November 18, 2019

Bel Air Affaire, Yom Kippur With Big Names

From left: Barry and Martha Berkett accept the American Friends of Hebrew University Torch of Learning Award on behalf of the late Phyllis and Lloyd Berkett from May and Richard Ziman, the AFHU award presenter. Photo Courtesy of American Friends of Hebrew University

American Friends of Hebrew University (AFHU), which raises funds and awareness for Hebrew University in Jerusalem, held its 11th annual Bel Air Affaire fundraiser on Sept. 14 at the home of Ron Burkle.

The theme of the evening was “Vintage Las Vegas,” with statues of Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and others greeting the 225 guests. A Rat Pack tribute performance, featuring the music of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., entertained attendees.

Hebrew University professor Asher Cohen delivered welcoming remarks and Hebrew University student ambassador Shai Deutsch explained the importance of scholarships to the school’s students.

The late couple Phyllis and Lloyd Berkett received the AFHU Torch of Learning Award, with their family members Martha and Barry Berkett accepting the award on their behalf.

The evening raised nearly $2 million for student scholarships at Hebrew University, AFHU said.


Elana Wien, inaugural executive director of Safety Respect Equity (SRE), a Jewish coalition founded to address sexual misconduct in the workplace and other Jewish spaces. Courtesy of Elana Wien

Elana Wien has been named the inaugural executive director of Safety Respect Equity (SRE), a Jewish coalition founded to address sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the Jewish community.

Wien previously served as the vice president for the Center of Designed Philanthropy at the Jewish Community Foundation Los Angeles, where she guided the investment of millions of dollars each year in the Jewish world and beyond. 

Her hiring at SRE, which followed a national search, becomes effective in November.

“Elana impressed us as both a seasoned, thoughtful professional and as a visionary, creative and entrepreneurial leader,” Lisa Eisen, president of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and co-chair of the SRE Coalition Search Committee, said in a statement. “Known as a rising star in Jewish life, Elana will be an outstanding inaugural executive director to take our Coalition from start-up phase to the next level of impact. We are thrilled to welcome Elana to the team and look forward to SRE reaching new heights under her leadership.” 

In a statement, Wien said she appreciated the opportunity to lead the coalition. 

“I have been inspired seeing the SRE Coalition emerge over the past 18 months from an idea to a powerful partnership of individuals, organizations and funders committed to using their voices and resources to make safety, respect, and equity a priority for Jewish professional spaces and beyond,” she said. “I can’t think of more meaningful work or a more important time to engage in it. I am grateful to the SRE Coalition Advisory Board and Search Committee for their selection, and look forward to achieving great things together.”

According the coalition’s website, SRE was founded in the wake of the #MeToo movement “to ensure safe, respectful and equitable Jewish workplaces and communal spaces by addressing sexual harassment, sexism and gender discrimination.” 

Composed of organizations and individuals with shared goals, SRE is fiscally sponsored by the New Venture Fund, a public charity that supports public interest projects, and managed by Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies, which helps nonprofits and mission-driven companies expand their impact.


Dr. Robert Adler, 71, a member of Beth Jacob Congregation, competed in his 13th Malibu Triathlon. Photo by Dr. Lisa Stern

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) pediatrician Dr. Robert Adler, 71, competed in his 13th Malibu Triathlon on Sept. 15, completing a half-mile swim, 17-mile bike ride and 4-mile run.

His large family, including 15 grandchildren, cheered him on. Keeping with family ritual, Adler’s 16-year-old granddaughter took his eyeglasses while he did the swimming portion and met him when he emerged from the water to complete the first leg of the race.

Adler has trained hundreds of other pediatricians across California and treated thousands of patients in his five decades at CHLA. He is an Orthodox Jew who fits his training regimen around morning prayers at Beth Jacob Congregation and his schedule as chief medical director of CHLA Health Network. 

His workout regimen includes treadmill work two to three times a week, 5 miles at a time, and a 20-mile bike
ride on Sundays with his grandkids through Nichols Canyon or a pier-to-pier swim in Manhattan Beach with swim-ming friends.

“For me, the exercise helps me cope with the stress,” he said. “It gets me thinking about ideas and helps me relax. If I go two days without exercise, I feel tired.”

The triathlon benefits pediatric cancer research. According to CHLA, Adler is proud to have contributed to the more than $11 million the triathlon has raised for CHLA since 2006. 

Having made the podium twice, he likes the camaraderie of the event. 

“I also enjoy the team spirit, seeing my colleagues from work in a completely different light and environment. There is no hierarchy out here,” he said. “We are all in our wet suits having a good time.”

Plus exercise helps him cope with the challenges that come with his day job, Adler said.

“Exercise is a time when you can clear your mind and work out issues that come up at work,” he said. “And with swimming — that’s my favorite event — no one talks; it’s total sensory deprivation.”

He began running marathons two decades ago at age 50. When CHLA’s cancer research program became the primary beneficiary of the Malibu triathlon 13 years ago, his son urged him to sign up. He borrowed a bike and a wetsuit at the last minute and off he went.

However, last month’s triathlon will likely be Adler’s last. 

“My doctor thinks this is a great thing but my wife says this is it for me after 13 years,” he said. “But I will still do the relays with my grandchildren.”


Stanley Black, left, and Elan Carr attend Yom Kippur services at the Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre. Photo courtesy of Temple of the Arts

Rabbi David Baron of the Beverly Hills Temple of the Arts at the Saban Theatre brought many high-profile guests to his congregation’s Yom Kippur service this year.

Attendees included Jonathan Morales, who was working as an off-duty Border Patrol agent when he responded to the Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting; renowned violinist Vijay Gupta, formerly of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, who played one of the Violins of Hope rescued from the Holocaust; Holocaust survivor Susanne Reyto, chair of Violins of Hope; acclaimed cellist Michael Fitzpatrick; Lana Melman, a leader in combating the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel; and Judea Pearl, father of the slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who talked about anti-Semitism and Zionism, and October as a global music month in his son’s memory.

Service participants included Cantors Ilysia Pierce and Jordan Bennett, plus the temple’s choir composed of singers from the Los Angeles Opera and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, led by the temple’s music director, Sharon Farber.  

Additional service participants included Elan Carr, the U.S. State Department’s special envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, film critic Leonard Maltin and businessman and philanthropist Steve Tisch.


Wanna be in Movers & Shakers? Send us your highlights, events, honors and simchas.
Email ryant@jewishjournal.com.