December 13, 2018

Moving and shaking

Dikla Kadosh has been appointed to the top leadership position of the Los Angeles chapter of the Israeli-American Council (IAC). Effective Aug. 25, Kadosh will succeed the IAC’s new national CEO, Sagi Balasha, as the L.A. regional director.

The IAC, a national organization with five regional offices, organizes the Israeli-American community around philanthropy, volunteer work, support for Israel and more. Los Angeles has one of the largest Israeli communities outside of Israel, and the IAC is becoming an increasingly important focal point for the growing population.

“The IAC mission is to build an active and giving Israeli-American Community throughout the United States in order to strengthen the State of Israel, our next generation, and to provide a bridge to the Jewish-American community,” the group’s website says.

The organization is perhaps most well known locally for its annual Celebrate Israel Festival, a Yom HaAtzmaut event that draws thousands of people every year to Rancho Park in West Los Angeles. 

Kadosh formerly served as the organization’s director of community events and volunteering. In her new position, she will be charged with a range of activities, including developing the local office’s relationship with The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, which she said is developing day by day. 

“We’re working hard to warm up relations with The Federation, and we have had a good collaboration with them over the summer because of the war [in Gaza], the rallies we put on together,” Kadosh said during a phone interview.

She will also be overseeing the “activity, staff, programming [and] fundraising” of the L.A. office, which is the organization’s flagship office — no easy task for the 33-year-old Israeli-American, who said her educational background is in journalism rather than in nonprofit management. 

Finally, Kadosh will develop a local board for the L.A. office, which is currently governed by the group’s national board. While the organization expands nationally — which it is doing with the help of pro-Israel philanthropists Sheldon Adelson, Adam Milstein and others — each city is working on creating its own regional board. 

The national board includes Shawn Evenhaim, Danny Alpert, Milstein, Yossi Rabinovitz, Naty Saidoff, Miriam Shepher, Shoham Nicolet, Tamir Cohen, Rani Ben-David, Rachel N. Davidson and Avi Almozlino.

Kadosh earned a master’s degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California. 

She is the former editor of the Jewish Journal’s TRIBE magazine and a former staff writer at the Journal. 

Nearly 1,000 people gathered at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills on Aug. 15 for Shabbat in the Park, in which clergy from 13 synagogues of various denominations led a Shabbat service.

U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) presented a U.S. flag that had been flown over the Capitol to organizers of the event, which included arts and crafts and writing letters to Lone Soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Forces, who have no parents living in Israel. There also was a concert with Sol Tevel featuring Lior Ben-Hur.

U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, far right, presented a U.S. flag flown over the Capitol to organizers of Shabbat in the Park, where 17 Jewish organizations and synagogues attracted 1,000 people for entertainment and services in Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills on Aug. 15. Accepting the flag were, from left, Bill Kaplan, executive director of the Shalom Institute; Carol Koransky, executive vice president of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles; and Rabbi Jon Hanish of Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills, who is also chair of the West Valley Rabbinic Task Force.  Photo by Ellen Zuckerman

Overall, 17 Jewish organizations and synagogues were part of the event. Accepting the flag from Sherman were Bill Kaplan, executive director of the Shalom Institute; Carol Koransky, executive vice president of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles; and Rabbi Jon Hanish of Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills, who also serves as chair of the West Valley Rabbinic Task Force.

“The success of the event was due, in part, to the strong collaboration that has been developed over the years among many Valley synagogues and The Federation Valley Alliance through our participation in the West Valley Rabbinic Task Force, established to strengthen relationships among the rabbis, synagogues and Jewish institutions and develop meaningful programs that deepen Jewish living,” Hanish said.

—Virginia Isaad, Contributing Writer

“Irony Dome,” an evening of comedy hosted by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Young Leadership Los Angeles on Aug. 25, featured an all-star lineup and a special appearance by Hollywood producer Judd Apatow as it raised money for Lone Soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Judd Apatow,  Photo by Amanda Epstein

Held at The Laugh Factory in Hollywood, the event honored Max Steinberg, who grew up in the San Fernando Valley and went on to become a sharpshooter in the IDF. He was killed July 20 when his unit was ambushed in Gaza.

Ari Ryan, chairman and co-founder of FIDF Young Leadership, started the evening with a moving speech emphasizing the importance of soldiers’ well-being and noting that Lone Soldiers are a “special breed of soldier.” Lone Soldiers like Steinberg have no parents living in Israel; “Irony Dome” was held to raise money to provide flights home. The event, which drew about 100 people, raised $5,000. 

“I feel like I was lured in to write a check,” Apatow said as he took the stage. The producer of “Knocked Up” and “Superbad” spoke about Judaism and his love for Jews, among other things.

Whitney Cummings, best known as the creator and star of the NBC sitcom “Whitney” as well as the co-creator of the CBS sitcom “2 Broke Girls,” talked about relationships, life in her 30s and what men like. Other comedians at the event included Brian Scolaro, Taylor Williamson and Alonzo Bodden. Bodden, who is not Jewish but has been to Israel, said he has an “honorary Jew certificate” and that Israel is “so much better than Disneyland.”

Dan Ahdoot, an actor in ABC’s “Super Fun Night” and Disney’s “Kickin’ It,” acted as master of ceremonies. 

— Amanda Epstein, Contributing Writer

Lee Samson memorialized his late wife, Anne, who died in a tragic car collision one year ago, at age 66. He commissioned the creation of two Torahs in her honor; a large Torah was donated to Young Israel of North Beverly Hills (YINBH) and a small Torah will be kept at the Samson residence in Beverly Hills. On Aug. 24, to commemorate Anne’s yahrzeit, the Torahs were completed in a courtyard near YINBH, after which all who were present proceeded to YINBH for a formal dedication.

Among the many notables who attended was Sunny Sasson, executive chairman of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf; Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; Philip Kaufler, president of YINBH; and David Suissa, president of the Jewish Journal.

After the ceremony, a 90-minute concert was held at Samson’s residence. Motown musician William Goldstein, one of the artists who performed, said, “This is a very unusual event, especially in the Orthodox community.” Backed by a 24-piece orchestra, Goldstein performed his tribute, “Why Anne?” for an audience of 200 invitees.

“We are really trying to celebrate the fact that we had her for as long as we did,” said Anne’s older brother, Ernest Katz. “Our mother was a Holocaust survivor who died young. And then to lose Anne before her time was another blow. But we keep going, and that’s the story of the Jewish people and that’s why we’re here.”

Anne’s son, Dani Samson, said the event was a culmination of a lot of things, but foremost was remembering his mother. “It’s bittersweet,” he added.

— Tess Cutler, Contributing Writer 

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