May 19, 2019

Moving and shaking: Zimmer Children’s Museum, NCJWLA thrift shops and more

Local community leaders named to the annual Jewish Daily Forward 50 include Israeli-American Council Chairman Shawn Evenhaim; Rabbi Eliyahu Fink of Pacific Jewish Center in Venice; Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) and Micah Wexler of Wexler’s Deli.

Steven Sotloff, an American journalist who was beheaded by ISIS in early September, was also included.

Hollywood figures. including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lizzy Caplan, Darren Aronofsky and Scarlett Johansson. made the cut as well. 

The New York-based publication’s Nov. 9 list includes figures from the United States and abroad who have had the greatest impact over the past year. In the 20 years The Forward has been publishing the list, this is the first time that the number of women outnumber men, 26-24.

Rabbi Barry Freundel, the disgraced Washington, D.C., Modern Orthodox leader who is being charged with six counts of voyeurism for placing a hidden camera in a mikveh, comes in at No. 44. Of the decision to include Freundel, Forward editor-in-chief Jane Eisner wrote, “Impact is our driving criteria, which is why Freundel deserves his place on this year’s list. The charges leveled against him are upsetting in the extreme. But that’s not all his story represents. … His story has prompted tremendous soul-searching and the prospect of some real institutional change. … This fulfills my definition of impact.”

More than 600 people gathered at the Beverly Hilton hotel for Etta Ohel’s annual gala to help celebrate its 21st anniversary and to recognize benefactors to the organization that administers support to Jews with special needs.

Hosted by television personality Adrianna Costa, the Nov. 12 event spotlighted Davis Factor, founder of Smashbox Cosmetics, the evening’s sponsor, who received the Visionary Award.  

Adrianna Costa.  Photo by John Shearer/Invision

“Etta is one of the hidden gems of Los Angeles,” Factor said, as quoted on the organization’s Facebook page. 

Event honorees and dedicated Etta contributors Moise and Angie Handeles took to the stage and spoke of their personal ties with the organization and its subsequent mission. Angie Handeles opened up about caring for her developmentally disabled younger brother from a young age and how the memories of that experience have provided her with a deeply rooted connection to Etta: 

“Moise and I get so much joy and satisfaction being connected to the clients, their families and the volunteers. We look at the volunteers with admiration and marvel at their commitment, kindness, love and care for all the participants.”

Etta youth board member Zipporah Levine accepted the Handeles Young Leadership Award, highlighting her outstanding volunteer work alongside other volunteers, including her fellow youth board members.

Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey; Assemblyman Richard Bloom; Hollywood producer Lawrence Bender, who produced such classics as “Pulp Fiction” and “Good Will Hunting”; and Dean Factor, the honoree’s brother, were among the evening’s attendees.

Oren Peleg, Contributing Writer  

The Zimmer Children’s Museum Discovery Awards Gala took place on Nov. 13 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and honored Dick Lippin, chairman and chief executive of the international consulting and public relations firm, The Lippin Group, with the Icon Award for “his many contributions to the Museum for a decade,” according to a Zimmer press release. 

From left: Sheryl Wachtel, Zimmer Children’s Museum Discovery Awards Gala chair; Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; Cheryl Hines; Allison Shearmur, Discovery Award honoree; Dick Lippin, Icon Award honoree; and Esther Netter, CEO of Zimmer Children’s Museum. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Lippin serves on the museum’s board of directors.

Additionally, Allison Shearmur, a prominent film and television producer and founder of Allison Shearmur Productions, received the Discovery Award, which is “presented annually to extraordinary individuals who are leaders in their fields and communities,” the press release said. 

Esther Netter, CEO of the museum, praised the honorees, describing them in a statement as “two individuals who lead us by example to do good and who inspire our community to act for change.”

The Zimmer Children’s Museum is housed at The Jewish Federation Goldsmith Center. 

Kevin Beggs, chairman of the Lionsgate Television Group; Stephen Davis, president of Hasbro Studios; and philanthropist Sheryl Wachtel co-chaired the gala event in Beverly Hills. 

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife, actress Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), also attended. 

Jewish World Watch (JWW), an anti-genocide organization founded out of Valley Beth Shalom, honored Intel Corp. with the
I Witness Award on Nov. 18 at the Museum of Tolerance.

From left: Janice Kamenir-Reznik, Jewish World Watch (JWW) co-founder and president, and Carolyn Duran, JWW honoree and Intel Corp.’s conflict minerals program manager and supply chain director. Photo by Jim Fermo

According to JWW press materials, the event, the JWW eighth annual I Witness Award Presentation, recognized Intel’s “first-of-its-kind commitment to manufacture its microprocessors with conflict-free minerals. Intel’s bold action — announced at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show — represented a major step forward in the movement to end the use of conflict minerals, which have served as a continued source of funding for armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where an estimated 6 million people have been killed since 1994.”

Attendees included Carolyn Duran, Intel’s conflict minerals program manager and supply chain director; Gary Niekerk, Intel’s director of corporate citizenship; Helen Zukin, JWW board member and past president of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, among others.

Zukin moderated a dialogue with the two senior Intel executives, who were described in the JWW press release as “instrumental in developing and implementing the company’s breakthrough policy.” JWW “led a range of legislative, consumer, advocacy and education efforts in the conflict-free movement” the release said.

Duran accepted the award on her company’s behalf. 

Temple Israel of Hollywood, which was, according to JWW, the first congregation in the United States to pass a pledge saying it will not purchase electronics that have conflict minerals, was presented with the Survivors Legacy Award. Rabbi John Rosove accepted the award for his synagogue. 

“Intel’s pledge to remove all conflict minerals from their supply chain is a powerful display of leadership,” JWW President Janice Kamenir-Reznik, who delivered opening remarks from the Museum of Tolerance stage, said, as quoted by the release. “Jewish World Watch wanted to recognize that bold commitment with our I Witness Award.”

More than 100 people turned out for the event. 

JWW staff in attendance included Michael Jeser, executive director, who delivered closing remarks; Naama Haviv, assistant director; Liz Braun, outreach and advocacy associate; and Eden Banarie, youth engagement coordinator. JWW board members Vaughan MeyerSheila Wasserman and others also attended.

Over the weekend of Nov. 14-15, the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles (NCJW/LA) celebrated the 90th anniversary of its thrift shops. The event took place all day Saturday and Sunday throughout the eight locations of the thrift shops in L.A. and the San Fernando Valley. Each store provided special discounts and free gifts to patrons. 

From left: Slavena Stanislavova and Laurene Miller. Photo by Rebecca Weiner

The stores were busier than usual over the weekend, with customers snatching up the two-for-one deals and the special NCJW/LA tote bags that came free with purchase. Laurene Miller, a manager, and Slavena Stanislavova assisted customers. There was even NCJW/LA gelt at the register to add to the  festive vibe of the event. Hillary Selvin, executive director of NCJW/LA, noted that the celebration was a success. “We certainly added to the money we can use for our programs and services,” Selvin said. 

The first NCJW/LA thrift shop was opened in 1924 to support the waves of displaced immigrants who came to L.A. during World War I. In a press release for the 90th anniversary, NCJW/LA vice president of Council Thrift Shops, Leanore Saltz, stated, “Council Thrift Shops began as a way to help salvage used items to collect money to provide services for our community and continues working today to better the lives of women, children and families throughout Los Angeles.”

The proceeds from the thrift shops provide 77 percent of the funding for NCJW/LA programs and services to over 11,000 individuals. The thrift shops receive over 80,000 donations annually.  

Rebecca Weiner, Contributing Writer

Moving and Shaking highlights events, honors and simchas. Got a tip? Email