February 27, 2020

JFSGPV Meeting, JFS Care CEO, Interfaith Forum

From left: Edeena and Brian Gordon, Jewish Federation of Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valley’s 2019 Volunteers of the year, accept the award from Cantor Judy Sofer. Photo courtesy of Jason Moss, Jewish Federation of Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys

The Jewish Federation of Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys (JFSGPV) held its 25th annual meeting on Jan. 12 at the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center.

The brunch event honored JFSGPV’s 2019 Volunteers of the Year, Edeena and Brian Gordon, who are members of Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock; awarded the Kimberly Dawn Ellis Scholarship to Temple Sinai of Glendale member Charles Lambert; and installed two new members to the JFSGPV board of governors, Julie Bank of Temple Sinai of Glendale and Mickey Bernath of Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center.

KPCC AirTalk host Larry Mantle was the event’s keynote speaker, with JFSGPV board member Oran Reznik speaking to Mantle about his guests, the wide range of topics covered each week and how Mantle prepares for each show. Mantle also discussed the role Jews have played and continue to play in making the city and country great, according to Stephen Sass, president of the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California, who was among attendees.

Additional attendees included Jason Moss, executive director of JFSGPV, who said that since JFSGPV was established in 1993, the organization has been dedicated to improving Jewish life for its community.

“Since that time, over 25 years ago, much has changed but not the dedication the Jewish Federation’s work to meet our mission to build community by strengthening and enhancing Jewish life in the greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys,” Moss said in an email. “Each year we hold our Annual Meeting to provide an update to the community on not only the highlights of 2019 but what is ahead in 2020.”


Steven Barlam, newly appointed CEO of JFS Care, a home-care arm of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles. Photo courtesy oof Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles

Steven Barlam has joined Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFSLA) in the newly created role of CEO of JFS Care, an arm of the social services agency that provides home care throughout the Los Angeles area.

A self described thought leader in the fields of home care and aging life care, Barlam brings 35 years of experience to the position, according to a Jan. 15 announcement by JFSLA.

Since earning a master’s degree from UC Berkeley, Barlam has worked exclusively in the field of geriatrics, according to JFSLA. He began his career at JFSLA as a senior outreach services director before creating a private practice, Senior Care Management, in Beverly Hills. In 1999, Barlam co-founded LivHOME, which pioneered the integration of geriatric care management into home care. Twenty-one years later, he is returning to the organization that launched his career.

Eli Veitzer, president and CEO of JFSLA, said he was happy to be welcoming Barlam back to the organization.

“Steve brings deep experience, expertise and innovation to JFS Care,” Veitzer said in a statement. “His passion for the well-being of clients will help make JFS Care the most trusted homecare agency in Los Angeles.”

Barlam has sat on numerous national and local boards in the professional geriatric community, including the Aging Life Care Association.

When it comes to quality care for older adults, his motto is: “It’s got to be good enough for my mother.”

Although JFSLA has provided home care to older adults for more than 30 years, the organization opened JFS Care as a fully operational home care agency in 2011. It provides personalized care plans, housekeeping and transportation services, in-home care technology and an independence care package.


From left: Rabbi Ahud Sela of Temple Ramat Zion, Rev. Steve Jerbi of the Interfaith Solidarity Network and Imam Suhail Mulla, a resident scholar of the Islamic Society of the West Valley, converse before speaking at an interfaith forum on homelessness last month. Photo courtesy of Brenda Gazzar

“Tis the Season for Love,” an interfaith forum on homelessness that was held on Dec. 12 at the Congregational Church of Chatsworth, featured Rabbi Ahud Sela of Temple Ramat Zion in Northridge, among others.

“What does the Lord demand of us? To feed the hungry, to clothe the naked and shelter the homeless, to see them as we would see our family,” Sela said during the event, which was organized by the Interfaith Solidarity Network and Everyone In campaign.

Additional participants included Rev. Steve Jerbi, chair of the San Fernando Valley-based Interfaith Solidarity Network, and Imam Suhail Mulla, a resident scholar of the Islamic Society of the West Valley.

The faith leaders tackled the question of “What does our faith demand of us when it comes to the homelessness crisis?” Additionally, residents and community leaders shared stories from the streets and from supportive housing communities that are helping to ease the growing homelessness situation in the area.

Multiracial, multifaith community L.A. Voice co-sponsored the forum.


Jewish students at Beverly Hills High School celebrated Hanukkah last month with sufganiyot, Hanukkah gelt and more. Photo courtesy of Beverly Hills High School

The Jewish Club at Beverly Hills High School held a Hanukkah celebration last month, drawing hundreds of students who came and enjoyed traditional Hanukkah sufganiyot and chocolate gelt and heard words from Rabbi Danny Illulian.

Illulian related the Hanukkah message of freedom of oppression. He encouraged the students to appreciate their freedom in all its forms, specifically freedom from peer pressure, “a message particularly relevant when peer pressures are rampant,” according to Jewish Club President Daniel Rabkin.

Beverly Hills High School Principal Mark Mead also made an appearance and encouraged support for the Jewish people and Beverly Hills High School’s Jewish club. The event culminated with students building a 15-foot menorah.

“Jewish students and non-Jewish alike left inspired, empowered and with a knowledge of Jewish culture,” Rabkin said in a statement.

Illulian organized the event with Rabkin, the Jewish Club President, and with the support of Mead.


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