November 16, 2018

Moving and shaking: Combating hate, Friendship Circle and more

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored three individuals and two law enforcement groups at its annual Helene & Joseph Sherwood Prize for Combating Hate luncheon and award ceremony March 10 at the Skirball Cultural Center.

Selected for individual honors for their efforts to investigate hate crimes, support victims, fight bias and bigotry, and decrease violence were Los Angeles Police Department Detective Ross Nemeroff, San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Oscar Garcia and Long Beach Police Department’s Officer Jason Lehman

The Inland Empire Joint Terrorism Task Force — composed of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Attorney’s Office, Riverside County Sheriff’s Office and Riverside Police Department — was recognized for stopping four men from Southern California who were attempting to join Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The Nguyen Terrorism Investigative Team (FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office) investigated and helped prosecute a United States national living in Garden Grove who had supported a terrorist organization in the past and planned to train Al Qaeda forces.  

“This year’s honorees have taken creative and effective steps to make our communities safer,” Amanda Susskind, director of ADL’s Pacific Southwest Region, said in a press release. “They demonstrate a high level of commitment to reducing terrorism and hate against the most vulnerable in our society.” 

Irvine Police Chief David L. Maggard Jr. and David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles FBI’s field office, are two of the many leaders who form the award’s selection committee. Maggard serves as chair.

Joe and the late Helene Sherwood, founders of Daniel’s Jewelers, established the Sherwood Prize in 1996 to honor people in law enforcement who work outside of their daily duties to fight extremism, bigotry and hatred.

The ADL was founded in 1913 and works to fight anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.

—Leilani Peltz, Contributing Writer

“Money means power,” Deborah Rosenbloom of Jewish Women International (JWI) told the 20 Sigma Delta Tau (SDT) sorority members who gathered in a USC lecture hall on March 9. 

The event was one of a series of Life$avings workshops, an educational initiative and national partnership between JWI and SDT that teaches financial literacy to women on campuses across the country. Rosenbloom, JWI vice president of programs and new initiatives who has a JD/MPA degree, said she’s just doing her part in empowering young women to make wise financial choices for their futures.

“This is our first talk, and I’m super excited about it,” said Melanie Allegretti, president of SDT at USC and a junior biomedical engineering student.

The two-hour workshop covered all bases, from budgeting to salary negotiation. One of the attendees, USC sophomore Holly Howell, is no stranger to budgeting — as a kid, she’d save up money from chores to buy American Girl dolls. The SDT sorority member volunteered during the workshop to be part of a mock scenario in which she asked her boss (played by Allegretti) for a raise. 

Rosenbloom said if participants of the Life$avings workshop remember nothing else, she hopes they’ll remember this: “The two most important things are always keeping money in your own name and always spending less than you earn.”

— Tess Cutler, Staff Writer

Friendship Circle Los Angeles (FCLA), a Chabad initiative that provides programs and support to the families of individuals with special needs, celebrated Purim on the Farm March 5. 

Steven Birnbaum and FCLA volunteer Shalom Ber Schienfeld.  Photo courtesy of Friendship Circle Los Angeles

The event attracted approximately 300 people and featured a Megillah reading, art and crafts, and more. Rabbi Michy Rav-Noy, executive director at FCLA, gave a concert as part of the festivities as well.

FCLA pairs teenage mentors and special-needs youth and provides support for families of special-needs children. Yaakov Sobel, a Shalhevet High School student who attended the Purim event at the organization’s South Robertson Boulevard campus, was among the teenage volunteers.

“I feel like I’m making a difference and having an impact in these kids’ lives, and I can watch them grow over time,” Sobel said in a statement.

Among others in attendance were Maya Rosen, a ninth-grader at YULA Girls High School who has been volunteering with FCLA since she was in fifth grade; FCLA volunteer Schiffy Rav-Noy, the rabbi and executive director’s niece; and FCLA board member Raizy Brief, parent of a special-needs child. 

“I think all the children love to come here, and there is something for everybody, including the parents,” Brief said in a statement. “Especially on the holidays, we love to get together because it feels like one nice, beautiful family.”

More than 200 children, teens and adults with special needs — along with siblings, parents and community volunteers — came together for an afternoon celebration of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month on Feb. 22 at Camp Bob Waldorf on the Max Straus Campus in Glendale.

Tamir Appel attends the event at Camp Bob Waldorf on the Max Straus Campus. Photo courtesy of ETTA

The event was coordinated by Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA), The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and HaMercaz.

Participants enjoyed arts and crafts activities provided by the Zimmer Children’s Museum, a bunny petting zoo from Danny’s Farm and gymnastics from Leaps n Boundz. There also was the Shalom Institute’s bike blender churning fresh lemonade, sports games with High Five basketball, and music with DJ Saulomite (Saul Korin), DJ Danny Wolf and members of The Miracle Project.

Chef Katsuji Tanabe, the owner of Mexikosher who has appeared on the reality TV cooking series “Chopped” and “Top Chef,” was on hand and prepared fresh tacos and rice bowls.

HaMercaz partners who made the event possible include Federation, JBBBSLA, Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, Builders of Jewish Education (BJE), Bet Tzedek, ETTA, Friendship Circle, Jewish Free Loan Association, Jewish Vocational Service of Los Angeles, The Miracle Project, the Shalom Institute, Vista del Mar, Yachad and the Zimmer Children’s Museum. Community sponsors were Love My Provider and ROSIES (Removing Obstacles, Supporting Innovation, Empowerment and Sustainability) Foundation.

Jewish community leaders in attendance included Andrew Cushnir, Federation’s chief development officer; Lori Klein, Federation’s senior vice president of Caring for Jews in Need, and Randy Schwab, chief executive officer at JBBBSLA.

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