Wiesenthal Center Gala, StandWithUs Events and Adat Ari El Rabbi Installation

May 20, 2022
From left: Rapper will.i.am with SWC Board Chair Dawn Arnall and SWC Dinner honoree Eddy Cue. Courtesy of Simon Wiesenthal Center

The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) and Museum of Tolerance honored Apple’s Senior Vice President of Services, Eddy Cue, with the 2022 Humanitarian Award, the organization’s highest honor.

“For the past 45 years, this organization has been an essential leader in the fight for human rights, promoting tolerance and dignity for all,” Cue said, accepting his award.

The star-studded April 27 event at the Beverly Hilton also honored Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian people in recognition of their courage and defense of democracy as well as Brooklyn Rabbi Moshe Margaretten, for his humanitarian work saving the lives of hundreds of Muslims in Afghanistan as well as the lives of Ukrainians.

Attendees included SWC Executive Director Rabbi Meyer May; Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg; SWC Board Chair Dawn Arnall and Co-Chairman Aaron Marzwell; SWC Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper; and entertainment executive Irving Azoff.

Katzenberg, who has chaired the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Dinners for more than two decades, said, “intolerance has continued to be on the rise and today, almost no matter where we look, we see it vividly on display whether far off on the battlefields of Ukraine, or right here in Hollywood on the stage of the Dolby Theater. Which is why we need the SWC now more than ever.”

Serving as master of ceremonies, late-night host James Corden thanked everyone for attending and “supporting the vital work being done by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.”

A highlight of the evening was a live musical performance by Adam Levine of the band Maroon 5.

According to SWC, the gala was a record-breaking event, raising more than $3.7 million to support the global work of SWC and the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

From left: StandWithUs COO Jerry Rothstein, American-Israeli basketball legend Tal Brody, SWU President Esther Renzer, CEO Roz Rothstein and filmmaker Dani Menkin. Photo by Mher Hagopian, MTH Photographers

Pro-Israel education organization StandWithUs (SWU) and Hey Jude Productions, with the support of the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles, hosted 400 attendees for a special screening of award-winning documentary “Aulcie.”

Aulcie Perry, an Israeli-American basketball player, led Israel’s Maccabi basketball team to two European championships. He could not attend the May 2 screening at the Saban Theater due to a medical condition, but he shared his heartfelt message with the audience through a video. 

Temple of the Arts Beverly Hills Rabbi David Baron welcomed the crowd, which included Israel Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan and Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Hillel Newman.

After the screening, SWU CEO Roz Rothstein interviewed “Aulcie” filmmaker Dani Menkin and basketball legend Tal Brody. Brody led the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team to victory at the 1977 European World Cup. He now serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for Israel.  Also attending was Sarah Idan, former Miss Universe Iraq and vocal supporter of Israel.

The festivities continued at the Saban on May 4 with “From Darkness to Light,” a community-wide event commemorating Yom Hazikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s 74th birthday. 800 people were in attendance and thousands watched virtually. Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts, Cheryl and Haim Saban, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, the Israeli-American Council and StandWithUs, with the support of the Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Southwest, co-organized the program, which began with a march by student members of Israel Tzofim (Shevet Harel) carrying Israeli flags down the aisles.

With Perry watching remotely, Rothstein, SWU COO Jerry Rothstein and SWU President Esther Renzer presented Perry and Brody with Lifetime Achievement awards.

Speakers included Jewish Journal editor-in-chief David Suissa, who spoke about Israel’s “five miracles,” including the urge to thrive, rather than just survive, and Israeli Consul for Public Diplomacy and Culture Jonathan Bar-El, who underscored Israel’s resilience.

From left: Adat Ari El Former Senior Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe Bernhard; new Senior Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei and Rabbi Emeritus Moshe Rothblum represent three generations of Adat Ari El clergy. Courtesy of Adat Ari El

Conservative congregation Adat Ari El in the San Fernando Valley recently celebrated the appointment of its new Senior Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei.

On May 1, the North Hollywood-based congregation held a gala marking the formal installation of Schuldenfrei, who joined Adat Ari El last July from Congregation Ner Tamid. The entire community was in attendance, including Adat Ari El Executive Director Eric Nicastro, who was delighted to welcome Schuldenfrei to the historic synagogue.

“With Rabbi Schuldenfrei as our new senior rabbi, we feel a synergy and recognize we are heading towards a bright future,” Nicastro said. 

In a statement, Schuldenfrei said he was excited to be joining the community, one of the oldest in the San Fernando Valley. 

“Especially now as we begin to heal from the past two years of COVID, we can reach up to that which transcends us by reaching out to one another,” the rabbi said. “And the challenge of our times demands that we do this with creativity and care. We hope to nurture this approach at Adat Ari El.”

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