Wine Tasting, Magen Am Grads, Local Sponsors Magen David Adom Ambulance, Screening

Notable people and events in the Jewish LA community
September 7, 2023
Attendees included (from left) Yvette Dabby; “Sephardic Spice Girls” Sharon Gomperts and Rachel Sheff; Neil Sheff; Rafi Itzchaki; Bracha Halevy; Rabbi Natan Halevy and Alan Fensten. Courtesy of Kahal Joseph Congregation

An Israeli wine tasting event at Kahal Joseph Congregation on Aug. 24 was a great success. (Photo above)

From left: Magen Am Community Organizer Levi Benjaminson; Magen Am President Rabbi Yossi Eilfort; and Adeena Bleich, vice president of community relations at Television City. Courtesy of Television City

On Aug. 27, Television City hosted a graduation ceremony for Magen Am, a non-profit organization that provides security services to protect and empower the Jewish community in Los Angeles.

Magen Am graduates. Courtesy of Magen Am

More than 300 people, including local law enforcement professionals and residents of all ages, attended the ceremony held on Studio 36 at the iconic studio. As crime and antisemitism have continued to rise in Los Angeles — nearly 75% of all religiously motivated hate crimes target the Jewish people — Magen Am operates several training and awareness programs to empower communities to feel protected and secure.

The event celebrated members of the Jewish community who completed more than 100 hours of training and state licensing. The event also honored Assistant Commanding Officer of Operations-West Bureau Jonathan Tom and Josh Emrani, a local member of the Jewish community, with the Community Shield Award.

“We give it to people who have gone above and beyond for our community,” Magen Am Founder Rabbi Yossi Eilfort said.

Following the ceremony, there was a family fun day with a moon bounce, balloon sculpting, face painting and a BBQ for those in attendance.

From left: Meron Medzini; L.A. Jewish Film Festival Director Hilary Helstein; and Mickey Medzini, son of Meron and his manager for public speaking engagements. Courtesy of LAJFF

The Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival (LAJFF) held a Aug. 31 screening for the film, “Golda,” at Laemmle Town Center. 

The evening included a rare Q&A session featuring 91-year-old Meron Medzini, who was director of the Israel Government Press Office and Golda Meir’s spokesperson, from 1973–1974. As Meir’s confidante, Medzini was also the consultant on the recently released film about the prime minister’s private affairs.

Miriam Wagmeister is joined by her sons, grandchildren and their partners on Aug. 27 at Chabad of Beverly Hills. Photo by Vince Bucci Photography

American Friends of Magen David Adom held an intimate celebration for Miriam “Jerri” Wagmeister, who sponsored a Life Support ambulance for Magen David Adom (MDA). Her sons, grandchildren and their partners gathered on Aug. 27 at Chabad of Beverly Hills to celebrate this meaningful donation.

Miriam Wagmeister receives an award presented by American Friends of Magen David Adom.
Photo by Vince Bucci Photography

Wagmeister has always been a supporter of Israel. For her, this ambulance serves as a loving tribute to the memory of her late parents, brothers, son, and husband. Her parents, Sam and Anna Fishman, emigrated to America from Russia in the early 1900s and raised a family of devout Jews. Although very poor, her family lived a life of hard work coupled with contentment and support for family and friends, and with the belief that “Jews should always try to help Jews.”

Her parents rejoiced at Israel’s independence. Sadly, they passed away young and never had the opportunity to visit Israel.

Wagmeister decided that the perfect, most meaningful way she could honor them would be to sponsor an ambulance. She is proud to know that her beloved family will always be a part of Israel, and to help Israelis in their time of emergency and need.

This gift comes during a vital period, as Magen David Adom is expanding its fleet of 1,400 ambulances with an additional 300 to prepare for a potential conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. The sponsored ambulance will be used as a mobile emergency room, where MDA EMTs frequently perform vital procedures from treating those injured in terror attacks, to performing CPR for those who need it, and helping new mothers welcome their babies into the world. Wagmeister hopes to inspire others through her philanthropy.

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