Jesers Honored, Beit T’Shuvah Gala, Academy of the Arts 100th Day

Notable people and events in the Jewish LA community.
February 8, 2024
Husband-and-wife and honorees Paul and Faye Jeser. Courtesy of Robert Lurie, Photographer

On Jan. 29, a dessert reception at Pat’s Restaurant honored husband and wife Paul and Faye Jeser, who collectively have dedicated more than 100 years to working for the Jewish community.

From left: Barak Raviv, Gitta Nagel, Paul Jeser, Ilana and Dr. Shlomo Melmed and David Suissa attend an event honoring Paul and Faye Jeser. Courtesy of Robert Lurie, Photographer.

Guests at the event, which was organized by American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center, included former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; local philanthropists Gitta Nagel and Barak Raviv; Larry Platt; Journal Publisher and Editor-in-Chief David Suissa; the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Marvin Hier and Rabbi Abraham Cooper; and community leader Sam Yebri. Members of the Jeser family, including Paul and Faye’s children and grandchildren, were also in attendance.

“You are a workhorse—dedicated to the cause, and you do it with a smile,” Nagel said in remarks directed at Paul.

Paul recently retired as the national director of major gifts and the director of the western region of the American Committee for the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. Having worked on behalf of Jewish community organizations since 1972, he also led Jewish Federations in Lewiston, Maine, and in Orlando, Florida. He also worked for CLAL, Jewish National Fund-USA and American Friends of Hebrew University.

Faye, an accomplished musician, taught secular and Judaic music in JCCs and Hebrew day schools in Orlando, Englewood and Los Angeles. She has also produced and directed many well-known musicals.

Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke of his time traveling to Israel with Paul Jeser to see the work of Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
Photo by Ryan Torok

The evening had the loose, intimate feel of a family get-together. The Jesers’ grown children offered memorable words about their parents’ unwavering dedication to their lifelong work and the ways in which they’ve passed on that passion to the next generation. Their peers, including Suissa and Villaraigosa, spoke of the impact their support for the Jewish world—for Israel, in particular—has had in Los Angeles and beyond. 

The evening concluded with a toast to all the husband and wife had accomplished on behalf of the community and the State of Israel.

Shaare Zedek Medical Center—its name comes from the Hebrew for “gates of righteousness”—opened in Israel in 1902. American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center (ACSZ), which raises funds and awareness for the Jerusalem-based hospital, has operated since 1949. Paul served as the director of ACSZ’s western region since 2002. 

From left: Lynn Bider; Lisi Teller; Board President Annette Shapiro; Board Member and honoree Lynn Shapiro; Board Chair Emeritus Janice Kamenir-Reznik; and Executive Director Sergio Rizzo-Fontanesi. Photo by Ben Shani Creative

Jewish rehabilitation organization Beit T’Shuvah held its fundraising gala at the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 28. 

BTS Chair Emeritus and honoree Paul Bergman and board member Andrea Sossin-Bergman.
Photo by Ben Shani Creative

The celebratory event raised nearly $2 million to provide the best possible care for Beit T’Shuvah residents as well as scholarship opportunities for those who cannot afford treatment. 

Attendees included Beit T’Shuvah Board Chair Keith Elkins; Board Chair Emeritus Paul Bergman, who was named a recipient of the T’Shuvah Award; L.A. County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath and the Journal’s David Suissa. 

Beit T’Shuvah, an addiction treatment center, describes itself as rooted in the spiritual principles of Judaism, authenticity and transparency. The organization provides innovative approaches to integrated care in a community setting. Through Congregation Beit T’Shuvah, it also offers weekly Friday night and Saturday morning services as well as High Holiday services and holiday celebrations. 

Students at Academy of the Arts in Redondo Beach— a leading Jewish day school in the South Bay — celebrate the 100th day of school.
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