SWC Gala, Lag B’Omer Party, JCPA Appoints CEO

May 19, 2023
From left: LL Cool J, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Rabbi Marvin Hier. Courtesy Simon Wiesenthal Center, Alex J. Berliner/ABImages

The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) honored top media executive Shari Redstone with its 2023 Humanitarian Award.

From left: Rabbi Marvin Hier, Shari Redstone and Queen Latifah.
Courtesy Simon Wiesenthal Center, Alex J. Berliner/ABImages

SWC feted Redstone on May 10 during a star-studded gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. More than 750 people were in attendance. The evening raised $4 million. 

Redstone is the chair of the board at Paramount Global, a leading entertainment company that creates content across several iconic networks, studios and streaming services. She is also actively involved in a number of charitable, civic and educational organizations focused on fighting hate and intolerance as well as improving equality in education. The SWC also honored journalist and influencer Lisa Daftari on behalf of the women fighting for their freedom in Iran.

New JCPA CEO Amy Spitalnik

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) has named Amy Spitalnick as the next CEO of the organization, following an extensive nationwide search.

Her appointment was announced by JCPA on May 8.

Spitalnick most recently served as the executive director of Integrity First for America, the civil rights nonprofit behind the federal lawsuit against the hate groups responsible for the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. She previously served as a spokesperson and advisor for New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and is a former communications official at JStreet, the liberal pro-Israel advocacy group. 

“For more than a year, JCPA worked closely with leading Federations, Jewish Community Relations Councils (JCRCs), and other key partners on a restructuring to be more focused and better able to advance the Jewish community relations agenda,” JCPA Board Chair David Bohm said in a statement. “I am excited that Amy agreed to join JCPA as our new CEO, as I am confident that she is the right person to lead us into the future as we work to protect and advance American democracy, combat bias and hate, including antisemitism, and advocate for a Jewish and democratic state of Israel.”

JCPA, the organized national Jewish community’s intergroup connector and policy advocate, describes its mission as leveraging the Jewish community relations network across the country to champion a just, democratic and pluralistic society. 

Spitalnick’s appointment comes as JCPA has announced a new strategic focus, involving a shift from a consensus and general membership model to a coalition model where the JCPA board, working with coalition members, will drive policy goals. Last year, the organization announced an amicable divorce from the Jewish federation structure. 

She expressed excitement about joining JCPA as the historic organization — founded in 1944 — marks a new beginning.

“I am thrilled to be a part of this new chapter of JCPA,” Spitalnick said. “We’re facing a crisis of anti-democratic extremism and bigotry that jeopardizes not just Jewish safety but the safety of so many communities across the country. A strong, strategic, and independent JCPA is more important than ever right now, building the deep coalitions and partnerships that are critical to the pursuit of an inclusive, multiracial democracy where all can thrive.”

From left: Adeena Bleich and Zach Sokoloff of Television City and event organizers Yossi Eilfort and Levi Benjaminson. Courtesy of Ron Demeter

On May 9, hundreds of local families gathered at Television City, a studio complex in the Fairfax district, to celebrate Lag b’Omer.  

The Grand Lag b’Omer Hakhel BBQ family event, one of the largest in Los Angeles, was organized by Congregation Levi Yitzchok, Congregation Ohel Avraham and Kol Yakov Yehuda. Those in attendance enjoyed a moonbounce, face painting, arcades, balloon sculpting, magic show, and a performance from “Uncle Moishy,” a popular children’s entertainer within the Orthodox community.  

Television City, an iconic studio property in the Beverly/Fairfax district for 70 years, is owned and operated by an affiliate of Hackman Capital Partners.

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