February 21, 2020

ADL Gala, AJC Yellin Award, FSMC Board

From left: ADL Regional Director Amanda Susskind, Shirley and Walter Wang, Meredith Jackson, Scott Harris and Lisa Edelstein attend the ADL’s 2018 annual gala, which honored the Wangs and Jackson. Courtesy of the ADL

The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Los Angeles Region held its 2018 annual gala celebration on Dec. 4 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, featuring award-winners Meredith Jackson, and Shirley and Walter Wang.

The event raised $1.1 million to support ADL’s efforts to combat anti-Semitism and all forms of hate and bigotry. 

Actress Lisa Edelstein served as emcee and issued a call to action to open the evening, which later included several speakers who spoke about recent increases in hate crimes and incidents.

“Through ADL we can be vigilant,” Edelstein said. “We can shine a light on words that lead to deeds that lead to danger and we can be part of the change.”

The UCLA Bruin marching band gave a lively performance and its rendering of the U.S. national anthem was followed by the singing of “Hatikvah” by Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills Cantor Lizzie Weiss.

Jurisprudence Award recipient Jackson, executive vice president and general counsel at asset management firm TCW, spoke about the importance of fighting all forms of hatred and bigotry. She recounted a moment from her childhood when she pointed at a twig sticking into a pond and asked her father why it looked bent at the water line. He responded by giving her a quick physics lesson about light refraction. What she took away from his explanation was that what is on “the surface does not always tell the whole story.” Jackson encouraged the audience to look deeper at whether people’s actions are based on bias, even if it they are hidden beneath the surface.

Business leader and philanthropist Meyer Luskin introduced Humanitarian Award recipients the Wangs, who are Christian, noting that the room was filled with people of all faiths supporting an organization that believes in tolerance, justice and acceptance. Shirley Wang is founder and chief executive officer of Plastpro, a fiberglass door manufacturer; and Walter is chairman and chief executive officer of JM Eagle, the world’s largest manufacturer of plastic pipe.

Shirley encouraged the audience to support ADL because “no matter who you are or where you come from, you are vulnerable to injustice.” 

Walter spoke about his Christian faith and how it matched the goals of ADL to seek “righteousness, peace and joy before anything else and for all,” and to give a voice “to those who do not have one.”

New ADL Los Angeles Regional Board Chair Scott Harris described threats to American democracy and implored people at the gathering to fight for a world without hate by using their voices, their platforms and their pocketbooks “to advocate for the rights and morals we hold closest to our hearts.”

Friends of Sheba Medical Center Board (not all board members pictured). Photo courtesy of Friends of Sheba Medical Ctr.

The Los Angeles-based Friends of Sheba Medical Center (FSMC) has announced the newest members of its board.

Judy Flesh Rosenberg, Agi Schwartz, Vladislav Shut and Inna Tuler have joined the existing board of 29 members, according to a Jan. 2 announcement by the organization, which raises funds and awareness for Sheba Medical Center in Israel. 

“Together with the rest of the board, these four new members are committed to raising awareness and providing philanthropic support for Sheba Medical Center, Israel’s largest and most comprehensive hospital,” an FSMC statement said. “The combination of Sheba’s compassionate care and cutting-edge medicine has inspired these individuals to dedicate their time and resources to supporting this innovative, global hospital.”

FSMC also announced the appointment of Emanuel Abrishami as the Sheba 2.0 liaison to the board of directors. Sheba 2.0 is the young professionals’ division of FSMC. Abrishami’s responsibilities will include attending meetings, updating the board on Sheba 2.0 activities and sharing information with the Sheba 2.0 committee.

 “The following new board members bring many new skills and perspectives to the established board,” FSMC said.

From left: Tanaz Golshan, Aviv Kleinman, Village Synagogue Rabbi Zalmy Fogelman and Gregory Martayan participated in last month’s Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony at the Grove. Photo courtesy of Village Synagogue

Village Synagogue, which is aiming to establish a Jewish community in West Hollywood and Beverly Grove, organized a Dec. 3 candle lighting to celebrate the second night of Hanukkah at The Grove shopping center in the Fairfax district. The energized crowd that gathered for the event danced together and enjoyed latkes, doughnuts, dreidels and giveaways.

Attendees included L.A. City Council member David Ryu; Rabbi Zalmy Fogelman, director of Village Synagogue; Alli Webb, founder of Drybar; and real estate developer Neil Shekhter.

“From Pittsburgh to Thousand Oaks, and at a time when California needs so much healing, let us shine as menorahs and illuminate the world,” Fogelman said in his remarks. “The menorah is the symbol of our people’s strength, perseverance and faith in the most trying of times, and empowers us to hold dear our heritage and be proud of our identity.”

Founded in 2016 by Fogelman and his wife, Chana, who are from the Chabad movement and engage unaffiliated Jews, Village Synagogue operates Village Hebrew, an after-school Hebrew school program that has been meeting at Pan Pacific Park. Centered in the Beverly Grove area, the congregation also holds family events and holiday programs.

The nascent community recently entered into a lease agreement for a 15,000-square-foot property in West Hollywood that is the former home of the Crescent Heights United Methodist Church, Fogelman told the Journal.

There are plans for a weekly minyan and additional programming, Fogelman said.

“We felt there was a huge need for the type of community center and synagogue we are creating,” he said.

From left: Warren Olney, Marsha Temple, Mia and Michael Lehrer and Andy Lipkis at the AJC 2018 Yellin Leadership Award event honoring the Lehrers. Photo by David Crane Photography

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) honored Mia and Michael Lehrer with the 2018 Yellin Leadership Award on Dec. 2 at its annual Ira E. Yellin Award Dinner. 

The AJC award — named in memory of attorney, developer and activist Ira Yellin —  salutes outstanding accomplishments of leaders from all walks of life — civic, community, business and political — who have made Los Angeles a better place to live.

For more than 30 years the Lehrers, who are renowned architects, have developed and designed community initiatives in Los Angeles for schools and the environment.

The event took place at Studio-MLA, which was designed by Michael and where Mia Lehrer is founder and president. 

Warren Olney, host and executive producer of the nationally syndicated KCRW radio program “To the Point,” and Marsha Temple, executive director of the Integrated Recovery Network, served as keynote speakers.

AJC Los Angeles Co-Chair of Intercommunity Affairs Marcie Goldstein discussed AJC’s work to combat xenophobia and anti-Semitism in the U.S., Europe and beyond.

“We cannot just sit back and watch the resurgence of anti-Semitism, xenophobia and anti-immigrant attitudes in Europe and the United States,” Goldstein said. “To help deter hate crimes, we worked through our Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council to pass the Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act, which was signed into law just two months ago.”

Andy Lipkis, founder and president of TreePeople, presented the award to the Lehrers.

Jessica Yellin, former chief White House correspondent for CNN and daughter of Ira Yellin, served as master of ceremonies. 

L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and L.A. City Council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson praised the Lehrers’ community service and presented proclamations from their respective governmental bodies to honor their work.

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