November 19, 2018

Moving and Shaking: Ziering family honored, IRF elects new president, JFS honors former president

Marilyn Ziering and Placido Domingo meet at Temple Beth Am’s gala honoring the Zierings. Photo by Steve Cohn Photography

Temple Beth Am honored the Ziering family for its generosity to the Los Angeles Jewish community, Israel, the arts and numerous philanthropic organizations around the world on May 29 with a concert gala that featured performances by Placido Domingo, Melissa Manchester and Cantor Magda Fishman.

“Giving back was not a choice; it was a necessity,” Marilyn Ziering said, accepting her award on stage with her four children — Michael, Roseanne, Ira and Amy — at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. 

The event — titled “Nobody Does It Better” — drew rabbis, cantors and community leaders. Beth Am’s Senior Rabbi Adam Kligfeld made the presentation to the honorees.

Among many highlights, Spanish tenor Domingo performed “Besame Mucho” (“Kiss Me a Lot”). Following Domingo’s first performance, Kligfeld quipped, “The real question is: ‘Can he do Kol Nidre?’” 

Marilyn’s late husband, Sigi Ziering, was a German-born Holocaust survivor and founder of the international medical supplies company Diagnostic Products Corp. He was a past president of Beth Am and served in lay leadership roles with American Jewish University (known as University of Judaism at the time) and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Rav Yosef Kanefsky

The International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF), a Modern Orthodox rabbinic organization, recently elected congregation B’nai David-Judea’s Rav Yosef Kanefsky as its president.

The group of Orthodox rabbis who come together for serious study of Torah and halachah, named Kanefsky, former secretary of IRF, president during the rabbinic organization’s annual conference. The event was held in New York on May 20-21.

Kanefsky, whose congregation is located in Pico-Robertson, said he welcomed the opportunity to lead an Orthodox organization that has “an alternative voice, one that is far more embracing of other kinds of Jews, far more sensitive to our relationships with non-Jews, far more open to our acceptance of the strides women are making within the Orthodox community.”

His appointment was effective immediately following the conference. 

From left: JFS Los Angeles Board President Terry Friedman, honoree David O. Levine, philanthropist Anita Hirsh and JFS Los Angeles CEO Paul Castro. Photo by Jonah LIght

Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Los Angeles honored its former president, David O. Levine, at the organization’s 20th annual awards dinner on June 3. 

Levine received the JFS Anita and Stanley Hirsh Award for his dedication and commitment to JFS Los Angeles. A member of the board since 2004, he previously chaired the JFS facilities and public policy committees and served as president of the board of directors from 2010 to 2012.

In addition to Levine’s extensive involvement with civic, religious and philanthropic causes, the JFS honoree has served as chief of staff to real estate developer Jerry Epstein since 1987. 

Held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the event was organized by co-chairs Shana Passman and Tami Kupetz Stapf, and it featured musical entertainment by Hershey Felder (“George Gershwin Alone”).

For nearly 160 years, JFS has provided social services to individuals and families of all ages, ethnicities and religions, regardless of their ability to pay. JFS programs include the SOVA Community Food and Resource Program; the Café Europa social club for Holocaust survivors and the Aleinu Family Resource Center, which assists with substance abuse, domestic violence and more.

From left: Outgoing NCJW/LA President Amy Straus and incoming NCJW/LA President Shelli Dodell. Photo courtesy of NCJW/LA.

The National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles (NCJW/LA) installed Shelli Dodell as its incoming president during its annual meeting, board installation and volunteer awards event on June 2. The organization also named its 2013-2014 board of directors.

A grass-roots group of volunteers and advocates, NCJW works for social justice on behalf of women, children and families. It owns and operates Council Thrift Shops, which are a key funding source for NCJW/LA programs and services throughout the city.

A NCJW/LA lay leader, Dodell has previously served on NCJW/LA’s board of directors and as vice president of its Women Helping Women program, which offers counseling services, support groups, an annual clothing giveaway and more.

Sunday’s event took place at the NCJW/LA Council House on Fairfax Avenue.

From left: Debbie Boteach, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Dr. Mehmet Oz, David Sterling. Award Recipeint Oz poses with Boteach, his wife Debbie and gala host Sterling before the event. Photo by Andrew Walker/Getty Images.

Jewish community leaders, philanthropists, cultural figures and others turned out for the The Inaugural Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala this month.

The June 4 event at the Marriot Marquis in New York City featured Rabbi Shmuley Boteach as the evening’s keynote speaker.

Honorees included Eli Wiesel, who received the Champion of Jewish Spirit award; Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, who were named the Champions of Jewish Identity and Dr. Mehmet Oz, who was recognized as a Champion of Human Life. Technology investor Kevin Bermeister and David Sterling, chairman of Sterling and Sterling, co-hosted.

Called “the most famous rabbi in America” by The Washington Post, Boteach recently published his newest bestseller, “The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering.” Meanwhile, Holocaust survivor Wiesel is the author of more than 50 books, including “Night;” American casino magnate Adelson has made more than $100 million in contributions to Birthright Israel and Oz is a famous surgeon, author and television personality.

Proceeds benefited American Friends of Rambam Medical Center (AFORAM) and This World: The Values Network. Based in New York, AFORAM aims to support and support The Rambam Health Care Campus, one of the premiere medical institutions in Israel. Build around the teachings of Boteach, The Values Network uses mass media to bring Jewish values into the mainstream culture.

From left: Sheldon Adelson, Miriam Adelson. Gala honorees the Adelsons pose on the red carpet before the event. Photo by Andrew Walker/Getty Images.

Rabbi Joshua Fass delivers the keynote address at Yeshiva University's 82nd commencement exercises. Photo courtesy of Yeshiva University.

Yeshiva University (YU) awarded an honorary degree to alumnus Rabbi Joshua Fass last month.

“Heroically and astonishingly, YU transmits a unique and noble approach, a derekh ha-chayim [way of life], a mesorah [tradition] that resonates this extraordinary synergy,” Fass said on May 30, delivering the keynote address during YU’s 82nd commencement exercises. Hundreds of students from YU graduate schools were presented their degrees, before YU President Richard Joel conferred an honorary degree upon Fass.

The ceremony took place at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Committed to helping Diaspora Jews move to Israel, Fass is co-founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. Since its founding in 2002, the organization has helped more than 36,000 Western immigrants actualize their dream of settling in the Jewish State.

Based in New York and serving more 6,400 students, YU undergraduate schools offer a dual curriculum comprising Jewish studies, liberal arts and science courses.

Moving and Shaking acknowledges accomplishments by members of the local Jewish community, including people who start new jobs, leave jobs, win awards and more, as well as local events that featured leaders from the Jewish and Israeli communities. Got a tip? E-mail it to