February 27, 2020

BJE and BTS Galas, Bat Mitzvah Gift Bags

Attendees at the 28th annual Beit T’Shuvah gala included (front row, from left) Sandy and Pat Gage, Barbara and Ronnie Kahn and (second row, from left) Emily Corleto, Heidi Praw, Lynn Bider, Leonard and Annette Shapiro, Harriet Rossetto and Rabbi Mark Borovitz, Janice Kamenir-Reznik and Rabbi Ben Goldstein and (third row) Sergio Rizzo-Fontanesi. Photo courtesy of Beit T’Shuvah

Beit T’Shuvah (BTS) held its 28th annual gala at the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 26.

The event, which raised more than $2.2 million for the Jewish rehabilitation center and drew more than 700 attendees, honored Pat Train Gage with the T’Shuvah Award and Barbara and Ronnie Kahn with the Harriet Award. 

Gage, who was introduced to BTS 20 years ago, was described as a “true hands-on volunteer whose generosity knows no bounds.” She has served as a BTS board member, co-chaired the annual gala’s auction and has mentored residents. She also directed the play “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” featuring BTS residents and students from Santa Monica College.

“I recall being in awe at the scope and breadth of the mission,” Gage said of her introduction to BTS. “I loved the rawness that bore honesty in every corner.”

The Kahns, meanwhile, established the Barbara and Ronnie Kahn Educational Scholarship Fund in 2016, through which more than 50 individuals from BTS have received scholarships to go back to school. 

“It’s been a privilege to help others move forward in their lives and we are so grateful to be a part of their journeys,” Barbara Kahn said. 

Speakers included Janice Kamenir-Reznik, chair of the BTS board, BTS Senior Rabbi Ben Goldstein; BTS Founder Harriet Rossetto and BTS Founding Rabbi Mark Borovitz. 

The evening featured a live auction, live music from the Beit T’Shuvah Band and a video featuring residents of BTS testifying how the organization’s recovery programs have saved their lives. 

“Beit T’Shuvah’s 28th annual gala was truly an amazing night of celebration and gratitude,” a BTS statement said, “with a call to action for the entire nation to stand together in the fight against addiction.”

Chairing the event were Annette and Leonard Shapiro, along with co-chairs Emily Corleto and Heidi Praw.  Attendees included former California Gov. Gray Davis and his wife, Sharon; Jeffrey Herbst, president of American Jewish University, and his wife, Sharon Polansky; Sue Neuman Hochberg, chair of the board of governors at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion; Larry Kilgman, head of Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School; and Mark Shpall, head of de Toledo High School.

Founded on an integrative, long-term care approach that helps people recover
from addiction and regain their passion and discover their purpose, BTS describes
itself as one of the only treatment centers that adheres to a “mission over money” philosophy and welcomes anyone in search of recovery regardless of their financial situation. 

According to BTS, “the event [at the Hilton] also helped to educate those in attendance and create greater awareness regarding this growing [drug abuse] epidemic, which has been declared a national emergency.”

From left: Shuli Steinlauf; Virginia Cortez and Avila Miguel, whose newborn baby is in the Cedars-Sinai NICU; and Meital and Amalia Steinlauf, who distributed gift bags at the NICU.

The Steinlauf family of Beverlywood celebrated their twin girls’ bat mitzvah with a chesed party on Jan. 24, with the two girls — Meital Steinlauf and Amalia Steinlauf — making gift bags for the older siblings of babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. 

The gift bags were filled with items for babies in the NICU and the Steinlauf siblings were able to distribute them to several parents with children at home. 

Meital and Amalia were preemies in the Cedars-Sinai NICU in 2007, Meital for 12 weeks and Amalia for 10 weeks. As a way to give back to the NICU, they distributed the gift bags.

Jewish and Muslim students from Pressman Academy at Temple Beth Am and the Islah Academy opened last month’s Los Angeles Clippers game against the Detroit Pistons with a song of peace.  

The game was held on Jan. 2 at the Staples Center and featured Pressman Academy School Rabbi Chaim Tureff, organizer of the event, and Imam Jihad Saafir offering inspirational words, followed by the students singing the song, “Pangea,” which they wrote with the help of local band Distant Cousins.

Jewish and Muslim students from Pressman Academy at Temple Beth Am and the Islah Academy opened last month’s Los Angeles Clippers game against the Detroit Pistons with a song and words of peace. Photo courtesy of Pressman Academy


From left: Builders of Jewish Education (BJE) Executive Director Gil Graff, BJE Honorees Cheryl Weisberg Davidson, Marlynn and Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Craig Rutenberg and BJE President Mark Berns. Photo courtesy of Builders of Jewish Education

A sold-out crowd gathered on Jan. 12 at Sinai Temple for Builders of Jewish Education’s (BJE) annual gala, honoring Cheryl Weisberg Davidson; Marlynn and Rabbi Elliot Dorff; and Craig Rutenberg.

The event helped raise funds to support BJE and its teen experiential programs, which engages youth in action and reflection based on the Jewish value of helping those in need.

Among the highlights was a presentation by Ayla Kattler, a participant in BJE’s Teen Service Corps, a summer program of community service framed by Jewish values.

Speaking about her Teen Corps experience, Kattler said, “This program has helped me and so many other teens cement our Jewish identities in experiences and values.” It was announced that an anonymous donor has endowed an annual day of BJE Teen Service Corps in memory of Barbara Yaroslavsky, a longtime director of the BJE board who embodied a commitment to Jewish education and service to others. The day will be devoted to addressing the issue of hunger.

“The focus of this year’s gala was on experiential education, and was truly reflected in our honorees,” Miriam Prum-Hess, director of donor and community relations at BJE, said. “In addition to demonstrating a profound commitment to Jewish education generally, each of them is meaning-
fully engaged in supporting and advocating for experiential education for Jewish teens.”

Maggie Howard, Brian Kaplan and Susan Jacoby Stern co-chaired the gala.

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