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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Guardians Real Estate Dinner, Sephardic Temple Centennial Celebration

The Guardians of the Los Angeles Jewish Home held its annual real estate dinner on March 5 at the Beverly Wilshire hotel.

The event drew 525 attendees and raised $472,000.

Morton La Kretz, a real estate developer and the founder of Crossroads Management, a property management company, received the Legend Award for his philanthropic and real estate impact on Los Angeles, according to Jessi Cazary, manager at the Guardians of the L.A. Jewish Home.

The evening included a panel discussion with the three key players in the Crossroads of the World development project in Hollywood: La Kretz; David Schwartzman, president and CEO of Harridge Development Group; and real estate professional Jeff Luster, CEO of Major Properties. They discussed the story behind the largest development deal in Hollywood, Crossroads of the World, a historic landmark built in Hollywood in 1936 that will eventually feature apartments, condominiums, commercial space and a hotel at its location on Sunset Boulevard.

The event chairs were Anthony Behar, executive vice president of Major Properties; real estate broker Kenny Stevens; and Andrew Westling, vice chair of events at the Guardians. Honorary chairs included Luster’s brother, Bradley Luster, president of Major Properties; and past Guardians President Alan Shuman.

Established in 1938, the Guardians of the Los Angeles Jewish Home nurtures young philanthropists to financially support the L.A. Jewish Home, one of the leading senior health care systems in Los Angeles offering residential and community-based programs.

“With more than 1,000 members and donors, it is one of the largest support groups of its kind in the United States,” says the website of L.A. Jewish Home, a volunteer-driven organization.


Women of the Sephardic Temple community celebrates the congregation’s centennial.
Photo courtesy of Sephardic Temple

Sephardic Temple celebrated its centennial with a Feb. 9 luncheon that drew some 150 people.

The gathering marked the start of the congregation’s 100th anniversary commemoration and was organized by Centennial Co-Chairs Rae Cohen, Neda Mehdizadeh, Mireille Mathalon and Elaine Lindheim.

Attendees included Sephardic Temple President Kamran Nickfardjam; past presidents Abe Yazdi, Hamid Yashar, Larry Clumeck, Ben Mehdizadeh, Alex Rachmanony and Leon Hasson; Cantor Haim Mizrahi; and longtime congregants Max Candioty, Ness Tiano and Hy Arnesty.

The program was held at Sephardic Temple’s Amado Hall and featured a prepared video reflecting on the congregation’s storied past, present and future; participation by the Levy Family Early Childhood Center and Talmud Torah students; and the launch of the UCLA Sephardic Archive Project, highlighting 100 years of Sephardic Los Angeles.

With a lunch provided by Pat’s Catering, attendees marked the joyous event by remembering community milestones, including the congregation’s founding on Feb. 1, 1920, by a group of 39 immigrants, mostly from Turkey; its years of operation on Santa Barbara Avenue; and its 1975 relocation to its home at Wilshire Boulevard and Warner Avenue.

“We are unique in many ways, as far as our services are concerned, as far as the makeup of the temple is concerned,” Nickfardjam said in a video celebrating the anniversary. And we are very proud to turn 100.”


Francine Lis, the recently hired development director at American Jewish Committee. Photo courtesy of American Jewish Committee

American Jewish Committee (AJC) Los Angeles has hired Francine Lis as its development director.

“Francine’s expertise in cultivating new and existing leaders will be a strong asset to AJC,” a statement by the organization said.

Lis joined the AJC L.A. staff earlier this month.

A Los Angeles native and accomplished development professional, Lis has spent the past nine years as a senior member of the Anti-Defamation League staff in L.A.. She was the organization’s director of planned giving, legacy and endowments.

Prior to working for the ADL, Lis served as director of annual giving at the USC Gould School of Law, as an assistant director of development and public affairs at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and as director of member services for Southern California Grantmakers.

She joins a team that includes AJC Regional Director Richard Hirschhaut and AJC Regional Board President Scott Edelman, a senior partner at the law firm Gibson Dunn.

AJC describes itself as a leading global Jewish advocacy organization. It has access to government officials, diplomats and other world leaders. AJC’s mission is combating rising anti-Semitism and extremism, defending Israel’s place in the world and safeguarding the rights and freedoms of all people.


The work of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles, which offers one-to-one mentoring for Jewish youth ages 6-17, will continue via virtual meetings. Photo courtesy of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA) has announced that it is transitioning from in-person meetings between its “Bigs” (mentors) and “Littles” (youth mentees) to virtual meetings via FaceTime, Zoom, phone calls, texting and email.

In a message sent out to the JBBBSLA community, the organization’s CEO, Randy Schwab, said that the staff has been working remotely and is using videoconferencing to keep engaged with one another; that the staff continues to plan for JBBBSLA summer camp; and that its college guidance, scholarship and teen programs continue to be resources in “uncertain times.”

“A lot has happened over the last few days — these are unprecedented times,” Schwab said. “From all of us at Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles, we sincerely hope that you and your family are safe and healthy.”


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