Sponsors included Meshuga Sushi, Chabad Century City and the Jewish Journal.

Among many leaders and families in the Orthodox community, the attendees included Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, director of Chabad of California, and Chabad of Century City Director Rabbi Tzemach Cunin.

“The unity that stands before us today — thousands of souls united — brings true joy to our rebbe,” Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin said. “As I look out to this crowd … we celebrate 50 years of spreading the mission of the rebbe on the West Coast.”


Father Cyril Gorgy (far right) leads a prayer ceremony at the conclusion of a symposium of the Genocide Coalition at Adat Ari El. Joining him are (from left), Steve Zimmer, Father Avedis Abovian, Kimthai Kuoch, Mike Brand, Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Dydine Umunyana, Rev. Cecil Murray, Rabbi Pamela Frydman, Amy Friedman Cecil and City Councilman Paul Koretz. Photo by Ryan Torok

At a symposium of the Genocide Coalition at Adat Ari El in Valley Village on May 24, several speakers addressed the current state of genocide in the world and what can be done to stop it.

“We can’t fight genocide alone — that’s the message of tonight,” Amy Friedman Cecil, director of community engagement for Jewish World Watch, said to the diverse audience of about 100 people, which included Muslims, Jews and others. Drawing from the words of Pirkei Avot, she added: “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.”

Genocides discussed during the event ranged from one that began in 2003 in Darfur to the current torture and imprisonment of gay men in Chechnya allegedly ordered by the country’s Kremlin-backed leader. Speakers also discussed the genocides of Cambodia, Rwanda, the Holocaust and others.

Mike Brand, director of advocacy and programs for Jewish World Watch, discussed the current South Sudan conflict, a crisis with a “100 percent man-made famine” that has put more than 1 million people at risk of starvation.

Friedman Cecil said 65.3 million people, roughly the population of France, are displaced throughout the world. “The only way to stop genocide is to take preventable action before [the perpetrators] start,” she said.

Brand added that, unfortunately, “one thing the international community is horrible at is stopping genocide.”

Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith, a member of the spirituality commission of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, delivered the invocation. Other speakers included Paul Wilder, organizer of the event and the child of Holocaust survivors; Daniel Tamm, the Westside area representative for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti; L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz; and Steve Zimmer, outgoing president of the L.A. Unified School District Board of Education.

Rev. Cecil Murray, a fellow at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, delivered closing remarks. Additional participating clergy included Father Cyril Gorgy of Holy Resurrection American Coptic Orthodox Church.

A video presentation featured messages from U.S. Reps. Judy Chu, Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman.


Jonathan Baruch, an Israel21c board member and the driving force behind the nonprofit website’s new online video network, 21see. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Baruch

The nonprofit website Israel21c launched an online video network, 21see, which will seek to highlight arts and culture from the Jewish state, at a May 10 event in West Hollywood.

It celebrated the launch by screening videos from the new network at Soto House, an exclusive penthouse club known for its Hollywood crowd.

The lights went dark in the plush screening room of the Soto House and upbeat music blared over the speakers as a promotion for “21see with Kathy Cohen,” one of the network’s inaugural series, came on the screen.

Yogi Roth, a college football analyst who hosts “We All Speak Ball” for the new video network, attended the launch. Between videos, Roth conducted an onstage interview with Sam Grundwerg, Israel’s consul general in Los Angeles. Grundwerg shared that he had played in the Israel Football League — featured in “We All Speak Ball” — and even earned a spot in the league’s hall of fame.

He shared some advice he said he received from Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States and a fellow Israel Football League hall of famer: “The secret to being a successful Jewish athlete is to play with Jews.”

Television producer Jonathan Baruch, an Israel21c board member and the driving force behind the new video network, attended the launch, as did Israel21c President Amy Friedkin. The video website, Friedkin said, would hew to Israel21c’s goal of revealing a dimension of Israel not often seen in the mainstream media.

“This is what we do,” she said. “The culture and the exciting things in Israel — that’s our mission, to present it to the world.”

— Eitan Arom, Staff Writer


Moving & Shaking highlights events, honors and simchas. Got a tip? Email ryant@jewishjournal.com.

This article was edited June 1 to reflect the annual Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) gala was held at VBS, not the Skirball Cultural Center.

Orly Star Setareh (far right), a dance specialist, leads VBS students in dance at The Music Center. Photo courtesy of the Music Center.

Moving and Shaking: VBS students dance, ADL honors law enforcement, new leadership at LAMOTH


About 40 Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) Day School fifth-graders were among the 18,000 elementary school students who participated in the 47th annual Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival, a free arts education initiative held Feb. 28 at The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Nancy Herbst, director of general studies at the day school, was among the adults accompanying the VBS students, who attended a performance by the Ailey II dance company in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion before they performed a synchronized dance inspired by Ailey II in The Music Center plaza.

Blue Ribbon is the self-described “premier women’s support organization of The Music Center.”


The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Helene & Joseph Sherwood Prize for Combating Hate luncheon and awards ceremony was held March 14 at the Skirball Cultural Center.

The event honored law enforcement officials who have played a role in fighting hate in Southern California.

Among the honorees were Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Yadira Perez, who helped apprehend an arsonist responsible for setting a mosque ablaze in Coachella in December 2015, and Cindy Cipriani, senior management counsel and director of community outreach in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, who “has dedicated her life’s work to advancing the values of unity and understanding with humility and compassion,” the ADL statement said.

Perez recalled her decision to pursue the arsonist after spotting him while off-duty: “At that point,” she said, “I felt the risk to public safety outweighed the risk of me catching him.”

LAPD and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigators and L.A. city attorneys, who were honored for their takedown of a white supremacist gang in the San Fernando Valley, come together with Joseph Sherwood (seated, front row) and his son, Howard (crouching, far right) at the Anti-Defamation League’s Helene & Joseph Sherwood Prize for Combating Hate luncheon and awards event.

LAPD and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigators and L.A. city attorneys, who were honored for their takedown of a white supremacist gang in the San Fernando Valley, come together with Joseph Sherwood (seated, front row) and his son, Howard (crouching, far right) at the Anti-Defamation League’s Helene & Joseph Sherwood Prize for Combating Hate luncheon and awards event.

The fire at the mosque was seen as a vengeful reaction to the killing of 14 people and wounding of 22 earlier that month at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino by perpetrators who claimed terrorist allegiances.

In addition, the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Division, its Orange County Resident Agency, the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California were honored as a group for thwarting “two Anaheim individuals planning to travel to Syria and fight for ISIS,” the ADL said. One of the individuals had planned to fly from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv to join terrorist fighters in the Middle East.

The event’s additional group honoree was the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ L.A. field division, the L.A. City Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles Police Department’s Major Crimes Division, which were honored for removing a “stronghold of San Fernando Valley Peckerwoods, a white supremacist gang,” the ADL said.

The more than 250 attendees included Ayelet Feiman, an L.A. city attorney prosecutor who was honored with the Sherwood Prize in 2013 for her efforts on a case involving swastikas drawn in maple syrup outside the home of a Jewish family in Northridge; Joseph Sherwood and his son, Howard; ADL Regional Director Amanda Susskind; L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell and others.

The event also celebrated Joseph Sherwood’s 100th birthday, on March 12.

The Sherwood family launched the prize in 1996 as a way to bring attention to the positive contributions of law enforcement.


From left: Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Michael Tuchin, Richard Pachulski and Patricia Glaser attend the American Friends of Hebrew University Torch of Learning Award Dinner, which honored Tuchin and Pachulski. Photo courtesy of AFHU.

From left: Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Michael Tuchin, Richard Pachulski and Patricia Glaser attend the American Friends of Hebrew University Torch of Learning Award Dinner, which honored Tuchin and Pachulski. Photo courtesy of AFHU.

The March 1 American Friends of Hebrew University (AFHU) Harvey L. Silbert Torch of Learning Award Dinner at the Beverly Hilton honored Richard Pachulski, a corporate restructuring attorney, and Michael L. Tuchin, a founding member and co-manager of Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern.

Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens, who often writes about events pertaining to Israel and has spoken out against President Donald Trump despite being a conservative, was the guest speaker. He discussed what makes America great, noting the disproportionate number of Nobel Prize winners who are Americans, many of whom are immigrants. Additionally, he said HU, with its diverse student population of Arab, secular and religious students, embodies what is best about Israel.

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is described by an AFHU press release as “the honorees’ longtime friend,” presented Pachulski and Tuchin with their awards.

The event raised $1.2 million for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law.

Attendees included Patricia Glaser, event chair and the AFHU western region vice chair; Michael Karayanni, dean of the Hebrew University Faculty of Law; Richard Ziman, vice chairman of the AFHU board of directors; and Brindell Gottlieb, president of AFHU’s western region.

AFHU raises awareness of and support for Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


From left: Cedars-Sinai Dr. Shlomo Melmed, Isabelle Szneer and Cedars-Sinai Dr. Charles Simmons commemorate Szneer’s donation to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Photo courtesy of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

From left: Cedars-Sinai Dr. Shlomo Melmed, Isabelle Szneer and Cedars-Sinai Dr. Charles Simmons commemorate Szneer’s donation to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Photo courtesy of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The family of the late Leopold Szneer, a German-Jewish Holocaust survivor and former Congregation Mogen David cantor, has provided a $250,000 gift to the Cedars-Sinai Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease program.

A dedication and luncheon to celebrate the donation, given in Szneer’s memory and in the memory of the 1.5 million children who perished during the Holocaust, was held Jan. 17 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Szneer, who died in 2016, was imprisoned in Dachau during the Shoah, fled on the Kindertransport to Belgium in 1938 and experienced numerous challenges before immigrating to Los Angeles in the 1950s.

He went on to serve as a cantor, his longtime dream, at Congregation Mogen David in Pico-Robertson, for more than 20 years.

Isabelle Szneer, his wife since 1947 and also a Holocaust survivor, provided the gift in her husband’s memory. “He was a much loved man in the city,” she said.

Attendees at the event included Congregation Mogen David Rabbi Gabriel Elias; Dr. Shlomo Melmed, executive vice president of academic affairs at Cedars-Sinai; and Dr. Charles Simmons, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai.


Beth Kean

Beth Kean

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH), which describes itself as the oldest survivor-founded Holocaust museum in the country, has named Beth Kean its executive director and Paul Nussbaum its president, according to a March 14 announcement.

Kean, who became the museum’s president in January 2016, had also been serving as interim executive director since November, following the departure of the museum’s previous executive director, Samara Hutman. Nussbaum previously served as the museum’s treasurer. Jamie Rosenblood, a current board member at LAMOTH and museum docent who has a background in finance, is succeeding Nussbaum in that role. 

Paul Nussbaum

Paul Nussbaum

The leadership transition is part of “an unprecedented five-year plan to expand [the museum’s] mission of teaching the dangers of genocide and promoting empathy, tolerance and understanding through history, shared knowledge, and personal experience,” the announcement says.

Kean, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, has been involved in various leadership roles on the museum’s board for more than a decade. Her husband, Jon, is a filmmaker whose work includes the documentary films “Swimming in Auschwitz” and “After Auschwitz.”

“The relevance and urgency of our mission has never been more critical than it is in today’s environment,” Kean said in the announcement. “We are creating a strategic plan that will ensure that we continue to provide free educational programming, opportunities for dialogue with Holocaust survivors, and substantially grow our audience while teaching them the relevance of becoming stewards of this important history.”

The museum expects to draw more than 60,000 visitors in 2017, an increase from the 48,000 visitors it had in 2016, according to the announcement.

In the announcement, Nussbaum, the son of Holocaust survivors, expressed optimism about the museum’s continued success.

“We’re aware that we’ve become one of the most cherished cultural assets not only in Los Angeles but in the country,” Nussbaum said. “Our intent now is to establish a roadmap to guide LAMOTH on its journey toward continued growth and awareness.”


From left: Rabbis Elie Spitz, Naomi Levy, Stewart Vogel and Reuven Taff — all of California — received honorary doctorates from Jewish Theological Seminary. Photo by Jewish Journal Staff.

From left: Rabbis Elie Spitz, Naomi Levy, Stewart Vogel and Reuven Taff — all of California — received honorary doctorates from Jewish Theological Seminary. Photo by Jewish Journal Staff.

During a March 2 ceremony at Sutton Place Synagogue in Manhattan, New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) awarded honorary doctorates of divinity degrees to 55 rabbis, including five California rabbis, all of whom are members of the Rabbinic Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis.

The honorees have served the Jewish community for 25 years or more, on the pulpit, in the classroom and elsewhere.

The local rabbis were Elie Spitz of Congregation B’nai Israel in Tustin, who was ordained at JTS in 1988; Naomi Levy of Nashuva in Los Angeles, who was a member of the first class of women to attend JTS’s rabbinical school, in 1984; Stewart Vogel of Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, who was ordained in 1988; Neal Scheindlin of Milken Community Schools in Los Angeles, who was ordained in 1986; and Reuven Taff of Mosaic Law Congregation in Sacramento, who studied at JTS and was ordained in 1988 at a seminary in Israel.

Levy gave remarks on behalf of those being honored.

— Jewish Journal Staff


CORRECTION – 3/28/17: The original version of this story misidentified Orly Star Setareh.

Moving and Shaking: AFHU award dinner, TRZ Yom HaShoah event and fire safety at B’nai David-Judea


American Friends of The Hebrew University’s (AFHU award ) Harvey L. Silbert Torch of Learning Award Dinner on April 13 honored attorneys Jonathan Anschell and Dick Volpert while raising more than $1 million to support the prominent Israeli university.

“Hebrew University is a shining example of quality, pluralism, academic freedom and the unifying power of the unbridled pursuit of knowledge,” Anschell said from the stage of the Beverly Hilton hotel, addressing the hundreds of people in attendance.

Anschell is executive vice president and general counsel at CBS Television, a media and communications law expert, and a board member at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Sinai Temple. He called the night “a resounding success for the university.”

The other honoree, Volpert, a senior partner at the law firm Glaser Weil, is a leader in real-estate law and Los Angeles civic life. He’s been involved with the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, and he is the founding publisher of the Journal.

Volpert was unable to attend because of a back injury, but his family — including his children, Barry, Sandy, Nancy and Linda Volpert Gross — accepted the award on his behalf. 

“The Harvey L. Silbert Torch of Learning Award is presented annually to distinguished members of the legal community and recognizes their leadership, scholarship and dedication to the betterment of humanity,” a press release said.

The event featured historian and author Deborah Lipstadt as the keynote speaker. Rabbis David Wolpe of Sinai Temple and Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom delivered the invocations. Feinstein said it was ironic that Volpert, who has more backbone than anybody he knows, should be out with a back injury.

Civics leaders in attendance included former Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who presented the award to Volpert’s family, and L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin. Patricia Glaser and Sam Mudie chaired the event. 


Consul General of Germany in Los Angeles Bernd Fischer (above) and Consul General of France in Los Angeles Axel Cruau (below) attended a Yom HaShoah event at Temple Ramat Zion. Photos by Caryn Baitel

Temple Ramat Zion’s (TRZ) Yom HaShoah event, “We Will Never Forget,” drew more than 20 dignitaries from many foreign nations on April 12, including local consuls general of France, Germany, Poland and Bulgaria — Axel Cruau, Bernd Fischer, Mariusz Brymora and Marin Dimitrov, respectively.

Cruau spotlighted recent anti-Semitic acts of terror in Paris, as well as the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.

“No one stands alone — it is not the task of one person to fight racism and anti-Semitism but everyone,” he said, according to TRZ spokesperson Michele Nachum.

Fischer spoke of Germany’s commitment to Holocaust remembrance.

“I stand by you in shame and sorrow. … There is no way to remedy this … but we must prevent this from ever happening again,” he said.

As part of the program, professional violinists Joseph and Raphael Gold performed original pieces they wrote for Yom HaShoah. Valley Beth Shalom Cantor Herschel Fox sang “El Maleh Rachamim.”

TRZ Rabbi Ehud Sela and Cantor Daniel Friedman addressed the crowd, which Nachum said numbered in the hundreds.


Cameron Barrett, education director of My Safe L.A., leads a fire safety symposium in Pico-Robertson. Photo by Joe Shalmoni Photography © 2015, all rights reserved

A fire safety symposium, held in response to last month’s tragedy in Brooklyn, N.Y., that killed seven Orthodox children, took place at B’nai David-Judea Congregation on March 29. It drew officials from the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), along with hundreds of community members. 

Participants included LAFD Deputy Chief Daren Palacios, LAFD Battalion Chief Ed Bushman, LAPD Deputy Chief Beatrice Girmala and LAPD Capt. Howard Leslie, as well as members of the Beverly Hills Police Department and Hatzolah of Los Angeles. South Robertson Neighborhoods Council members Kevin Gres and Michoel Bloom helped organize the event at the Pico Boulevard shul. 

The community planned the event after a hot plate that was left on during the Sabbath caused a fire that killed seven siblings on March 21.

A similar gathering was held at the Sherman Oaks-based Emek Hebrew Academy on the same day, where fire safety experts handed out smoke detectors to those in attendance.


U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu attended a Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles seder at the Breed Street Shul. Photo courtesy of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

Valley Beth Shalom Rabbi Noah Farkas led attendees through the journey of the Israelites’ slavery in Egypt during The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ Breed Street Shul seder on April 1. The event marked the third annual community seder at the historic Boyle Heights synagogue.

“A once-vibrant Jewish neighborhood, it was the perfect setting for this yearly event that brings together local leaders who are helping transform Los Angeles and build a better community for all,” the Federation website states.

The seder attracted community leaders and activists, Federation board members and other officials. L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin sang a song he used to sing with his grandparents during his youth.

Among the attendees were Israeli Consul General in Los Angeles David Siegel, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D-Culver City). 

Federation representatives included Jay Sanderson, president and CEO; Les Bider, board chairman, who led a blessing over the wine; board member Cece Feiler; Valley Alliance Campaign co-chair Karmi Monsher; and general campaign chairwoman Julie Platt.

The event was one of two seders that Federation held this year. On April 3, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti — along with 40 Federation staff members and Federation Community Leadership Institute (CLI) graduates — attended the first night’s Passover seder in the home of Sanderson and his wife, Laura

Amy Shpall, Federation’s vice president of community engagement, said the event was a success: “The seder and dinner was accompanied by poignant remarks …[and] moving speeches.”

Garcetti and Sanderson delivered remarks, and Federation staffers Gamal Palmer, CLI senior director; Aubrey Farkas, director of civic engagement; and Jocelyn Orloff, senior director of Young Adults of Los Angeles, also spoke.


Moving and Shaking highlights events, honors and simchas. Got a tip? Email ryant@jewishjournal.com.