fbpx

L.A. Leaders Mark Israeli Independence, FIDF Lone Soldiers Event, Sinai Names Music Director

On April 26, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Los Angeles city leaders ushered in the State of Israel’s 75th birthday by proposing a resolution recognizing the historic importance of Israel’s anniversary of independence.
[additional-authors]
May 4, 2023
From left: Donna Bender, Joanna Mendelson, Dillon Hosier, Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky, Consul General Hillel Newman, Rabbi Sarah Hronsky, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, Allison Gingold and Rabbi Ahud Sela. Courtesy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

On April 26, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Los Angeles city leaders ushered in the State of Israel’s 75th birthday by proposing a resolution recognizing the historic importance of Israel’s anniversary of independence.

The L.A. Federation, with its partners at the Jewish Federations of North America, co-authored the resolution. L.A. City Councilmembers Paul Krekorian, Bob Blumenfield and Katy Yaroslavsky supported the text, which affirmed the strong relationship between the U.S. and Israel. 

Those in attendance at L.A. City Hall to commemorate the celebratory occasion included L.A. Federation board member Donna Bender; Board of Rabbis of Southern California President Rabbi Sarah Hronsky; and Federation Senior Vice President of Community Engagement Joanna Mendelson. 

The City of Los Angeles also presented Israel Consul General of Los Angeles Hillel Newman with a proclamation to commemorate this milestone.

“The United States’ unbreakable alliance Israel with has been integral to her survival,” Mendelson said. “This connection has led to significant collaborations between Israel, California, and the City of Los Angeles … We are thrilled to see the City Council recognize this special and fruitful bond.”

In related commemorations, the City of Los Angeles lit up L.A. City Hall and the new Sixth Street Bridge in blue and white, the colors of the Israeli flag. Beverly Hills City Hall followed suit on April 25 and 26. West Hollywood City Hall will be lit in blue and white on May 14.


From left: Lone soldier parents David and Sigal Byrnes and FIDF National Chairman Fred Gluckman attend an event in Los Angeles.
Courtesy of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

More than 50 supporters of Friends of the IDF (FIDF), most of them parents of Lone Soldiers, gathered at the home of David and Sigal Byrnes in Los Angeles on April 16 to support each other and honor the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Search and Rescue Brigade, a highly skilled force trained to execute special search and rescue missions both in Israel and abroad.

Talia Byrnes, an IDF lone soldier from Los Angeles, embraces her mother, Sigal.

The Kedem Battalion is a unit of the Brigade under which Talia Byrnes, daughter of David and Sigal, serves as a commander. Talia has been serving in the IDF for the past 18 months. She currently guards the West Bank and commands combat soldiers in training when not performing search and rescue duties.

 “David and I could not be prouder of the courageous decision Talia made to leave her home, family and community to join the IDF as a Lone Soldier,” Sigal said. “As difficult as it is for us as parents of a Lone Soldier, we know that Talia, as a commander in Kedem, is making a tremendous difference in the lives of those living in Israel and all over the world who have experienced unfathomable disasters and rely on their life-saving humanitarian aid. It’s an honor to share our daughter with the world.” 

The Search and Rescue Brigade has played a critical role in 34 major humanitarian missions after disasters have struck including, most recently, the devastating earthquake in Turkey in February, where the unit rescued 19 people. The brigade is an FIDF-adopted unit and receives multi-faceted support from FIDF, including funds dedicated to both their financial welfare and their emotional well-being. They also benefit from direct connections to donors in the United States, greatly boosting morale as soldiers feel support from across oceans. 

Among the event speakers were FIDF National Chairman Fred Gluckman and FIDF Western Region Board Member Mikey Michalov.

“The outpouring of support from the FIDF Los Angeles community for Talia, a Lone Soldier from our very community, and her fellow soldiers, is a testament of the enduring bond that transcends borders, among Jews around the world,” Gluckman said. “Standing together, united as one FIDF in support of the IDF and our courageous soldiers, enables us to build a community strong in its commitment to the safety and well-being of the Jewish people, and the flourishing of our homeland.”


Sinai Temple Music Director Benjamin Fingerhut. Courtesy of Sinai Temple

Sinai Temple has announced the hiring of its new music director, Benjamin Fingerhut.

“After an extensive international search to find a talented individual to hold the inaugural position of music director, we are proud to introduce Benjamin to our community,” Sinai Temple Senior Cantor Marcus Feldman said.

Fingerhut’s hiring comes as the congregation’s longtime organist and choir Director, Aryell Cohen, completes his tenure of nearly 50 years.

Fingerhut, who is from London, will have a variety of responsibilities, including partnering with the Sinai Temple Religious School and Sinai Akiba Academy on innovative musical experiences. 

“I am honored to bring my experience to Sinai Temple,” he said, “and will dedicate my time and knowledge to creating a memorable musical journey for the congregation.”

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

A Walk to Tel Aviv

May we have the awareness to notice and give thanks for the blessings already here. May we have the resilience to trust that better days will come again.

The Real Danger of AI

If you can’t tell the difference between authentic, profound human expression and machine-produced writing, then the fault lies not in the machine but in us.

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.