February 24, 2020

Israel Bonds Event, Jewish Home Gala, HUC-JIR Chief

From left: Israel Bonds event co-chairs Daniel and Dalia Farkas; evening host Annette Shapiro; former Israeli Foreign Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni; event co-chairs Jean and Jerry Friedman; and Israel Bonds’ Western Region Executive Director Erez Goldman. Photo by Linda Kasian

A recent Israel Bonds event in Los Angeles featured high-profile Israeli leaders, including former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Hillel Newman.

The event, Israel Bonds’ inaugural Builders Division Reception, took place on Nov. 13 at the Los Angeles home of Annette Shapiro. The gathering honored women and
men who have held leadership positions with Israel Bonds
for decades.

Additional attendees included event co-chairs Daniel and Dalia Farkas; Jean and Jerry Friedman; Erez Goldman, executive director for Israel Bonds’ Western region; and Gina Raphael, the organization’s Los Angeles campaign chair.

Israel Bonds allows supporters of Israel to invest in the Jewish state by underwriting securities issued by Israel in the United States.

Andrew Rehfeld, who was recently inaugurated as the president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. PhotoHebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Andrew Rehfeld was inaugurated as the 10th president in the 144-year history of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), the academic and professional leadership center of Reform Judaism on Oct. 27.

The event was held at Cincinnati’s Isaac M. Wise Temple and was attended by the international leaders of the Reform Movement, dignitaries from international academic institutions and organizations, Cincinnati communal and civic leaders and HUC-JIR alumni, faculty and students.

According to an HUC-JIR statement, Rehfeld brings intellectual, spiritual and professional qualities to lead HUC-JIR. His passion for teaching and scholarship, as well as leadership skills, have set him apart as a dynamic visionary and community builder. 

“His deep personal commitment to Reform Judaism and Jewish values, profound understanding of the impact of nonprofit Jewish institutions and entrepreneurial spirit of innovation will lead HUC-JIR to greater excellence,” the HUC-JIR statement said.
He previously served as an assistant professor of political science and associate professor of political science at Washington University in St. Louis and as president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. A tenured professor of political thought at HUC-JIR, he contributes a combination of teaching and scholarship, experience in Jewish nonprofit administration and volunteer community leadership to HUC-JIR.

Speakers at the inauguration included Sue Neuman Hochberg, chair of the HUC-JIR board of governors. Afterward, Rehfeld began his inaugural address with a memorial tribute to the 11 lives lost at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh a year ago.
Addressing HUC-JIR’s mission, he said, “I am filled with optimism for our institution and its future, because HUC drives the development of ideas and leadership that strengthen the Jewish public sphere: the institutions that form the canvas of communal life upon which we as a people realize our collective values to serve the highest good and the holy, and lead our world to justice, including our welfare and security in these times in which we once again are targeted and attacked simply for being Jews.”

As HUC-JIR president, Rehfeld leads HUC-JIR’s four-campuses in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles and New York. It represents the largest Jewish denomination in North America. 

Joy Greenberg, chair of the inauguration committee and chair of the presidential search committee, and Elizabeth Squadron, HUC-JIR vice president for program and business development, organized the gathering.

— Ayala Or-El, Contributing Writer

L.A. Jewish Home honorees Cecilia and Jeffrey Glassman (center) with Pat Benson (far right) and Gerry Chaleff. Photo courtesy of L.A. Jewish Home

Los Angeles Jewish Home supporters and community leaders attended the Home’s annual gala, “Reflections 2019: Celebration of Life.” The evening honored Cecilia and Jeffrey Glassman for their decade-plus dedication and leadership to the Jewish Home. 

The gala was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Oct. 27.

Lenore and Fred Kayne; Pamela and Mark Rubin; and Marcie Polier-Swartz and David Swartz served as co-chairsd. 

The Glassmans’ friends and colleagues Arlene and Lee Alpert; Susan and Greg Burger; Kathy Gallagher and Greg Scott; Vera and Paul Guerin; Renee Kumetz and Robert Hirsch; and Susan and Alan Wohl were the honorary co-chairs. The evening raised funds to support the Home’s residents, services and programs.

The Glassmans’ involvement and personal connection to the Jewish Home was featured in a video and comments throughout the evening. Jeffrey is a past-chair of the Jewish Home’s board of directors, and the Glassmans are founding members of the Jewish Home’s donor recognition group, the Century Club. 

“Their leadership has been essential to meeting an explosive growth of senior need across Southern California,” according to the Jewish Home.

Jewish Home CEO-President Molly Forrest emphasized how the Home has adapted and grown over the past 23 years. During her tenure, the Home has increased its ability to serve the community’s seniors by providing assistance to 4,000 seniors. In the future, she said, the Jewish Home “will continue to meet our mission, which is to provide ‘excellence in senior care, reflective of Jewish values.’ The Home should be the first-choice provider of state-of-the-art senior care in Los Angeles.”

“All of us in this room play a vital role in building a Jewish Home that honors our seniors and offers some of the most innovative programs and services of any senior health care provider nationwide,” said Andy Berman, chair of the Jewish Home’s board of directors.

Southern California broadcasting icon Fritz Coleman emceed the program, which featured a jazz performance from noted trumpeter Ilya Serov and his band.

To the delight of the crowd, two Jewish Home residents, Judith Karon and Jerry Braverman, thanked Coleman at the end of the evening and presented him with a hand-crocheted blanket.

Jewish actress Mila Brener appeared at the Westwood premiere of her new Netflix film, “Klaus.” Photo courtesy of Ayala Or-EL

The premiere of “Klaus,” an animated Netflix film, took place at the Bruin Theater in Westwood on Nov. 2.  

Despite the warm weather the streets outside the theater looked like the North Pole as Netflix turned the area to a winter wonderland featuring fake snow, bubbles and a white carpet instead of the traditional red.

The family holiday film by director Sergio Pablos centers on a big, white-bearded guy, Klaus — portrayed by Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons — who gives out toys to children. The story might be a Christmas one, but the voices of some of the leading cast are Jewish, including Rashida Jones and Jason Schwartzman.

“I loved the original story about this greedy person trying to get a certain amount of letters written so he could leave this area,” said Schwartzman, who plays the part of a postman who meets a carpenter named Klaus while stationed at the Arctic Circle. “It was a sweet story about how love can change someone and the importance of communicating with other people we don’t know to better understand them and say, ‘Hey, why are we fighting and let’s talk.’ ”

Among the young actors who lent their voice to the town’s children was 14-year-old Mila Brener. Brener, the daughter of artist Bruce Rubenstein and Israeli American actress Shirly Brener, has appeared in guest roles on television series including “Ray Donovan,” “Mom” and “NCIS.”

“This is not necessarily just a Christmas story,” Brener said at the premiere. “I think this movie speaks to all religions because the message is how important it is to do good deeds, something that is shared by Jewish believers, the importance of giving to others.”

— Ayala Or-El, Contributing Writer

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