Israel Bonds Women’s Division of Los Angeles honored three Israel Bonds investors for their commitment to the Jewish state during its annual Golda Meir Luncheon on March 31 at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills.
The event recognized Melanie Ryngler with the Golda Meir Award and Brigitte Medvin and Myrtle Sitowitz with the Lion of Judah Award. The gathering brought together a sold-out crowd of more than 300 supporters and advocates of Israel, from all facets of the Jewish community.
The featured guest speaker, Gideon Raff, an Emmy Award-winning executive producer of the Showtime series “Homeland,” was recognized with a David Ben-Gurion Award for sharing Israeli culture with the world.
Georgette Joffe, Laura Stein and Leigh Stein co-chaired the gala with L.A. Women’s Division Chair Jean Friedman and Israel Bonds L.A. Chair Gina Raphael.
“This event and others like it show why it is so important to bring together supporters of Israel from all around the world and from all walks of life,” Raphael said. “By bringing together longtime supporters and new Israel Bonds investors, we’ve succeeded in securing more investments than at any previous Golda Meir Luncheon.”
Over $9 million of Israel Bonds investments and indications to invest were made at the reception.
“We were thrilled to welcome so many investors from the Los Angeles community to the annual Golda Meir Luncheon, who demonstrated the depth and breadth of their commitment to a thriving Israel,” said Israel Bonds Regional Director Erez Goldman.
The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony (LAJS) celebrated its 25th anniversary on April 7 with a gala and concert at American Jewish University that featured highlights from the orchestra’s signature repertoire.
The evening, which drew more than 350 people, featured Brad Pomerance as master of ceremonies and included performances by longtime friend of the LAJS, actress Tovah Feldshuh, sopranos Hila Plitmann and Rachel Reich, and pianist-composer Emily Bear.
The evening honored LAJS founders Dr. Richard Merkin, Dr. Ian Drew, Noreen Green and Mark Kashper with an award presented by former California Gov. Gray Davis.
Event co-chairs were Janet Schulman and Drew. Honorary co-chairs were Michael and Lori Milken and and his late wife, Barbara.
The LAJS was founded in 1994 under the leadership of Green, the group’s artistic director and conductor. It is the only symphony orchestra outside of Israel dedicated to the performance and preservation of orchestral works of distinction that explore Jewish culture, heritage and experience.
“This celebration is a dream come true for me,” Green said. “It has been a joy to share great Jewish music with our community for the past 25 years, and I look forward to continuing the tradition for many years to come.”
Elan Carr was sworn in as United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism on April 11 in Washington, D.C.
The ceremony was held in the Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room at the U.S. State Department, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo administering the oath of office while Carr placed his hand on a Bible held by his wife, Dahlia.
Carr was appointed to the position in February. He previously served as a deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County, where he prosecuted violent crimes for more than a decade. The son of Iraqi-Jewish refugees, he is an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and in 2003–2004 was deployed to Iraq.
Fayge Yemini, co-director of the Chabad Israel Center in Los Angeles, attended the ceremony. According to the organization, Carr’s mother, Carmella Pardo, and stepfather, Nissan Pardo, are supporters of the Chabad Israel Center, and the Carrs regularly attend events and programs there with their children.
Sinai Temple Men’s CLUB HELD ITS 32nd annual Burning Bush gala on April 7 and honored Sinai Temple members Sharona and Daniel Nazarian and Julie and Michael Silberstein.
“The Burning Bush Awards are presented annually to deserving men and women of the Sinai community who represent Jewish values, support of Israel and a commitment to giving back and tikkun olam,” a Sinai Temple statement said. “This year’s recipients are pillars of Sinai Temple, represent strength in community and are deeply defined by their Jewish identities.”
Sinai Temple Senior Rabbi David Wolpe presented both awards. He spoke of the Nazarians’ commitment to family and the Silbersteins’ embodiment of community, and recognized the couples’ leadership at Sinai Temple and beyond.
The evening also highlighted and raised funds for the Emergency Volunteers Project (EVP), a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that trains and deploys U.S. firefighters to combat fires and crises in Israel. Approximately 20 firefighters joined Sinai Temple members and guests for the gala, and many of them spoke of their love and commitment to the State of Israel.
The event, which drew more than 300 attendees, raised over $80,000 for EVP.
Speakers were Acting Israeli Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Eitan Weiss, EVP founder and Director Adi Zahavi and EVP firefighters from Los Angeles.
Sinai Men’s Club members Faranak Rostamian and Shimon Ben-Poorat co-chaired the gala along with acting Men’s Club President Farshad Rafii.
The Simon Wiesenthal center and its museum of tolerance held its annual Tribute Dinner on April 10 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, honoring Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Robert Iger and Rabbi Jeffrey S. Myers of the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.
Iger received the Center’s Humanitarian Award. Myers, who tried to shield his congregants during the Oct. 27 massacre at his synagogue in which 11 people were killed, received the Center’s Medal of Honor.
In his address to the gathering, Rabbi Marvin Hier, who founded the Wiesenthal Center in 1993, pointed out that between Brexit, unseasonable cold weather and America “paralyzed by an inability to have honest debates without rancor or malice … it seems our whole world has gone off the tracks.” Hier also cited the growing chasm between the country’s rich and poor, as well as the increasing incidents of anti-Semitism.
Iger, in his remarks, also noted that “the work of the Wiesenthal Center has never been more important. … What has happened to our country?”
TV talk show host Jimmy Kimmel lightened the mood with some well-placed quips.
Enough studio heads served as banquet chairs to form a minyan — including Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ronald O. Perelman, Haim Saban and Casey Wasserman — but few, if any, of them attended.
The event raised $3.6 million.
— Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
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