Lobby Day, Beverly Fairfax Event, SWU Conference

August 28, 2019
Members of California Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism pose in front of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office at the California State Capitol on August 20.

Members of the California Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC-CA) visited Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office at the California State Capitol on Aug. 20 as part of the organization’s annual lobby day.

More than 200 Reform Jews from around the state held more than 50 meetings with California lawmakers on a host of issues, including affordable housing. 

Participating Los Angeles clergy included Temple Isaiah Rabbi Dara Frimmer, Temple Israel of Hollywood Rabbi Jocee Hudson and Kol Tikvah Rabbi Jon Hanish.

The group met with Sen. Ben Allen, chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, and Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, vice chair of the state’s Jewish caucus. Both Allen and Gabriel are from Los Angeles and are two of the 16 legislators in the state’s Jewish caucus, which, according to its website, aims to be a “Jewish voice for justice, equality and progress.” 

According to Arno Rosenfeld, digital communications manager at the RAC, Allen and Gabriel were eager to speak with those who traveled to Sacramento for lobby day.

“They offered an interesting perspective on the importance of Jews in California showing up to lobby and advocate on a broad range of issues, and how that helps build coalitions and relationships with other communities and groups of lawmakers that, in turn, help combat anti-Semitism in the state,” Rosenfeld said.

From left, top row: Meshi Benezri, Gabrielle Lasry, Kate Chavez, Eli Safaie-Kia, Kian Mirshokri and Gavriel Gershov and (from left, bottom row) Maya Silberstein and Priel Nikoo participated in StandWithUs (SWU) conferences for high school interns and college Emerson Fellows.

Approximately 200 student leaders arrived in Los Angeles from cities throughout the United States and Canada to participate in StandWithUs (SWU) conferences for high school interns and SWU college Emerson Fellows, from Aug. 5-15.  

The students increased their knowledge and organizational skills so they can begin their fall semesters with strength, according to the pro-Israel education organization.

The SWU Emerson Fellows include Chloe Levian of Santa Monica College, Justin Feldman of UCLA and Zohar Rabinovich of USC.

During the conferences, SWU high school and campus professionals reviewed Israel’s history, provided updates of events in the Middle East and reviewed the full variety of narratives that students will hear at their high schools and college campuses.  Students learned how to distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel and when it crosses the line into anti-Semitism. The students’ legal rights were reviewed and they heard how the SWU Saidoff Legal Department can help them with legal issues at their schools and in their communities. They also learned about SWU’s newest initiative, the StandWithUs Center for Combating Anti-Semitismand its work to educate and inform, and in identifying and confronting hatred.

SWU educator Hussein Aboubakr shared his harrowing story of being jailed and tortured in Egypt for daring to learn about Israel and Jews, and how he found asylum in the U.S. and at SWU. There were sessions on identifying and combating the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Students also had fun, according to SWU. They danced, sang and celebrated their love for Israel with their new network of pro-Israel friends.  

“They will return to their schools and communities energized to begin inspiring their friends about Israel and combating anti-Semitism and anti-Israel rhetoric,” SWU said.

From left: Jeffrey Gross, Peter Fitzgerald, Gina Raphael, Dr. Dan Katz, Rebecca Jonah and Dr. Eyal Zimlichman of Sheba Medical Center attend a Friends of Sheba Medical Center happy hour in Beverly Hills.

Gina Raphael and Jeffrey Gross of Mickey Fine Pharmacy sponsored Friends of Sheba Medical Center’s Medicine and Innovation Happy Hour at Porta Via in Beverly Hills on Aug. 21.

Event chairs Rebecca Jonah and Dr. Dan Katz convened an exclusive group of
60 young physicians and venture capitalists for an evening of networking, cocktails and learning about Sheba Medical Center’s ARC Innovation Program from
Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, chief innovation officer at Sheba, the largest hospital in Israel.

Chocolate truffle save-the-date candies were given to everyone in attendance
for Friends of Sheba Medical Center’s annual gala which will be held on Nov. 3 at the Beverly Wilshire hotel.

A Los Angeles-based nonprofit, Friends of Sheba Medical Center raises funds and awareness for Sheba in Israel, which was named one of the 10 best hospitals in the world by Newsweek magazine.

“We are dedicated to raising awareness and philanthropic support for Sheba Medical Center’s compassionate care, cutting-edge research and comprehensive educational training,” the Friends of Sheba Medical Center website says.

L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz (center) attended a ceremony celebrating Beverly-Fairfax becoming a historic district.

Los Angeles City Councilmemmber Paul Koretz attended a ceremony celebrating the Beverly Fairfax area becoming a historic district. 

The Aug. 11 event marked the unveiling of a street sign at 340 N. Sierra Bonita Ave. declaring the Beverly Fairfax area a historic district.

The Beverly Fairfax district, which falls in Koretz’s fifth council district, was formally listed in the National Register of Historical Places, an official federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture, on Oct. 4, 2018.

Longtime Beverly Fairfax resident Dale Kendall took part in the grassroots effort, dubbed Save Beverly Fairfax, to gain national recognition for the district and to preserve the area’s architecture. Others involved were Nora Wyman and Brian Harris.

Starting in the 1920s, the neighborhood was one of the city’s few areas that welcomed Jews, including Holocaust survivors. In other parts of L.A., Jews faced housing discrimination. 

Kendall, a longtime resident of the neighborhood, said its history and significance to the L.A. Jewish community is largely unknown.

“I’m 55, I’ve lived here my whole life, but people who live here now have no idea [of its historical significance],” Kendall told the Journal ahead of the unveiling.

The Beverly Fairfax district roughly is bordered by Beverly Boulevard to the south, Melrose Avenue to the north, Fairfax Avenue to the west and Gardner Street to the east.

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

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