December 11, 2019

Anti-Semitism ‘Call to Action,’ IAC Networking Event

From left: Israelis Lati Grobman, Dani Menkin and Alon Aboutboul discussed their professional Hollywood experiences during an event convened by the Israeli American Council. Photo by Pal Photography

The Israeli American Council (IAC) Arts and Entertainment Network, a new group of Israeli and Jewish Americans who work in the film industry, held a July 2 event at Sam Gonen’s Hollywood home, allowing industry professionals to mingle, get to know one another and discuss possible collaborations.

The three speakers at “From Israel to La La Land” were Israeli producer Lati Grobman, Israeli actor Alon Aboutboul and Israeli writer-director Dani Menkin. They shared their Hollywood stories with a group of some 40 eager listeners.

Aboutboul was a successful actor in Israel before moving to Los Angeles 10 years ago. Since then, he has appeared in a few big-budget films, including “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Body of Lies.”

The 54-year-old noted how the industry had changed since he started his career as a young actor.

“I went to this party last night and there was an 18-year-old producer with some impressive credits to his name. The world is evolving and changing,” he said. “Today, kids with smartphones are making movies — and good ones, too.”

Grobman told the new filmmakers in town, “Be humble. One of the mistakes some actors make is that they feel they deserve it all, that the world revolves around their dreams to become a star, and it deters people from wanting to help them. I’m always happy to help people and open doors to those I feel connected with. What they do with it, it’s their own decision and journey.”

Menkin, who also has directed documentaries in Israel, said that “moving to Hollywood made me grow as a writer and director. It’s moving to see the success of my fellow Israeli filmmakers here. We all want to succeed for ourselves, but I also feel like we are ambassadors to the place we came from.”
— Ayala Or-El


Rabbi Joel Nickerson

Rabbi Joel Nickerson has joined the clergy team of Wilshire Boulevard Temple (WBT), according to a July 5 announcement by the congregation.

Nickerson previously served as an associate rabbi at Temple Isaiah, where, through creative, contemporary approaches to Judaism such as hip-hop-inspired Shabbat services, “he developed an enthusiastic and devoted congregation over the past eight years,” the WBT announcement said. 

Prior to his stint with Temple Isaiah, he served as rabbi and senior Jewish educator at the University of Pennsylvania, a rabbinic intern at Valley Beth Shalom and as Jewish Campus Service Corps Fellow at the Hillel at Stanford University.

Nickerson, who with his wife, Julia, has three daughters, holds a degree in neuroscience and behavioral biology at Emory University and was ordained at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, a Reform seminary.

His first Shabbat with WBT was on July 5, where he joined Cantor Lisa Peicott for the community’s open-air Shabbat service. The two have announced “Rooftop Ruach,” a “casual, open-air Shabbat and dinner,” which will held at WBT’s Glazer campus in Koreatown on July 26 and Aug. 16., according to the WBT website. 

“Joel is a caring and experienced rabbi, an engaging and personable leader whose innovative approach to prayer, programming and small-group organizing will be powerful additions to the temple’s offering,” the WBT announcement said. “He will establish programs and build relationships throughout the temple’s many communities with an initial focus on the Glazer Campus schools, adult learners and worship.”

The fifth annual Tomchei Golf Classic and Dinner was held on July 1 at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes.

The event featured a golf tournament, giveaways, contests, raffles and a gourmet barbecue lunch, along with a wine tasting, entertainment and an open bar.

The gathering benefited Tomchei LA, which helps the Jewish needy of Los Angeles “by providing a variety of
family services with the utmost level of dignity and discretion,” the organization’s website says.

Attendees included Tomchei President Yona Landau, Tomchei Chief Financial Officer Yosef Manela and Tomchei Executive Director Schneur Braunstein. Manela, who runs the professional accounting corporation Manela & Company, sponsored the event.

“Thank you, Yossi Manela, for being our title sponsor,” a Tomchei statement said. “None of this could happen without you and we are truly so grateful for all that you do! Thanks for being such a huge part of Tomchei LA!”

Tomchei, which was founded in 1978, provides food assistance to families every week the day before Shabbat.


CPA Yosef Manela (center) was the main sponsor of the fifth annual Tomchei
Golf Classic and Dinner.
Photo from Facebook

The Sinai Temple Israel Center and American Friends of Tel Aviv University, in partnership with Sinai Temple’s Men’s Club, held a discussion on July 2 at the synagogue titled “Fighting Anti-Semitism and Racism: A Call To Action.”

The speaker was Dina Porat, professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University (TAU), head of the TAU Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and the chief historian of Yad Vashem.

Addressing more than 150 attendees, Porat spoke about the importance of Holocaust remembrance at a time of increased anti-Semitism.

“With anti-Semitism on the rise, it’s crucial we keep the haunting memories and lessons of the Holocaust alive to ensure what our people endured is never forgotten,” she said.

Sinai Temple Men’s Club acting President Farshad Rafii delivered the welcoming remarks.
Rayna Zborovsky


Tel Aviv University Professor Emeritus Dina Porat (center) spoke about anti-Semitism at Sinai Temple. Photo by Star Sargenti

The Sinai Temple Israel Center and American Friends of Tel Aviv University, in partnership with Sinai Temple’s Men’s Club, held a discussion on July 2 at the synagogue titled “Fighting Anti-Semitism and Racism: A Call To Action.”

The speaker was Dina Porat, professor emeritus at Tel Aviv University (TAU), head of the TAU Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and the chief historian of Yad Vashem.

Addressing more than 150 attendees, Porat spoke about the importance of Holocaust remembrance at a time of increased anti-Semitism.

“With anti-Semitism on the rise, it’s crucial we keep the haunting memories and lessons of the Holocaust alive to ensure what our people endured is never forgotten,” she said.

Sinai Temple Men’s Club acting President Farshad Rafii delivered the welcoming remarks.
Rayna Zborovsky


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