Shalom Square Dedication, Camp Bob Waldorf Golf Classic, VBS Gala

May 17, 2023
Members of the pro-Israel and LGBTQ communities come together for the dedication of an intersection, dubbed Shalom Peace Square, in West Hollywood. Participants included Kol Ami Rabbi Denise Eger (third from left), Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Hillel Newman (ninth from left) and Dillon Hosier, CEO of the Israeli American Civic Action Network (far right). Courtesy of the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles
Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Hillel Newman and Israeli-American Civic Action Network CEO Dillon Hosier point upward toward the new “Shalom Peace Square” sign in West Hollywood. Courtesy of the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles

The Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles on May 7 dedicated the intersection of La Brea and Lexington Avenues in West Hollywood — called “Shalom Peace Square” — with West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne and Congregation Kol Ami Rabbi Denise Eger. Members of the LGBTQ community took part in the celebratory occasion.

According to Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Hillel Newman, the commemoration was held in honor of Israel’s Independence Day. The Jewish State recently celebrated its 75th anniversary.

CEO Cari Uslan with Event Co-Chairs Joey Behrstock (left) and Steve Miller. Courtesy of Camp Bob Waldorf

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA) held its 30th Annual Camp Bob Waldorf Golf Classic on May 1 at Valencia Country Club, raising money to send youth from low-income households across Los Angeles to overnight summer camp this summer. JBBBSLA has owned and operated Camp Bob Waldorf in Glendale for over 80 years to give youth an enriching summer camp experience and provide them with the tools and support system to thrive, from elementary school to college and beyond.

 The Golf Classic raised more than $370,000. The event’s success was due, in part, to the dedicated Event Co-Chairs Joey Behrstock and Steve Miller.

 At the event’s closing awards dinner, golfers heard from JBBBSLA CEO Cari Uslan, JBBBSLA Board President and former camper Sandy Sigal, Camp Director Simon Hansen, camp namesake Bob Waldorf and camper Samy Desman.

“Thanks to Camp Bob Waldorf, I learned things that have truly changed me as a person,” Desman, a former camper who will be a leader-in-training at camp this summer, said. “When I’m at camp, I never feel alone. I never feel bored or tired or angry. I feel happy and calm. After these last few years of isolation, returning to camp and experiencing that sense of home again is really important.”

 All campers receive partial or full financial aid, and the annual event ensures more youth from low-income households can attend camp and develop valuable life skills, build confidence, and become future leaders. 

 “Our campers experience tremendous life challenges, such as food insecurity, homelessness, and trauma,” Uslan said. “At camp, we give these kids a safe space where they can have fun, make new friends, and just enjoy being kids. Before learning about our camp, many parents tell us they never dreamed they could afford to send their children to an overnight camp experience. Our camp is different. We ensure that all children can attend regardless of their ability to pay. Today’s generous supporters make camp possible for children throughout Los Angeles.”

“This year and last year, we’ve had a significant increase in the request to attend summer camp for free due to life circumstances,” Hansen said. “Traditional summer camp is not a possibility for most of our campers. Everyone here today has helped us say yes to providing financial assistance to more families in need.”

From left: Valley Beth Shalom gala honorees Jeff and Karen Goss and Donna and Ron Bender.
Courtesy of Valley Beth Shalom

More than 550 attendees joined Conservative congregation Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) to honor its past president, Jeff Goss, as well as Donna and Ron Bender for their continued dedication to VBS and the Jewish community.

The May 7 event also celebrated Israel’s milestone 75th birthday. 

The evening opened with a cocktail hour serving bites and signature drinks, including crowd favorites Goldstar Beer and Arak-Limonana, then ushered the group into the Levine Community Center gym for the evening’s program.

The festivities consisting of musical performances by VBS Cantors Jacqueline Rafii and Herschel Fox and the VBS Youth Choir; presentation of the awards from Rabbis Nolan Lebovitz and Ed Feinstein to the evening honorees; stories from several community members about their unique VBS experiences; and a 30-minute set from comedian Elon Gold. 

After the program, VBS’ outdoor field transported guests to a traditional shuk, complete with Israeli dishes, drumming, and dancing.

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