November 22, 2019

Honoring Survivors, StandWithUs in Israel

StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein (far left); Jerry Rothstein, COO of StandWithUs (far right); and StandWithUs Israel Executive Director Michael Dickson (center) met with Israel Defense Forces soldiers in Tel Aviv. Photo courtesy of StandWithUs

Husband-and-wife Roz and Jerry Rothstein, CEO and COO of pro-Israel organization StandWithUs (SWU), respectively, took part in a mission to Israel for Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut. 

The group went to Tel Aviv, Sderot and Jerusalem. 

“It was a very private and high-level mission,” a StandWithUs representative said. “We don’t usually do press on it.”

The group met with Michael Dickson, executive director of StandWithUs — Israel and Israel Defense Forces soldiers (IDF), among others.

SWU supporters from around the world took part in the mission. The delegation arrived in Israel on May 5.
Visiting the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, they posed for photographs with IDF soldiers on the building’s helipad overlooking the city.

The delegation was thrilled after seeing the SWU name projected onto City Hall in Tel Aviv, marking the organization’s 18th birthday and 71 years since the founding of the State of Israel.

Jewish Los Angeles Special Needs Trust CEO Michelle Wolf (fourth from left) and attorneys Stuart Zimring (fifth from left) and Josh Passman (sixth from left) spoke at the inaugural session of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles’s 2019 Professional Advisor Speakers Series.
Photo b Courtesy of Jewish Community Foundation of L.A.

More than 100 attorneys, CPAs, estate planners and financial advisers attended the inaugural session of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles’s 2019 Professional Advisor Speakers Series in Beverly Hills.

The program was titled “Special Planning Considerations for Clients With Special Needs.” 

Panelists shared topical insights and information about government programs as well as financial and legal strategies to assist clients with physical, mental and psychological disabilities and their families in managing life with special needs. A growing special-needs population, particularly those on the autism spectrum, is making this an issue of increasing importance, according to the Jewish Community Foundation of L.A.

Event speakers were Michelle Wolf, founder and CEO of the Jewish Los Angeles Special Needs Trust and an occasional contributing Journal columnist, and attorneys Stuart Zimring and Josh Passman.

Members of the Jewish Community Foundation’s development team turned out, including Vice President of Advancement Steve Gamer; Vice President of Development Baruch Littman; Director of Charitable Gift Planning Natella Royzman; and Executive Vice President Dan Rothblatt.

The Jewish Community Foundation of L.A., which manages more than $1 billion in charitable assets for more than 1,300 Los Angeles Jewish philanthropists, holds the seven-session series in Beverly Hills and downtown L.A. locations to provide professional advisers with strategies and insights for tax and estate planning. 

Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, vice chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus; Photo courtesy of the Office of Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel

At Holocaust Remembrance Day in the California State Capitol, State Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, vice chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, presented a bill declaring April 29, 2019, California Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The event also featured State Sen. Ben Allen, chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, addressing attendees before introducing California Gov. Gavin Newsom to the crowd.

Rabbi Julia Weisz from Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas also took part in the April 29 program. She delivered the prayer on the assembly floor.

The gathering feted Joshua Kaufman, who survived Auschwitz-Birkenau, a death march and Dachau and Muhldorf concentration camps. Kaufman immigrated to Israel in 1949 and fought in the Yom Kippur War. 

Holocaust survivor Jerry Weiser and State Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio mixed and mingled during the ceremony, during which assemblymembers rose for the Mourner’s Kaddish.

Rabbi Nolan Lebovitz (standing, far right) welcomed members of Holocaust survivor social club Cafe Europa to his congregation, Adat Shalom, this month. Photo courtesy of Adat Shalom

Conservative congregation Adat Shalom welcomed members of Café Europa, a social club for Holocaust survivors, to its Westside community on May 8. 

“We had an incredible evening here at Adat Shalom welcoming survivors
of the Shoah from Cafe Europa to an inspiring concert by Violins of Hope and a beautiful dinner,” Rabbi Nolan Lebovitz said, referring to a traveling musical project featuring musicians playing instruments owned by Jews during the Holocaust. 

The gathering drew more than 150 attendees, Lebovitz said.

From left: Sandra Wininger, Daniel Knafo, Eli and Ilanit Fitlovitz, Arnold Wininger, Tal Fitlovitz and Rob Wininger attended “Zikaron Basalon” in commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Photo by ATal Yaari

Holocaust survivors recounted their stories of survival against all odds on May 1 during intimate gatherings organized by the Israeli American Council (IAC) for Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The annual event — which began in Israel — is called “Zikaron Basalon,” Hebrew for “Remembrance in the living room.” Intimate discussions with survivors took place at 24 private homes across Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

More than 100 people attended the gathering at the home of Ilanit and Eli Fitlovitz in Tarzana, where survivor Arnold Wininger told his story. He was born in Germany in 1926. After the Gestapo took away his father, his mother, in an effort to save Wininger, agreed to send him on a transport to Palestine. 

“I remember the night my mother took me to the train station,” he said. “I was about 13 or 14 years old. I bitterly cried all the way there. I knew it would be the last time I’d see her.” 

Wininger escaped Nazi Germany along with 75 Jewish kids who wandered from place to place and through borders from one country to the next. At one point, they found shelter in an abandoned villa in Italy that belonged to a Jewish family. Eventually, some of the children made it to Palestine and some had moved to the United States. Wininger was one of them. 

“A year ago, I gave a lecture here in this house and at the end of the lecture, a man approached me and told me that his mom, a Holocaust survivor herself, stayed at Villa Emma, the same one I stayed in and during the same year,” he said. “He said her name is Sonya and asked me if I remember her.” 

Wininger did. Later on, the two survivors met and rekindled their childhood friendship.

“I had vowed never to step foot in Germany again,” Wininger said, “but a few years ago, I received an invitation from the German government to come and visit my hometown. At first, I wanted to decline, but my wife thought we should go and so we did.”

His son, Rob Wininger, who attended the event, also went on the trip. 

“The World Cup was going to take place in two years in Germany, so I asked my father to wait so we could all go together. We were able to get five tickets and went all together with my two boys,” Rob said. “I remember we were at a restaurant when Germany had won and people went crazy with happiness. We went outside and hundreds of people were dancing and singing ‘Deutschland, Deutschland’ and waving the German flag and my children joined them, waving their flags and singing and I thought, ‘How incredible is that?’”

Want to be in Movers & Shakers? Send us your highlights, events, honors and simchas. Email