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Anne Frank Exhibit at Roosevelt High, Sephardic Temple Gala and Israel-Azerbaijan Anniversary

Designed for ages 11-18, the exhibition tells the story of Anne Frank in the context of the Holocaust. A partnership between Roosevelt High School and Anne Frank LA, among other groups, brought the exhibit to the high school.
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March 17, 2022
Roosevelt High School students assemble panels for “Anne Frank: A History for Today.” Courtesy of Anne Frank LA

Students at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights served as peer guides of “Anne Frank: A History for Today,” an international traveling exhibition. 

Designed for ages 11-18, the exhibition tells the story of Anne Frank in the context of the Holocaust. A partnership between Roosevelt High School and Anne Frank LA, among other groups, brought the exhibit to the high school. While Boyle Heights was once the center of Jewish life in Los Angeles, today the area is largely Hispanic. Because of the area’s rich and diverse history, the leadership at Anne Frank LA thought the school was an ideal venue for the exhibition.

“The team at Anne Frank LA agreed it was the perfect school to launch this inspiring pilot program,” Anne Frank LA Co-Founders Margrit Polak and Harvey Shield said in an interview. “Our hope is that visitors to the exhibit will learn not to be bystanders when confronted with intolerance and hatred in their own lives.”

On Feb. 25, Roosevelt High School students participated in a training session on how to be effective docents for the exhibit. Trainers flown in by Anne Frank House, a museum based in Amsterdam, worked with them, including Jan Erik Dubbelman. At Roosevelt High, almost entirely Hispanic, many of the students had never seen images of the Holocaust or heard of Anne Frank before assembling the exhibit panels and beginning the training.  

“Watching the student guides take their peers through the exhibit made the experience of learning about Anne Frank, World War II and the Holocaust more impactful,” a Roosevelt High School teacher said.

On Feb. 26, a preview of the exhibition and ribbon-cutting ceremony were held at the school. Local leaders in attendance included Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Holocaust Survivor Trudie Stroebel and LAUSD Board Member Mónica García.

“The response was extremely positive,” Polak said. “We spoke to several student peer guide parents who thanked us for the opportunity Anne Frank LA gave their children, and one of our speakers, Trudie Stroebel, shared that she was born in the Ukraine. Everyone was moved by her story and the unfortunate coincidence of Russia’s recent and horrific invasion of Ukraine was not lost on anyone.”

A nonprofit, Anne Frank LA is dedicated to promoting the legacy of diarist Anne Frank through educational programs, exhibits and cultural events in Los Angeles.


From left: Sephardic Temple Preschool Directors Assistant Elham Azzizi, Temple Director of Operations Avi Levy, Preschool Executive Director Eva Wysocki and Temple Executive Assistant Melissa Thompson. Courtesy of Sephardic Temple

On March 5, after two years of the inability to celebrate due to COVID-19, the Levy Family Early Childhood Center of Sephardic Temple finally got together to put on their gala. It was only fitting to choose the theme, “The Roaring 20s.”

The temple felt alive again as the preschool parents, alumni and temple members came back to Sephardic Temple for a night of festivities. The gala is an annual fundraiser for the preschool, put on by the PTA President Carolyn Afari and preschool Executive Director Eva Wysocki. 

Stepping out of your car, you could smell the aroma of the food, hear the music and anticipate the exhilarating night ahead. There was no denying the enthusiasm that spread from being able to celebrate the school again. The temple’s every corner was filled with silent auction items, sport memorabilia and dancing. In addition, this year it was only appropriate to invite Charlie Chaplin, whose walking style and gestures could make anyone laugh. 

More than any other year, the community needed the gala to reconnect, laugh, and dance.  

The Levy Family Early Childhood Center is a part of Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, a modern synagogue in the Sephardic tradition. 

“Next year, the congregation is thrilled to dedicate its gala to its preschool’s 10-year anniversary,” Wysocki said. “Through the pandemic it’s our Sephardic tradition and faith that allowed our school continued to grow and prosper.”


From left: Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Hillel Newman, Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Consul General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev. Courtesy of the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles

The Consulates General of Israel and Azerbaijan held a joint event on March 6 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Israel.

Attended by over 300 guests, the celebration at Valley Outreach Synagogue in Calabasas included a discussion between Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Hillel Newman and Consul General of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev.

“For the last 30 years, Azerbaijan and Israel have successfully proved that Muslims and Jews can be friends and brothers and do wonders working together,” Aghayev said. 

“The Israel-Azerbaijan relationship can be a model for regional relations and even global relations,” Newman said. “This relationship demonstrates that the conflicts today are not between religious or ethnic groups but between moderates and radicals.”

Valley Outreach Synagogue Rabbi Ron Li-Paz added, “Now more than ever, the example of the relationship between a Muslim-majority country in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, and the Jewish homeland, Israel, is extraordinarily powerful. All of us need to know that these friendships are possible and beneficial.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, highlighted his numerous visits to Azerbaijan. Recalling his first visit in 1972, Cooper said that even under the Soviet Union, the Jews in Azerbaijan enjoyed freedom to preserve their identity, culture and religion.

The event featured a video-message by George Deek, the Israeli ambassador to Azerbaijan; a short film on Azerbaijan-Israel friendship and a film highlighting a recent visit by Los Angeles faith leaders to Azerbaijan. 

The celebration concluded with a joint musical performance.

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