February 19, 2020

Leadership Program, New Consul General

From left: ETTA board members Jaime Sohacheski, Scott Krieger, Dave Garden and Michael Baruch. Photo courtesy of the Sephardic Education Center

ETTA, a leading nonprofit serving adults with special needs, held its inaugural Charity Poker Tournament on July 28 to raise funds to continue and expand its work.  

Celebrities, sports figures, professional poker players, clients and several
hundred supporters gathered at the iconic Sports Museum of Los Angeles for the event.

Attendees included ETTA board members Jaime Sohacheski, Scott Krieger, Dave Garden and Michael Baruch.

Justin Pressman, the West Coast director of the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Photo courtesy of the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

The West Coast director of the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (AFIPO), which supports the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and helps sustain the cultural institution’s future.

Pressman was previously the West Coast associate director of AFIPO, a position he held since December 2018.  The development professional has worked with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra’s Miami Residency, New World Symphony and the Castleton Festival (Va.). As a Fulbright scholar, he studied orchestral and opera  conducting in St. Petersburg, Russia, and received his bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Miami in classical trumpet performance.

He is originally from Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

The Sephardic Education Center’s (SEC) latest Hamsa Israel Teen Leadership cohort comes together for a group photo in Israel, joined by SEC Director Rabbi Daniel Bouskila (far right). Photo courtesy of the Sephardic Education Center

Volunteer committee Save Beverly Fairfax and those committed to preserving the Jewish character of the Beverly-Fairfax district received the 2019 Preservation Award at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown L.A. on July 25 for their successful effort to list the Beverly-Fairfax area in the National Register of Historic Places.

The award from the L.A. Conservancy recognizes a small group of Beverly-Fairfax district residents who have opposed the development of the neighborhood, including the building of McMansions, and want to preserve the area’s Jewish character and history.

“We’re trying to prevent the whole landscape and history from disappearing,” Beverly-Fairfax resident Fred Zaidman, a volunteer in the grassroots effort, told the Journal.

Award recipients include project leads Dale Kendall and Nora Wyman; preservation consultants Katie Horak, Mary Ringhoff and Mickie Torres-Gil; and team members Kathryn Bundy and Brian Harris.

According to the website of the L.A. Conservancy, the Beverly-Fairfax district was one of the few L.A. neighborhoods in the late 19th century that did not prohibit property owners from selling or leasing to minorities, including Jewish Americans. The area “became the destination of many Jewish Americans who migrated from the [city’s] eastside in the 1920s. 

“By 1961, the district was over 60 percent Jewish,” the website says. Many Holocaust survivors settled in the neighborhood, which today “remains largely Jewish.” 

“We have Holocaust survivors and our history in that area,” Zaidman said in a phone interview.

Last month, the group gathered for a celebratory luncheon. Meanwhile, an event publicly recognizing their efforts will take place on Aug. 11, during which L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz will present the group with an award. The gathering will also commemorate new historical district signs that will be placed throughout the neighborhood.

Volunteer committee Save Beverly Fairfax and others received the 2019 Preservation Award from the L.A. Conservancy for their efforts to preserve the Jewish history of the Beverly-Fairfax district.
Photo courtesy of Fred Zaidman

The Sephardic Educational Center (SEC) in Jerusalem, under the leadership of Rabbi Daniel Bouskila, successfully completed another cohort of its Hamsa Israel Teen Leadership Program this past July. 

With teenagers from Sephardic communities in Los Angeles, New York and Seattle, the monthlong Hamsa Program features all of the traditional touring, hiking and immersion into Israeli society and culture, celebrates Sephardic Judaism’s culture and history and emphasizes leadership training.

According to its website, SEC is “dedicated to strengthening Jewish identity for youth and young adults and to building a new generation of spiritual and community leaders.”

From left: JNF Board Members Carole Shnier and Civia Caroline, Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Hillel Newman, JNF Los Angeles Board President Alyse Golden Berkley and JNF National Campaign Director Sharon Freedman. Photo courtesy of JNF

Hillel Newman, the new Consul General of Israel to the Southwest United States, attended his first official event since arriving in Los Angeles: an appearance with the Jewish National Fund (JNF). 

The newly arrived diplomat, who began his duties around the beginning of July, participated in an intimate reception with JNF’s board of directors and major donors on July 24 at a private residence in Trousdale Estates in Beverly Hills. 

Attendees included Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch, Vice Mayor Lester Friedman and Beverly Hills City Councilmembers Julian Gold and Robert Wunderlich.

The event was the vision of JNF’s National Campaign Director Sharon Freedman, according to the JNF.

“Hillel and I go back to New England, where we became fast friends when he was the Deputy Consul General for that region,” Freedman said. “Los Angeles and the entire Southwest are so lucky to have his vast experience, wisdom and vision here as our Consul General.”

Newman said he was grateful to the JNF for hosting him at the event.

“Thank you to Jewish National Fund for such a warm and beautiful welcome to L.A.,” Newman said. “And thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to make Israel grow and thrive.”

During the event, Newman shared the current state of events in Israel.

“Israel faces both challenges and opportunities today,” Newman said. “There
are also new horizons emerging in fields ranging from diplomacy to innovation.”

The mission of the JNF is to ensure a strong, secure and prosperous future for the land and people of Israel.

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Email ryant@jewishjournal.com.