January 21, 2019

Moving and shaking: FIDF, AJC and more

More than 15 Los Angeles residents returned home on Nov. 21 after participating in a weeklong, sold-out national leadership mission to Israel organized by the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF). The mission brought together 160 FIDF members from 58 American cities, including the Los Angeles-based contingent, to check out Israeli military sites and speak with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) personnel in hopes of garnering new perspective on military proceedings transpiring on the ground. 

Participants on the trip heard from IDF soldiers serving on the front lines, toured an Iron Dome missile battery in southern Israel, visited wounded soldiers and met with beneficiaries of FIDF programs such as Lone Soldiers, which provides assistance to those in the IDF without parents in Israel, and recipients of IMPACT! Scholarships, an effort to contribute financial aid for higher education to former Israeli soldiers.

Abraham Stein, 78, took part in the mission, searching for insight into the experience of Israeli soldiers and a potential cause to which to donate.

“To see the faces of the soldiers, to look into their eyes, you see they’re just children. We see many things from over here, but once there, you see the dedication, the passion, the assertiveness and the sense of calm,” he told the Journal. “It was striking. I always wanted to donate to Israel and have that be a part of my legacy. Now, after seeing what the IDF does and where my donation would be going, I can make it.” 

Traveling with Stein were Ana Mancia, Adam Bess, Ludmila Bess, Leo David, Igal Elyassi, Carol and Michael Erde, Michael Flesch, April Hardy, Elliot Megdal, Janet and David Polak, Ari and Rebecca Ryan and Adam Sher.

— Oren Peleg, Contributing Writer 


The American Jewish Committee Los Angeles’ (AJC-LA) annual Chanukah celebration drew 150 attendees to The Mark for Events on Dec. 17. AJC members, community leaders, diplomats and elected officials, including AJC-LA director Rabbi Mark Diamond, led a candle-lighting ceremony, in which “each candle represented one of the eight elements of American-Jewish values: democracy, global peace, unity, diversity, learning, tradition, Israel and hope,” according to an AJC-LA press release. Diamond also discussed the importance of defending Jewish rights and democratic values here in the United States and across the world.

From left: AJCLA Vice President Ira Handelman; L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer and AJCLA Director Rabbi Mark Diamond participate in a candle-lighting ceremony. Photo by David Medill

From left: AJCLA Vice President Ira Handelman; L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer and AJCLA Director Rabbi Mark Diamond participate in a candle-lighting ceremony. Photo by David Medill


AJC is an advocacy organization that focuses on Israeli matters, domestic issues and more. Its Los Angeles chapter is one of 22 regional offices in the U.S. 

Participants in the lighting ceremony last month also included Assemblymembers Sebastian Ridley-Thomas and Matt Dababneh, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer, L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz, the Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith of the Los Angeles Archdiocese and Randolph Dobbs of the Los Angeles Baha’i Center. 

AJC-LA President Dean Schramm “addressed the audience about living the lessons of Chanukah,” the press release said. AJC-LA Vice President Ira Handelman also took part in the festivities.

California State Sen. Robert M. (Bob) Hertzberg has joined the government and regulatory law practice group of the law firm Glaser Weil, according to a Nov. 5 press release, and will serve as Of Counsel.

Robert M. (Bob) Hertzberg, Photo courtesy of Glaser Weil


The recently elected Democrat who serves the 18th District will “advise [Glaser Weil clients] on local issues, matters in other states, and on international projects,” the release said. Hertzberg will “not advise clients on matters that may come before the legislature or state agencies,” according to the release.

He is working at Glaser Weil with Thomas Levyn, former mayor of Beverly Hills, and Timothy McOsker, former chief deputy city attorney for Los Angeles and chief of staff to former L.A. Mayor Jim Hahn. The firm describes itself as one of the “nation’s premier midsized law firms, with approximately 100 attorneys.”

“We are honored to have Bob join our firm,” Glaser Weil Managing Partner Peter Weil said in the release. “His 35 years of experience as a lawyer, work-ethic, dedication and vast knowledge will contribute to the continued growth of the firm.”

“Bob will be an excellent addition to our firm,” Partner Patricia L. Glaser echoed in prepared remarks.

Hertzberg has been a partner at Mayer Brown, LLP for the past 12 years. He previously served on the board of the Public Policy Institute of California and as chairman, twice, for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. He is currently a member of the board at USC’s Price School of Public Policy and Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy.

Meanwhile, Hertzberg added a familiar face to his public office’s staff. Barri Worth Girvan, who previously served as The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ director of community engagement programs and government affairs, is now serving as Hertzberg’s district director in the San Fernando Valley, having joined the team on Dec. 18.

Fredi Rembaum, assistant vice president for institutional advancement of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), was celebrated Dec. 8 during a retirement lunch at the Reform seminary’s Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles.

Among those who feted Rembaum were Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, HUC-JIR president; Joshua Holo, dean of HUC-JIR’s Los Angeles campus; and Steven Windmueller, a longtime faculty member and former dean of the L.A. campus. Her husband, Rabbi Joel Rembaum, former senior rabbi of Temple Beth Am, led haMotzi.

Before coming more than 10 years ago to HUC-JIR — which she also has served as director of development for the Western region — Rembaum worked for The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles for 20 years in a number of capacities, focusing on fundraising and community development. 

From left: Joshua Holo, dean of HUC-JIR’s L.A. campus; Sue Neuman Hochberg, chair of the Western region board of overseers; Fredi Rembaum, assistant vice president for institutional advancement; and Rabbi Aaron D. Panken, HUC-JIR president, at Rembaum’s retirement lunch on Dec. 8. Photo courtesy of HUC-JIR


She will not be replaced at HUC-JIR. Instead, officials said, her work will be continued by the team of Cathee Weiss, director of development for the Western region, and Aaron Herman, assistant director of development. Rembaum planned to work through the end of December.

— Ryan E. Smith, Associate Editor


Moving and Shaking highlights events, honors and simchas. Got a tip? Email ryant@jewishjournal.com.