Jewish Dems slam GOP for Ron Paul tribute


Jewish Democrats slammed Republicans for planning a tribute to Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) at the Republican convention.

In a press call Friday, a top aide to Rommey confirmed that there would be a prime time video tribute to Paul.

“Paying tribute to this man who disparaged the U.S.-Israel relationship on Iranian television and empathized with Iran’s nuclear weapons program—on top of the history of his hate-filled newsletters—is a national disgrace,” the National Jewish Democratic Council said in a statement. “Romney and the RNC should cancel the tribute and end this dangerous strategic partnership once and for all.” The RNC refers to the Republican National Committee.

Paul, a libertarian who this year sought the GOP presidential nomination, has opposed foreign assistance, including to Israel, and has criticized multiple administrations, including that of President Obama, for what he describes as an overly militant posture in the Middle East.

In the 1980s and 1990s, he also published eponymous financial advice newsletters that mined racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic tropes, although he now insists that he did not vet everything in the publications, and blames past associates for the offensive material.

The Romney aide, in the call, said Paul’s showing during then primaries merited the tribute.

“Gov. Romney and Rep. Paul, while they certainly disagree on many issues … they’ve always had—if you watched part of the debates this year, you’ve have seen there’s a lot of mutual respect between the two of them,” Russ Schriefer was quoted by Talking Points Memo as saying. “And so Rep. Paul’s people came to us and said they’d like to do a short tribute to him, and we said absolutely, it would be a good time to do that.”

Paul and Romney generally avoided attacking each other during the campaign, and other contenders accused the two of forging an alliance to marginalize opponents to Romney, in exchange for guaranteeing Paul and his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) greater influence within the party.

The younger Paul, who also backs cutting off foreign assistance, including to Israel, and who will have a convention speaking role, has otherwise avoided the incendiary statements that have marked his father’s career.

Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said the video tribute was a “small price to pay” for denying Ron Paul a convention speech, and his delegates the opportunity to vote for him—agreements that the Romney campaign apparently extracted in exchange for the tribute.

Brooks had criticized Democrats for assigning a prime time convention speaking spot to former President Jimmy Carter, who has offended Jewish groups with his warnings that Israel’s West Bank policies could culminate in Apartheid.

In loving memory of our chazzan, Debbie Friedman


When the New Reform Congregation [now Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills] was established in 1984, Debbie was our chazzan for 3 years. She responded, and the congregation was thrilled, as truly “the old dreamed new dreams and the youth saw visions.” Our shul was “alive to the sound of music” to Debbie’s presence and her music. Debbie gave voice to the voiceless through her voice and her passion for justice.

Prof. Stanley Chyet z’l’ of Hebrew Union College was a poet and reflected thusly:           

what is that poets do
they sing
wind and insects
the substance of their songs
and maybe of themselves
they wander lost
among flaming riverbanks
at dusk their voices rise
above the howling winds
above the din of insects
their voices rise above tall marsh trees
above tree tops their voices
fling out into space
into the arteries of creation.

Debbie was our musical poet…but not ours alone…to our movement….to the Jewish people…to the world. May she rest in peace as she teaches the angels above to sing songs of healing…a Mishaberach to you, Debbie.

Debbie Friedman Tribute Services in SoCal


FRIDAY NIGHT, JANUARY 14 (Shabbat Shirah)

Los Angeles area

6:15 p.m.

Temple Isaiah
10345 W. Pico Boulevard
LA CA 90064
 
The service features Cantor Evan Kent, Cantor Lorna Lembeck, and our resident Jazz Band “Steve Fox and Friends”

Cantor Evan Kent
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6:30 p.m.

Temple Israel of Hollywood
7300 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
323-876-8330

Debbie’s music will be included, and Congressman Henry Waxman will speak at a dinner following the service.


6:45 p.m.

Temple Aliyah
6025 Valley Circle Blvd.
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
818-346-3540
www.templealiyah.org

Some of Debbie’s melodies will be included in the Shabbat Fusion service. Hazzan Mimi Haselkorn.


7 p.m.

Temple Ner Maarav
17730 Magnolia blvd (at White Oak)
Encino, CA 91316

We are weaving in Debbie Friedman favorites into our tu bishvat Shabbat celebration, and using her mishebeyrakh to pray for the healing of those wounded in the Tucson shooting.

Rabbi Jason van Leeuwen
818-633-3720


7:00 p.m.

Congregation Tikvat Jacob
1829 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
310-546-3667

Cantor David Berger
{encode=”cantor.berger@ctjmb.org” title=”cantor.berger@ctjmb.org”}


7:15 p.m. 

Temple Judea West campus
6601 Valley Circle

West Hills, CA

Rabbi Cantor Alison Wissot
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7:30 p.m.

Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills
8844 Burton Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

We will be celebrating Debbie through her music.

Cantor Yonah Kliger
310-288-3742 ext 506


8 p.m.

Beth Chayim Chadashim
6000 W.  Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA  90035

Phone: 323-931-7023 ext. 253  
Fax: 323-931-1490
www.bcc-la.org

The world’s original LGBT synagogue. Welcoming the whole mishpucha (family) since 1972.

Join BCC’s Cantor Juval Porat, Cantorial Soloist Emerita Fran Chalin, Tamara Kline, and Rabbi Lisa Edwards for a Shabbat Shirah [Shabbat of Song] tribute to Debbie Friedman.

Cantor Juval Porat
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8 p.m.

Congregation Kol Ami.
1200 N. La Brea Ave.
West Hollywood

Rabbi Denise Eger,
Cantor Mark Saltzman


Redlands

Congregation Emanu El
1473 Ford Street
Redlands, CA
909-307-0400

Exit 81 off of 1-10 coming from L.A.

Cantor Jennifer Bern-Vogel
{encode=”cantorjenbv@gmail.com” title=”cantorjenbv@gmail.com”}

Rabbi Emeritus Hillel Cohn, Cantor Jennifer Bern-Vogel. Organist, Jerry Ripley, former CEE Cantor Greg Yaroslow.

We have revised our services to honor Debbie’s memory and sing mostly her liturgical compositions, many of which were first piloted at CEE back in the 70’s. Our Sermon-in-Song will be a Celebration of Jewish Music Through the Ages.


San Diego area

6:15 p.m.

Congregation Beth Israel
9001 Towne Centre Drive
San Diego, CA 92122
www.cbisd.org

Cantor Arlene Bernstein
858-535-1111 x3116
abernstein@cbisd.org


7 p.m.

Temple Adat Shalom
15905 Pomerado Rd.
Poway, CA 92064

Phone: 858-451-1200
Fax: 858-451-2409

Cantor Lori W. Frank, ACC (American Conf of Cantors)
{encode=”cantorlori@adatshalom.com” title=”cantorlori@adatshalom.com”}


7 p.m.

Congregation Beth Am (Conservative)
Congregation Beth Am
505 Del Mar Heights Road
Del Mar, CA 92130

Phone: 858 481-2893

Cantor Kathy Robbins with Rabbi Michael Kornberg  and Yochanan Sebastian Winston’s band. Kabbalat Shabbat Service honoring Debbie with a full service of her liturgical settings. There will be dancing following the service: from mourning into dancing!

Cantor Kathy Robbins
{encode=”kjr@pacbell.net” title=”kjr@pacbell.net”}


Santa Barbara

6:00 p.m.

Congregation B’nai B’rith, 
1000 San Antonio Creek Rd, 
Santa Barbara, CA  93111

Cantor Mark Childs
{encode=”cantorchilds@me.com” title=”cantorchilds@me.com”}


SATURDAY MORNING, JANUARY 15

9:15 a.m.

Temple Aliyah
6025 Valley Circle Blvd.
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

818-346-3540
www.templealiyah.org

At the Shabbat morning service in the Main Sanctuary. Some of Debbie’s melodies will be included. Hazzan Mike Stein and Hazzan Mimi Haselkorn


9:30 a.m.

Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills
8844 Burton Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

We will be celebrating Debbie through her music.

Cantor Yonah Kliger
310-288-3742 ext. 506


1 p.m.

Temple Aliyah,
6025 Valley Circle Blvd.
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

818-346-3540
www.templealiyah.org

At the “Rebbe’s Tish”, following the Kiddush luncheon
Share memories of Debbie Friedman and sing her songs
Hazzan Mike Stein and Hazzan Mimi Haselkorn


OTHER SERVICES

February 4

8 p.m.

Temple Ahavat Shalom
18200 Rinaldi Place
Northridge, CA 91326

(818) 360-2258

Lots of music – Our band will be playing.

Cantor Jen Roher, ACC*
{encode=”cantor@tasnorthridge.org” title=”cantor@tasnorthridge.org”}


February 5

Lev Eisha service with Cindy Paley and other musicians


February 8

Temple Isaiah

A sh’loshim event planned for February 8th in the evening: text study (healing texts) and song with NFTY song leaders- inviting the entire congregation and Religious School- Beit Midrash style in the Social Hall.


May 5

Jewish Festival. 
Congregation B’nai B’rith,
1000 San Antonio Creek Rd.
Santa Barbara, CA  93111

Steve Reich’s non-requiem for Daniel Pearl


When Judea Pearl asked composer Steve Reich to create a piece of music that would commemorate the life of his son, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, he knew what he did not want the music to be.

“We did not want it to be a eulogy or a requiem,” said Pearl, whose son was murdered while on assignment in Pakistan in 2002. “Daniel was a highly principled person. He became an icon, and this work by Reich is a tribute to a life that personified our culture, our principles and our dreams.”

The result was the “Daniel Variations,” which will have its West Coast premier on Jan. 28 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The piece will be performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale (LAMC) and conducted by Grant Gershon as part of a 70th birthday tribute to Reich.

To inspire the composer, Pearl gave him a book of Daniel’s writings, as well as a transcript of the murder. But Reich also thought about the original Daniel, the biblical prophet who interpreted the terror-filled dreams of Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar. Reich found an extraordinary resonance between Nebuchadnezzar’s description of one dream (“Images upon my bed and visions in my head frightened me”) and terrorist attacks around the world.

Reich built the “Daniel Variations” composition in four alternating movements — the first and the third are about the biblical Daniel, the second and the fourth are about Daniel Pearl. The piece alternates between horror and hope, with the gentle Daniel Pearl movements contrasting with the heavier, fearsome prophet Daniel movements.

“The opening is some of the most dissonant music I have ever written, and the third movement is some of the tensest music I have ever written,” Reich said. “It’s a music of great contrasts.”

The Daniel Variations marks the second Daniel Pearl tribute piece that Gershon will be conducting. The first was “Mother’s Lament” by Sharon Farber, which the LAMC performed on Sept. 29, 2002.

“I find a lot of resonance in the idea of being able to take a life like Daniel Pearl’s, that was so full of optimism and commitment to bringing people together, and to be able to translate that and to transcend the horrible circumstances of his death. I think that is what music and the arts should do — and that is enormously inspiring to me,” Gershom said.

As for Judea Pearl, he sees these tributes as a way to assist his mission.

“I am not dealing with pain here,” he said. “I am a soldier, and we have to fight the hatred that took Daniel’s life. These tributes do give me the assurance that the community resonates with the ideas Daniel stood for.”


The “Daniel Variations” will be performed on Jan. 28, 7 p.m. at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. For more information, call (800) 787-5262 or visit Gershwin is resurrected but Miller’s ‘Salesman’ dies again; Theater gets ‘Bent;’ Eshman and Barak Q

Circuit


The Reagan Library was the setting when more than 500 Jewish Republicans gathered to pay tribute to U.S. and Israeli armed forces.RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, and Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) set a powerful model of the necessity for firm resolve at this time of international crises.

Guests also heard from California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, Jewish Republican statewide candidate for insurance commissioner, and Tony Strickland, statewide candidate for controller.

After touring the library and taking photos on the impressive Air Force One at the musuem, guests enjoyed a kosher cocktail party and dinner.

Larry Greenfield, Republican Jewish Coalition’s California regional director, says what is motivating their membership is the quality of the conversation.”RJC members and guests consistently value an honest appraisal of the international situation and a realistic approach to a dangerous world that the Jewish community respects,” he said. “Support for a beleaguered Israel, concern about a UN that has broken its promises, and moral clarity about Islamo-Fascism all resonate with American Jews today.”

According to Greenfield, under RJC CA Chairman Joel Geiderman, the RJC would continue to focus on supporting Jewish college students and the need for “fair play.” The RJC has been working with other Jewish groups to confront anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism at universities.

“We have begun to mature as a Jewish political community. Those in attendance included current White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolton, past and present Federal Reserve Chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke; and former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

“Many thoughtful Jewish Republicans are making a strong contribution rooted in Jewish values, both as, and with senior access to, American policymakers,” Greenfield said.

The Great Statesmen

Van Nuys High School American government students enjoyed an informative Q-and-A with Stanley Sheinbaum and Mike Farrell on June 8. The event, titled “14th Amendment Equal Protection Under the Law,” was the first in a series of discussions produced by California Safe Schools.

The two celebrated statesmen in the social justice community have been recognized for their humanitarian efforts: Sheinbaum for the protection of constitutional rights, education, public justice, human rights and international peace efforts; Farrell for his opposition to the death penalty and children’s rights. Farrell is also well-known for his portrayals of B.J. Hunnicutt on the long-running series “M*A*S*H” and as veterinarian Dr. James Hansen on the NBC drama “Providence.”

“It was inspiring to see the students so well versed in national, international and environmental issues. We look forward to replicating these programs for other students throughout the State and Country,” said Robina Suwol, executive director of California Safe Schools.

Both men were honored at the event with the California Safe Schools Humanitarian Award for their decades of service. The office of Rep. Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys) and Assemblymember Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) joined in the celebration presenting additional awards to each. The event as moderated by David Allgood, Southern California director of the state’s League of Conservation Voters.

Fond of the New Rabbi

Native Angeleno Rabbi Devora Fond became the spiritual leader of Congregation Shaarei Torah in Arcadia in July, following her recent ordination by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism (UJ). Fond received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz in 1991, and a master’s degree in rabbinic studies from the UJ in 2002. She has served in a variety of capacities, including hospital chaplain at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, rabbinic intern at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley and educator and rabbinic intern at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles.

Fond feels called to serve God by helping Jews connect with themselves, others, God and Torah, and through working with people of all faiths to make this world a better place. Fond says she is enthusiastic about having the opportunity to build relationships with the people in her community: to touch other people’s lives and be touched by others. She is committed to reaching out to new members, leading spiritually meaningful and innovative services, and making Judaism come alive through creative programming and thought-provoking teaching.

All About Ethics

Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo nominated Helen Zukin, a lawyer in private practice and an active member of the State Bar of California, to the City of Los Angeles Ethics Commission.

“Helen’s skill as a lawyer and commitment to the highest ethical standards will be tremendous assets to the Ethics Commission,” Delgadillo said. “Her counsel and insight will serve the Commission well as it takes up the challenge of interpreting and implementing changes to our campaign finance laws, as well as maintain its critical role as city watchdog.”

Zukin, who also serves as a temporary judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court system, served on the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation for nearly a decade. She has a long history of community and professional involvement, including membership on the Board of Governors for the Consumer Attorney’s Association of Los Angeles and as a trustee of the Jewish Community Foundation.

A civil litigator, Zukin’s practice has an emphasis on toxic torts, product liability and environmental property damage.

In addition to the city attorney, the mayor, controller, city council president and council president pro-tem each nominate one member to the five-member Ethics Commission. Commissioners serve staggered five-year terms, and are subject to review by the City Council’s Rules and Elections Committee, and to confirmation by the full L.A. City Council.

The commission was established in 1990 as part of a comprehensive package of local government ethics and campaign finance laws.

Limon’s Company Revives a Classic Dance


In 1957, Jose Limon toured Poland with his dance company. In the rubble-strewn cities still reeling from the ravages of World War II, the choreographer contemplated the resilience of people in the aftermath of great tragedy. And when he stood before the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto, Limon clearly saw redemption in the face of suffering and found the inspiration for a new dance.

The dance, called “Missa Brevis,” premiered the following year in a bombed-out church in Budapest and would become a masterpiece of the Limon canon. The June 1958 issue of Dance Magazine declared “it has been a long time since modern dance has produced a work so profoundly stirring and exalting.” Carla Maxwell, artistic director of the Jose Limon Dance Company since 1978, called it “one of those rare, perfect dances. Poland moved Limon profoundly, and from it, he created some of the most glorious choreography.”

In celebration of its 60th anniversary, the Limon Dance Company has staged a major revival of “Missa Brevis” and will perform the work at the Los Angeles Music Center in March, along with a new work by acclaimed choreographer Lar Lubovitch. Called “Recordare,” Lubovitch’s dance pays tribute to the Mexican-born Limon, who died in 1972.

Lubovitch credits Limon, who studied painting at UCLA before discovering his true calling as a dancer, for inspiring him to be a choreographer. He researched Limon’s Catholic-Mexican heritage to create a dance inspired by ancient Aztec myths and Catholic traditions.

Set to music by Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly, “Missa Brevis,” which literally means “short Mass” in Latin, begins with a group of dancers huddled defiantly in a tight group, while one dancer stands apart. The group breaks up into quartets, trios and solos, and, ultimately, all the dancers return to the stage as a united community. Throughout, they perform Limon’s signature movements, which emphasize expansiveness, theatricality and the technique of connecting the external motion of the body with the internal processes of the psyche and spirit.

“On one hand, it’s a Catholic Mass. Limon had always struggled with Catholicism and with this dance, wanted to create a true act of faith,” said Maxwell, who danced “Missa” when she joined the company in 1965. “But it’s also a universal statement of hope and re-building, and to be a part of this dance is an experience unlike any other.”

Because the dance requires between 19 and 22 performers, the 13-member Limon Company has created the Missa Project, a partnership with various dance institutions in cities where it will perform. In Los Angeles, Maxwell will audition dance students from CalArts, who will have completed a three-week workshop in Limon technique, repertory and movement philosophy.

“This is our blueprint for the future,” said Maxwell, who noted that Limon’s technique has been taught all over the world. “It’s important that all kinds of communities continue to find out about Limon.”

“Missa Brevis” set the stage for later Limon works like his 1967 “Psalm,” which also explores the theme of survival but from a more specifically Jewish perspective. Maxwell said that Limon’s experience at the Warsaw Ghetto and in post-World War II Europe “is the likely explanation” for why Limon read Andre Schwarz-Bart’s 1959 work “The Last of the Just,” one of the first novels to chronicle the plight of the Jews during World War II. Inspired by the book, Limon went on to discover the Jewish legend of the Lamed-Vov, the 36 righteous men who shoulder the sorrows of the world.

In “Psalm,” Limon took the idea of the Lamed-Vov and created the figure of a lone just man, bearing the world’s burdens but also “carrying a message of hope,” Maxwell said. “So much of Limon’s work is about people rising out of destruction. With ‘Psalm,’ he saw what happened to the Jewish people and wanted to place it in a universal context.”

Maxwell remembered Limon, who co-founded his company with Doris Humphrey in 1946, “as an avid reader who was always curious about other cultures.”

“He was always able to take a specific theme and make it into a universal statement,” she explained. “His work is timeless.”

Like many of those who studied with Limon, Maxwell spoke of her dedication to preserving her mentor’s work as if it’s an activity like breathing.

“How can I not continue his work?” she exclaimed. “We felt that Limon’s technique is so profound, and that his dances are like a canon of literature. We knew that if we disbanded, his work would disappear.”

The receptivity of dance venues to the Missa Project indicates the ongoing interest in Limon’s technique, which “is based on the natural functioning of the human body and emphasizes moving from the inside out, essentially from your soul,” Maxwell explained. Like Martha Graham and other modern dance pioneers, she said, Limon “believed in purposeful movement and that through modern dance, you could communicate grand ideas and passions.”

For Maxwell, “Missa Brevis” is a “stunning” manifestation of Limon’s movement philosophy.

“With ‘Missa,’ Jose restored dance to its ancient, spiritual function,” she said. “In this dance, he found the perfect form for exploring the triumph of the spirit.”

“Missa Brevis” will be performed with “Recordare” on March 25 at 7:30 p.m. and March 26 at 2:30 p.m. in the Music Center’s Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. Tickets range from $20-$75. For information, go to www.musiccenter.org or phone (213) 628-2772.

 

Community Briefs


Rabin Tribute Marks 10th Anniversary of Assassination

A lively, heartfelt tribute to former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin brought more than 400 people to the University of Judaism to mark the 10th year since an assassin took his life.

“I miss the man himself; I miss the man who stole all the chocolates with me from his table,” said Eitan Haber, Rabin’s former chief of staff. “I also miss his fixation on all the small details, his nervousness and his short temper.”

The Labor Party prime minister was assassinated Nov. 4, 1995, at a Tel Aviv rally by extremist Yigal Amir, who opposed the Oslo peace accords. A year earlier, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Rabin, a Six-Day War commander.

The two-hour Nov. 29 tribute, hosted by talk show host Dennis Prager, featured speakers and songs, including the children’s choir, Tzeirey USA (Agoura), singing The Beatles tune, “Let It Be,” in Hebrew. The tribute was organized by the Tarzana-based Council of Israeli Community, The Jewish Federation/Valley Alliance and Temple Beth Haverim of Agoura Hills.

Haber recalled how the press statement announcing that Rabin had died during surgery was written by him on the back of a piece of paper he fished from his pocket while at the hospital. The paper’s front side was the schedule of the last week of Rabin’s life.

“I will not forget this until my very last days,” he said.

Israeli Consul General Ehud Danoch said that after the assassination, Israelis of all political stripes understood that “whatever the disagreement, whatever the argument, fulfilling the wishes of a democracy will not cost them their lives.”

Danoch described Rabin as “part of a unique generation — those who truly lived the history of Israel.”

Haber pointed out that Rabin would have preferred to talk peace with someone nonviolent, such as the “queen of Holland or the prince of Monaco.” Then he quickly added that Rabin told him peace “is made with the bitter enemies.” — David Finnigan, Contributing Writer

Cedars Hosts Conclave on Stem Cell Developments

When California voters passed a $3 billion stem cell research initiative, they not only opened the door to medical advances but also to a collaboration with scientists from Israel, which is an established leader in the field.

To seed that partnership, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center recently hosted a two-day symposium that attracted more than 300 physicians, scientists, bioethicists and entrepreneurs.

“Our goal was to … encourage collaboration between scientists and clinicians who are doing cutting-edge research,” said David Meyer, Cedars’ vice president for research and scientific affairs, who coordinated the program, along with Nissin Benvenisty of Hebrew University.

The first day of the program focused on research, drawing scientists from such institutions as Cedars-Sinai, Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles and UCLA, along with counterparts at Hadassah Hospital, Hebrew University, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Weizmann Institute of Science.

One presenter, Technion’s Lior Gepstein, described how he and colleagues used embryonic stem cells to produce heart muscle cells that can adapt to the structure and electrical pulse of the cardiac tissue into which it is implanted. While many hurdles remain, such technology might some day be used to produce heart pacemakers made of living tissues, rather than implanted electronic devices.

On the second day, seven Israeli biotech companies involved in developing stem cell therapies explained their work to potential investors. Southern California-Israel Chamber of Commerce helped organize that portion of the program. — Nancy Sokoler Steiner, Contributing Writer

 

Pope’s Jewish Legacy


Though a staunch conservative on most Catholic issues, Pope John Paul II made bettering Jewish-Catholic relations a centerpiece of his policy and took revolutionary strides toward this goal during his more than 26-year reign. The pope repeatedly condemned anti-Semitism, commemorated the Holocaust on many occasions, presided over the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel and met frequently with Jewish religious and lay leaders.

To be sure, lingering tensions and unresolved issues remained. But most Jewish observers say the Polish-born pontiff, who died Saturday night at age 84 after a lengthy illness, will be remembered as the friendliest pope ever toward the Jews.

“Pope John Paul II was a man of peace, a friend of the Jewish people, who worked to bring about historic reconciliation between the peoples and to renew diplomatic ties between Israel and the Vatican at the end of 1993,” Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told his Cabinet on Sunday. “Yesterday, the world lost one of the most important leaders of our generation, whose great contribution toward reconciliation, unity among peoples, understanding and tolerance will remain with us for many years.”

The Anti-Defamation League noted in a tribute, “It is safe to say that more change for the better took place in his … papacy than in the nearly 2,000 years before.”

Rabbi Jack Bemporad was one of more than 100 rabbis and cantors who met with the pope in January to thank him for his commitment.

“No pope has done as much or cared as much about creating a brotherly relationship between Catholics and Jews as Pope John Paul II,” Bemporad, director of the Center for Interreligious Understanding in Secaucus, N.J., said at the time.

“For me, it’s simply revolutionary,” added Bemporad. “I believe Pope John Paul II will be considered a great healer in the relationship between Catholics and Jews.”

Karol Jozef Wojtyla, then the 58-year-old archbishop of Krakow, was elected to the papacy in October 1978. The first pope from Poland and the first non-Italian to sit on the papal throne in more than 450 years, he took the name John Paul II to honor his immediate predecessor, who died after only three weeks in office.

Wojtyla assumed the papacy just 13 years after the Vatican’s historic Nostra Aetate declaration opened the way toward Jewish-Catholic dialogue. The declaration, issued in 1965 by the Second Vatican Council convened by Pope John XXIII, condemned anti-Semitism, and for the first time, officially repudiated the age-old assertion that the “perfidious Jews” were collectively responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus.

John Paul’s papacy built on this, and in Jewish terms, it was marked by dramatic firsts, starting with the pontiff’s own personal history. Born in 1920 in the town of Wadowice, near Krakow, he was, in short, an eyewitness both to the Holocaust and to the oppressive and often anti-Semitic policies of communism.

Wojtyla grew up at a time when Poland was the heartland of European Jewry. The country’s 3.5 million Jews represented 10 percent of Poland’s overall population. Wadowice itself was more than 25 percent Jewish, and the future pope had Jewish friends, neighbors and classmates.

Half of the 6 million Jews murdered in the Shoah were Polish, including the future pope’s friends and neighbors. Wojtyla himself worked in a Nazi slave labor camp and studied for the priesthood in secret.

After World War II, the discovery of what had happened at Auschwitz, only a few miles from his hometown, marked Wojtyla for life.

As pope, John Paul referred to the 20th century as “the century of the Shoah,” and it was highly symbolic that in 1979, on his first visit back to Poland after his election, he knelt in prayer at Auschwitz-Birkenau to commemorate the Jews killed there.

Throughout his reign, John Paul repeatedly recalled the Holocaust and condemned anti-Semitism as a sin against God and humanity. On his more than 100 trips around the globe, he sought to meet with Jewish leaders. He also issued unprecedented expressions of contrition for past Christian hostility and violence toward Jews.

The most dramatic of the pope’s many meetings with Jews took place in April 1986, when he crossed the Tiber River to visit the Great Synagogue in Rome, becoming the first pope to visit a Jewish house of worship since Peter. After warmly embracing Rome’s chief rabbi, the pope spoke of the “irrevocable covenant” between God and the Jews.

With Judaism, he said, “we have a relationship that we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers, and in a certain way, it may be said that you are our elder brothers.”

At the end of 1993, the pope took another unprecedented step, overseeing the formal establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and the Holy See, 45 years after the founding of the Jewish state.

“The pope has both understood what Israel means to the Jewish people, and thus the importance of the establishment of full relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel, to which he lent his personal weight,” Rabbi David Rosen, the American Jewish Committee’s (AJCommittee) international director for interreligious affairs, has said. “It is no exaggeration to say that the successful conclusion of those negotiations were thanks to his personal involvement and even intervention.”

The pope’s historic visit to Israel in March 2000 marked a culmination of these policies. His visit was formulated as a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to mark the beginning of Christianity’s third millennium, but it brimmed with significance for Jews, as well.

He visited Yad Vashem, and at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, he bowed his head in prayer and slipped a typed, signed note into one of the cracks between the stones.

“We are deeply saddened by the behavior of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and asking your forgiveness, we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the People of the Covenant,” the note read.

Since that historic visit, the world has been rocked by terrorism and war, and the eruption of the Palestinian intifada plunged the Middle East into violence. Also, what some observers call a “new anti-Semitism,” linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has erupted in what the pope liked to call “Christian” Europe.

But several issues still dog Catholic-Jewish relations and continue to provoke clashes from time to time. These include differences over what can be called “historical memory” — for example, over the wartime role of Pope Pius XII, whom the Vatican wants to beatify, but whom critics accuse of failing to speak out to save Jews during the Shoah.

There also is a continuing internal debate within the Catholic hierarchy about whether the church as an institution is responsible for anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism, or whether responsibility rests with individuals.

Outstanding differences on bilateral issues, as well as broader differences over Middle East politics, also have clouded relations with Israel and are the focus of protracted negotiations. These matters include taxes and the legal status of church institutions, as well as questions of visas and residency permits for Christian clergy in Israel.

Looming above all is the question of whether John Paul’s proactive teachings about Jews will endure, and whether they will trickle down to the world’s 1 billion Catholics.

During his audience with the rabbis and cantors in January, John Paul noted that 2005 marks the 40th anniversary of the Nostra Aetate declaration and urged “renewed commitment to increased understanding and cooperation.”

But Jewish observers have expressed concern that John Paul’s successor may not have the same commitment.

“You’re not going to get anybody with his sensitivity,” Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz, director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., said in January. “The fear is, whatever you’ve got done can be undone.”

Rabbi A. James Rudin, the AJCommittee’s senior adviser on interreligious affairs and a visiting professor at St. Leo University in Florida, also considers the perpetuation of John Paul’s policies on Jews as “a major challenge for the post-John Paul II church.”

“To have his church retreat from the gains John Paul II has achieved in building mutual respect and understanding between Catholics and Jews would represent a huge setback and an insult to this remarkable pope, who will be remembered in Jewish history as the ‘greatest’ pontiff in the 2000-year history of Christianity,” said Rudin, who has met with John Paul 10 times.

For their part, Vatican officials say the pope’s legacy should be safe, noting that the sea-changes wrought by Nostra Aetate in 1965 and by Vatican documents and pronouncements issued throughout John Paul’s papacy are enshrined as official church teaching.

“The whole Catholic church stands for these changes, not only Pope John Paul II,” the Rev. Norbert Hofmann, secretary for the Holy See’s Commission for Religions Relations with the Jews, told JTA in 2003. But, he added, “it remains the task of the whole church to continue these efforts, and we must do everything so that the course will trickle down to all levels.”

Related Stories

John Paul II and the Jews

Milestones in Pope’s Relations With Jews

L.A. Rabbis Voice Praise for John Paul II

Alan King a Model for Seinfeld, Crystal


Many young Americans know comedian Alan King’s work — they just don’t realize it.

The observational style of King, who died this week of lung cancer at age 76, was a model for younger comedians such as Billy Crystal and Jerry Seinfeld.

Crystal, a close friend, was one of those who paid tribute to King at his funeral Tuesday.

Rabbi Moshe Waldoks, co-editor of the “The Big Book of Jewish Humor,” said King was “someone who brought a sense of indignance about the travails of life.”

King, who usually was seen with a cigar in his mouth, was among the first to lampoon airline food and other irritants of airline travel, as well as doctors’ bills and traffic.

“That was considered kind of cutting edge in that period, where most people were just telling jokes about their mother-in-law,” said Gerald Nachman, author of “Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s,” according to New York Newsday.

King adopted the comedic voice of someone hard to please, cantankerous and impatient.

As drama critic Kenneth Tynan once put it, “If a sawed-off shotgun could talk, it would sound like Alan King.”

In comparison to his contemporaries, King was less raunchy than Lenny Bruce, less schmaltzy than Buddy Hackett and didn’t talk in dialect like Sid Caesar, Waldoks observed.

But like these others geniuses of American Jewish comedy, King was quick with the zingers.

In one of his better-known lines, King said, “As life’s pleasures go, food is second only to sex. Except for salami and eggs. Now that’s better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced.”

After performing for Queen Elizabeth II, he was introduced to the queen. When she asked, “How do you do, Mr. King?” he told audiences he replied, “How do you do, Mrs. Queen?”

“She stared at me, and then Prince Philip laughed,” he recalled. “Thank God Prince Philip laughed.”

Born in Brooklyn as Irwin Alan Kinberg to Jewish immigrants from Poland, King quit school at age 14.

Through his appearances on the “The Ed Sullivan Show” in the 1950s and 1960s, and for his guest-host appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” King brought the edgier, Catskills style of humor to the American masses.

But he put his own personal stamp on the Borscht Belt joke.

King has said he was inspired to change his style after watching a performance by another young comedian, Danny Thomas, in the early 1950s.

“Danny actually talked to his audience,” he recalled in a 1991 interview. “And I realized I never talked to my audience. I talked at ’em, around ’em and over ’em, but not to ’em. I felt the response they had for him. I said to myself, ‘This guy is doing something, and I better start doing it.’ ”

That sometimes meant a turn to topical humor.

“Why is everybody carrying on about Woolworth’s?” he asked a black audience at a rally after the first lunch-counter sit-ins of the civil rights era. “Have you ever eaten at the counter at Woolworth’s? If you wanted to sit in the Colony Club I could understand.”

King said he didn’t want to slow down in his later years — and he didn’t, performing a few years ago as film mogul Samuel Goldwyn in “Mr. Goldwyn.”

“You only live once,” he once said, “except for Shirley MacLaine.”

He plied his trade well enough that he was named the first recipient of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture’s award in American Jewish humor. The award now is named after him.

King also showed the younger generation of comics how to be a successful businessman.

He appeared in film and on stage, produced Broadway plays and wrote five books. He was the master of ceremonies for part of President Kennedy’s inaugural party in 1961, and for the 1972 Academy Awards.

His collection of reminiscences, “Matzo Balls for Breakfast and Other Memories of Growing Up Jewish,” will be published next year by Simon & Schuster.

He also was involved in Jewish philanthropy. He founded the Alan King Diagnostic Medical Center in Jerusalem, established a scholarship fund for American students at Hebrew University and created a chair in dramatic arts at Brandeis University.

7 Days In Arts


Saturday

UCLA Live continues to impress today with its unique programming. Its exclusive commissioned event unites celebrated cartoonist Chris Ware (“Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth”) with NPR’s Ira Glass, host extraordinaire of “This American Life.” Together, they present “Visible and Invisible Drawings: An Evening With Chris Ware and Ira Glass,” a story presentation by them both, each in his own medium.8 p.m. $17-$40. Royce Hall, UCLA, Westwood. (310) 825-2101.

Sunday

It’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” Israeli-style in “Yossi andJagger,” new out on DVD this month. The bittersweet film is based on the truestory of two Israeli officers, gay and in love and stationed on theIsrael-Lebanon border. An official selection at the Berlin and Tribeca FilmFestivals, the film was also well received by numerous critics. The DVD includesa music video for a hit single from the film, never released in the UnitedStates. $29.99. www.strandreleasing.com

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Monday

Seven Days salutes fellow El Camino Real High Schoolalums Brent Goldberg and David T. Wagner for their latest achievement: Openingthis week is the screenwriters’ new film, “The Girl Next Door,” a bawdy romanticcomedy with a heart of gold about a boy’s infatuation with the girl next door,who turns out to be a former porn star. We’re sure hilarity ensues — after all,these are ECR boys. Opens April 9. www.thegirlnextdoormovie.com

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Tuesday

Dave Frishberg recently performed at Lincoln Center, and has written songs recorded by Diana Krall, Michael Feinstein, Bette Midler and Blossom Dearie. But Gen-X-ers will be most impressed by his contribution to “Schoolhouse Rock” — Frishberg is responsible for that song ingrained in nostalgic memory as the one that taught you how a bill becomes a law, “I’m Just a Bill.” He plays a series at the Jazz Bakery beginning today.April 13-18. 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. $25-$30. 3233 Helms Ave., Culver City. (310) 271-9039.

Wednesday

Before it was an Academy Award-winning movie, it was a Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The Rubicon Theatre Company presents Alfred Uhry’s “Driving Miss Daisy” beginning this week. For those who’ve been living under a rock, the play (and the film that followed) tell the story of the 25-year relationship between a Southern Jewish woman and her black chauffeur. See it this evening, in its original form.7 p.m. (Wed), 8 p.m. (Fri.-Sat.). 2 p.m. (Sat.-Sun.). $25-$45. The Laurel, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. (805) 667-2900.

Thursday

First Michael Damian, now Brad Maule and Eric Martsolf. Soap opera stars keeps popping up in productions of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Our theory: Perhaps the cheese factor helps with the crossover? Either way, Maule (of “General Hospital” fame) and Martsolf (Ethan Crane on “Passions”) play Jacob and Pharoah, respectively, in the latest production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. And cheesy or not, the show’s also a classic. Catch it this week only.April 13-18. 8 p.m. (Tues.-Fri.), 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Sat.), 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Sun.). $30-$95. Kodak Theatre, Hollywood and Highland, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (213) 365-3500.

Friday

Philip Kaufman fans work to keep their blood pressure level tonight, as the American Cinematheque kicks off its “Writer and Director: A Retrospective Tribute to Philip Kaufman” with a triple hit. A double-feature of the erotically charged films “Henry and June” and “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” sandwich an in-person appearance and discussion by Kaufman.7:15 p.m. Series runs April 16-18. $9. The Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 466-3456.

Schwarzenegger’s Kindest Un-Cut


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t know it, but his recent
gesture to reverse planned cuts for the disabled was the greatest memorial
tribute to my brother, Danny. This week, we observed Danny’s shloshim, the
traditional 30 days after the death of a loved one.

Danny didn’t have a political bone in his body. No lawyer
ever represented him. He wasn’t a member of any union, wasn’t even able to
work. He had no wife and no children to care for him. He was just one of the
faceless, nameless disabled you walk by on your way to work or at the grocery
store. But to us, and now to our governor, my brother was not faceless or
nameless. He was a man with “special needs.”

Danny didn’t arrive in the City of Angels brimming with
optimism like so many. He was forced here four years ago when our ailing mother
in Connecticut could no longer care for him. It was an insurmountable
adjustment for a 46-year-old with epilepsy, kidney cancer, malignant melanoma,
some brain damage from prolonged use of anti-seizure medications and many
social issues from periods of isolation. But Danny was able to live a life with
dignity in our Golden State benefiting from many of the programs that escaped
the guillotine recently. And we cannot settle for anything less for the
thousands with special needs like Danny or worse.

Danny attended the Valley Storefront Adult Day Health Care
Center in North Hollywood, a full-day care program where he received a
nutritious and kosher lunch and badly needed medical attention and physical
therapy.

He was a client of the North Los Angeles County Regional Center,
which provided him with a devoted counselor and advocate and all the basic
human services that the Lanterman Act says he has a right to.

He lived in an assisted-living facility, where he was given
a private room and treated with respect. Prior to that, when he was physically
able, he lived in a group home with five other men like him and a devoted
caregiver.

Danny had the best medical care this city has to offer,
including a top general practitioner, neurologist, nephrologist, oncologist and
other specialists. And he could not pay for any of it.

He achieved a great deal of mobility with Access Paratransit,
which thereby increased his contact with the outside world.

It was back in April that we received the news that Danny
would finally encounter the ultimate disability, inoperable cancer of the
liver. His death sentence was carried out seven months later. But, even in the
process of death, he received fine medical care by the Cedars-Sinai Hospice
Program, which is following up with counseling for my family to try to deal
with this tragedy.

Danny Solomon died at the age of 50, with $20 in his pocket
— part of the $50 I had given him a few days earlier. That was the sum total of
his estate. But the level of care that he received and the dignity that marked
his final days are something every California resident should be proud of.
Thank you, governor, in Danny’s name and in his memory for the compassion you
showed. Â


Ron Solomon is executive director of the West Coast Friends of Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

The Circuit


Songs for a Cure

Photos of smiling children suffering from familial dysautonomia (FD) greeted community members gathered at the Luxe Summit Hotel in Bel Air to fundraise for a cure. The second event for the fledgling organization honored Rabbi Morley Feinstein, co-founder of the Cure FD Foundation and senior rabbi of University Synagogue in Brentwood. The event also served to educate supporters of the recent findings of Drs. Berish Rubin and Sylvia Anderson, who recently isolated the gene that causes this neurological degenerative disease that affects hundreds of Ashkenazi children. Rubin, who is chair of biological sciences at Fordham University and director of research for the Cure FD Foundation, discussed the use of a new compound, Tocotrienol, a form of Vitamin E that has been successful with some children suffering with the disease.

“We believe that with time, these children will live normal lives,” he said.

Lightening up the evening with a father-daughter act, University Synagogue’s Cantor Jay Frailich and Lonee Frailich, performed songs from Broadway musicals such as “Miss Saigon” and “Les Miserables.” Joining their team, Feinstein stepped into a rendition of Irving Berlin’s “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better.” Feinstein, who has been instrumental in spreading awareness of the disease and organizing fundraisers for a cure, spoke about the duty of the community to help these unfortunate children.

“We can fulfill the words of the Talmud, ‘If we can save one life, we can save the world.’ That’s our task,” he said.

Mavis Feinberg, the foundation’s president, whose 5-year-old grandson has the disease, feels the cure is imminent.

“We hope to be out of business real soon,” she said.

The next fundraiser is an evening of music on Sunday, April 25 at the Leo Baeck Temple. For more information, visit www.curefd.org or call (310) 459-1056. — Leora Alhadeff, Contributing Writer

Peacetime for Bubis

Luis Lanier, chair of Americans for Peace Now, presented professor Gerald Bubis with the 2003 Yitzhak Rabin Peace Award at a Sept. 21 luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Bubis, founding director and professor of Jewish communal studies at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, was honored for a lifetime of dedication to Jewish causes.

At the lunch, keynote speaker Rabbi Harold Schulweis urged the audience to continue dialogue and debate with Jews they might disagree with. “If you stop dialogue, you start talking only to yourself,” he said, “and that’s a sign of insanity.”

Among the hundreds who came out to honor Bubis were Israeli Ambassador Yuval Rotem, Elaine Hoffman, Arthur Stern, Peace Now founder Galia Golan and Barbara and Rabbi John Rosove.

Bubis summed up his joy at the event: “Better a lot of taffy when you’re alive,” he said, than a lot of ‘epitaph-y’ when you’re dead.”

Ramah Rules!

It’s never to early to start training new Jewish leaders, which is why Rhoda and Bob Barnhard are endowing the Barnhard Mador Young Leadership Program at Camp Ramah for exceptional high school seniors.

“Madorniks” will attend sessions in childhood development, community service and Jewish education, but these courses will exist alongside full bunk responsibilities, enabling the counselors-in-training to immediately begin honing their newly developed skills.

Camp Ramah will honor the Barnhards at its annual dinner on Dec. 4 at Temple Valley Beth Shalom in Encino. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the program.

For more information, please call (310) 476-8571.

Hollywood Meets Holy Land

Israel and the United States may be the David and Goliath of the international movie and TV industry, but filmmakers from both countries found a common professional language when they gathered at the Beverly Hills mansion of mega Hollywood producer Mike Medavoy and his wife, Irena.

Guests of honor were two Tel Aviv University professors, Freddie Rokem, dean of the faculty of arts, and Ilan Avisar, head of the film and television department.

The evening party celebrated the establishment, at the initiative of local Tel Aviv University representative Robert T. Wise, of a board of trustees to further the work of the university’s film students.

Avisar told The Circuit that his department was bursting at the seams with approximately 700 students, while annual applications are running at 1,000 hopefuls.

The new direction of the Israeli cinema, hitherto fairly insular and introspective, is toward more “communicative” and “commercial” productions, Avisar said, to allow Israeli features to compete more successfully on the international scene.

Hollywood veterans, such as producer Arthur Hiller, passed on tips to young Tel Aviv University alumni working in Los Angeles, among them filmmakers Dan Katzir and Ravit Markus. — Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

Prince’s Dream

Beverly Hills-raised TV producer Jonathan Prince was honored on Oct. 19 at the Beverly Hilton, where he has attended many bar mitzvahs and weddings, when he received this year’s Catholics in Media Associates award as executive producer of the NBC family drama, “American Dreams,” about an Irish Catholic family in 1960s Philadelphia.

“They say, ‘Write what you know’ — a loud Jewish family is what I know,” said Prince, a lifelong member of Temple Emmanuel. “What I don’t know is Catholicism, so I did a lot of boning up on Catholicism.”

Universal Pictures’ “Seabiscuit” received the group’s movie honor and actor Ricardo Montalban was given the organization’s Life Achievement Award. — David Finnigan, Contributing Writer

Daters Party On

Several hundred eligible Jews mingled at JDate’s Oct. 16 party at the Hollywood club Garden of Eden. The first hour was slow due to that evening’s baseball playoffs, but the event became more crowded by 9 p.m.

When asked if she met any nice guys that evening, a woman replied, “Nice guys? I met a lot guys. I met four people I knew, but that’s Jewish geography.”

“JDate parties are hit and miss,” said Westwood-raised 30-something Debra Mindlin. “Some of them are amazing and some of them are less than amazing.” — DF

Haircut Haven

The beautiful thing about feeling beautiful is that it can make extremely serious challenges in your life seem just a little more manageable. That is what the folks at Secrets Salon & Spa in Northridge believe, which is why on Oct. 13 they volunteered their time and expertise to give 50 women from the Haven Hills Shelter and Family Violence Project of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles a beauty makeover and a buffet lunch. The event was part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Semper Fi

The Jewish Journal is good for many things, including dinner invitations. Rabbi Mordechai Finley of Temple Ohr Ha Torah in Valley Village was invited to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Ball at the Beverly Hilton after the national director of the foundation, Brig. Gen. Michael Wholley, read Finley’s Journal article about his son, Marine Cpl. Kayitz Finley, in Iraq.

The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation was established in 1962 to provide scholarships for the children of active and former Marines to attend college. The foundation has pledged to provide $10,000 to the children of all U.S. servicemen who perished fighting during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The event raised more than $330,000 for the foundation.

Casino VISIONS

The Marina Beach Marriot was bedecked with roulette tables, gaming chips and lots of smart looking young professionals in cocktail attire when VISIONS, the Next Generation of the Israel Cancer Research Fund held its third annual Monte Carlo Night.

VISIONS was established to promote cancer awareness among young people and to raise funds for fellowships in VISIONS’ name. Lisa Dichter, the evening’s event chair, said that last year’s Monte Carlo night funded VISIONS’ inaugural fellowship, which was awarded to Dr. Ephrat Wertheimer of Tel Aviv University, who is investigating the role of insulin in signaling skin cancer.

Tribute to Tenembaum

Rep. Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo) bestowed a congressional tribute on Baruch Tenembaum on Oct. 16. Tenembaum founded the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, which is dedicated to creating a living memorial to Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who saved nearly 100,000 Jews during World War II.

Right on Roski

The Los Angeles Real Estate and Construction Industries for City of Hope honored Ed Roski Jr., chairman and CEO of Majestic Realty, with the Spirit of Life Award on Oct. 9 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

Daniel Lembark


Daniel Lembark died at his home in Los Angeles on Feb. 3, 2003 at the age of 78.

Born in New York City on Sept. 20, 1924, he arrived in Los Angeles with his family in 1927.

In grammar school, Daniel was introduced to the flute, whichwas to play an important role in his life. At Beverly Hills High School (BHHS)he played the flute in the orchestra and band, and served as student directorof both groups in his senior year.

After graduating from BHHS in 1942, Daniel enrolled in UCLAas a music major. He interrupted his education to enlist in the U.S. CoastGuard in February 1943.

Following his discharge in 1946, Daniel returned to UCLA asan accounting major. He became an active member of the Zeta Beta Taufraternity, and served as chapter president in his senior year.

He began his professional career as a CPA with the LosAngeles firm of Zeman, Tuller, Boyer and Goldberg. Shortly after, he wasappointed CFO of Frank Sennes’ Moulin Rouge in Hollywood. He returned to Zeman,Tuller, Boyer and Goldberg in 1962 as a partner, and remained in that positionwhen the firm merged with Laventhol and Horwath. In 1978, he became aprofessional corporate director, serving on multiple boards .

Throughout his professional career, Daniel distinguishedhimself by his extraordinary contributions to the Jewish community of LosAngeles. He served as president of the Cedars-Sinai Hospital Fellowship Counciland the Jewish Family Service. He was chairman of the SOVA Food Pantry ProgramAdvisory Committee until January.

Daniel is survived by his wife Conni;, son, Steven; andsister, Marjorie Jackson. He will be remembered by many devoted friends andadmirers around the country.

The Daniel Lembark Fund has been established for the benefitof the SOVA Food Pantry at the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, 6505Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles 90048, and those wishing to honor him are invitedto make a contribution.

A tribute to Daniel Lembark’s life will be held at Temple Israelof Hollywood, 7300 Hollywood Blvd., on Feb. 13 at 4 p.m.

We Soared With Ilan


Yuval Rotem, Israeli consul general for the Western United
States, delivered these remarks at a Feb. 1 dinner for Pressman Academy,
honoring him and his wife, Miri, at the Airport Westin Hotel.

A verse in the Bible reads, “I am ready to stop, and my pain
is continually before me.”

Ladies and gentleman, it truly has become too hard for us
–for our people. This was supposed to have been an escape from the pain. An
escape from the fear and the anguish. An escape into space.

This was supposed to have been the dream of our entire
nation. A dream imagined 60 years ago by a young Jewish boy named Peter Ginz.
Trapped in Europe by the horrors of the Holocaust, Peter drew a picture that he
titled “Moon Landscape.” It was his vision of escape to another world.

Peter was not able to escape. He was killed at Auschwitz at
the age of 14. But his picture of the moon was found after the war. It did
escape. It went into space. It was carried there on Jan. 16, 2003, aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia by Col. Ilan Ramon, z”l.

My friends, Ilan Ramon was the true embodiment of the Jewish
people’s journey during the past century. His mother and grandmother survived
the Auschwitz death camp and made their way to Israel as immigrants.

His father, himself a refugee from Germany, became a soldier
in the Haganah, who fought for the independence of the newborn State of Israel.
Ilan himself was born in Israel. He was the ultimate representation of what an
Israeli is able to be: free and proud, strong, secure, confident and Jewish.

From fleeing persecution in Europe, to fighting for the
right to an independent homeland, to soaring into space: This was the story of
Ilan’s family. This is the story of Israel. This is the story of the Jewish
people.

As Ilan himself once remarked:

“I’m kind of the proof for my parents and their generation
that whatever we’ve been fighting for in the last century is coming true. I
feel I’m representing the whole Jewish people.”

Ilan said that serving as Israel’s first astronaut was part
of a “miracle” that stretched back 50 years. Ilan Ramon was an important symbol
for Israel, but he was also far more. He was a brave defender of our skies, our
land and our people.

He displayed courage and fortitude in defending Israel in
his fighter plane during that moment of grave danger: the Yom Kippur War of
1973. He defended our nation against Syrian fighters in 1982.

And he also took part in another action of enormous
significance. An action that may have saved the people of Israel from untold
disaster, a feat that may have prevented the loss of hundreds of thousands of
lives, maybe millions, and not just Israeli lives.

In 1981, Ilan Ramon, piloting his F-16 fighter, took part in
the mission to destroy Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak. At that
point in time, the reactor was preparing to develop enough enriched uranium to
build four or five Hiroshima-size bombs.

Imagine the debt of gratitude we all owe Ilan Ramon and his
fellow pilots for their successful mission…. Imagine where the world would be
today were Saddam Hussein to possess nuclear capability.

In the Book of Psalms, we perhaps can find a reference to
Ilan Ramon. It says: “His excellence is over Israel, and His strength is in the
skies.”

Ilan is a hero of Israel. A tribute to the Jewish people. He
was among the most talented fighter pilots in the world. He was Israel’s first
astronaut. Most importantly, he was a loving husband and father — his dear
wife, Rona, and their four young children. We cannot comfort them. We can only
hope that they find comfort in each other as time goes on, and that they can
find a measure of peace and pride in the sacrifice of this noble soul.

We also extend our prayers to the families of the other
astronauts: commander Rick Husband; pilot Willie McCool; mission specialists
Dave Brown, Laurel Clark and Kalpana Chala; and payload commander Mike
Anderson. May each of their memories be a blessing.

In his final mission aboard the space shuttle, Col. Ilan
Ramon lifted the spirits of our entire nation. We were moved to tears when Ilan
broadcast to our nation:

“I want to say that from here, in space, Israel looks like
it appears on the map — small, but beautiful. “

As Ilan soared, we soared with him. As he died, a part of
each of us died with him.

May he and his fellow astronauts now rest in peace. And may
Ilan, who protected us for so many years in this world, continue to protect us
from above.  

Community Briefs


Banks Waive Fees on ReparationPayments

Holocaust survivors in California will no longer have to pay up to 12 percent of their reparation payments in wire transfer fees charged by five banks.

At a news conference Oct. 8, Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) announced that after approximately eight months of negotiations, the banks agreed to waive the fee for transferring monthly payments from Germany and other European countries to individual survivors.

Payments to approximately 20,000 survivors in California average $350 a month, although some receive only $250 per month. The transfer fees ranged from $10 to $30 per payment.

“For many survivors, waiver of the fees makes the difference between living at a subsistence level, or below it,” said David Lash, executive director of Bet Tzedek Legal Services. Lash, together with Holocaust services advocate Michael Freeman, worked closely with Pavley on the project.

Banks participating in the voluntary fee waiver are City National Bank, First Federal Bank of California, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo and World Savings.

Jan Lynn Owen, Washington Mutual western regional manager of government relations, said the fee waiver will apply to her bank’s branches in all 50 states. Darrell R. Brown, Wells Fargo senior vice president, said its branches in 23 Western states will adopt the new policy. Both officials said the fee waiver represents an unprecedented initiative for their banks.

Lash praised the banks as “good corporate citizens, who, especially in this day and age, should be exalted and serve as examples to other banks.”

Pavley said negotiations are continuing with Bank of America and several other banks to adopt the fee waiver policy.

John Gordon, Los Angeles vice president of Child Survivors of the Holocaust, expressed his group’s appreciation to Pavley, Bet Tzedek and the banks.

Similar policies have already been implemented by more than 30 financial institutions in New York, Illinois and Europe. British banks have gone a step further, repaying fees charged over the last 50 years.

Pavley’s 41st Assembly District includes parts of West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. — Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

Tribute to Rabbi Philip Schroit

Nearly 500 people paid tribute to the memory of Rabbi Philip Schroit at a Congregation B’nai David-Judea service on Oct. 6. Schroit, who was the founding rabbi of B’nai David-Judea and a past president of the Southern California Board of Rabbis, died on Aug. 12 at the age of 79. He was buried in Israel. Past and present synagogue leaders were joined by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Rabbi Reuven Hutler, Cantor Leopold Szneer and Schroit’s son, Dr. Alan Schroit, in remembering the rabbi as a friend, leader and one dedicated to Jewish education.

During the 1950s, Schroit worked to establish kosher catering at Los Angeles hotels, and was an early supporter of the new State of Israel. He became a leader in Israel Bond appeals and in sending donations from his congregation. Working with other Orthodox and non-Orthodox rabbis, he helped build the infrastructure necessary to establish Los Angeles as a thriving Jewish community in the post-WWII era.

“He built the foundation upon which all of us stand,” said Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky, the current B’nai David-Judea rabbi.

Recognizing Schroit’s commitment to educating Jewish children, B’nai David announced renovation plans to develop the Rabbi Philip Schroit Youth Education Center. The center will expand the Shabbat morning program for children, and accommodate growing programs for pre-bar and bat mitzvah children and teenagers.

Donations in Schroit’s memory can be sent to: The Rabbi Philip Schroit Youth Education Center, 8906 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035. For more information call (310) 276-9269. — Julie Gruenbaum Fax, Religion Editor

JNF Honors Eight


In a tribute to eight of its members, among them Holocaust survivors, a rabbi and two doctors, the Jewish National Fund will hold a 100th anniversary dinner Sept. 19 at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach. The honorees include:

Miles and Esther Sterling of Aliso Viejo. She is a Holocaust survivor, charter member of Garden Grove’s Jewish senior center and regional chair of JNF’s Sapphire Society. He a member of JNF’s board since 2000.

Joseph and Marjorie Hess have both served in JNF leadership positions. Raised by an English family, Joseph came to England via the Kindertransport, which spirited Jewish children out of Germany prior to World War II. He retired from the U.S. space program.

Longtime members Rabbi Sydney and Eleanor Guthman. He is chaplain of the Long Beach Veterans Administration Medical Center and rabbi emeritus of Long Beach’s Temple Beth Zion Sinai.

Drs. Michael B. and Wendy Groner Strauss. He is a retired Naval Reserve captain, expert in undersea medicine and is a Long Beach orthopedic surgeon. She is a hospital pharmacist, consultant to a community clinic and activist in several national Jewish groups.

Bittersweet Music


Despite its air of celebration, Passover is a bittersweet remembrance, one in which the joy of liberation is marked by the pain of recollection of what we were liberated from and what we lost on the way from Egypt to Eretz Yisrael. Our seder liturgy reflects that ambivalence, although it may require hearing some unfamiliar music to remind us.

Two recently released CDs offer an excellent opportunity to reflect on the delicate balance of this festival. One is largely a reminder of the jubilation we feel at the seder table, yet, because it is specifically a tribute to Yiddish Passovers past and present, it inevitably has a certain appropriate somberness underlying its up-tempo party feel. The other is a collection of songs written about the liberation of Mauthausen; not surprisingly, its joys and sorrows are also mingled.

“Songs My Bubbe Should Have Taught Me, Volume 1: Passover” marks the debut on CD of singer Lori Cahan-Simon. Cahan-Simon has put together a sprightly collection of Yiddish Passover songs, the vast majority of which I haven’t heard before. Those who grew up in the secular socialist Yiddish world — Workmen’s Circle, the Farband and the like — will undoubtedly recognize many of them with great pleasure. She has also assembled a terrific group of musicians, most of them fellow Midwesterners, including fiddle player Steven Greenman, percussionist Alexander Fedoriouk and singer Michael Alpert.

Cahan-Simon has one of those delightful rough-and-ready soprano voices, expressive even when it’s not conventionally pretty and very flexible. She makes a wonderful pair with Alpert’s reedy tenor and my favorite cuts on this charming record are their seven duets. The musicianship is very high caliber, with some beautiful fiddling by Greenman. Best of all, these songs haven’t been recorded to death, so if you are looking to add some unfamiliar spices to your seder table’s musical mix, this is a great place to start.

There’s even a version of the Four Questions I’d never heard before, and a “Dayenu” that veers between big-band swing and Beethoven-on-the-rocks.

The fine Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis was himself a captive in German prisons during WWII. His close friend Iacovos Kambanellis, a poet, was interned in Mauthausen. In 1965, Theodorakis set four of Kambanellis’ poems about that hellish experience to music. The resulting piece has gone through many evolutionary stages. Its most recent incarnation is “Mauthausen Trilogy” (Piano). In this CD, the Greek versions of the poems are sung by the great Maria Farantouri, a frequent collaborator with Theodorakis, the English versions by Nadia Weinberg, the Hebrew by Elinoar Moav Veniadis. The recording closes with a 1995 speech by Simon Wiesenthal delivered at Mauthausen.

There is a family resemblance to be found among the songs of the Mediterranean, and many of Theodorakis’ warmest melodies could just as easily have been written by and for Jewish musicians. Farantouri’s plangent, hoarse contralto is particularly well suited to his laments, finding the perfect balance between the agonized and the triumphant.

Perhaps this is not a CD to play for the children at the seder; they’ll have much more fun with the Cahan-Simon (although they will probably miss some of its musical nuances). But “Mauthausen Trilogy” is powerful stuff and would make my short list of great music about the Shoah.

On the other hand, if you are looking for unfamiliar Pessah music suitable to your own seder table, two recent albums of North African music, imported from France, offer some interesting alternatives: Alain Scetbon’s “Haggada de Pessah — Tunisian Passover” (Ness) and Elie Zerbib’s “Haggada de Pessah — Algerian Passover” (Ness). These two CDs include French narration by the artists putting the musical selections in the larger context of the seder, but you probably won’t need the help (assuming you understand French in the first place). The Scetbon and Zerbib sets have the intimate and slightly rough feel of an evening at a friend’s home. The music on both is quite interesting, very reminiscent of Arabic music from the Maghreb, and will be unfamiliar to most readers. How much does professional slickness matter to you? I would opt for the two French sets for authenticity and kavanah (sincerity); at their best they have a tremendous power.

The above CDs range in price from $16.98 to $19.98.
Exclusive distribution in the United States by Hatikvah Music, www.hatikvahmusic.com  or (323) 655-7083.

Community Briefs


From the “Who Knew?” department comes this interesting tidbit: Lashon hara has a staunch opponent and Judaism an enthusiastic fan in, of all people, the pop musician known as Beck.

In a special music insert of last week’s LA Weekly, the pioneering Grammy-winning post-modernist – best known for genre-blending albums such as “Odelay” and “Midnite Vultures” – was asked to comment on a rumor circulating that linked him to Scientology. Beck answered the question this way:
“I’m not a gossip at all, maybe because I’m a Jew, and Jews believe you shouldn’t talk about people. I’m the same way about stealing – I’m absolutely unable to steal. My family weren’t observant Jews, but I wanted a bar mitzvah, and when I was a teenager I used to go to synagogue and study Torah with a friend who lived in Tujunga.

“If I have children I’ll raise them as Jews, because it’s a great religion. I like to look at things from as many different angles as possible, and one of the things I love about Judaism is that it gives 100 different interpretations of a single line of Torah.”

Celebrating Israel’s50th


The peace process is stalled, pluralism issues remain unresolved and the Netanyahu government is in turmoil. But organizers of a major, star-studded 50th anniversary tribute to Israel later this year are focusing their attention on celebration, not contention. Indeed, a rare in-gathering of major Hollywood celebrities, Jewish communal officals and organizational leaders has come together to mark Israel’s first half century. &’009;

First among the planned events is “America Salutes Israel at 50,” scheduled to take place April 14 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The producers of the Academy and Emmy awards shows, Gil Cates and Don Mischer, respectively, are teaming up for the first time to produce what is promised to be a Hollywood-style, entertainment extravaganza that will be broadcast on CBS April 15 to millions in the United States and around the globe. Hosted by actor Kevin Costner, it will feature other well-known stars — for the moment unannounced. The Jewish Federation and Simon Wiesenthal Center have joined together in the effort to make the event a resounding success.

During a kickoff sales meeting last week at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, speakers did not completely ignore the troubled state of current Israeli politics. Extravagant plans for an official jubilee celebration in Israel have been stymied by lack of funds and internal wrangling.

But in Los Angeles, organizers are more sanguine about the festivities. “We all know what is going on in Israel,” said honorary co-chair Lew Wasserman, former chairman of MCA Universal and a major Jewish philanthropist. “I think it’s vital that people in Israel know that they still have the support of the rest of the world.”

“With all the things that separate the Jewish people, we can use a 50th anniversary to bring us together in celebrating the accomplishments of the Israeli state,” added Herb Gelfand, president of the Federation and the other honorary co-chair of the Los Angeles at 50 celebration.

“It’s important to remind ourselves what Israel has done for world Jewry,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Details of the evening at the Shrine are somewhat sketchy. Costner, who isn’t Jewish, is expected to have a crossover appeal to non-Jews. “M*A*S*H” creator Larry Gelbart is the show’s head writer. The lineup of stars isn’t set yet and won’t be for a while, said Mischer, whose credits include the opening ceremonies for the 1996 Olympic Games and gala events surrounding the hand-over of Hong Kong last year. Mischer said the show’s roster would include major names in film, television and music. “It should be an All-American show.”

Other plans for the two-hour event include: a satellite link-up with Israel, film clips of highlights from Israel’s first 50 years and possibly a pre-taped musical performance from Masada. “We’re going to party for Israel,” added Cates, who has produced seven Academy Awards shows and more than 25 films. “It’s going to be a very emotional event that should make us feel proud to participate and to be Jews.”

Two other Hollywood veterans, Merv Adelson and Marvin Josephson, are overseeing the CBS special and many other events in conjunction with Israel’s 50th. Both were appointed to serve as international co-chairs of the 50th celebration, at the behest of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, but have denied that politics is a factor in their involvement. “I didn’t give a single shekel or dollar to Bibi, the Likud or Labor,” Josephson, chairman of the powerhouse talent and literary agency, ICM, told The Jerusalem Report recently. “I am not Likud or Labor. I’m interested in Israel.”

“I truly believe this will be the most important event of the 50th outside of Israel,” said Adelson, speaking via speaker phone to the Four Seasons gathering. The show transcends politics and “who is on the left and who is on the right,” added the former chairman and CEO of Lorimar Pictures. “This is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the greatest friend America has.”

The overall budget for the event is about $6 million. CBS is paying $3 million for the broadcast, with the other $3 million being raised by the jubilee committee, headed by Adelson and Josephson. Los Angeles’ share is about $1 million, which is expected to be raised by sales of the 6,000 Shrine seats and to the gala that will follow, as well as by sales of ads in the tribute journal. The Wiesenthal and Federation have agreed that any extra dollars raised will be used to send children to Israel.

The tribute book, expected to run over 50 pages, will include decade and “mega-event” pages outlining key moments in Israel’s history, as well as personal eyewitness accounts of people who played a role in that history. The pages will be sponsored at $5,000 per page, with $10,000 as the price for the two-page decade and mega-event spreads. Eyewitness tales of Israel’s first 50 years are being sought.

Tickets to the Shrine event will range from $18 (block sales only), $25 and $100 general seating (available through Ticketmaster) to $1,000 for VIP tickets which will entitle the ticket holders to sit in a special area, and admission to a gala reception after the show. The reception menu will be created by Jewish cookbook author Judy Zeidler in partnership with Terry Bell, former Federation president and general campaign chair. Since the event occurs in the middle of Passover, the meal will include a charoset tasting and a variety of other Pesach entrees and desserts.


Gearing Up for 50


The peace process is stalled, pluralism issues remain unresolved and the Netanyahu government is in turmoil. But organizers of a major, star-studded 50th anniversary tribute to Israel later this year are focusing their attention on celebration, not contention. Indeed, a rare in-gathering of major Hollywood celebrities, Jewish communal officals and organizational leaders has come together to mark Israel’s first half century. &’009;

First among the planned events is “America Salutes Israel at 50,” scheduled to take place April 14 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The producers of the Academy and Emmy awards shows, Gil Cates and Don Mischer, respectively, are teaming up for the first time to produce what is promised to be a Hollywood-style, entertainment extravaganza that will be broadcast on CBS April 15 to millions in the United States and around the globe. Hosted by actor Kevin Costner, it will feature other well-known stars — for the moment unannounced. The Jewish Federation and Simon Wiesenthal Center have joined together in the effort to make the event a resounding success.

During a kickoff sales meeting last week at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, speakers did not completely ignore the troubled state of current Israeli politics. Extravagant plans for an official jubilee celebration in Israel have been stymied by lack of funds and internal wrangling.

But in Los Angeles, organizers are more sanguine about the festivities. “We all know what is going on in Israel,” said honorary co-chair Lew Wasserman, former chairman of MCA Universal and a major Jewish philanthropist. “I think it’s vital that people in Israel know that they still have the support of the rest of the world.”

“With all the things that separate the Jewish people, we can use a 50th anniversary to bring us together in celebrating the accomplishments of the Israeli state,” added Herb Gelfand, president of the Federation and the other honorary co-chair of the Los Angeles at 50 celebration.

“It’s important to remind ourselves what Israel has done for world Jewry,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Details of the evening at the Shrine are somewhat sketchy. Costner, who isn’t Jewish, is expected to have a crossover appeal to non-Jews. “M*A*S*H” creator Larry Gelbart is the show’s head writer. The lineup of stars isn’t set yet and won’t be for a while, said Mischer, whose credits include the opening ceremonies for the 1996 Olympic Games and gala events surrounding the hand-over of Hong Kong last year. Mischer said the show’s roster would include major names in film, television and music. “It should be an All-American show.”

Other plans for the two-hour event include: a satellite link-up with Israel, film clips of highlights from Israel’s first 50 years and possibly a pre-taped musical performance from Masada. “We’re going to party for Israel,” added Cates, who has produced seven Academy Awards shows and more than 25 films. “It’s going to be a very emotional event that should make us feel proud to participate and to be Jews.”

Two other Hollywood veterans, Merv Adelson and Marvin Josephson, are overseeing the CBS special and many other events in conjunction with Israel’s 50th. Both were appointed to serve as international co-chairs of the 50th celebration, at the behest of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, but have denied that politics is a factor in their involvement. “I didn’t give a single shekel or dollar to Bibi, the Likud or Labor,” Josephson, chairman of the powerhouse talent and literary agency, ICM, told The Jerusalem Report recently. “I am not Likud or Labor. I’m interested in Israel.”

“I truly believe this will be the most important event of the 50th outside of Israel,” said Adelson, speaking via speaker phone to the Four Seasons gathering. The show transcends politics and “who is on the left and who is on the right,” added the former chairman and CEO of Lorimar Pictures. “This is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the greatest friend America has.”

The overall budget for the event is about $6 million. CBS is paying $3 million for the broadcast, with the other $3 million being raised by the jubilee committee, headed by Adelson and Josephson. Los Angeles’ share is about $1 million, which is expected to be raised by sales of the 6,000 Shrine seats and to the gala that will follow, as well as by sales of ads in the tribute journal. The Wiesenthal and Federation have agreed that any extra dollars raised will be used to send children to Israel.

The tribute book, expected to run over 50 pages, will include decade and “mega-event” pages outlining key moments in Israel’s history, as well as personal eyewitness accounts of people who played a role in that history. The pages will be sponsored at $5,000 per page, with $10,000 as the price for the two-page decade and mega-event spreads. Eyewitness tales of Israel’s first 50 years are being sought.

Tickets to the Shrine event will range from $18 (block sales only), $25 and $100 general seating (available through Ticketmaster) to $1,000 for VIP tickets which will entitle the ticket holders to sit in a special area, and admission to a gala reception after the show. The reception menu will be created by Jewish cookbook author Judy Zeidler in partnership with Terry Bell, former Federation president and general campaign chair. Since the event occurs in the middle of Passover, the meal will include a charoset tasting and a variety of other Pesach entrees and desserts.