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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Movers & Shakers: Wells for Niger, Dems Fundraiser, AJU ‘Promise’

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Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti and philanthropist Stanley Black were among about 200 people on Sept. 23 who celebrated the 10th anniversary of Wells Bring Hope, a Los Angeles nonprofit that works to bring clean drinking water to villages in the West African nation of Niger.

Wells Bring Hope was founded in 2008 by Bel Air resident Barbara Goldberg, who was inspired by Garcetti’s photographs showing the plight of women and girls in West Africa who walk miles every day for water. The organization supports the drilling of wells in Niger, among the poorest countries in the world, in partnership with World Vision, an international Christian organization, and with Panda Restaurant Group, which operates Panda Express. The corporate sponsor underwrites Wells Bring Hope’s operating expenses, allowing 100 percent of donations to fund wells, according to the organization’s website.

The more than $200,000 raised during the event, held at Black’s home, will fund close to 40 wells, adding to the more than 500 wells the organization has drilled the past 10 years, Goldberg said. One well costs $5,600, serves a village of about 1,000 people and is a perpetual source of water, she said. 

“It’s an endless supply of water,” Goldberg said. 

Black has been a supporter of Wells Bring Hope for six years and has hosted the group’s annual fundraiser the past five years. 

Goldberg said the organization is a model of collaboration between different religious groups. It was founded by a Jew (herself); inspired by an agnostic (Garcetti); serves Muslims (the people of Niger); and partners with Christians (World Vision) and Buddhists (Panda Restaurant Group co-founder Andrew Cherng).

“Is that not the most ecumenical nonprofit you can imagine?” Goldberg said.

In addition to raising money for Wells Bring Hope, the event honored Black for his years of philanthropic work and support of organizations throughout Los Angeles. L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz, who was among the attendees, presented a City Council declaration making Sept. 23 “Stanley Black Day.” 

Organizations supported by Black, who was born and raised in Los Angeles and has enjoyed a successful real estate career, include Los Angeles ORT College, Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Los Angeles Jewish Home.

Sukey Roth, Garcetti’s wife, also attended the event. The two are the parents of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was not in attendance but sent a congratulatory video. Also attending were businessman and philanthropist David Delrahim and his family. Delrahim is a board member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Jewish National Fund and is a supporter of Wells Bring Hope.

Additional attendees included Gilda and Robert
Marx
; Bob and Leslie Spivak; Ronnie Kassorla; photographer Michael Becker; Madeline Gussman; and Bernardo Puccio and Orin Kennedy, whose love story is the subject of the upcoming documentary “An Ordi-
nary Couple.”

Goldberg said the event underscored how far the organization has come the past decade.

“The highlight was reaching a goal of 500 wells in 10 years, serving over half-a-million people, bringing safe water to them,” Goldberg said. “We were cele-
brating that.”


From left: Before the staging of “The Promise: A Zeisl Concert,” E. Randol Schoenberg, Barbara Zeisl Schoenberg, Amielle Zemach and Mark Kligman participated in a Q-and-A about the historic production at American Jewish University’s Gindi Auditorium.

“The Promise: A Zeisl Concert,” a ballet about the biblical love story of Rachel and Jacob, was staged on Aug. 26 at American Jewish University’s Gindi Auditorium.  

The production originally was commissioned in 1954 by what was then the University of Judaism, and created by its Head of Theater Arts Benjamin Zemach and Austrian émigré composer Erich Zeisl. Due to a lack of funds, however, the production was not performed during that period.

The version performed at AJU featured the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony (LAJS) and its Artistic Director Noreen Green, along with members of Los Angeles modern dance company Bodytraffic and actor Fred Melamed as narrator.

The evening kicked off with Mark Kligman, a professor and chair of ethnomusicology at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, conducting a Q-and-A with attorney E. Randol Schoenberg, Zeisl’s grandson; Barbara Zeisl Schoenberg, Zeisl’s daughter; and Amielle Zemach, the daughter of Benjamin Zemach. The speakers explored the historic relationship between Zemach and Zeisl and the return of the ballet to its originally intended home at the AJU after nearly 60 years.

LAJS, the UCLA Lowell Milken Fund for American Jewish Music and AJU’s Whizin Center organized the production.


From left: Jimmy Kimmel, DJ Khaled and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti headlined “1 Night, $1 Million, 10 States, 100s of Victories,” a fundraiser for the Democratic parties in 10 states.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and comedian Jimmy Kimmel are using their name recognition and chemistry to bolster the Democratic Party in the upcoming midterm elections.

On Sept. 25 at the Avalon Hollywood club, the two headlined “1 Night, $1 Million, 10 States, 100s of Victories,”
which sought to raise $1 million for Democratic parties in 10 states, with
each receiving $100,000 to elect Democratic governors and legislators this November.

“We are taking a unique and strategic approach to these midterms,” Garcetti
said in a statement. “State Democratic parties are where it all comes together — they’re working to flip Congress, and secure victories in 2020 and beyond by winning state legislative seats and registering voters,”

Ultimately, the event raised $1.5 million for the state Democratic parties of California, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 

“Nothing is more important than taking back control of this country,” Kimmel said.

According to Yusef Robb, a senior adviser to Garcetti and the Democratic Midterm Victory Fund, which hosted the event, there were 800 attendees. Tickets ranged from $100 to $100,000.

Garcetti, who is rumored to be considering a 2020 presidential run, has Kimmel’s support. “I am here because I will go anywhere he asks me to go,” Kimmel said. “He’s a great mayor and a great person.”

When Garcetti took the stage, chants of “Eric 2020” filled the space, prompting him to try to quiet the audience so it could listen to remarks from state Democratic leaders.

Eric Bauman, chair of the California Democratic Party, was among the attendees.

A performance by DJ Khaled, who performed a medley of hip-hop hits, closed out the evening.

When Khaled ran late getting started, Garcetti and Kimmel bantered to kill time. Garcetti asked who in the
crowd was single, to which Kimmel added:  “Pair up and make little baby Democrats.” 


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