December 18, 2018

Moving and shaking: JCFLA’s Marvin Schotland honored, SOLA celebrates

The most moving part of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles’ (JCFLA) 60th-anniversary celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills Sept. 19 had to be when CEO Marvin Schotland’s father, Lou Schotland, sang to his son.

The event honored Marvin for his 25 years as head of JCFLA. A paragraph in the program told the story of his success: During Schotland’s tenure, the foundation’s assets have increased tenfold from $99 million to $906 million. JCFLA has disbursed more than $1 billion in charitable contributions in Los Angeles and throughout the world.

Some 400 people turned out to thank Schotland for these and other achievements. Rabbi Sharon Brous of IKAR delivered the benediction, Craig Taubman delivered the music, and kudos came from current JCFLA Chair Larry Rauch, former chair Marty Appel and Jay Sanderson, president and CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. 

From left: Jewish Community Foundation past and present leaders Marty Appel (served 1989-1992), Allan Cutrow (served 1985-1988), Annette Shapiro (served 1997-2000), Marvin Schotland, Foundation president and CEO, Cathy Siegel Weiss (served 2005-2008), Mark Lainer (served 2001-2004), Larry Rauch (2013-present) and Lorin Fife (served 2009-2012). Photo by Howard Pasamanick Photography

Among the well-wishers were Sharon and Herb Glaser, Annette and Leonard Shapiro, Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Rabbi Ron Wolfson, Melissa Balaban, Evan Schlesinger, Allan Cutrow, Bill and Cece Feiler, Irwin and Helgard Field, Larry Hochberg and Sue Neuman Hochberg, Havi Scheindlin, and Lon Levin and Elie Gindi, whose graphic novel-esque Storygram of Schotland’s life greeted guests.

In his remarks, the soft-spoken Schotland — a major, if behind-the-scenes, force in Jewish life — thanked his wife, Sandy and heaped praise on his staff, who formed a cheering section in the back row of the hall.

Then came the moment when Schotland took the stage with his father, Lou; daughter Aviva Schotland, son Daniel Schotland, and grandson Eitan Schotland. Lou, age 92, an Auschwitz survivor,  led four generations of Schotlands in a rendition of  “L’.Dor v’DDor”D (From Generation to Generation). The audience of Foundation grantors, grantees, staff and fans stood and applauded.  There was, as they say, not a dry eye. 

— Staff Report

During a celebratory gathering on Sept. 11, members of Cafe Europa, a Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFSLA) social club for Holocaust survivors, celebrated the Jewish New Year a little early. (The holy day began at sundown on Sept. 24.)

Departing in the morning from the JFSLA Valley Storefront and the Freda Mohr Multipurpose Center, two Greyhound buses brought an estimated 250 survivors to Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills for the afternoon event, which featured noshing, dancing, singing and more. 

JFSLA Executive Vice President Susie Forer Dehrey and Cafe Europa attendee Esther Fruchter.  Photo by Ryan Torok

“This kind of celebration is very important to them,” JFSLA Executive Vice President Susie Forer Dehrey told the Journal.

JFSLA Vice Chair Shana Passman was among those who turned out to make sure the survivors were comfortable as they enjoyed grilled-chicken sandwiches, Israeli salad and muffins.

“It means have a sweet new year. Right, papa?” said Filipino caretaker Lisa Gabriel, holding frail survivor Henry Bittman by the arm and referring to the sliced apples that sat on the banquet tables.

Bittman, who took the Kindertransport to Scotland as a 15-year-old boy, attended the Europa luncheon with his brother, Kurt Bittman, who went into hiding with a Catholic family at 13.

They were among attendees from Poland, Hungary, the former Czechoslovakia and elsewhere. Others included Carl Sondheimer, 88, who was interned in Shanghai, China, during the war; Bergen-Belsen survivor Mala Tabachnik; Fania Itskovich, who survived five concentration camps — “I was hungry, day and night,” she told a reporter — and Esther Fruchter, a Warsaw Ghetto survivor who has since returned to Poland with Cafe Europa. Melrose-Fairfax resident Laurie Jacobs accompanied survivor Risa Igelfeld to the event. 

Chabad of South La Cienega (SOLA) members enjoyed live music, falafel and more during a pro-Israel event titled “Sola-Darity!” on Sept. 14. 

The evening, which took place at Studio Bancs in Culver City, also celebrated the efforts of SOLA’s Rabbi Avraham Zajac, Bassie Zajac, Eran Weiss, Jonathan Abesera and Omri Cohen, who traveled to Israel from Aug. 11-15 and donated money and gifts to Jews in southern Israel living in cities such as Sderot who were affected most by the recent Gaza war. 

Rabbi Avraham Zajac and nearly 70 attendees came together at Sola-Darity! Photo courtesy of Chabad of South La Cienega 

The event raised funds for SOLA and for the Chabad’s Terror Victims Project, a nonprofit that assists soldiers, their families and children.

“[They] have been living on the front lines for years,” SOLA member and event organizer David Nathan said of Israel’s southern residents, in an email to the Journal. 

Zajac, who hosted the event, offered words of inspiration to the approximately 70 people in the audience. 

“When we do one good deed, say one good word or even have one good thought, we bring redemption both to ourselves, and to the entire world,” Zajac said, as quoted by a press release. 

The American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem honored former Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa, on Sept. 15 at Sinai Temple, in recognition of his unflinching support of the city’s Jewish community and of the State of Israel.

“I grew up in Lincoln Heights, a historically Jewish community, extending a helping hand of friendship. The Jewish community is one I’m very close to,” Villaraigosa told the Journal.

American Committee for Shaare Zedek National Board Chair Menno Ratzker took the stage and kicked off the evening. Journal President David Suissa served as master of ceremonies at the event, which spotlighted Shaare Zedek Medical Center and its accomplishments in the field of medicine.  

In a prerecorded taping, media mogul Haim Saban highlighted the efforts of the nearly 3,400 on staff at Shaare Zedek. The hospital conducts year-round drills with the Israel Defense Forces to test capability in dealing with mass casualty situations and disperses doctors all over the world for emergency relief aid, the video said. 

Israel Consul General in Los Angeles David Siegel took to the stage and praised the Jerusalem-based medical center.  “This is a place where miracles are done,” he said. 

Villaraigosa told the Journal that his time spent in Shaare Zedek’s hallways during a recent trip to Israel, which included a private visit with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left a lasting impression. Upon his return in June, Villaraigosa penned an Orange Country Register op-ed piece titled “Why We Must Support Israel.”

“I’m amazed at what Shaare Zedek does every day and has been able to do in the most extreme of circumstances. It’s a testament to their dedication and devotion to humanity,” he said in an interview. 

The Committee presented the inaugural NexGen Award, an intricate piece of calligraphy art by Israeli artist Mordechai Rosenstein, to Stephen Matloff. His parents, Jack and Martha Matloff, were leading figures in the creation of the Hyman and Ruth Matloff Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Shaare Zedek. 

— Oren Peleg, Contributing Writer

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