Rescuers Without Borders, StandWithUs

January 2, 2019
From left: Israeli Knesset Member Ayelet Shaked presented Natalie Levy Sopinsky an Award for Excellence in recognition of her work with Rescuers Without Borders. Photo courtesy of Natalie Levy Sopinsky

Representatives of Rescuers Without Borders (RWB – (formerly Hatzalah Yehuda and Shomron), an Israeli organization that provides emergency response and first aid to the communities of Judea and Samaria, joined Knesset Member Ayelet Shaked for a community gathering at Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills on Nov. 29. 

Attending the event were RWB Development Director Natalie Levy Sopinsky, Beth Jacob President Jess Dolgin, Beth Jacob Senior Rabbi Kalman Topp, Arutz Sheva’s Yoni Kempinski, and Beverly Hills Mayor Julian Gold, who was honored at the event for the efforts of the Beverly Hills City Council to counter the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. 

“It is precisely thanks to strong moral leaders like Mayor Gold that we have been winning in our struggle against BDS,” Shaked said.

Shaked presented Sopinsky, who grew up in Delaware but now lives in Susya in Hebron, with an award for excellence in recognition of RWB’s work as emergency responders.

Addressing the audience of more than 800 people, Sopinsky said, “You come and visit your children, and when something happens, we are the ones who come to your aid.” 

During her visit to Los Angeles, Sopinsky visited with members of Kehillat Israel in Pacific Palisades, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles and the women’s division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

RWB has more than 800 volunteer first-responders trained by Magen David Adom, the Israeli Red Cross, to be on the scene and render aid within minutes. Some RWB members also have accompanied Magen David Adom staff to help victims of disasters in other countries.

From left: Susan Pekarovics, Chanie Friedman, Ildiko Nagy, Attila Beres, Hungarian Consul General Támas Széles and Bais Naftoli President Andrew Friedman enjoy at Chanukah party at Bel Air Crest Clubhouse. Photo courtesy of Andrew Friedman

Consul General of Hungary in Los Angeles Tamás Széles and Los Angeles attorney and Congregation Bais Naftoli President Andrew Friedman held a Hanukkah party at Bel Air Crest Clubhouse on Dec. 8.

The festivities included a menorah lighting by Cantor Jance Weberman. 

The program also included renditions of holiday songs by singer Rosalie von Wendt and the Los Angeles Jewish Community Children’s Choir.

From left: Dr. Paul Finkel and Thousand Oaks City Council members Al Adam and Claudia Bill-de la Pena presenting a commendation from the city to Dr. Finkel at a gala. Photo courtesy of Ross Goldberg

Dr. Paul Finkel was honored at the New West Symphony League’s Dec. 7 gala at the Hyatt Regency Westlake for his longtime philanthropic support and two-term chairmanship of the symphony’s board of directors.

As an internist and nephrology subspecialist, Finkel served with the U.S. Air Force in the Vietnam War, was a faculty member of UCLA Medical School and practiced medicine at Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks and in private practice before retiring in 2014.

From left: AMIT Children L.A. Council Vice Chair Evan Roklen, AMIT Western Region Vice President Sandra Roklen, AMIT L.A. Council Chair Evan Green, three AMIT students and L.A. Council Member Joel Levine raising awareness about the work of AMIT. Photo courtesy of AMIT Children

The Los Angeles Leadership Council of education organization AMIT Children held a gathering on Nov. 20 featuring AMIT students from Israel that drew more than 30 community members to the home of Shari and Jeff Fishman.

“You could tell that everyone in the room was touched and inspired by the work AMIT is doing to create the future leaders of Israel,” said Evan Green, chair of the AMIT L.A. Leadership Council.

With an innovative approach, the Israel-based AMIT seeks to revolutionize the way Israeli youth are being educated to ensure their successful integration into society.

During the event, the Israeli students shared their stories and highlighted their experiences at AMIT schools, particularly the impact the organization’s staff, students and curriculum have had on their lives.

From left: StandWithUs (SWU) CEO Roz Rothstein; Bruce and Ellie Lederman; Frank Luntz; Justin Feldman and Sarah Tagger; aviator Elgen Long; SWU honorees Helen and Haim Dayan; philanthropists Debbie and Naty Saidoff; SWU co-founder Esther Renzer and comedian Elon Gold attended the SWU Festival of Lights gala. Photo by Jonah Light Photography

The pro-Israel education and advocacy organization StandWithUs celebrated its 17th year during its annual Festival of Lights gala on Dec. 9 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. 

The event raised nearly $4 million, which will go toward the organization’s $12 million budget for 2019. Naty and Debbie Saidoff and Bruce and Ellie Lederman supported the gala so that all the monies raised went into programming. 

The gala honored board members and philanthropists Helen and Haim Dayan, “whose humble and quiet leadership continues to build and sustain important Jewish organizations and schools,” the StandWithUs website says.

Pollster and political consultant Frank Luntz was the keynote speaker.   

“Leaders of Tomorrow” recipients Justin Feldman and Sarah Tagger explained how they utilized StandWithUs resources to confront boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) efforts on their campuses.

The gala also recognized aviator Elgen Long, 91, the last surviving member of Alaska Airlines’ clandestine seven-day mission that brought nearly 2,000 Jews from Yemen to Israel in 1949. Their daring flights were the precursor to Operation Magic Carpet, which rescued approximately 45,000 Yemenite Jews. 

Four students told how the StandWithUs curriculum for middle schools helped them form a love for Israel. 

Film producer Robert Lantos, who shot the only movie filmed at Treblinka, spoke of the deception of the BDS campaign and the importance of Holocaust remembrance. 

Los Angeles acting Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Eitan Weiss opened the gala. Comedian Elon Gold performed. Alon Miller and Rabbi Cantor Alison Wissot sang the Israeli and American national anthems. Israeli singer Hagit Yaso sang “Jerusalem of Gold.” David Kates’ orchestra performed.

Want to be in Movers & Shakers? Send us your highlights, events, honors and simchas. Email ryant@jewishjournal.com.

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