Sunday, April 11, 2021



The 2019 Mensch List

For our 14th annual mensch list, we asked readers to nominate people they know who are doing extraordinary work without receiving deserving credit for...

Saving a Shul From the Woolsey Fire

The Conejo Valley community was still reeling from the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting in Thousand Oaks in November 2018 when the Woolsey Fire...

Helping Navigate Israel Gap Year

After high school, many students take a “gap year” before heading to college.  Jewish students often spend that year in Israel. But to make...

Passion for Sephardim

Ray Mallel is passionate about connecting Sephardic Jews with Sephardic culture. The 82-year-old is the co-founder of the Sephardic Educational Center (SEC), leads operations...

Educating Jews and Non-Jews

Luisa Latham, a Los Angeles native who has been teaching since the 1970s, was born to educate. “I have a tremendous enthusiasm for learning,”...

Giving Kidney Patients Hope

When Gabriel Schenkman was 9 days old, he was diagnosed with hypoplastic kidney disease, meaning his kidneys were smaller than normal. In June 2016,...

Guiding Teens and Their Parents Through Tough Times

At a young-at-heart but wise 80, Dennis Poncher said he doesn’t plan to stop his work anytime soon. He provides shelter for at-risk teens...

Lessons From Her ‘Shanghai Jew’ Father

As a child growing up in New York, Naomi Goldman often heard her father’s wartime stories. A Holocaust survivor, Robert Goldman spoke to Naomi...

Michele Rodri: Double Survivor

Michele Rodri is a powerhouse. The 83-year-old French Holocaust and cancer survivor spends her time engaging in philanthropy, connecting teens with survivors, sharing her...

Providing Cancer Patients With Hope and Support

Advertising executive Meryl Kern had just celebrated her one-year wedding anniversary when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. “Breast cancer does not...

Blowout Birthday Parties for Homeless Children

On the last Thursday of every month, homeless children in Los Angeles have the opportunity to attend something many kids take for granted: a...

Class Pres and Special-Needs Advocate

While Jake Schochet volunteers with a variety of organizations, he said ETTA was his “gateway drug” that led to his involvement with other groups.  Four...

Empowering Homeless Youth With Technology

Donating phones and laptops aren’t the first things people think of when wanting to give to the homeless. But Heather Wilk realized technology was...

Laurie and Steve Keleman: Volunteerism, built for two

Given their parents’ connections to the Jewish community, it makes sense that Laurie and Steve Keleman of Woodland Hills would be active, as well.

Victoria Nodiff-Netanel: Her horses gallop to the emotional rescue

Victoria Nodiff-Netanel recently led two of her miniature horses into a courtyard at the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House, where families of seriously ill children stay free or at low cost while the children receive treatment at local hospitals.

Bruce Rosen: Driven by a desire to combat hunger

Bruce Rosen has worked in investment for more than three decades. On a recent Friday afternoon, he was dressed the part: dark tie, square glasses, Fitbit and suit slacks.

Dr. Justin Zaghi: An ounce of prevention

When Justin Zaghi learned as a senior in college that a type of birth defect was much more prevalent in Nicaragua than in the United States, he wanted to know why.

Sara Zaghi: Helping the homeless through jean therapy

Sara Zaghi, a 19-year-old sophomore at UCLA, is committed to bettering the lives of homeless youth by providing them with something she believes everyone should have: a pair of jeans.

Mel Wacks: A Jewish Hall of Fame — in his living room

To reach the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, exit the 101 Freeway in Woodland Hills and find the home of Mel and Esther Wacks on a sloping street where the only noise is the rumble of the nearby highway. Ring the buzzer and ask for Mel.

Lindsay Schacht: Senior citizens are better together with her

Lindsay Schacht was interested right away when her high school teachers announced that a group helping senior citizens was seeking volunteers.

Barbara Dobkin: Holding open doors to elite universities

Even for the brightest high school students in East L.A.’s low-income areas, Barbara Dobkin says, the idea of attending an Ivy League college may be akin to traveling to Mars.

Ethan Youssefzadeh: Filling a gap in Jewish education

Although he graduated from YULA Boys High School five years ago, Ethan Youssefzadeh is a familiar face to current students on campus — and to teens at several other schools and synagogues on the Westside.

The Mensch List 2016

For our 12th annual mensch list, we once again invited your nominations of extraordinary volunteers in our community, and the outpouring of suggestions of amazing people was overwhelming.

Betty Cohen: At 95, ‘bionic woman’ still going strong

Betty Cohen, a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor, is unsure if all the time she spends telling her story has amounted to anything.

A Taharah Thought for Thanksgiving

Tomorrow, November 24th, 2016, is Thanksgiving in the U.S. Lots of people will be gathering with loved ones, enjoying a favorite meal and special...

Gamliel Institute Celebrates its First Graduating Class

  The Talmud, in Kiddushim 40b, recounts: Once, Rabbi Tarfon and the Elders were reclining in the attic in the house of Nitzah, in Lod....

Understand Grief to Better Offer Your Sympathies

  Do you find that you avoid people who have had a death in the family? Do you feel awkward when you are around them?...

As A Secular Jew, Why Should I Care About Jewish Death Rituals?

When I was growing up in Gunnison, Colorado in the 1950’s, we were secular Jews who traveled by car driving some four hours to...

Offering Spontaneous Comfort at the Hospital

“Hi, my name is Dan. I’m a Spiritual Care Volunteer here at the hospital. I’m stopping by to see how you are; to chat,...

Jewish culture etc festivals in Europe, 2016

<img alt="" src="{assets_94213:{filedir_5}_IMG_4996.JPG} " style="width: 585px; height: 438px;" />   As usual, I am trying to put together <a href="http://jewish-heritage-travel.blogspot.it/2016/02/jewish-culture-etc-festivals-in-europe.html ">a list of as many as possible of...

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