March 26, 2019

School Mural, Camp Fundraisers, AJCLA Hire

From left: Israeli Consul for Public Diplomacy Karin Pery; Consul General Sam Grundwerg; community organizer Sylvan De La Cruz; Artist 4 Israel CEO Craig Dershowitz; Arts Bridging the Gap’s Georgia Van Cuylenburg; LAPD Officer Julie Nony and Hollywood High School Principal Edward Colacion attend the unveiling of a new mural at Hollywood High School. Photo courtesy of the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles

A new mural brightening a wall of Hollywood High School — the product of an effort between the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and two artist-focused nonprofits — was unveiled during a ceremony on Nov. 13. 

“We are happy to collaborate with these amazing community leaders as partners,” said Karin Pery, the Consulate General’s consul for public diplomacy and culture. “When we come together for the collective good, there is nothing we cannot accomplish, and we leave the world a little more beautiful than we found it.”

The mural, “Unifying Eternities,” painted by artist Don Rimx of Puerto Rico, depicts two faces that represent the diversity on the school’s campus and throughout Hollywood and Los Angeles. The work is located on an exterior wall near the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Orange Drive. 

Capt. Cory Palka, commanding officer of the LAPD’s Hollywood Division, said he hoped the mural could help decrease crime around the school. “We know statistics show that when you start beautifying a neighborhood, you see a reduction in crime,” he said.

The mural was painted over six days, with the LAPD bringing together people to help with the project, the Consulate General providing paint supplies, and the organizations Artists 4 Israel and Arts Bridging the Gap coordinating the painting. L.A. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s office provided crews to help with the preparation work. 

Artists 4 Israel CEO Craig Dershowitz said he hoped the mural at Hollywood High School would inspire tolerance: “Today, as racism and anti-Semitism show their evil faces each day, it is our joy to paint a different picture.”


American Jewish Committee Los Angeles’ new assistant director Holly Huffnagle speaking at the European Parliament in Brussels on Jewish community security in Europe in
May 2017. Phoro courtesy of OSCE

American Jewish Committee Los Angeles (AJCLA) has announced the hiring of Holly Huffnagle as its new assistant director.

Huffnagle’s responsibilities at AJCLA will include overseeing international diplomacy and AJCLA programs related to monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, intolerance and discrimination; and overseeing the AJC ACCESS young professionals program, the organization said in its Nov. 19 announcement. 

Huffnagle joins a senior staff at AJCLA that includes Dganit Abramoff, acting chief of staff; Siamak Kordestani, assistant director; Melissa Saragosti, associate director of development; and Saba Soomekh, assistant director of interreligious and intercommunity affairs.

Huffnagle previously served as policy adviser to the special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism at the U.S. State Department from 2015-17. From 2010-15, she was a researcher for the Mandel Center of Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. 

AJC describes itself as the “leading global Jewish advocacy organization, with unparalleled access to government officials, diplomats and other world leaders.” Its three goals are to combat anti-Semitism and extremism, support Israel, and safeguard the rights and freedom of all people. 


From left: Steve Saltzman, Arnie Nelson and Bob Waldorf attended the Foundation for Camp Bob Waldorf annual Brunch and Family Day.
Photo courtesy of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles

The Foundation for Camp Bob Waldorf (FCBW) held its annual Brunch and Family Day on Nov. 18 at Camp Bob Waldorf.

More than 150 community and businesses leaders and camp families attended the brunch, at which Stephen Saltzman received the Sydney J. Rosenberg Lifetime Achievement Award for his involvement as an active volunteer and board member for nearly 45 years.

The event also unveiled the camp’s new square, dedicated in honor of Arnie Nelson as a 90th birthday gift from his wife, Sherri Nelson. “The Arnie Nelson Camp Square will be an inviting, inclusive and central meeting space where the entire camp community can gather together,” the FCBW said in a statement. 

Arnie Nelson has served as a leader and supporter of the camp and its campers for decades and has served for 40 years on the board of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA), which owns and operates Camp Bob Waldorf.

Camp Bob Waldorf Director Zach Lasker welcomed guests into the new camp square.

“Now, more than ever, is a time when we need safe spaces where our next generation of children can form relationships with positive role models while cultivating a sense of self-respect and compassion to others,” Lasker said. “This coming summer we will welcome 1,000 diverse young people into our community and hope to nourish their minds, bodies and hearts.”

The camp serves children in need entering grades 4-10.

The Brunch and Family Day raised more than $380,000 for FCBW, exceeding the event’s goal by $50,000, the FCBW statement said. The funds raised will support a full renovation of the camp’s cabins, including new flooring, lighting, cabinets, security systems and window shades.

During the event, guests heard speeches from parents of campers and enjoyed activities that included a petting zoo, face painting and a rope course. 

“Camp is more than just two weeks of fun for kids in need. It is a support system for families and a beacon of hope for our community,” said JBBBSLA and FCBW CEO Randy Schwab. “For 80 years, Camp Bob Waldorf has been their safety net and, thanks to the Foundation, which provides perpetual funding for the camp, our kids know that we will always be there.”


From left: Camp Ramah in California honorees Sheila Baran Spiwak and her husband, Alan Spiwak, and Maya Aharon. Photo courtesy of Camp Ramah in California

Camp Ramah in California, the Ojai-based Conservative summer camp, held its 2018 gala celebration on Nov. 4 at Barad Hall at Sinai Temple in Westwood.

The event raised more than $800,000 and honored Sheila Baran Spiwak and her husband, Alan Spiwak, along with Maya Aharon, who received the Alumni Leadership Award.

The Baran and Spiwak families have supported Jewish causes locally, nationally, in Israel and around the world. Their areas of focus include Jewish education, children, the elderly, Holocaust survivors and people with special needs.

Aharon, director of teen experiential programs at the Builders of Jewish Education, has been involved in a number of Jewish organizations throughout her life. They include Camp Ramah, Hillel and The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. She graduated from Milken Community Schools in 2004 and earned her bachelor’s degree in Jewish studies at Indiana University in 2008.

John Magoulas, director of development at Camp Ramah in California, said the money raised would make camp more affordable for families. “The event seeded our affordability initiative endowment,” he said.

The 500 attendees at the sold-out event included Jay Sanderson, CEO and executive director of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Magoulas said.

For the first time, the event was followed by an after-party at which more than 100 young adults enjoyed music, mingling and cocktails.   


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