February 22, 2019

‘Guardians’ 80th, Canadians, Sundance Shabbat

From left: Jeff Schlesinger, Tony Berns, Marilyn Freeman, Zane Koss, Larry Schnaid and (back row) Peter Steigleder attended the 80th anniversary celebration of the Guardians of the L.A. Jewish Home. Photo courtesy of the L.A. Jewish Home

The Guardians of the Los Angeles Jewish Home celebrated its 80th anniversary on Jan. 26 at the Hollywood Palladium.

The event, dubbed “1938: A Comedy Night for the Ages,” honored Michael Koss, who established Koss Real Estate Investments in 1971; and presented the Ambassador Award to Josh Flagg, a reality television star and real estate agent. 

Koss, who specializes in the acquisition and development of commercial real estate, has been a supporter of the Guardians for 25 years and is a former board member of the organization. Flagg, who has a starring role on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles,” serves on the Guardians’ executive board.

The event drew more than 650 attendees and raised over $630,000, said Jessi Cazary, manager of the Guardians.

Tony Berns, Marilyn Freeman, Zane Koss and Peter Steigleder chaired the event. Richard Ziman served as honorary chair. 

The mission of the Guardians is to provide financial support for seniors and needy members of the Jewish community served by the Los Angeles Jewish Home, through residential and community-based programs. The organization was founded in 1938 by a handful of volunteers.


Daniella Alkobi, vice president of Marino. Photo courtesy of of Marino

Marino, a strategic communications and public relations firm based in New York with an office in Los Angeles, announced the promotion of Daniella Alkobi to vice president, on Jan. 23.

Alkobi, who joined the firm in 2012, has handled accounts including American Friends of Tel Aviv University, which raises funds and awareness for the educational institution.

“Daniella has been instrumental in the build-out of our Los Angeles office and California presence,” said John Marino, the company’s president. “Her incredible work ethic has been invaluable to our agency as she continues to elevate our clients to new levels of visibility.” 

Alkobi, 32, received her bachelor’s degree in communications and professional writing from UC Santa Barbara. A San Francisco native, she resides in Ventura with her husband, Sagi Alkobi, and their son, Mason. 


Philanthropist Julie Bram enjoys the traveling exhibition, “The Canadian Jewish Experience,” in Beverly Hills. Photo courtesy of Sharon Krischer

More than 40 people gathered Jan. 13 at the Beverly Hills home of Sharon and Joel Krischer to view the traveling exhibit, “The Canadian Jewish Experience,” curated by Tova Lynch, an immigrant member of the Ottawa, Ontario, Jewish community.  

The exhibit, created to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada in 2017, honors Jews who made contributions to the building of the country. Nine panels cover Jewish contributions to government, the legal system, business, architecture, sports, the arts, pop culture and other aspects of Canadian life. 

Speakers at the gathering included Consul General of Canada in Los Angeles Zaib Shaikh; Jewish Journal Publisher and Editor-in-Chief David Suissa, who spoke about his life after emigrating to Montreal from Morocco; and Lynch. Attendees included local Jewish philanthropist Julie Bram.

The exhibition acknowledges the challenges faced by Jews in Canada, specifically immigration barriers and prejudices targeting Jews in the 1960s, while recognizing the growth of the Jewish community that today counts nearly 400,000 people living in all the provinces and territories, with particular concentrations in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

“All Canadians take pride in our 150th anniversary, but Jewish citizens celebrate with a special appreciation,” the exhibit’s website says. “Canada’s peoples come from many backgrounds and religions. Our spirit of tolerance and diversity helps cultural communities thrive within the mosaic.” 

Lynch worked with her husband, Jim Lynch, a former diplomat, as well as a team of volunteers, in creating the exhibition. 


Students at the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies. Photo courtesy of Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley  

The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation of Los Angeles has awarded the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley a $1 million matching grant toward the institute’s goal of building a $10 million endowment by 2024.

According to the Jan. 23 announcement of the grant, the Berkeley Institute’s endowment campaign has also received grants totaling nearly $2 million from the Koret Foundation and the Jim Joseph Foundation. 

“We’re issuing a challenge to other funders who care about proven campus models for engaging students around the study of Israel and Jewish identity in the modern world,”  Gilbert Foundation trustee Martin Blank Jr. said in the announcement. “This is an exciting endeavor, and we hope others join us in this cause.” 

The Berkeley Institute houses two programs: the Berkeley Program on Israel Studies and the Berkeley Program on Jewish Law, Thought and Identity. 

The institute, which was launched in 2011 and has a faculty of 22 members hailing from a variety of academic disciplines, allows students to integrate Israel studies throughout different campus departments, courses and programs; and to complement Jewish studies’ traditional focus on history and literature with a range of classes engaging Judaism from different vantage points. 

The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation supports a variety of academic programs at UC Berkeley and UCLA, including a monthly colloquium at the Berkeley Institute for presentations and discussions related to Israel and Judaism.

Dawne Bear Novicoff, chief operating officer of the Jim Joseph Foundation, said the Berkeley Institute has transformed the possibilities for Israel study at UC Berkeley.

“The strong desire for rigorous academic engagement with Israel at Berkeley is undisputed now,” Novicoff said. “Each year, the Institute offers even more to students, contributing to an Israel studies landscape that is completely transformed compared to what it was seven years ago. With its proven model, the Institute can work to ensure its future viability and long-term impact.”


At the Sundance Film Festival, Peter Yarrow of the folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary dropped by the Shabbat Lounge and reminisced about the 1960s. Photo by Emily McLean

Rabbi Yonah Bookstein and Rebbetzin Rachel Bookstein of Pico Shul in Los Angeles held a Shabbat dinner and other programming at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on the weekend of Jan. 25–27.

Among those who came to the Shabbat Lounge, organized by the Shabbat Tent and the Chai Center, were Peter Yarrow of the folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary; sex therapist Dr. Ruth and rapper Kosha Dillz. Attendees enjoyed a Friday night dinner while meeting and networking with film industry leaders and enthusiasts from around the world. 


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