Milking The Peace Cow

A year and a half ago, Woodland Hills resident Steve Handelman believed he had a novel idea: merchandise bearing the slogan “Got Peace?”

Before long, the writer got his wife, Trudy Handelman, a medical dental consultant; and his children, Alexandra, 13, and Gabriel, 9, on board. He produced baseball caps, T-shirts, even a plush Holstein cow riffing off of the slogan. But something didn’t sit well with Alexandra.

“I noticed how my family made an American hat and a Great Britain hat,” she said. “I have close ties to the Jewish faith and I wanted to help Israel.”

Enter the “Got Peace?” cap, version 3.0. Based on Alexandra’s input, the new cap bears an Israeli flag on front with the slogan “Got Peace?” and a peace sign on back. Unlike the other “Got Peace?” which are for-profit paraphernalia, Alexandra is adamant about forwarding all profits after costs to American Red Magen David for Israel.

“The exciting part is knowing that I’m going to help someone,” said Alexandra, a student at Viewpoint School in Calabasas.

The “Got Peace?” concept began with some storytelling Handelman told his children on long drives. One of the fruits of those yarns was a black-and-white cow with a peace symbol-shaped birthmark on its flank.

“I trademarked it, never intending to exploit it,” said Handelman, who handed American and British versions of the “Got Peace?” hat to celebrities Shaquille O’Neal, Magic and Cookie Johnson and Macy Gray at a Bel Air party. Handelman knew he was onto something when, a few weeks later, he turned on the TV and saw Will Smith wearing one.

Naturally, Steve Handelman is one proud papa.

“I’m flabbergasted, proud and astonished,” Handelman said of his daughter’s endeavor. “I’m Jewish, but I’ve never embraced it as she has.”

Alexandra said that she has drawn inspiration from Jewishly connected family members, such as her patriarchal grandmother, Paula, and her mother’s sister, Joyce Black, wife of philanthropist Stanley Black.

“The family seders at Stan and Joyce’s made all the difference in the world,” Handelman said. “She really knew that she was a Jew.”

Ultimately, Alexandra believes that the project is just a natural extension of her Jewish identity and values.

“Wherever I go in life, I’m a Jew before I’m anything else first,” she said.

For more information on Peace Pals and “Got Peace?” visit or .

L’ Chaim Time Anytime

For all the deli eaters out there who feel frustrated that
the highfalutin French waters normally found at delis are simply not
idiosyncratic or funny enough to hold up to their pastrami and rye sandwiches,
former entertainment executive Jane Kaplan has come to the rescue with a water
that is sure to quench your thirst and tickle your brain. 

Her answer is L’Chaim. Each bottle of water comes with a
picture of one of life’s joyous moments — such as a wedding or the birth of a
baby — on the front, and on the side is a mini-Yiddish lesson complete with a
few words, their translation, a pronunciation key and suggested usage. So you
can simultaneously drink water and amuse yourself by trying to pronounce ungepatchget
(busy with detail).

“I just thought it would be fun to give the water link to a
culture, that included Yiddish words and expressions,” Kaplan said. “I thought
it would make the water more unique.”

Making water unique is probably as difficult a feat of
alchemy as any, but bottles of L’Chaim do have a certain degree of kitschy
whimsical fun attached to them, which is probably why L’Chaim is served at the
Friars Club, Nate ‘n Al’s and The Stage Deli. Although the business is small,
Kaplan said it is already turning a profit, and she is hoping that the water
will be picked up by a distributor who will be able to introduce many more
people to the L’Chaim experience.

L’Chaim (to life) is the blessing traditionally given as a
toast for special occasion, but Kaplan says that L’Chaim water — unlike other,
less amusing waters — serves as all-occasion water. What a refreshing thought
that is. — Gaby Wenig, Contributing Writer

Cedars-Sinai Merges with Two Westside Hospitals

When Cedars-Sinai Medical Center announced last Monday that itplans to take over management of two smaller West Los Angeleshospitals, the headlines could easily have read, “Man Bites Dog.”

In these days of brutal health-care competition, it is largefor-profit health-care conglomerates that are gobbling up the smallernonprofits. But Cedars-Sinai, a child of the Los Angeles Jewishcommunity, has always been, and will remain, a nonprofit concern.

For this reason, the news did indeed make headlines. Under theterms of the proposed merger, Cedars-Sinai, with 800 beds, will takeover management of 190-bed Century City Hospital and 225-bed MidwayHospital, both owned by the Santa Barbara-based Tenet HealthcareCorp. Cedars paid Tenet an undisclosed sum to lease the hospitals for20 years. The deal has yet to receive final approval.

If it does go through as planned, Cedars-Sinai will become one ofthe three largest hospital concerns on the Westside, with about 20percent of the market. Hospital officials maintain that the mergerwill enable Cedars-Sinai to deliver health services more efficientlyand to negotiate better deals with managed-care insurers and medicalgroups.

The merger will not have a major effect on hospital cost or care,according to Cedars-Sinai spokesperson Charlie Lahaie. “Since thehospital will be expanding its surgical facility, there could be lesswaiting time for surgery,” she said.

How was Cedars-Sinai able to bring off such a deal at a time whenmany hospitals, both for- and nonprofit, are facing massive economicwoes? One reason, say officials, is that Cedars-Sinai has what manyhospitals don’t: abundant support from private donors. The greatmajority of these donors — 80 percent, by one fund-raiser’s estimate– are from the Jewish community.

High-profile names in Jewish philanthropy adorn Cedars-Sinai’stowers and walls: the Max Factor family, Steven Spielberg, GeorgeBurns and Marvin Davis. Los Angeles Jewish business leaders such asBram Goldsmith, Joe Mitchell, and Irving Feintech have beeninstrumental in raising millions for the hospital.

“The Jewish community has always supported Cedars-Sinai and hascontinued to do so,” said Cedars-Sinai Director of Development LarryBaum, “and we’re proud of that.”

Cedars-Sinai began life as the Kaspare Cohn Hospital, a last stopfor destitute consumptives; it was organized by the Jewish BenevolentSociety in 1902 and staffed by three physicians. Located amid theworking-class Jewish families of Boyle Heights, the hospital’s steadygrowth paralleled that of the Jewish community. By 1930, the framehouse had been replaced by a new $1.6 million building, renamedCedars of Lebanon.

Today, Cedars-Sinai’s medical staff includes 1,900 physicians andis one of the largest academic medical centers in the Western UnitedStates. Its endowment is estimated at $200 million.

Over the past five years, the hospital has raised $140 million forits building and research funds. In the second phase of its Fund forthe 21st Century, the hospital is aiming to raise an additional $160over the next five years.