April 19, 2001

Word to the WIZO

When Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) throws a gala, stand back! The action at WIZO’s Dor L’Dor Gala Dinner, following hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction featuring paintings and sculptures by Israeli artists, moved inside the St. Regis Hotel’s ballroom for a night of honors.

Honored at the event, which was emceed by actress Joan Van Ark of “Knots Landing” fame — was WIZO Woman of the Year Gutta Spiwak, an active WIZO member celebrating her 80th birthday this year whose children are also very involved with the international outreach organization. She lives in Colombia.

“We are celebrating her love for the organization,” said Malka Fogel, vice president of WIZO U.S.A.

The funds raised at the WIZO L.A. gala go toward WIZO’s 800 projects assisting women, babies and children, new immigrants and seniors in Israel, and supporting programs involving domestic abuse, social centers, education, absorption, and legal advice.

Today, WIZO has 250,000 volunteer members in 50 Federations all over the world and, since its humble beginnings in Great Britain in 1920, has become a nongovernmental organization recognized by the United Nations. WIZO has consulted ECOSOC and UNICEF and is also represented in bodies such as the World Zionist Organization, World Jewish Congress, the International Alliance of Women and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Performing at the event was the Children of the World Choir, featuring students of various religions and backgrounds.

The Circuit sat alongside C.H.A.I. Center founder Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz and his wife, Olivia, who praised the work that WIZO is doing and the amazing accomplishments of these Jewish women, as well as charming movie costume designer Carolyn Gross, daughter of Annie Gross, vice chairperson of WIZO L.A.

Chairing the evening were Honorary Chairperson Hanna Rubinstein, Gala Chairperson Sarita Spiwak, and Dinner Co-Chairpersons Dina Leeds, Orly Maciborski, Shirley Sherman and Miriam Wizman. And unlike most banquets, the gala didn’t wind down; it wound up! Eddie Grimberg and his Orchestra concocted a mix of disco, Israeli and Hebrew numbers that infected attendees with a case of Saturday night fever. If the Circuit didn’t know better, it could have mistaken the whole scene for a Sephardic wedding!

For more information on WIZO, call (323) 655-6886 or go to www.wizo.org.

Wertman’s Circle

Adlai Wertman has been elected president and CEO of Chrysalis, which is dedicated to helping economically disadvantaged and homeless individuals become self-sufficient through employment opportunities. Wertman has previously served on the nonprofit organization’s board of directors, and as its chairman of the board.

Festival Festivities

The 17th Israel Film Festival’s founder and director, Meir Fenigstein, reports that more than 12,000 people viewed more than 35 new features, documentaries, television installments and student films between March 27 and April 5. Audience favorites included Joseph Cedar’s “Time of Favor” and Yankul Goldwasser’s “Reaching for Heaven.” Laemmle’s Music Hall and Town Center 5 were the proud hosts of the festival.

Telushkin Rides Again

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin returned to the pulpit last week at Synagogue for the Performing Arts after a yearlong sabbatical. In addition to his rabbinical work, Telushkin has written many books, along with episodes of “The Practice” and “Touched by an Angel.”

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Milken Community High School 10th-grader LuAnne Parker Tyzzer was sponsored by 92-year-old Judge Pauline Nightingale for a full tuition scholarship at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Tyzzer was introduced at the annual luncheon of the Jewish Professional Women’s Club, which raises funds for the Kate Cranon Scholarship Fund at Hebrew University. Tyzzer participated on an American-Israeli student exchange program through her school.

Craig Keilburger, the 17-year-old founder of “Free the Children,” spoke at Santa Monica High School. At age 12, the Canadian Keilburger formed Free the Children, an international nonprofit youth activist organization that has more than 5,000 members and operates on an annual administrative budget of $400,000 a year. Keilburger has emerged as a leading spokesman against child slave labor.

Oren Yoel Kleinman of Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies and Rachel Chaia Zell of Palisades High School placed in the Sixth Annual Public Health Foundation Enterprises Essay Contest. Kleinman won the Milton Roemer Distinguished Merit Award for his essay “Teen Suicide: How Can We Prevent It?” Zell won first prize for her essay, “Suicide: It’s Not the Way Out.” Kleinman and Zell were honored at the organization’s Awards Luncheon, held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Fifteen-year-old violin prodigy David Lisker, a student of Itzhak Perlman, performed Brahms, Beethoven, and Saint-Saens at the University of Judaism for UJ’s University Women’s Young Artists Concert Series.

Smells Like More Teen Spirit

Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Northridge celebrated Pesach with “Flight to Freedom,” a retelling of Exodus with song and dance. Heschel Day School’s middle-school students recently culminated three years of contact with A.D. Gordon School in Tel Aviv as part of the L.A.-Tel Aviv Partnership’s school-twinning program. When 16 of Heschel’s Israeli counterparts from Gordon visited Los Angeles last month, the two schools collaborated on “Renewing the Dream,” an original dramatic presentation expressing the desires and ambitions of youth from both countries. The L.A.-Tel Aviv Partnership, a beneficiary agency of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, recently lobbied for and helped bring to fruition the first-ever revenue-bond float in Tel Aviv. The Partnership’s Economic Initiatives Committee worked on the project revenue municipal bond, which will finance the construction of a parking structure in downtown Tel Aviv’s busy Hambima Center. The Spiegel Family Foundation and the Milken Family Foundation also supported the effort.

“This is a major breakthrough to liberate cities from the command and control of central government,” said Glenn Yago, Economic Initiatives co-chair and director of Capital Studies for the Milken Institute. “It opens new channels of capital that are private and independent to finance economic development for the first time in the history of the state. It empowers mayors and cities to finance their own development.”

ABBA-solutely Fabulous

More than 350 guests took a chance on a special performance of the ABBA-marinated musical “Mamma Mia” at the Shubert Theatre and the accompanying reception at the Century Plaza Hotel. The evening raised nearly $100,000 to support Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services and its array of programs for abused, neglected and abandoned children and was organized by Vista Del Mar’s President’s Club, a group of young professionals who volunteer on behalf of the facility.

Bet Tzedek Lands B-52’s at Museum of Flying

It’s confirmed: Randall Kaplan, founder and organizer of Bet Tzedek’s Justice Ball, contacted the Circuit to tell us that quirky pop staple the B-52’s will be performing at this year’s Justice Ball at the Museum of Flying on Saturday, July 14. Keep your eyes on these pages in the coming weeks for more info.

Wonder Boy

Finally, congratulations to author Michael Chabon, whom we recently profiled during his book tour for “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.” Chabon won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction this week for his epic tale of Jewish cartoonists during the golden age of comic books.

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