Foundation for Jewish Camp announces four new specialty camps


The Foundation for Jewish Camp announced four new camps to be included in its specialty camp incubator designed to engage Jewish campers.

The Specialty Camp Incubator II, which began accepting applications in March, is part of an $8.6 million grant jointly funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation and Avi Chai.

The new camps announced Thursday are intended to engage the 90 percent of Jewish youth in grades 6-12 who, according to the Cohen Center at Brandeis University, do not report memorable summer overnight camp experiences. They are designed to reach demographic and geographic populations underserved in Jewish camping.

Staffs for the new camps are scheduled to be trained with a target launch of summer 2014.

The new camps are Camp Inc., a business and entrepreneurial camp based in Boulder, Colo.; Camp Zeke, an East Coast-based health and wellness camp; JCC Maccabi Sports Camp in the San Francisco Bay area; and the URJ Six Points Science Academy science and technology camp in the Boston area.

They join the five specialty camps created in 2010 as part of a separate grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation.

Al Levitt, president of the Jim Joseph Foundation, said that 1,255 young Jews participated last summer in the first specialty camps.

“The camps exceeded their enrollment benchmarks and provide a new path to Jewish camp for many children,” he said. “We have the utmost confidence that these four new camps will do the same.”

Can Jewish giving weather the transfer from one generation to the next?


Last week’s news that one of the country’s largest Jewish foundations will close in two years, its assets to be divided among the foundations of its founder’s heirs, is shining a spotlight on a major question in the Jewish philanthropic world:

How will Jewish philanthropic giving weather the transfer of assets from one generation to the next?

The San Francisco-based Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, which has given out about $700 million since it was started by Richard Goldman in 1951, with most of the gifts benefiting environmental, health and Jewish causes, will close at the end of 2012, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The foundation, which has about $280 million in assets, will continue to make grants until then, but after the end of next year, its remaining money will be divided among the philanthropies of John and Douglas Goldman and their sister, Susan Gelman—the heirs of Richard Goldman, who died at the age of 90 in 2010, and Rhoda Goldman, who died in 1996.

In 2010, the foundation distributed $12.6 million to Jewish causes, including The Israel Project, the Chronicle reported. The foundation will continue to help Jewish charities until it closes, according to one of the heirs.

“We realized that this time would come,” John Goldman told the Chronicle. “While it will be a transition for all of us, I do feel there is an opportunity for each of us to have an impact in the world and to have our role in tikkun olam,” repairing the world.

It is unclear exactly how much of the assets remaining in the foundation will find their way to Jewish causes after 2012. Of the heirs’ three funds, Gelman’s Morningstar Foundation is the only one that has a primary focus on Jewish causes.

The news about the Goldman fund comes just as several of the most significant foundations in the world of Jewish giving are in the process of spending down their assets ahead of closing.

The Avi Chai Foundation, which donates funds primarily to Jewish education and continuity, is scheduled to give away all of its estimated $700 million by 2020. The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, a family of foundations that helped to found Taglit-Birthright Israel, is set to close in five years.

Both those foundations are taking steps to ensure that the philanthropic wishes of their benefactors are fulfilled. Although Zalman Bernstein, who founded Avi Chai, died in 1999, the foundation trustees he hand picked before his death have been ambitious about coming up with strategies to distribute the foundation’s money in a way that meets Bernstein’s desire to increase Jewish literacy.

Charles Bronfman, who is 79, is overseeing the final years of his philanthropies’ activities. According to the president of the foundation, Jeffrey Solomon, Bronfman and his children decided during the 1990s that it made most sense for Bronfman himself to continue his charitable endeavors until he saw fit and then simply to close up shop. His children have their own foundations with their own goals.

As trillions of dollars in wealth are transferred from generation to generation in the United States over the next four decades – about 15 percent of which will go to charity – questions linger about what will happen to Jewish philanthropy as younger generations become more assimilated and less connected to the Jewish world.

That has become a primary focus for Bronfman over the past decade. Since 2002, his foundation has engaged in several initiatives designed to encourage the heirs of Jewish fortunes and family foundations to get involved in Jewish giving. The projects, known as 21/64, Grandstreet and Reboot, are aimed at helping young heirs to discover for themselves the value of Jewish giving and to carry on the tradition of their families’ philanthropic choices.

“The first generation of Jewish philanthropists are reaching the end of their life spans, and that manifests itself very differently from foundation to foundation,” Solomon said. “Once you lose the knowledge of the original donor or granter, it becomes a different dynamic at the foundation.”

Solomon pointed to a lack of preparation in the next generation of philanthropists.

Gelman, daughter of Richard and Rhoda Goldman, declined to comment for this story, but Solomon predicted that her Morningstar Foundation will become a much more significant player on the Jewish philanthropic scene in coming years.

Asked if the Jewish world should be concerned about the closing of major foundations like Bronfman’s philanthropies and Avi Chai, Solomon said no.

“For every foundation that spends down, there are three or four or five foundations being created,” he said. “There continues to be growth in the foundation field, and especially the Jewish foundation field, and I believe that as newer business entrepreneurs come into the field, we are going to see greater support.”

‘Top 400’ misses full picture of Jewish philanthropic giving


Jewish groups annually look to The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of top 400 fundraising organizations the way the business world looks to the Forbes Fortune 500 list — to see how well Jewish philanthropy is doing.

This year’s list, called

Education Giant Simha Lainer, 100


Simha Lainer
Simha Lainer, a diminutive centenarian who cut a towering figure in Jewish education in Los Angeles, died Tuesday, Aug. 8. He was 100.

“He was a giant,” said Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE) Executive Director Gil Graff. “What he did was singularly remarkable: he established scholarships for children to attend Jewish schools, he created a program fund to recognize excellence in Jewish education. The Bureau of Jewish Education sits on the Sara and Simha Lainer floor of the Jewish Federation building, and it couldn’t be more fitting than that. Everything you envision in Jewish education, this is what Sara and Simha Lainer were all about.”

Lainer was born in Ukraine in the town of Bar in 1906. He moved from Ukraine to Palestine in 1925, then to South America and to Mexico until settling in Los Angeles with his wife Sara and three children in 1951.

In Los Angeles, Lainer founded Lainer Development, specializing in industrial warehouse type properties in the San Fernando Valley. Lainer’s sons Mark, Nahum and Luis joined him in business.

“Simha once told me his three rules for business success,” Graff recounted. “His first rule was, ‘Treat your workers like family.'”

From establishing funds through the Jewish Community Foundation in Los Angeles to starting the Simha and Sara Lainer Fund for Jewish Education through the BJE of Greater Los Angeles to supporting Israel, Lainer and Sara were key supporters of the Jewish community.

The Simha and Sara Lainer Fund for Jewish Education, which Simha and Sara Lainer established in 1989, has awarded close to $1 million in scholarships to more than 1,000 children at 37 Jewish day schools of all denominations across the city.

“When you do something for Jewish life, you do it for the good of the Jewish people,” Lainer told The Journal in a 2003 interview. “For 3,000 years the Jews have lived. Other people have disappeared in that 3,000 years, but we Jews have continued to survive primarily because of Jewish education. We need to continue our existence. Not that many Jewish families understand that Jewish education is critical for the continued existence of the Jewish people.”

Lainer is survived by his sons, Mark, Nahum and Luis; daughters-in-law, Ellie, Alice and Lee; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 3 at 2 p.m. at Mt. Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me a Donation Match


Call him a personal shopper, a matchmaker or a boutique investment adviser. However he is described, Joseph Hyman is trying to chart a new course in the world of Jewish philanthropy. A longtime Jewish organizational professional and fundraiser, Hyman last year launched the Center for Entrepreneurial Jewish Philanthropy (CEJP) to support and advise philanthropists who are considering major gifts to Jewish and Israel-related causes.

Hyman acts as the middle man between donors and organizations, working with philanthropists to understand their particular interests, then he hits the pavement to locate worthwhile organizations that meet their philanthropic requirements.

The center’s goal is simple: to attract dollars to Jewish groups that might otherwise have gone elsewhere.

“If successful, we believe that CEJP will help to create a new paradigm in Jewish giving,” said Hyman, who is going public about his organization for the first time. “One that empowers and inspires a new generation of philanthropists to participate because they want to, not because they have to.”

His endeavor comes at a time when wealthy American Jews make a disproportionately high number of large gifts in United States but overwhelmingly make them to non-Jewish institutions. It also comes as philanthropists are increasingly looking to have a say in exactly where their dollars go.

The approach seems to be working.

Since its launch 19 months ago, the center already has facilitated more than $10 million in philanthropic donations to Jewish and Israel-related causes. Recipients include some well-known projects, such as Birthright Israel, which provides free, 10-day trips to Israel for young Jewish adults. They also include some lesser-known ones, including Meshi, a center in Israel offering the parents of special-needs children a break from child care, and Project Kesher, a group devoted to Jewish education and advocacy for women in the former Soviet Union.
“CEJP is revolutionary,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president and founder of The Israel Project, which has received two six-figure, multiyear commitments from donors working with the center.

“What it is doing,” she said, “is taking the desires of the philanthropists to heart and saying, ‘What is the outcome that you want? What is the investment that you want to make so that you can make positive change? And what’s the most cost-effective, reliable way to achieve those goals?'”

“There are people out there who are not giving to the level that they’re capable of giving,” said Adam Frieman, a longtime investment banker on Wall Street and a financial sponsor of the new center, said, Some portion of that group would give meaningfully more if somebody were able to connect with them on a personal level and make the giving personal.”

Hyman hopes that his efforts to eliminate much of the work involved in finding worthy causes will attract new dollars to Jewish groups.

“Beginning with the creation of Birthright about 10 years ago, it has been a core group of committed Jewish philanthropists who have challenged the community to move forward,” said Hyman, who stresses that his work is meant to complement that of the federations and other more traditional fundraising arms, not replace them.

“We are now beginning to see a new generation of megadonors emerge whose support is crucial to our future.”

The center today is working with nine North American philanthropists, including real estate developers, senior management of Fortune 500 companies and hedge fund managers, according to Hyman. And while all have donated to Jewish causes before, some now are giving at a much higher level.

Hyman likens the philanthropists “to world-class athletes who, with the proper support and coaching, can become Olympic gold medalists.”

Donor-advised funds are not new, say philanthropy insiders, and in fact have become increasingly popular over the last number of years in Jewish philanthropic circles.

However, said Sue Dickman, executive vice president of The Jewish Communal Fund, which facilitates and promotes charitable giving through donor-advised funds, the center is doing something different.

“What we do and what other donor-advised funds do is simply facilitate people’s philanthropy,” she said. “We don’t provide advice and input into the direction of their philanthropy. What Joe does is help people think strategically about their philanthropy and maximize the input that they can have.”

Other Jewish groups, notably the Jewish Funders Network, offer some donor advice. And several organizations are doing similar work in the general philanthropic world – among them the Wealth and Giving Forum, Rockefeller Advisory Services and the Philanthropic Initiative in Boston.

The center is also seen as attractive because it is supported by investors and does not charge for its work. Donors say that for this reason, they feel the group’s advice is objective.

“We felt that he could offer us something that we needed” because Hyman is “not connected to any particular organization but very well connected in the greater Jewish community both here in the U.S. and in Israel,” said the administrator of a private family foundation in the Chicago area, who requested anonymity for reasons of privacy.

Nearly two years ago, shortly before the center was launched, Hyman sat down with a Chicago-based private investor Robert Sklare to chat about philanthropy. They spent about 10 hours talking, Sklare said, discussing the Jewish philanthropic interests he and his wife, Yadelle, shared, the areas that got them excited and the problems they hoped to help solve. Then Hyman got to work tracking down a series of organizations that fit their bill.

Several did. In fact, Sklare said, since then, he’s donated a “substantial” amount of money to Israel-related organizations – certainly more than he’d have given had he never met Hyman.

He has since funded, among other groups, Birthright Israel; Karev, an after-school enrichment program for inner-city youngsters in Ashkelon, and Meitarim, a group of pluralistic schools that attempt to bridge the gap between religious and secular students.

According to Jeffrey Solomon, president of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, general philanthropy has nearly doubled in the last decade, and the growth of Hyman’s center reflects that trend.

“I think we’re going to see more and more different kinds of approaches to specialize it, make it more strategic, capture it,” he said. “This is the first one that is specifically aimed at Jewish philanthropy.”

Still, asked if this sort of philanthropy is the wave of the future, Solomon demurred.

“It’s hard to know what would have happened had CEJP not been there,” he said. “Would that money have gone to different Jewish organizations? To general charities? Would it have been given at all? While helping to direct millions of dollars is very impressive, it’s hard to know what would have happened had it not been there.”

Rabbi Irving Greenberg, president of the Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation, said that Michael Steinhardt, a megadonor to Jewish causes, was not initially convinced about Hyman’s efforts, but after he demonstrated that “he had a little bit of a track record, Michael became a funder.”

“I think it’s very significant,” Greenberg said of Hyman’s approach. “My guess is that this has not only got legs, but that this is the wave of the future.”

Warren Buffett’s Jewish Connection


Warren Buffett is not a Jew; in fact, he describes himself as an agnostic.

Still, the billionaire investment guru, who made big news in May when his Berkshire Hathaway corporation bought an 80 percent share in the Israeli metalworks conglomerate, Iscar, for $4 billion, for years has been making his mark on the U.S. Jewish community back home — although sometimes in a roundabout way.

“Proportionally, if you look at the number of Jews in this country and in the world, I’m associated with a hugely disproportionate number,” said Buffett, the second-richest man in the world. His life, he added, “has been blessed by friendship with many Jews.”

The Israeli government stands to reap about $1 billion in taxes on Buffett’s purchase of Iscar. Shortly after announcing the deal, Buffett said he was surprised to learn that a Berkshire subsidiary, CTB International, was purchasing a controlling interest in another Israeli company, AgroLogic.

In Israel — which Buffett plans to visit in the fall — the hope is that the deals will have longer legs: Buffett himself has not ruled out future purchases there and, considering his status as a leading investor, observers say others also may take a look at Israeli companies now that Buffett has done so.

“You won’t find in the world a better-run operation than Iscar,” Buffett says. “I don’t think it’s an accident that it’s run by Israelis.”

Among the first companies Buffett acquired after launching Berkshire Hathaway, the Omaha-based investment and insurance giant, was The Sun Newspapers of Omaha, then owned by Stan Lipsey, one-time chairman of The Jewish Press, Omaha’s Jewish newspaper.

“At the time, the Omaha Club did not take Jewish members, and the Highland Country Club, a golf club, didn’t have any [non-Jewish] members,” Lipsey recalled. “Warren volunteered to join the Highland” — rather than the Omaha — “to set an example of nondiscrimination.”

Buffett happily recalls the fallout from his application.

“It created this big rhubarb,” he said. “All of the rabbis appeared on my behalf, the [Anti-Defamation League] guy appeared on my behalf. Finally they voted to let me in.”

But that wasn’t the end of the story, Buffett said. The Highland had a rule requiring members to donate a certain amount of money to their synagogues. Buffett, of course, wasn’t a synagogue member, so the club changed its policy: Members now would be expected to give to their synagogues, temples or churches.

But that still didn’t quite work, Buffett recalls with a laugh, because of his agnosticism.

In the end, the rule was amended to ask simply that members make some sort of charitable donation, and the path to Buffet’s membership was clear.

“He’s an incredible guy,” said Lipsey, today the publisher of the Buffalo News. In 1973, The Sun won a Pulitzer Prize in local investigative specialized reporting for an expose on financial impropriety at Boys Town, Neb.

“Warren came up with the key source for us knowing what was going on out there,” Lipsey said.

Buffett himself researched Boys Town’s stocks to bolster the story, Lipsey added.

In the 1960s, Omaha Rabbi Myer Kripke decided to invest in his friend Buffett’s new business venture. Their wives had become friendly, he said, and the foursome enjoyed playing the occasional game of bridge together.

“My wife had no card sense and I was certainly no competition to Warren, who is a very good bridge player and a lover of the game,” said Kripke, rabbi emeritus of Omaha’s Conservative Beth El Synagogue. “He’s very bright and very personable and very decent. He is a rich man who is as clean as can be.”

Kripke, father of the noted philosopher Saul Kripke, bought a few shares in Berkshire Hathaway and quickly sold them, doubling his money, he said.

Recognizing a good thing when he saw it, he bought a bunch more shares in his friend’s company, shares that by the 1990s had made Kripke — who says he never earned more than $30,000 a year as a rabbi — a millionaire.

Asked if he credits Buffett with his financial success, he didn’t hesitate.

“Entirely, yes,” he said. “I never had much of an income.”

The Sun newspaper group was not Buffett’s only early purchase of a Jewish-owned company. In 1983, sealing the deal with a handshake, Buffett bought 90 percent of the Nebraska Furniture Mart from Rose Blumkin, a Russian-born Jew who moved to the United States in 1917.

In 1989, he purchased a majority of the stock in Borsheim’s Fine Jewelry and Gifts, a phenomenally successful jewelry store, from the Friedman family.

“He has many friends in the Jewish community,” said Forrest Krutter, secretary of Berkshire Hathaway and a former president of the Jewish Federation of Omaha.

Buffett’s former son-in-law, Allen Greenberg, is a Jew, and now runs the Buffett Foundation, much of whose work has dealt with reproductive rights and family-planning issues. Buffett’s personal assistant is Ian Jacobs, who goes by his Hebrew name, Shami.

Buffett himself counts the late Nebraska businessman Howard “Micky” Newman and philanthropist Jack Skirball as among his “very closest friends.”

Further, Buffett said his “hero and the man who made me an investment success” was Ben Graham. Graham, along with Newman’s father, Jerry, ran a New York fund called Graham-Newman Corp.

“After besieging Ben for the three years after I received my degree from Columbia, Ben and Jerry finally hired me,” Buffett said. “I was the first gentile ever employed by the firm — including secretaries — in its 18 years of existence. My first son bears the middle name Graham after Ben.”

Buffett “is very much honored in the Jewish community,” Kripke said.

 

Andrea Bronfman, Charity Giant, Killed


Andrea Bronfman, a giant in the world of Jewish philanthropy, was killed Monday when a car struck her while she was walking her dog in Manhattan. She was 60 years old.

“She was a Zionist — and her parents were lovers of Israel and strong Zionists,” said Marlene Post, who worked with Bronfman at Birthright Israel, the 6-year-old program that to date has brought nearly 100,000 young Jews to Israel for free 10-day trips.

Born in London to a Scottish father and a mother from New York, Bronfman and her husband — the billionaire businessman and philanthropist Charles Bronfman — maintained residences in New York, Florida and Jerusalem. They spent about three months of each year in Israel and in 2002 were awarded honorary Jerusalem citizenship.

Twenty years ago, the Bronfmans founded the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies Inc. The foundation has supported numerous programs and initiatives aimed at strengthening Jewish life, in addition to programs not related to the Jewish community.

Bronfman worked to establish a nexus between her concern for Israel and her artistic pursuits. In 2003, in response to the drop in tourism dollars at the height of the intifada, Bronfman founded AIDA: the Association of Israel’s Decorative Arts, which has helped expose Israeli artists to North American galleries and collectors and educate North Americans about decorative arts in Israel.

For her 60th birthday earlier this year, Charles announced creation of the “Andy Prize,” a $10,000 annual award for an Israeli artist.

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Bronfman turned her philanthropic eye to the attack’s victims. She became founder and deputy chairman of The Gift of New York, a nonprofit initiative to provide free tickets to a variety of cultural offerings and sports events for the bereaved families of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Other initiatives included 21/64, which supports young philanthropists; and Reboot, which nurtures young Jewish leaders outside the mainstream of organized Jewish life.

Friends and colleagues described Bronfman as attractive, dignified, vibrant — and highly intelligent. Those who knew her also spoke of Bronfman’s deep devotion to her husband, five children and six grandchildren.

A memorial ceremony was held Wednesday at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in Manhattan. Burial is scheduled for Friday in Jerusalem.

 

The Circuit


Hope and Faith

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) honored L.A. resident Doron Kochavi, for his participation in the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope across America, headed by Lance Armstrong.

Patients in the Childrens Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at CHLA sent off Kochavi with well wishes as he left to join a team of 24 cancer survivors, advocates, caregivers, physicians and researchers selected to ride 3,300 miles from San Diego to Washington, D.C.

The team of avid cyclists began their trip Sept. 29 — to share their experiences and inspire those they met along the way to learn more about cancer research.

Seven-time Tour de France winner Armstrong led the team at the kickoff in San Diego and into Washington, D.C., as well as during other points along the route.

Kochavi’s son, Ari, is alive today because of the treatment for a brain tumor he received at CHLA. When asked about the significance of the holidays and what is he reflecting on Kochavi said prior to leaving, “The Jewish holiday is for laymen. It is a message of hope. You hope that the new year will bring all the good you hope for … health, family, a good life…. This year I will spend the new year on the road. I have the opportunity to send a message of hope across the country. We will be riding everywhere … there will be no religious boundaries and touch everyone north to south … rich to poor….. I get the chance to talk to millions of people through television, newspapers, etc. and deliver a message of hope for tomorrow.”

For more information, visit www.tourofhope.org.

Simply Remarkable

The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles will award four new Jewish day school scholarships as a tribute to Mark Lainer, its chair from 2001 through 2004. The Mark Lainer Scholarships will provide assistance during the 2005 academic year to a deserving student with financial need at four local Jewish educational institutions where Lainer has played major leadership roles. These include Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School, Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School West and New Community Jewish High School, along with one recipient selected by the Bureau of Jewish Education.

The Foundation announced the scholarships at a gala dinner at the Regent Beverly Wilshire on Sept. 22 saluting Lainer’s dedication to The Foundation and the community.

“Mark’s energy and commitment are exemplary,” said foundation President and CEO Marvin I. Schotland. “We’re proud to honor him for both his outstanding guidance as immediate past chair of the foundation and for his passionate, dedicated service to the entire community.”

A leader in philanthropy and education, Lainer was also founding president of the Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School and has played important leadership roles in the Bureau of Jewish Education, The Jewish Federation, University of Judaism, Valley Beth Shalom, United Jewish Communities, Jewish Education Service of North America and The Jewish Journal.

 

Celebrating 10 Years of ‘Schindler’s List’


Ten years have passed since the premiere of “Schindler’s List,” but the emotional impact of the film and its aftermath remain intense, not least for its creators, actors and the survivors whose lives were depicted.

So there were tears and much hugging when Steven Spielberg hosted an anniversary party last week for the film and the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which has become a global educational tool for the teaching of the Holocaust.

It speaks to Spielberg’s clout that some 100 reporters and a dozen television crews gathered in a large tent outside the trailers housing the Shoah Foundation to cover what was essentially a summing up of past achievements.

Spielberg himself set the emotional tone be remarking that the making of “Schindler’s List” “has changed my life. I found my soul and my faith.”

The actual shooting of the film in Krakow was a “nightmare,” Spielberg recalled, because it forced him to relive the murder of the 6 million. In addition, he later told The Journal, “I had a tremendous fear that I would make a mistake. The pressure was enormous.”

By contrast, the success story of the Shoah Foundation has been a “dream” for Spielberg. During the past decade, nearly 52,000 survivors, liberators and other witnesses have videotaped their remembrances, with the mammoth job of indexing and cataloguing the mountain of material now near the halfway point.

One historical aspect still missing is the testimony of the Holocaust perpetrators, said Ben Kingsley, who played Schindler’s Jewish assistant Itzhak Stern in the film.

“I still hope to see the time when some of the murderers will speak to the camera,” said Kingsley — Sir Ben to you.

Ralph Fiennes, who played SS commandant Amon Goeth, recalled the day during the shooting of the film when a Jewish cafe owner in Krakow invited the actors inside.

“I looked at the man and I looked at my SS uniform, and I just couldn’t go in,” said Fiennes.

A few more quotes from the three-hour event stick in the mind.

Douglas Greenberg, president and CEO of the Shoah Foundation: “The only thing that will really last in my life will be the work we have done here.”

A 13-year-old African American student after hearing a survivor speak in his classroom: “This has given me a reference point in my life.”

A survivor, his voice breaking: “When the Americans came to liberate our camp, we started to sing ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ and then we asked, ‘What took you so long?'”

Marvin Mirisch


Marvin Mirisch, one of three brothers who formed the Mirisch Co. motion picture production company, died on Nov. 17 of undisclosed causes at UCLA Medical Center. He was 84.

Born in New York City, Mirisch was the third of four Mirisch sons. After attending City College of New York, Mirisch eventually relocated to Los Angeles in 1953, where he joined brothers Walter and Harold at Monogram Pictures. When Monogram turned into United Artists, the first artist-run independent studio, the Mirisch brothers independently packaged such movies as John Huston’s “Moby Dick” and the Billy Wilder favorite, “Love in the Afternoon.”
In 1957, the Mirisch brothers established the Mirisch Co., where Marvin acted as the chief financial officer and Walter functioned as the producer. The Mirisch Co. created 68 motion pictures over 17 years in a deal with United Artists. Mirisch Co.-produced films — which included “The Apartment,” “West Side Story” and “In the Heat of the Night” — were nominated for 79 Academy Awards and won 23.
In 1968, after Harold died, Marvin and Walter moved to Universal Pictures, where they produced “Midway” and “Same Time Next Year.” Marvin also produced 1979’s “Dracula” and in the early 1990s was an executive producer of a “Pink Panther” cartoon series.

Marvin Mirisch was active in Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences politics. He also chaired the motion picture division of United Jewish Welfare Fund, and was on the boards of Temple Israel and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Mirisch is survived by his wife of 60 years, Florene; son, Don; daughters Carol Hartmann and Lynn Rogo; six grandchildren; brother, Walter. He was buried on Nov. 20 at Hillside Memorial Park.

Contributions can be made to UCLA Foundation, 10945 Le Conte Ave., Suite 3132, Los Angeles, CA 90095. — Staff Report

The Circuit


L.A. Dodgers

So in a nutshell, here’s how the first Celebrity Dodgeball Tournament went down…

The Sports Center and Toluca Lake Tennis Club was the site of this star-studded benefit for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Upon arriving at the venue, located in the shadow of Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, The Circuit kicked off the evening in Bogey’s corner, catching up with in-your-face consumer advocate Mike Boguslawski, who got some attention from the Hooters Girls who were serving up the hot wings.

Moments later, an enthusiastic reunion took place when “Sorority Boys” stars Harland Williams, Barry Watson and Michael Rosenbaum showed up to play ball. The Circuit joked around with Williams, the wacky comedian known for his off-kilter stand-up and roles in comedies such as “Dumb and Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary.” However, this being a family publication, that exchange will remain off the record.

At the VIP room, entertainment lawyer Gary Barkin took in the scene with his wife, Haya Handel, who is expecting her second child. A former 1980s Fairfax High School alumnus, David Arquette, was on hand to host the event with wife and “Scream” co-star, Courteney Cox Arquette. Celebs Seth Green, Matthew Perry and Brendan Frasier attended the event, which was created and organized by Zoo Productions partners John Stevens and Barry Posnick.

The Heart of Little Italy

The Heart Fund at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center took part in the grand opening of Maggiano’s Little Italy at The Grove on March 15.

Pennies for Heavenly Cause

As though raising $60,000 in memory of Jewish lives lost in the Holocaust weren’t difficult enough, the youth of Temple City’s Temple Beth David want to do it one penny at a time.

In an effort to understand the scope of the Holocaust, the Beth David Reform Mishpacha Youth (BDRMY, pronounced “be dreamy”) has embarked on a campaign to collect 6 million pennies. So far, youth leaders at the San Gabriel Valley temple have collected more than 50,000 pennies. When the collection project is completed, $55,000 of the funds will be donated to Neve Shalom, a community in Israel where Palestinians and Israelis work together for peace.

Contributions to the penny drive, which may also be in larger denominations, can be sent to Temple Beth David, Attn: BDRMY Penny Drive, 9677 E. Longden Ave., Temple City, CA 91780. For more information, call BDRMY adviser Jason Moss at (626) 798-8851. — Mike Levy, Contributing Writer

Manheim of the Year

The Los Angeles chapter of National Council of Jewish Women hosted the organization’s national convention, a triennial event where actress Camryn Manheim (“The Practice”) and Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissman Klein were honored with the “Woman Who Dared Award.”

A Plethora of Passover Perspectives

Passover University, held at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School, allowed students, parents and grandparents to learn new ways of celebrating Passover from visiting artists, educators, and rabbis.

Man of AnimAction

Cliff Cohen and his AnimAction production company, which teaches kids animation by having them create anti-tobacco public service announcements, will hold its 12th Annual TEAM Awards at Westwood’s Wadsworth Theatre on April 12. Presenting the awards is Dr. Jeffrey Wigrand, the whistleblower portrayed by Russell Crowe in Michael Mann’s “The Insider.”

Kids Rid Park of Chametz

Four West L.A. private schools — Park Century, Wildwood, Westview and Wilshire Boulevard Temple Day School — joined forces to clean up Stoner Park on Stoner Avenue in West Los Angeles.

Fashionably Great

The Women’s Health Center Hadassah University Hospital in Israel will be the beneficiary of this year’s Hadassah Southern California luncheon. The Fourth Annual Spring and Fashion Show, to be held at Sheraton Universal Hotel on April 14, will be themed: “Women Growing Healthy Together.”

Must-See-‘Em

The Jewish Federation of Ventura County hosted to an opening reception for “Jewish Heritage and History in Ventura County,” an exhibition at the Ventura County Museum of History & Art, featuring artifacts chronicling the Jewish community from the 1860s — 1940s. The Federation has provided free tickets to the Museum of Tolerance for any eighth grade class that wishes to attend. To date, more than 20,000 students have visited the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s museum courtesy of The Federation.

“Jewish Heritage and History in Ventura County” runs through May 26. For information, call (805) 653-0323 ext. 10.

The Magnificent Elmer

University Women, a fundraising arm of University of Judaism, honored movie composer Elmer Bernstein. Bernstein has two Golden Globes and 13 Academy Awards nominations to his credit, including a win in 1967 for “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Other notable tunes include scores for “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Ten Commandments” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Calling Dr. Karlan!

Dr. Beth Karlan, an internationally recognized gynecologic cancer surgeon and research scientist, has been appointed director of the new Women’s Cancer Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. n

Torch Song Trilogy


Linda Gach Ray has been carrying the torch for years.

This week, she made it official by running the Olympic flame down a stretch of Figueroa Street as the torch was relayed through Southern California on its way to the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, which begin Feb. 8.

Nominated by her business partner for her charitable work, her balance of family and a full-time job and her inspiration to others, Gach Ray is one of 11,500 Torchbearers to carry the flame more than 13,000 miles through 46 states.

"Even though [my portion is] two-tenths of a mile, I feel this amazing part of the fabric of international unity," said Gach Ray, adding that she was proud to represent the Jewish community.

As a lawyer she has volunteered for Bet Tzedek, and she now sits on the advisory board for youTHink, a program of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Los Angeles’ Zimmer Children’s Museum. Additionally, Gach Ray co-founded a branch of the California Special Olympics in honor of a dear friend who died at 33. She also volunteers for Stop Cancer and the Beverly Hills Education Foundation.

Growing up in the shadow of Rancho Park’s Little League diamonds, she said she always wanted to play baseball. "But in my day, no one would have ever thought of the possibility of a little girl playing on a Little League team." Instead of breaking into women’s baseball, Gach Ray broke into women’s baseball ownership. Today, she and her business partner co-own the Provo Angels, a Utah-based minor league team affiliated with the Anaheim Angels.

A woman owning a team used to be more unusual than it is now. "[That’s] been my pattern," she said. "When I became a lawyer in the 1970s, I was a lot more of a novelty than I am now."

To prepare for the run, the 5-foot-2 Gach Ray trained with her family’s 140-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback named Spike, "who pulls me a little faster than I should go," she said. The training regimen was essential to Gach Ray’s success as an official Torchbearer. "You don’t want to drop that flame," said the mother of teenagers. "You don’t want to run like a dork and embarrass your children."

Grand Marshal, Grand Lady


Sitting in her seat at the Max Factor Family Foundation Recreation Center of the Jewish Home for the Aging (JHA), 103-year-old Sylvia Harmatz cannot recall the first state to give women the right to vote. But, she remembers very clearly the first day she voted, in 1936.

"I wasn’t a citizen until I married my husband, and so I used his papers and got a ballot so I could vote for [Franklin D.] Roosevelt," she said. "I was very active in politics from that time on."

Harmatz immigrated to the United States from Austria during the tenure of a different Roosevelt — Franklin’s cousin Theodore. She is the oldest resident of the Jewish Home for the Aging in Woodland Hills, and for the second year in a row, will serve as grand marshal of its annual Walk of Ages 5K Walk/Run, slated this year for Sunday, Dec. 2. The JHA’s goal is to raise $100,000 for the home, the largest long-term residential care facility for the elderly in Southern California.

Harmatz has lived at the Jewish Home for seven years, five of those with her husband, Lou Harmatz, who died in 1999 at the age of 104. The lovely centenarian, whose bright eyes and enthusiastic grin make her seem decades younger, said although she wasn’t exactly asked, she was delighted to get the part as grand marshal.

"The finger was pointed to me and [JHA chairman Meyer Gottlieb] said ‘You are it!’" she told The Journal. When Gottlieb told her she could have any vehicle she desired for the event, "I told him I thought I’d like to ride in a red convertible. So last week he came to me and said, ‘Sylvia, we got you that red convertible,’ and I said, ‘Meyer, I was only being facetious!’"

Not only will she get her convertible, Harmatz will also wear new running shoes provided by Nike, one of the sponsors of the event. Other sponsors include Wells Fargo Bank, the Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center, B’nai B’rith and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

The walk begins at 8 a.m. from the Jewish Home’s Eisenberg Village, 18855 Victory Blvd in Reseda. For volunteer or sponsorship information, or to register for the Walk/Run, please call (818) 774-3324.

Jewish Giving is Still Looking Good


When the stock market entered bear territory last month, individual investors weren’t the only ones taking note. The continued softening of the market can also have a major effect on nonprofit organizations, many of which have benefited greatly from an exceptional run during the past five years.

While it’s still too early to tell how the recent changes will affect Jewish nonprofits in Los Angeles, fundraisers at some of the city’s largest philanthropic organizations say they’re not worried yet.

The Jewish Federation’s annual United Jewish Fund campaign is "off to its best start in seven years," according to William S. Bernstein, Federation’s executive vice president for financial resource development. He said giving has already increased 15 percent, and the campaign reached the $26-million mark — more then half its goal — a month and a half earlier than it did last year.

Not suffering either is the American Jewish Committee (AJC). "We are right on schedule," said Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, Western regional director of the AJC. The organization is "raising about the same as last year, which was our best year ever — over $2 million in Los Angeles," he said.

Likewise, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger is having a "banner year," with 100 new synagogues having joined its Passover campaign, said H. Eric Schockman, MAZON’s new executive director. Organizations that emphasize planned giving — like the American Society for Technion–Israel Institute of Technology and the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles — say they are also performing strongly this year.

One factor making these Jewish organizations hopeful is that the last several years weren’t just good, they were very good. During the three years from the start of 1997 to the end of 1999, the nation’s largest charities experienced double-digit percentage increases in giving, according to a September 2000 report in The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

"There’s been huge growth in private foundations that give to Jewish causes," said Evan Mendelson, executive director of the Jewish Funders Network, an organization that brings together Jewish donors across the country to collaborate on their giving. In 1998, she said, there were 3,000 U.S. private foundations that gave to Jewish causes, and today there are 5,000, and that doesn’t even count the supporting foundations and donor-advised funds that are run by individual Federations and community foundations. The accumulated assets of these funds topped $6.2 billion in 1998, although the percentage given to Jewish organizations varies.

"There is a tremendous amount of new money that’s secured into foundations," said the AJC’s Greenebaum. "They may not be making the same interest rate that they were … but those foundations will be giving in perpetuity."

A February survey in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, however, found that nearly half the country’s largest foundations expected giving to remain flat in 2001. Slightly more said their assets shrank over the last year. In Los Angeles, it’s too early to predict what will happen to the local foundations, the stock market and the economy overall, said Marvin I. Schotland, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Jewish Community Foundation, a $325-million endowment that helps Jewish donors with tax and estate planning and philanthropic giving. What he and other leaders say is that during times of financial uncertainty, people give more strategically; they think about which organizations are best equipped to fulfill the passions they believe in.

"Passions and commitments don’t come and go based on economic circumstances," Schotland said. "They’re based on what you feel deep down in your heart or your gut. Economic circumstances merely allow you to fulfill those commitments."

Schockman agrees that donors are more selective when the economy sags. But he points to the tradition of tzedakah and says that, when it comes to giving, "Jews behave differently…. If the economy bottoms out, Jews will still give. I think they will give to organizations they feel comfortable with, who have good track records, whose administrative overheads are within guidelines of nonprofit management and who they trust." Most leaders agree that a nonprofit’s best protection against an economic downturn is planning, a clearly defined mission and a good track record. A large endowment doesn’t hurt, either.

"The next couple of years are going to be challenging for charitable organizations," Schotland said. "The better-run organizations and those whose missions resonate will come through the process more easily and with less trauma than those that are not."

"It’s a little like the pharaoh’s dream — there are the fat cows and the skinny cows. Part of fundraising is to do as well as you can in good years and as well as you can in the not-so-good years," said Greenebaum of the AJC. "I think people are not convinced that the economy is, long-term, so unhealthy that it has completely altered how people are giving right now. Many, many, many people are vastly better off than they were 10 years ago, so they may still be giving at a higher rate."

The Federation’s Bernstein agrees. "Although the economy and market have declined somewhat in the last year, the accumulated wealth of the community … still leaves contributors with significant flexibility in terms of how they wish to spend their charitable dollars," he said.

While a large amount of money has been created, it would be a mistake to believe that everyone has benefited. "There’s 31 million people who go to bed hungry every day, and 12 million of them are children," said Schockman. "Stock market or no stock market, there’s an epidemic out there of hungry people. We have not seen a diminution, even in the good times."

While tzedakah inspires giving, so do tax deductions. One tax of concern to fundraisers is the estate tax, sometimes called the death tax, which enables people to reduce the taxable value of their assets when they die by leaving a portion of it to charities. The tax encouraged the creation of many major foundations, such as Hughes, Mellon, Ford, and MacArthur.

If the Bush administration eliminates the estate tax, nonprofits stand to lose a large incentive for giving. Like the economy, the future of the estate tax remains an unknown. But a cause that speaks to donors’ hearts and checkbooks is the best protection against the hazards of both.

"The longer you’ve been involved with a cause, then the stronger you feel about it," said Diane Siegel, executive director, Western region, of the American Society for Technion. "It becomes part of your life and something you want to do, regardless of tax benefits."