Federation Dinner; Jewish Disabilities Month

March 6, 2019
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ King David Society’s chairs and leaders along with L.A. Federation CEO Jay Sanderson (far left), Israeli Air Force Major General (Ret.) Amos Yadlin (fifth from left) and Federation Board Chair Julie Platt (far right). Photo courtesy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

At the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ annual King David Society dinner on Feb. 20, former head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Military Intelligence Directorate and retired Israeli Air Force Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin spoke about his experience in the military and shared insights into the current state of Israeli security. 

Yadlin provided the attendees at the Beverly Hilton event with stories of his wartime escapades, which included serving as a fighter pilot during the Yom Kippur War and his more than 5,000 flight hours and 250 combat missions.

The King David Society is made up of philanthropists who contribute a minimum of $25,000 to the federation. 

King David Society co-chairs were Karmi Monsher and Jonathan Anschell. Dinner co-chairs were Andrea and Barry Cayton, Jeanne and Leonard Marks, and Allison and Steve Martini. Dinner vice chairs included Sheila and Aaron Leibovic, and Ellen Silverman.

Professor Anthony Futerman (second from right) of the Weizmann Institute of Science discussed his research on a link between Gaucher and Parkinson’s diseases at a Feb. 7 luncheon for supporters of the Israel-based science center. Joining him are (from left) Tom and Sondra Rykoff and Dave Doneson, CEO of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute. Photo by Jani Rabin

Southern California supporters of Israel’s famed Weizmann Institute of Science met Feb. 7 for a luncheon at the restaurant in the Brentwood at Kiowa condominium development in Brentwood. The event was held under the auspices of the Vera and Chaim Weizmann Honor Society.

Janis Rabin, executive director of the Southern California region of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute, introduced speaker Anthony Futerman, a professor in the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Biomolecular Science and past director of the institute’s Center for Neurological Diseases.

The London-born Futerman presented an overview of his team’s research pointing to a possible link between Gaucher disease, an inherited metabolic disorder, and Parkinson’s disease.

— Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

Local Orthodox yeshiva YULA Girls High School held its inaugural STEAM Dream event on Feb. 25, with students, faculty and guests in attendance. Photo courtesy of YULA Girls High School

Six women with careers in various science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) fields were the featured speakers at YULA Girls High School’s inaugural STEAM Dream event on Feb. 25.

The speakers gave the students, faculty and other guests inspirational and informative TED Talks-style presentations describing what they do, how they got there, and how the students can get there too. 

The speakers were Katie Chironis, a senior game designer at video game developer Riot Games; an FBI forensic accountant who declined to be identified; Mika Epstein, a developer at web-host provider Dreamhost; Sharon Stein Merkin, a YULA Girls High alum and epidemiologist at UCLA; Denise Ngai, an engineer from the automobile resource company Edmunds.com; and Alexa Pavlovic, aka DJ Complex Lex, who has performed at turntables across Los Angeles. 

“STEAM Dream was truly an inspiring and female-empowered day, and planning for next year’s event has already begun,” Ethan Piliavin, YULA Girls’ director of educational technology and STEAM, said in an email to the Journal after the event.

From left: Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) Rabbi Meyer May, SWC board member Cheston Mizel, Museum of Tolerance Director Liebe Geft, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell and SWC Rabbi Abraham Cooper tour the Museum of Tolerance. Photo courtesy of the Simon Wiesenthal Center

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell took a break from his diplomatic duties — and the Berlin cold — to visit Southern California, the place he called home before assuming his Berlin post last year.

 On Feb. 22, two days before glamming it up with his partner, Matt Lashey, at Elton John’s Academy Awards after-party, Grenell went on a private tour of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s (SWC) Museum of Tolerance with SWC board member Cheston Mizel, Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Executive Director Rabbi Meyer May; Museum of Tolerance Director Liebe Geft; and SWC Communications Director Michele Alkin.

Throughout the museum’s exhibitions on such subjects as civil rights in America, Nazi Germany and Anne Frank, Grenell spoke with visitors from San Diego, U.S. Army recruits and police officers from Rialto about the museum’s educational messages against hate, prejudice and racism. 

After the tour, Grenell gave an off-the-record briefing to several Jewish community leaders about his work in Germany, developing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and combating anti-Semitism and terrorism.

— Orit Arfa, Contributing Writer

More than 30 young professionals partied the night away at a Jewish National Fund House Party on Feb. 23. Photo courtesy of Neuriel Shore

More than 30 young PRO-ISRAEL professionals, Jewish National Fund (JNF) supporters and JNFuture board members partied the night away at a JNF House Party on Feb. 23 hosted at the home of Neuriel Shore, associate director of the JNF West L.A. region, and his wife, Neelie. 

“It was a chance for local JNF Los Angeles lay leaders and donors to mix and mingle in a more intimate, organic setting rather than at a traditional event,” Neuriel Shore said. 

The gathering highlighted JNF’s Go North strategic initiative, which aims to bring 300,000 people to live in the northern region of Israel.

From left: ETTA client Lexi Aaron, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles volunteers Layla and Reuven Hellman and ETTA client Shaina Barnett celebrate Jewish Disabilities Awareness Inclusion Month. Photo by Harvey Farr Photography

More than 50 clients, family members and volunteers associated with the ETTA organization joined with staff of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles at ETTA’s offices on Feb. 24 to make no-sew blankets as part of Jewish Disabilities Awareness Inclusion Month.

The blankets will be donated to residents at the Los Angeles Jewish Home.  

ETTA is the largest social service organization in Southern California serving the needs of Jewish adults with disabilities. Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month has been held in February for the past decade to raise awareness around inclusion of people with disabilities and mental health conditions. provides free legal services for low-income individuals and families in Los Angeles.

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