December 7, 2019

JFS Center, Poms Prizes, Rabbi Joins Temple Judea

From left, front row: L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson, JFS Board Member Dena Schechter, JFS Board Member David Levine, JFS Board Member Eileen Brown and Councilmember Paul Koretz. Photo courtesy of of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles

After an inspiring “Topping Off” ceremony at Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles’ (JFS) new flagship service center site on Fairfax Avenue, marking the last beam being placed atop the structure during its construction, the Los Angeles City Council on Oct. 30 honored JFS board members Dena Schechter and David Levine, co-chairs of the JFS Capital Campaign, and JFS board member Eileen Brown, co-chair of the JFS Building Committee, for their leadership on reaching this milestone. 

L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson and Councilmember Paul Koretz presented the honors to the JFS leadership. They both spoke of the importance of JFS, a social service organization that serves the elderly, the hungry and Holocaust survivors, among others, to the Los Angeles community.

The JFS Gunther-Hirsh Family Center is set to open to the community in late spring.


Temple Judea, a Reform congregation in Tarzana, installed its newest clergy member, Rabbi Eric Rosenstein.

Speakers at the celebratory affair, held the weekend of Nov. 1-2, included Joshua Holo, dean of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Los Angeles; L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin and his husband, Rabbi Zachary Shapiro of Temple Akiba; and L.A. City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield.

In a statement on the Temple Judea website, Rosenstein said he was “thrilled to be a part of this welcoming community, and is committed to sharing our Jewish tradition, history and culture as sources of inspiration and guidance in our lives.”

He is a graduate of both the rabbinic program and the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles, and previously served as an intern at a number of local congregations, including Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, Leo Baeck Temple and Temple Ner Ami in Camarillo.

Serving as an assistant rabbi at Judea, Rosenstein joins a clergy team that includes Senior Rabbi Joshua Aaronson and Rabbi Cantor Alison Wissot.


Temple Judea Associate Rabbi Eric Rosenstein, who was installed at Judea the Shabbat weekend of Nov. 1. Photo by Brian Angers

Longtime Beverly Hills resident Adrienne Rubin, author of “Diamonds
and Scoundrels: My Life in the Jewelry Business,” was honored for her philanthropic work on Oct. 27 at the Skirball Cultural Center.

During the event, which was open to the public, Rubin spoke about her fundraising efforts for the Arthritis Foundation’s 2019 Champions for a Cure Gala. 

Among the honoree’s recent endeavors was an eight-day bike ride along the California coast that resulted in large financial contributions to the Arthritis Foundation, which aims to guide families in developing personalized plans for living a full life.

Rubin, a longtime advocate, friend and supporter of the Arthritis Foundation, received the Jane Wyman award. A 35-year veteran of the jewelry business, Rubin also was the recent recipient of the Irwin Literary Award from the Book Publicists of Southern California
for best advance publicity campaign of the year.

Music, dinner and comedy from stand-up comedian Jason Love highlighted the event at the Skirball.


From left: The 2019 Pomegranate Prize recipients Shara Peters, Natan Kuchar, Beverly Socher-Lerner, Rabbi Matthew Dreffin and Na’amit Sturm-Nagel with Covenant Foundation Board Chair Cheryl Finkel.
Photo courtesy of Covenant Foundation

The Covenant Foundation has announced the five recipients of its 2019 Pomegranate Prize, which is designed to honor rising education leaders who have been in the field of Jewish education for up to 10 years. 

Winners this year of the national prize include Na’amit Sturm Nagel, an English teacher and associate director of the Shalhevet Institute at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles, and Shara Peters, head of school at Adat Ari El Day School in Valley Village.

Cheryl Finkel, board chair of the Covenant Foundation, presented the prize to the five emerging Jewish educators on Nov. 6 in New York. 

“The five 2019 Pomegranate Prize recipients are truly multi-talented, which is reflective of an important trend in Jewish education,” Finkel said in a statement. “By enhancing their educational practice with skills in visual arts, music, literature, community engagement strategies, and creative problem solving, they offer the learners they work with a more well-rounded and rich Jewish learning experience. We are so excited about the potential they promise to the field.”

The three other winners are Rabbi Matthew Dreffin, director of education at
the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) in Jackson, Miss.; Natan Kuchar, director of Edah, a thriving Jewish and Hebrew integrative afternoon school
program in Berkeley; and Beverly Socher-Lerner, founding director of Makom Community in Philadelphia.

They join 40 other winners, who, since the inception of the prize in 2011, have served as role models and trailblazers in the field of Jewish education, according to the Covenant Foundation. 

“It is a tremendous privilege to welcome a new cohort of Poms each year, each of whom offers an innovative and impressive slate of accomplishments,” Harlene Appelman, executive director of the Covenant Foundation, said in a statement. “And it is so encouraging that the field continues to produce Jewish educators year after year who are as motivated, as creative, as engaged, and as talented as our first cohort was in 2011. May we always be surrounded by the kind of excellence that is on display this morning.”


From left: Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services’ Event Chairs Janis Black Warner and Douglas Warner. Photo courtesy of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services

Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services held its fifth annual Rocktober event, a tribute to the combined powers of music, laughter and love on Oct. 19 at the Avalon in Hollywood.

Legendary music performer Seal and comedian Preacher Lawson performed at the evening affair, which raised money for the child and family welfare organization.

The event chairs included Eden Alpert Anastasio, Doug Warner and Vista Del Mar Board Chair Laurie Konheim, who worked with Vista’s board of directors and Lena Wilson, Vista’s CEO and president, in organizing the gathering.

A Vista statement called the gathering “the most successful Rocktober celebration to date.”


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