Federation drops security grants for shuls; Farmar shoots, scores for Chabad

Federation Drops Grants to Provide Security for High Holy Days at Small Synagogues

In 2006, in the wake of Israel’s war with Hezbollah, Jewish communities throughout the Diaspora were on edge. A lone gunman had already killed one and wounded five at a Seattle Jewish center, and many were concerned that High Holy Days could make Jews an easy mark.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles responded by granting $1,000 each to nearly 150 small synagogues to be used for High Holy Day security.

This year, The Federation will not be offering those grants.

“This year, we decided we wouldn’t do it again,” said John Fishel, Federation president. “What we are doing, and will continue to do, is in-depth security analyses with Jewish schools throughout Los Angeles, which is not really focused on getting a guard for the holiday. We think focusing on venues that on a daily basis have children and youth and could be targets is a better use of community resources.”

Concern about security at services and how to fund it persists among at least some of the small synagogues, which will now need to reallocate resources or decide to go without.

“It will be extremely difficult to provide security,” said Andrew Friedman, president of the 100-member Congregation Bais Naftoli. “I’m not going to say we are not going to for two reasons: (a) we may, and (b) I don’t want the terrorist to know we will not provide security. We may — but it will be a great financial burden.”

Though 2008 has been marked by several high-profile anti-Semitic attacks, including the firebombing of The New JCC at Milken, the global threat against Jews seems to have lessened since summer 2006.

Fishel said that in such a noncrisis atmosphere, the security briefing co-sponsored annually by the Anti-Defamation League and L.A. Councilman Jack Weiss is sufficient for improving cautionary measures during holiday season. The briefing, held last Friday at the Skirball Cultural Center, instructed the 80 synagogue and Jewish institutional leaders attending on how to increase security for the High Holy Days and improve it throughout the year. Amanda Susskind, ADL regional director, said all members of the Jewish community bear a responsibility in protecting against threats.

“Everyone who works at a Jewish institution is part security officer,” she said.

The ADL offers a manual, “Protecting Your Jewish Institution,” on its Web site, www.adl.org/security.

— Brad A. Greenberg, Senior Writer

Chabad Telethon Raises $8 Million

Los Angeles Lakers star Jordan Farmar shoots 36 baskets in 90 seconds to raise $64,800 for Chabad. Apparel executive Masud Sarshar offered the challenge

Chabad’s “To Life” telethon raised more than $8 million Sunday night — some of it due to amazing basketball shooting by Lakers star Jordan Formar.

Farmar, just back from Israel, shot 36 baskets (‘double chai’) in 90 seconds to raise over $64K for the organization. Apparel exec Masud Sashar offered to donate $1800 from every basket the UCLA alum shot.

The telethon, which was broadcast nationally on the AmericanLife TV Network, featured Chabad rabbis dancing on stage with high-profile donors such as former Beverly Hills Mayor Jimmy Delshad. The mayor, a Persian Jew, contributed $1,800 and made a plea in his native Farsi for others to donate.

The actor Jon Voight, making his 18th appearance on the Chabad telethon, was given a Lubavitch-style black hat. Voight also made a plug for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Other celebrities featured on the show included Martin Landau, James Cromwell, Camryn Manheim, Mimi Rogers, JoBeth Williams, Tom Arnold, Kellie Martin and Merrin Dungey. Pre-taped messages of support came from Larry King, Jackie Mason, Howie Mandel and Regis Philbin.

The $8,092,269 raised during the telethon will be used to support, among other large-scale religious and philanthropic projects, the Chabad Residential Drug Treatment Center in Los Angeles, as well as Chabad’s Camp Gan Israel, which has been a safe haven for Israeli girls escaping rocket attacks in Sderot.

— Dennis Wilen, Web Director, with contributions from Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Adat Ari El Completes New Gym

Adat Ari El Day School has completed the installation of a state-of-the-art sports pavilion. The facility includes a covered basketball court and climbing wall, among other features, and enables students to participate in physical activity year round.

Haim Linder, the school’s head physical education teacher, said the temperature in the pavilion is about 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature — important during the Valley’s hot, summer days.

“It’s a big milestone for our school,” he said.

Linder said the sports facility would also help ensure that students stay focused, because research shows that children who are physically active are better able to concentrate on academics.

Additionally, the facility gives the school’s sports teams a place to practice. The pavilion will be named after Mannon Kaplan — one of the founder’s of the school — and in memory of his wife, Sybil. The Kaplan family funded the project and a dedication and thank you ceremony will be held at the school on Sept. 21.

— Lilly Fowler, Contributing Writer

Laker Jordan Farmar starts peace ball clinic in Israel; India, and Korea and Israel @ 60

NBA Player Runs Clinic for Jews, Arabs

The NBA’s only Jewish player conducted a clinic in southern Israel for Jewish and Palestinian children.

Jordan Farmar, a guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, was in Israel Tuesday in cooperation with the Peres Center for Peace. Farmar, 21, was scheduled to lead a workshop Thursday for Jewish and Palestinian girls as part of his eight-day visit.

Israeli women’s basketball star Limor Mizrahi, who is related to Farmar, also participated in the workshop.

Farmar, a former standout at UCLA, is in his second season playing in the National Basketball Association.

The Peres Center’s Twinned Peace Sports Schools are open to Jewish and Palestinian children aged 6 to 13 from 35 separate schools. They host joint Israeli-Palestinian sports contests every month.

Triple Celebration of Anniversaries

The Irvine Civic Center was awash in brightly colored saris, ornate Korean hanboks and blue Stars of David in a birthday bash simultaneously honoring the 60th anniversaries of Israeli, Indian and South Korean independence.

More than 1,000 celebrants participated in the Aug. 3 event, which was hosted by the nonprofit Irvine Multicultural Association (IMA).

Israeli folksingers, an Indian children’s dance troupe and a symphony orchestra were among the performers on two stages at Irvine’s City Hall. Merchants sold ethnic wares, while local synagogues, churches and Indian philosophical groups shared information on their activities. Across the plaza, the pungent smell of Korean barbecued beef blended with whiffs of curry and fresh falafel in a bazaar of culinary delights.

“This is a good example of how different cultures can come together in one place,” said Irvine resident and Israeli native Yuri Boiarsky, who came with his wife and three children.

Displays on the history, culture and traditions of the three feted countries filled the atrium of the municipal building. The city of Irvine supported the event.

“It’s wonderful to see the IMA bring together so many people to create this unique celebration,” Irvine Mayor Beth Krom said. “Irvine is a city of great diversity. I think this event really showcases that spirit.”

Krom and Irvine City Council members joined Israeli, South Korean and Indian diplomats in welcoming guests. Several dignitaries stayed for the program and mingled with the participants.

The purpose of the event was to build bridges between the city’s diverse cultural groups, according to Senthamil Selvan, IMA vice president and associate scientific director of Hoag Memorial Hospital’s cancer center.

“The more we understand each other, the more we eliminate barriers and create shared values,” Selvan said.

The program heightened public interest in three cultures and laid the groundwork for future multicultural programming, said Howard Charlop, event coordinator.

“Going forward, I am confident that this important step and shared program will have a long-term impact on activities and understanding, because the message is that programs like this are essential, said Charlop, Orange County director of StandWithUs, which underwrote the event.

— Lisa Armony, Contributing Writer

Two Consulate Officials Returning to Israel

Two mainstays of the Israel Consulate are returning to Jerusalem after completing their three-year assignments, and their successors are on the way.

Deputy Consul General Yaron Gamburg has attended a round of farewell tributes, while Gilad Millo, consul for media and public affairs, sent out a warm goodbye letter.

Both young diplomats will work at the Foreign Ministry, Gamburg as head of the training program for Israeli officials going abroad and Millo on the staff coordinating work among different departments.

The deputy consul general’s slot will be filled by Gil Arzyeli, currently in the ministry’s Central European department, who was stationed previously in Spain, Mexico and Colombia.

Taking over the media and public affairs desk will be Shahar Azani, coming off three years as deputy head of the Israeli mission to Kenya.

The Los Angeles City Council announced that it would honor Gamburg on Friday, Aug. 8, at the initiative of Councilman Dennis Zine, who is of Lebanese descent.

A week earlier, more than 100 friends gathered at Marvin’s Club, and Gamburg left with an armful of plaques and scrolls, which spoke to his numerous activities and relationships during the past three years.

Gamburg kept a low profile during his tenure here, but he worked closely with state and federal homeland security and anti-terrorism officials, three of whom flew down from Sacramento to recognize Gamburg’s contributions.

He also established close ties with faith leaders, especially evangelicals and Mormons; the Latino and American Asian communities, and local and state officials.

Yaron and Delphine Gamburg are returning to Israel with an expanded family, thanks to the birth in Los Angeles of son, Noam, now 1 and a half years old.

Millo worked closely with the media in Southern California, five Southwestern states and Hawaii. He also established warm relations with the Hollywood entertainment industry on behalf of Israel.

In his farewell letter, Millo emphasized that “I found here a passion and love for the Jewish homeland, a Zionism the likes of which I had never encountered before.”

— Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

ADL Accepting Applications for Youth Education Program to Combat Bias

The Anti-Defamation League is accepting applications from high school students in Los Angeles County for Dream Dialogue, an anti-bias youth education program. Participants with diverse social and ethnic backgrounds will meet six times throughout the year to develop strong connections, leadership skills and embark on a group a project.

The program, which has been a success for the past nine years, has developed social action programs to increase awareness and end discrimination, such as “Stop the Hate,” a video for high school students, and “Stop the Cycle,” a T-shirt campaign that included messages condemning bias.

Applications are due by Aug. 29 for the 2008-09 school year. The first meeting will be Sept. 21. For more information, call Marisa Romo at (310) 446-8000.

— Jina Davidovich, Contributing Writer

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Tisha B’Av guide:

Farmar Trades Bruin Blue for Laker Purple

What could be better? Los Angeles’s own Jewish Jordan — Jordan Farmar — is here to stay.

The Los Angeles Lakers has drafted Farmar, who made headlines as a sophomore point guard at UCLA, in the first round and as the No. 26 overall pick. Thus, though the Bruin bear must wave his paw goodbye to Farmar, L.A. fans can rejoice in the up-and-comer’s continued presence here.

The 19-year-old Farmar is a native Angeleno; he grew up in Van Nuys and graduated from Taft High School, where, as a senior, he averaged 27 points per game and became a Valley superstar by leading the school to its first Los Angeles City title. As a freshman at UCLA, he averaged 13.2 points and 5.3 assists and earned the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honor. In his sophomore year Farmar averaged 13.5 points and 5.1 assists, led the Bruins to their NCAA championship game against the Florida Gators and was named a first-team All Pac-10 performer.

A self-described non-religious Jew, Farmar told The Journal’s Carin Davis in a prior interview that he is proud of his Jewish heritage. His mother and stepfather, Melinda and Yehuda Kolani, raised him in a Jewish home, and his upbringing was complemented by both a bar mitzvah at Temple Judea in Tarzana and trips to Israel. Farmar’s biological father, Damon Farmar, a former minor league baseball player, is not Jewish.

Farmar stands a natural leader at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds and has been extensively covered in the Daily Bruin since before his entrance into “>Farmar told The Journal in March. “To always have some people behind you is a great thing. It helps you out defensively, with intensity, and gives you that extra edge.”