August 17, 2019

MLK Bond; Rabbis’ New Leader; BJE, BTS Galas

Members of Adat Shalom and Ward AME Church marched together in the Kingdom Day Parade in Crenshaw on MLK Day. Photo courtesy of Adat Shalom

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21, members of Adat Shalom, a Conservative congregation in West Los Angeles, and Ward African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in University Park marched together for the third time in the Kingdom Day Parade in Crenshaw.

Rabbi Nolan Lebovitz and Reverend John Edward Cager, III have helped foster a relationship between their two communities.  

The weekend included a Shabbat dinner for both communities at Adat Shalom on Friday night, parade preparations on Sunday for religious school students
from both Ward AME and Adat Shalom, and then the parade on Monday.


Event chairs and members of Beit T’Shuvah’s senior leadership gathered at the organization’s 27th annual gala. Photo courtesy of Beit T’Shuvah

Beit T’Shuvah, the rehabilitation center and synagogue, raised more than $1.5 million from its 27th annual gala at the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 20.

The annual affair, which drew 650 attendees, honored longtime Beit T’Shuvah supporters Meryl and Russell Kern and Brad Wiseman. The Kerns received the organization’s T’Shuvah Award for their board involvement and volunteer efforts. Wiseman, who received the Harriet Award, was honored for his dedication as a board member and for carrying
forward the torch of his family’s legacy in keeping the Beit T’Shuvah mission thriving, the organization said.

The gathering, which had the theme “We Are One,” was attended by U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Northridge) and former Republican state Senator Joel Anderson, who represented the 38th Senate District in San Diego County from 2014 to 2018. 

Also in attendance were Andrew Cushnir, executive vice president of donor relations at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles; Jeffrey Herbst, president of American Jewish University, and his wife, Sharon Polansky; philanthropists Stanley Black and Annette and Leonard Shapiro; Beit T’Shuvah supporters Virginia Maas and Pat Gage; board members Sam Delug and Ronnie Stabler; and interim Executive Director Warren Breslow and his wife, Gail Buchalter, among others. 

The evening included a taped message from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Valley Beth Shalom Rabbi Ed Feinstein served as the master of ceremonies.

Beit T’Shuvah Senior Rabbi Mark Borovitz said he was grateful for the support of the Beit T’Shuvah community.

“I’m always so moved by the love and support of the friends, family and community partners of Beit T’Shuvah,” Borovitz said. “It’s one thing to say we love you, and it’s another thing to put actions behind that sentiment. And this year’s gala proved that there are a lot of people who care about Beit T’Shuvah — in both word and deed.”

Donations raised at the event will underwrite scholarships for patients seeking residential addiction treatment and go toward the organization’s general operational expenses.


From left: BJE Gala Honoree Michael Berenbaum, co-chair Sheila Miller, honoree Betty Winn, co-chairs Sheila Lebovic and Susan Fink and honoree David Nimmer attended the BJE annual gala at Sinai Temple. Photo courtesy of BJE

The Builders of Jewish Education (BJE) organization held a Jan. 17 gala at Sinai Temple in Westwood that helped raise money for its March of the Living program.

A sold-out crowd of more than 500 people, representing the diverse spectrum of Jewish life in Los Angeles, gathered at the annual gala to honor BJE leaders Michael Berenbaum, David Nimmer and Betty Winn. 

Berenbaum is a Holocaust historian and academic who played a role in the
creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He has led numerous BJE March of the Living trips for adults. Nimmer is an international expert on copyright law, an active leader in the Jewish community and a BJE board member. Winn has been a leader in secular and Jewish education for decades and previously served as director of the BJE Center for Excellence in Day School and Early Childhood Education.

“This year’s gala theme, ‘From Education to Action,’ was truly reflected in our honorees,” said Miriam Prum Hess, BJE’s director of donor and community relations. “Each of them has demonstrated a profound commitment to providing Jewish education to people of all ages, as well as giving them the tools to act on what they’ve learned.”

Susan Fink, Sheila Leibovic and Adrian Miller co-chaired the gala; Rabbi Steve Leder of Wilshire Boulevard Temple delivered a dvar Torah and Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky of B’nai David-Judea led the Birkat ha-Mazon. 

March of the Living is a two-week experience during which teens from all over the world travel to Poland and Israel to learn about the Jewish people’s past, present and future.


From left: Rabbi Ahud Sela of Temple Ramat Zion; Rabbi David Woznica of Stephen Wise Temple; Cedars-Sinai’s Rabbi Jason Weiner, Kehillat Israel Rabbi Amy Bernstein; Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles President and CEO Jay Sanderson; Valley Beth Shalom Rabbi Joshua Hoffman; the Board of Rabbi’s Rabbi Ilana Grinblat and B’nai David-Judea Rabbanit Alissa Thomas-Newborn celebrated Rabbi Bernstein’s installation as president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.
Photo courtesy of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

During a Jan. 16 installation ceremony at Kehillat Israel in Pacific Palisades, the Reconstructionist synagogue’s Rabbi Amy Bernstein was named president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.

Bernstein, who previously served as the organization’s vice president, succeeds Rabbi Jason Weiner of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Spiritual Care Department as president of the rabbinic professional development organization. 

More than 140 community members attended a reception after the ceremony, including Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles President and CEO Jay Sanderson.

“We are all very excited that Rabbi Amy Bernstein is taking this significant leadership role as the new president of the Board of Rabbis,” Sanderson said. “We look forward to working together to build a stronger Jewish community and support rabbis throughout Southern California.”

The Board of Rabbis of Southern California is a department of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. The group’s aim is to promote the spiritual and professional growth of its more than 250 members, foster unity among the different denominations and serve as a resource for Federation.

Upon her installation to the two-year term, Bernstein emphasized the Board of Rabbis’ role in strengthening ties among the different denominations in the L.A. region. 

“The Board of Rabbis’ purpose is to bring rabbis from different denominations, fields and generations together to learn and to build relationships of respect, not only despite but partly in light of our divergent views and perspectives,” she said.

Weiner said he appreciated his time heading the organization.

“Being president of the Board of Rabbis was a unique opportunity to work with the diverse leaders of our community on behalf of important communal concerns,” he said.


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