AFHU Bel Air Affaire, JNF-USA Wine Tasting, iCenter for Israel Education Cohort

September 22, 2022
From left: AFHU Western Region Executive Director Justin Pressman; event Co-chairs Helen Jacobs-Lepor, Joyce Brandman and Renae Jacobs-Anson with Hebrew University President Asher Cohen. Courtesy of AFHU

The 13th Annual Bel Air Affaire, hosted at the iconic Papillon Estate in Beverly Hills, raised more than $2 million for student scholarships at Israel’s Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

At the Sept. 10 event, presented by the Western Region of American Friends of the Hebrew University (AFHU), AFHU presented two philanthropic Los Angeles couples with the Humanitarian Torch of Learning Award: Dr. Jaye-Jo Portanova and Bruce Cooperman along with Cindy and Gary Frischling.

From left: AFHU honorees Bruce Cooperman and Dr. Jaye-Jo Portanova along with Cindy and Gary Frischling. Courtesy of AFHU

AFHU Western Region President Barbara Natterson-Horowitz called the honorees “two couples who exemplify what it means to be actively and ceaselessly engaged in the philanthropic community. We thank them for their magnanimous generosity in support of scholarships and for continuing to be vibrant members of AFHU.”

Co-chaired by Joyce Brandman, Renae Jacobs-Anson and Helen Jacobs-Lepor, the evening featured remarks by Hebrew University President Asher Cohen and student ambassador Timna Wharton Kleinman, a recipient of a past scholarship and a master’s student in the School of Computer Science and Engineering.

Addressing the guests, Wharton Kleinman discussed the importance of helping her and other students complete their degree studies.

World-renowned illusionist Adam Trent provided the evening’s entertainment, and catering was by Michelin Star chef Curtis Stone.

Honorary event chairs were Patricia Glaser and Sam Mudie along with May and Richard Ziman.

From left: Dr. Shimon Bababeygy, Howard Levkowitz, Alan Gindi and Yoel Zilberman. Courtesy of JNF-USA

On Sept. 6, members of Jewish National Fund-USA’s Real Estate Division leadership and other partners in Greater Los Angeles attended “Safeguarding Israel’s Future,” an exclusive evening hosted by philanthropists Alan and Barbara Gindi. 

Attendees enjoyed culinary delights, live music and an Israeli wine tasting sponsored by the Israel Wine Producers Association. 

From left: Neuriel Shore, Maaya Arfi, Yoel Zilberman, Alan and Barbara Gindi, Sharon Joy, Cynthia Hizami, and Lauren Cohen. Courtesy of JNF-USA

The event featured keynote speaker Yoel Zilberman, CEO of JNF-USA’s affiliate Hashomer Hachadash, who discussed how this partnership helps protects large areas of Israel’s Negev and Galilee regions and instills Zionist values among Israeli youth. 

Hashomer Hachadash empowers 72,000 volunteers annually, defends and cultivates 250,000 acres of land, educates 16,000 young Israelis, and aids more than 250 farmers to ensure their livelihood and smooth operation of Israel’s food production. 

The wines tasted at the event were from regions safeguarded by Hashomer Hachadash-protected farmers.


Cohort member Joshua Losner, a program manager at Hillel International. Courtesy of Edelstein Public Affairs

Members of the latest cohort of the iCenter for Israel Education and George Washington University’s graduate degree of Israel education include Los Angeles-based Jewish communal professional Joshua Losner, a program manager at Hillel International.

Losner was one of 21 in-service professionals, spanning the United States, Canada, and Israel, who were selected through a rigorous screening and admissions process for the program designed to offer inspiration and strategies to place Israel education at the heart of Jewish communal life.

“The cohort model is truly an integral part of our students’ success, with the range of experience and the diversity of institutions, settings, and nations represented in this stellar group,” iCenter Graduate Degree Program Director Erika Vogel said. “Each student in this group brings unique experience and perspective that is invaluable to this program. We are extremely excited to welcome this new cohort, and very proud of Cohort 4 as they move into the second phase of the program.”

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