January 27, 2020

Levy’s Special Oscar; Rabbi Lachtman Honored

Temple Beth David Rabbi Alan Lachtman and Congressman Judy Chu attended a brunch feting Lachtman. Photo Courtesy of Louie the Lens

The Jewish Federation of Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys honored Rabbi Alan Lachtman of Temple Beth David during the 2018 Honoring Community Leaders Brunch at the Courtyard Marriott on Oct. 21. 

The gathering feted Lachtman for his 42-plus years as Temple Beth David’s spiritual leader and for his contributions to the greater community.

“You know, we don’t have a fancy building but we have a big heart,” Lachtman said in an interview published in JLife SGPV prior to the event honoring him. “I am just so grateful for the decades that I have been able to be here and try to be Jewishly warm, caring and relevant for my congregants, and the non-Jewish community looks upon me, as well.”

The more than 200 attendees at the brunch included U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park), Jason Moss, executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, and members of Lachtman’s family.

Lachtman was 29 when he was elected rabbi at Temple Beth David in 1976, after serving as education director of a Reform congregation in Berkeley, Calif. Speaking to JLife, he said some of his fondest experiences during his tenure as rabbi at Temple Beth David have involved different communities coming together for initiatives such as Purim carnivals, sending the synagogue’s children to Washington, D.C., to learn how to advocate for social issues, and witnessing the proliferation of Jewish day school education in Southern California. 

He holds a degree in marriage, child and family therapy and served as a chaplain in the U.S. Army for 29 years.

Temple Beth David is a Reform congregation in Temple City.

Celebrated public relations person Marvin J. Levy, who was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Courtesy of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Marvin J. Levy’s standing as one of the top public relations professionals in the movie business has been officially confirmed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which will confer its first-ever honorary Oscar on a publicist when it fetes the energetic octogenarian on Nov. 18.

Levy and Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg have enjoyed a close and complementary relationship for more than 40 years. They worked together beginning with Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and continued through “Jurassic Park,” “Lincoln” and, most recently, “The Post.”

Levy’s 1993 marketing campaign for the Oscar-winning “Schindler’s List” may have been one of his greatest achievements, as both Spielberg and Universal Studios were convinced it would end up as a box-office flop.

A native of New York City, Levy was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of New York University’s College of Arts and Science and became a bar mitzvah at the Park Avenue Synagogue. He is now a member of Wilshire Boulevard Temple.

In an interview with the Journal, Levy described Spielberg as “the most creative force I know, and he does it all while making his cast, crew and staff feel like family. “

— Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

Women of Reform Judaism Social Action Committee co-chair Karen Goldberg with Rabbi Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi.
Courtesy of Women of Reform Judaism

More than 150 women gathered in San Diego on Oct. 18-21 for the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) Pacific District Convention. 

The Pacific District, the largest geographically of the WRJ’s eight districts, comprises 7,500 women in 57 sisterhoods. 

During the biennial weekend, which had the theme of “Educate, Empower, Embrace: Lechi Lach,” attendees had the opportunity to hear, learn from and study with WRJ Executive Director Rabbi Marla Feldman; scholar-in-residence Rabbi Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, coeditor of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary”; and Zach Herrmann, past president of the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY).

New Pacific District board members were installed during a Saturday morning Shabbat service. They will serve with new President Dana Adler of Tucson, Ariz. 

Among the new women named to the board were Cher Krichmar of Temple Beth Ohr in Anaheim Hills; Erika Barnathan of Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge; Shoshana Lewin Fischer of Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand Oaks, who is the Jewish Journal’s digital director; Jackie Zev of Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge; Resa S. Davids of University Synagogue in Los Angeles; and Lori Glasky of Temple Beth Sholom in Santa Ana. 

In addition, four directors from Southern California began their term, acting as liaisons between the sisterhoods and the district: Madeline Eble of Temple Menorah in Redondo Beach; Gail Spivack of Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine; Flo Cohen of Temple Sinai of Glendale; and Tracey Poirier of Temple Judea in Tarzana.

A record-setting amount of money was raised for the WRJ’s Youth, Education and Special Projects Fund, which funds Reform programs around the world, including URJ camps, NFTY programs, scholarships for cantors and rabbis, and programs like Women of the Wall and the Jewish Braille Institute. 

In addition, more than 330 hand-knitted hats were collected for homeless women and women with breast cancer

— Shoshana Lewin Fischer, Journal staff 

From left: Ben Silverman, Rob Morrow, Stanley Silverman and Jaime Camil attend the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Los Angeles Gala 2018 at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on October 25, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.
Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

The American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (AFIPO) held its 2018 Los Angeles Gala on Oct. 25 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, celebrating the life and work of composer Stanley Silverman.

Hosted by actors Rob Morrow and Jaime Camil, the evening featured a performance by the philharmonic’s brass quintet, following a lavish outdoor buffet and award presentation.

Presenting the award to his father, film and television producer Ben Silverman spoke at length about the 80-year-old Grammy and Tony award nominee’s five decades of accomplishments as a composer and educator, including his collaborations with James Taylor, Sting and Paul Simon, as well as the classes he taught at Harvard, Juilliard, New York University and Tanglewood.

“My dad was driven by art, not by fame,” Silverman said. “I learned from my dad that the process is the thing. The impact is the reward. I’m always so proud and impressed that he pursued that so beautifully and delivered on every single level. I’m incredibly proud to give him this honor [to] the smartest man I know.”

 In a conversation with the Journal earlier in the evening, Stanley Silverman said the award was “really personal” to him because of his connection to Israel. He has visited three times, most recently for Ben’s wedding in Jerusalem in 2011.

Silverman performed with the Israel Philharmonic’s current conductor, Zubin Mehta, in the 1960s and said that collaborations with artists like Mehta, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Arthur Miller and Paul Simon have been the high points of his career.

Silverman talked about growing up in the Bronx, N.Y., in an Orthodox family of “Trotskyites, very left-wing Jews,” including a mother who was determined that he learned to play music. “It was a ticket out and into general society,” he said.

Besides “bringing up terrific kids,” he said his greatest legacy was being a pioneer in new-music theater.  “People like Julie Taymor came out of it,” he said. “I think people will remember me for that.”

 During the presentation, AFIPO co-chair Kfir Gavrieli spoke about the Philharmonic’s commitment to music education in Israel via its Keynote program, pointing out that the orchestra’s next director, Lahav Shani, who will succeed Zubin Mehta in 2020, received a scholarship via Keynote 14 years ago. The gala raised $1.1 million for the Keynote program. 

— Gerri Miller, Contributing Writer 

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