The Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles held its annual sponsors luncheon on June 13 at the Beverly Hilton. The festival, which bills itself as the largest showcase of Israeli films in the U.S., used the luncheon to kick off its 33rd festival, which is set to run Nov. 12-26.
Meir Fenigstein, founder and executive director of the festival, addressed the crowd of more than 150 attendees, saying, “It is hard to believe I started this labor of love 33 years ago. Over these many years, I’ve seen the festival grow from just a few films on a single screen to the amazing celebration it has become now.”
During the luncheon, the festival presented Israeli television executive, producer and CEO of Keshet Media Group Avi Nir with the 2019 Israel Film Festival Visionary Award. Nir is known for producing such hit shows as “Homeland,” “Tyrant” and “The A Word.”
Israeli filmmaker Guy Nattiv received the 2019 Israel Film Festival Achievement in Film Award, which was presented to him by his wife, actress Jaime Ray Newman. Born and raised in Tel Aviv, Nattiv has directed such acclaimed Israeli films as “Strangers” and “The Flood.” His first American short film, “Skin,” won the 2019 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short.
Legendary director Roger Corman was recognized with the 2019 Israel Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award. Corman has produced and directed more than 500 films including “Little Shop of Horrors,” “House of Usher” and “The Wild Angels.” Corman has also been credited for discovering Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Diane Ladd, Peter Bogdanovich, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard and James Cameron.
In his acceptance speech, Corman said, “I think the Israeli Film Festival is important for a number of reasons. First, its mission of showing Israeli films to Hollywood and to the world. But in addition to spreading the information on Israeli films, it shows the world the culture of Israel, and I think one of the greatest things that filmmakers can do is to show the culture of their countries and way of living to the world so that it fulfills part of a mission of bringing the world together.”
Attendees included director Joe Dante, who presented to Corman; Rick Rosen, founding partner at William Morris Endeavor and 33rd Israel Film Festival Chairman; actress Lainie Kazan; and comedian Elon Gold, who served as the master of ceremonies.
— Shawn Rodgers, Contributing Writer
Marvin Schotland, president and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, was conferred a doctor of humane letters honoris causa degree by American Jewish University (AJU) during its 69th commencement ceremony, held May 19 at AJU.
Schotland’s honorary doctorate coincided with his 30th anniversary leading the Jewish Community Foundation, which manages charitable assets for more than 1,300 families.
Presenting Schotland with his degree, AJU President Jeffrey Herbst said, “You have led a remarkable increase in resources that are devoted to Jewish philanthropy. You have led continual reinventions of the foundation to reflect the changing nature of problems in our society and the evolving role for the Jewish community. And you have [written and] spoken out about and devoted resources to issues that extend beyond the Jewish community and affect us all.”
Accepting the degree, Schotland said, “I am honored and humbled by this unexpected recognition from American Jewish University. Whatever my accomplishments, they would not have been possible without the tireless contributions and support of the foundation lay leaders and staff with whom I’ve been privileged to work these past three decades, my loving family, and our community of donors blessed with both compassionate hearts and the resources to act.”
Rabbi Bill Kaplan, executive director of the Shalom Institute; Barbi Weinberg, founding president and chairman emerita at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and Paul Root Wolpe, research chair in Jewish bioethics and director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University, were also recognized during the ceremony. Wolpe and Weinberg received honorary degrees and Kaplan was given the Mickey Weiss Award for Outstanding Alumni.
Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA) held its 24th annual Golf Classic on May 20, honoring longtime supporter Karl Sussman.
The tournament brought together more than 140 players and supporters at the Valencia Country Club. Funds raised will enable underserved children to attend the agency’s camp, Camp Bob Waldorf (CBW), for free this summer.
This year, the organization raised more than $375,000, an agency record, giving more than 1,200 youth-in-need a camp experience. The event’s top sponsor, City National Bank, is committed to giving back to low-income families, according to JBBBSLA.
Sussman has been involved with JBBBSLA and CBW for more than 55 years. From mentoring six “Little Brothers,” to serving on the board of directors since 1973, Sussman has been a supporter of the agency in numerous ways. He has dedicated his life to helping those in need, JBBBSLA said.
Camp Bob Waldorf Director Zach Lasker said he was thrilled with the community support of this year’s Golf Classic.
“Camp is a safe space where kids discover their unique abilities, form life-lasting friendships, build self-confidence and unplug in the outdoors,” Lasker said. “Our community embraces the responsibility to ensure that kids from underserved families can access this transformative experience. The men and women joining us embody the vision, generosity, and spirit that lifts kids up on their journey.”
Owned and operated by JBBBSLA, Camp Bob Waldorf is a nondenominational residential camp located on 112 acres in the Verdugo Mountains of Glendale. Since 1938, the camp has helped more than 60,000 underserved children, offering youth development activities for children as young as 9 and providing services to them through the age of 17 and beyond.
On June 16, more than 500 Sinai Temple members and supporters gathered to honor President Angela Maddahi for her two years of dedicated service and leadership.
The evening also celebrated the contributions of 2019 Stronger Together Ambassadors Beatrice and Sean Dayani, who are Sinai Temple Religious School parents; and Cici and Dr. David Hallegua, who are Sinai Akiba Academy parents.
The theme of the evening was “Stronger Together,” and the gala’s “overwhelming feeling of unity brought the community together as one,” a Sinai Temple statement said.
Program highlights included musical performances by Sinai Temple Cantor Marcus Feldman; Persian-American musician Chloe Pourmorady; and a children’s choir composed of both religious school and Sinai Akiba students.
The gala raised more than $400,000 in support of Sinai Temple and was co-chaired by Roz and Abner Goldstine; Shirin and Sam Parsi, Anna and Bill Tenenblatt and Helen Sztrigler Weston and Richard Weston.
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