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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Moving and shaking: OUR HOUSE Run for Hope, Religious Pluralism Day and more

The seventh annual OUR HOUSE Run for Hope at the West Los Angeles Civic Center included a tribute led by Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin to the late L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who died in March of cancer. 

“The Run for Hope was a day dedicated to celebrating and honoring the memory of loved ones who have died,” according to an OUR HOUSE press release.

Approximately 1,700 attended the May 1 event, which raised nearly $500,000 for OUR HOUSE, a grief support center with roots in the local Jewish community.

Attendees included the organization’s executive director, Michele Prince, and Lauren Schneider, its clinical director of child and adolescent programs. Many runners wore personalized T-shirts with images of their loved ones on them, according to the press release.


Approximately 70 faith leaders, local community members and others gathered at Los Angeles City Hall on April 21 for the second annual Religious Pluralism Day.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was among the speakers at Religious Pluralism Day at City Hall. Photo by Salim Lakhani

“It’s really a day when we focus on appreciating the great diversity that’s in L.A.,” Aziza Hasan, executive director of NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change and one of the participants in the event, said in an interview. “We’re one of the most diverse cities in the world. That comes with great challenges — and great opportunities at the same time — so we wanted to make sure we were highlighting the strengths of what L.A. has to offer and the richness of what it means to model diversity in a constructive way.”

The public gathering, held in the City Hall Rotunda, featured IKAR Rabbi Sharon Brous, American Jewish University professor of rabbinic literature Rabbi Aryeh Cohen, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Hasan and others delivering remarks, leading blessings and more.

The event was an initiative of the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission, which seeks to engage religious leaders in civic life, among other things, according to Patricia Villasenor, the commission’s executive director.


Andrea Hodos has joined the staff, as part-time program director, at NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change, an organization committed to fostering dialogue between Jewish and Muslim community members.

“NewGround represents the best of L.A., with the richness of its many communities. Whether we are Jews or Muslims, we can deeply engage with one of the other thriving communities of Los Angeles from the perspective of our own culture and religion,” Hodos wrote in an email. 

Her responsibilities will include working as a facilitator for the teenagers involved with the organization’s Muslims and Jews Inspiring Change (MAJIC), a high school leadership council. Her hiring became effective in April. She served as a professional NewGround fellow from 2014-15.

Hodos is also the director of Moving Torah, which conducts interpretations of Torah through spoken word, poetry and movement.


A large sculpture of Haym Salomon stands at the southeast corner of Pan Pacific Park, at Third and Gardner streets, near the bustling activity of The Grove shopping center and the adjacent Original Farmers Market. But who was he? 

Sculpture of Haym Salomon in Pan Pacific Park.

Joseph Andrews, great-great-great-grandson of the Revolutionary War figure, attempted to answer that question on April 26 during an event at the Veterans Home of California in West Los Angeles organized by Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America.

“[He was] an almost forgotten patriot,” Andrews said of Salomon, a Jewish-Polish immigrant who came to the United States and became a financier of the Revolutionary War. 

He said his ancestor was a member of the New York branch of the Sons of Liberty, whose efforts enabled Washington to pay the Continental Army’s troops, attack Yorktown in the decisive Siege of Yorktown and more. He bankrolled the effort by converting loans from the French into cash, which he accomplished by selling off bills of exchange for the loans to a third party.

Greg Lee, commander of the Jewish War Veterans Department of California, said he thinks Salomon is an important historical figure.

“We consider Haym Salomon to be one of the original Jewish war veterans of the United States of America,” Lee said.

Screenwriter William Sachs and documentary producer Randy Bellous, who have been trying to create a documentary about Salomon for several years, were among the 30 people who attended.

The evening included a screening of the Academy Award-winning 1939 short dramatic film, “Sons of Liberty,” which follows the life of Salomon. The film shows Salomon raising money at his synagogue, with the rabbi of the synagogue’s permission, despite the fact that it was Yom Kippur. The request for Salomon to raise money had come directly from George Washington.

The British imprisoned Salomon, according to the film. He contracted tuberculosis in prison and died, penniless, at the age of 44.

Lee said it is important that there be Jewish heroes who are celebrated.

“We need some people we can take pride in,” he said. 


Eitan Arom is joining the Jewish Journal as its newest staff writer.

Arom grew up in the Los Angeles area, attending Beverly Hills High School and graduating in 2014 from UCLA, where he worked for the Daily Bruin as a weekly columnist and opinion editor. Afterward, he began his professional journalism career in Israel as a reporting intern for the Jerusalem Post.

Returning to the United States, he worked as a Capitol Hill reporter for the digital news magazine Morning Consult before moving back to L.A. to work as a freelance writer covering Jewish issues. He can be reached at [email protected].

Moving and Shaking highlights events, honors and simchas. Got a tip? Email [email protected]

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