December 15, 2018

Moving and Shaking: Louis Josephson named president/CEO, Ed Royce Sr. honored

Louis Josephson

Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services has named mental health professional Louis Josephson as its new president/CEO. His hiring became effective July 1.

“Vista’s long history, rich heritage and solid reputation make me excited to accept this challenge. My family and I look forward to enriching our lives in Los Angeles, with the obvious opportunities Vista Del Mar offers,” Josephson, the former president/CEO of New Hampshire-based Riverbend Community Mental Health, said in a statement. 

He succeeds Elias Lefferman, whose career at Vista spanned 37 years, including a decade as president/CEO. 

“While it is difficult to leave, I am very pleased that someone so skilled and caring will be joining an equally skilled and caring staff,” Lefferman said in a statement.

A social services agency with a historically Jewish background, Vista Del Mar offers a variety of programs to youth and their families facing emotional, behavioral and developmental challenges, as well as children with special needs. Vista’s appointment of Josephson concluded an intensive national search for a new leader.

From left: Rabbi Meyer May, executive director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC); Congressman Ed Royce; U.S. Army veteran Ed Royce Sr.; Rabbi Marvin Hier, SWC founder and dean; and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC associate dean. Photo by Ruth Andal Photography/courtesy of the Simon Wiesenthal Center

U.S. Army veteran Ed Royce Sr., 91, a liberator of Nazi Germany’s Dachau concentration camp, was honored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) last month.

Royce received the SWC’s Distinguished Service Award, in recognition of his role with the Army unit that freed those in the infamous camp in 1945. Then a private first class, Royce was serving under Gen. George Patton as the Americans fought their way from Normandy through Nazi Germany and walked through the gates of Dachau on April 29, 1945. At Dachau, he witnessed firsthand the evidence of the brutalities inflicted on Jews and other inmates.

During the July 1 ceremony, which was held at the Museum of Tolerance, Royce recalled his Army experiences and showed photos he had taken of the liberation. Among those attending the event were his son, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton); survivors of Dachau; SWC officials Rabbi Meyer May, Rabbi Marvin Hier and Rabbi Abraham Cooper; and other community leaders. 

SIJCC co-executive director Ruthie Shavit (center) was honored by L.A. City Council last week. Attendees included Shavit's family and co-workers, as well as Councilmembers Mitch O' Farrell (left of Shavit) and Tom LaBonge (back row). Photo by Scott Levin.

Ruthie Shavit, co-executive director of the Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center (SIJCC), was honored by Los Angeles City Council on Aug. 6 in recognition of her 41 years of service to the Jewish community. Shavit said she was surprised by how touched she was by the gathering. 

“I usually feel those things are very political, kind of like you have to behave a certain way. [But] it was very sweet. … They were really very wonderful,” Shavit told the Journal. 

Attendees at the ceremony at L.A. City Hall included her daughter, Tamar Shavit; Ayana Morse, co-executive director of the SIJCC; Meisha Rainman, SIJCC board president; and Mike Abrams, SIJCC past board president. 

The office of L.A. City Council member Tom LaBonge — whose 4th District includes much of Los Feliz, Griffith Park and parts of Silver Lake — organized the commendation. He and council member Mitch O’Farrell, who also was at the ceremony, both were educated by Shavit at some point.

Under the leadership of Shavit, who joined the SIJCC in 1972 — back then it was known as the Hollywood/Los Feliz JCC — the preschool’s enrollment has doubled. She was born and raised on a kibbutz in Israel.

Barbara Meltzer

West Hollywood resident Barbara Meltzer was honored by the Los Angeles County Commission for Older Adults (LACCOA) at its annual luncheon last June.

Meltzer, who was appointed to the commission by L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and serves in the Jewish leader’s third district, received the 2013 LINK Award, in recognition of the outstanding volunteer service she has provided to seniors in L.A. County. 

“We have a very large senior population, and it is essential that we do everything possible to provide programs and services that enable L.A. County’s older residents to be safe and to live healthy and productive lives,” Meltzer said in a statement.

The June 17 ceremony honoring Meltzer took place at the Altadena Community Center.

Since 2007, Meltzer has served on the LACCOA commission, advocating for the needs and welfare of residents over the age of 60. Additionally, she is the founder and president of public relations agency Barbara Meltzer and Associates. She also serves as vice president and chair of Friends of the West Hollywood Library. 

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