JNF-USA Reception, New Cantor at Kol Tikvah, JFed’s Real Estate and Construction Network Dinner

June 29, 2022
From left: Shawn Evenhaim, Judy Levin, Lou Rosenberg and Rachel Herman attend a Jewish National Fund-USA donor gathering in Sherman Oaks. Courtesy of JNF-USA

On June 7, Jewish National Fund-USA’s (JNF-USA) major donors from Greater Los Angeles enjoyed a memorable evening celebrating their shared passion for the land and people of Israel at a VIP reception hosted by Judy and Bud Levin in Sherman Oaks.

The event featured Judy and Bud’s son, author Max Levin, a staunch Zionist who after graduating from de Toledo High School, then known as New Community Jewish High School, immigrated to Israel and served as a “lone soldier” in the Israel Defense Forces. After Levin was severely wounded during Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 conflict between Israel and Gaza, he wrote about his experience while recovering in the hospital — later turning hundreds of pages into a book titled “Under the Stretcher.”

“It was our great pleasure to host our fellow L.A. Zionists for a beautiful event celebrating our brave son, Max, who left behind everything and everyone he knew to defend Israel,” Judy Levin said. 

Ido Eisikovits, vice president of resource development at JNF-USA affiliate, Green Horizons, also provided remarks about the transformative program for Israeli youth in grades 5-12, who are taken on hiking and camping trips throughout the country, among other outdoor activities, with the goal of building interpersonal and leadership skills and fostering a strong connection to the land of Israel.

“Separated from their smartphones, television, and computers, these children and young adults learn about Israel’s history, geography, and culture while completely immersed in nature. This fosters a deep bond and connection to the land in a very meaningful way,” Lauren Cohen, major gifts director at JNF-USA Greater Los Angeles, said. 

Attendees also played “is it cake?” with a hyper-realistic cake designed to look like the cover of Levin’s book and received a copy of the book as a gift. Guests also received a mezuzah made by a soldier from Levin’s unit who founded Healing Mezuzah after discovering that creating artistic mezuzahs helped him heal from combat-related PTSD.

From left: L.A. Federation Board Chair Albert Praw; General Campaign Chair Lynn Bider; Rexford Industrial Realty Co-CEO Howard Schwimmer; and Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles President and CEO Rabbi Noah Farkas. Photo by Howard Pasamanick

After a three-year hiatus, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ Real Estate and Construction (REC) Network Dinner made a sensational return on June 14 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The 2022 REC Dinner honored industrial real estate giant Howard Schwimmer, co-CEO of Rexford Industrial Realty. The honoree gave inspiring remarks about his work with the Federation, as did his family.

 The L.A. Federation also recognized REC Dinner Co-Chairs Fred Leeds and Ken Pressberg, along with REC Network Chair Kamyar Shabani, General Campaign Chair Lynn Bider and Chair of the Board Albert Praw for their work to ensure this year’s REC Dinner was a success. 

Cantor Orly Campbell
Courtesy of Kol Tikvah

Los Angeles native Orly Campbell has been appointed the new cantor at Kol Tikvah, a Reform congregation in Woodland Hills.

Campbell – whose hiring followed an extensive search by the synagogue to find a new cantor – officially joins the congregation on July 1. She leads her first Shabbat service on July 15. In her new role and in partnership with Kol Tikvah Rabbi Jon Hanish, she will be responsible for overseeing the music program, preparing students for b’nai mitzvah and officiating lifecycle events.

“Cantor Orly’s beautiful voice, knowledge of Hebrew and her love for teaching are a perfect match for Kol Tikvah,” Kol Tikvah President Laura Rabney said in a statement. “We look forward to her continuing and growing our music program and connecting more deeply with the communities we serve.”

Kol Tikvah’s new cantor previosuly served at Temple Beth David in Temple City and was ordained at the Academy of Jewish Religion, CA. Originally from Northridge, Campbell currently lives in Encino with her husband and four children. 

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