January 16, 2019

Moving and shaking: ‘Mad Men’ Day, Jewish World Watch and more

The City of Los Angeles declared June 17 “ ‘Mad Men’ Day” and honored the popular television show’s creator, Matt Weiner, during a ceremony at City Hall.

City Councilmember Paul Krekorian, whose office led the proceedings, welcomed Weiner and more than 20 members of the show’s cast and crew, including “Mad Men” producer Erin Levy, and presented Weiner, who was dressed in a sharp, gray suit, with an award on behalf of the city.

Much of the AMC show, set among the Madison Avenue ad firms of the 1960s, was filmed in Los Angeles and created jobs in the city, which has seen other producers take their projects elsewhere as a way to keep down production costs. Weiner, holding back tears, said the architecture of historic Los Angeles buildings inspires him. He called the city his muse and said he was thankful to the city officials for “not throwing the entire past away to [land] developers.”

Members of Weiner’s family, including his son, Marten, who starred on the show, were also in attendance. The final episode of “Mad Men” aired this past May after seven seasons.

Several L.A. City Councilmembers addressed Weiner and his fellow honorees, including Mike BoninPaul KoretzHerb Wesson and Tom LaBonge. A brief montage of footage of the show screened before the award ceremony, which began around 10 a.m. and lasted approximately 20 minutes.

Bill Bernstein assumed the position of executive director at Jewish World Watch (JWW) on June 15, succeeding interim executive director Patti Koltnow, who had held the job since Michael Jeser, the organization’s previous full-time executive director, departed in January.

Bill Bernstein is the new executive director of Jewish World Watch. Photo courtesy of Jewish World Watch

In a statement, Janice Kamenir-Reznik, co-founder and president of JWW, welcomed the new hire to an organization that is committed to fighting mass atrocities worldwide. He joins a staff of six people who work out of the organization’s offices in Encino and brings experience that includes time working as chief development officer at the social justice-minded Liberty Hill Foundation.

“As we continue to grow, Bill Bernstein’s leadership and experience will be a tremendous asset for Jewish World Watch,” Kamenir-Reznik said in a statement.

It was the late Valley Beth Shalom Rabbi Harold Schulweis, co-founder of JWW with Kamenir-Reznik in 2004, who said that the Jewish post-Holocaust commitment to “never again” obligates the community to fight against genocide in countries such as Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The organization’s programs include the Solar Cooker Project, which offers women in Africa, who can be susceptible to violence while collecting firewood, an alternative means of cooking.

The Orthodox Union (OU) West Coast region honored Ralphs Grocery Co. during its annual awards banquet on June 16 at Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel in Westwood.

The supermarket chain received the OU Kashrut National Leadership Award in recognition of the three Kosher Experience sections that have opened in Ralphs stores in the Los Angeles area as well as the longstanding partnership between Ralphs products and the OU, which describes itself as “the world’s largest kosher certification program.”


From left: Orthodox Union (OU) Rabbi Reuven Nathanson, Ralphs President Donna Giordano, Ralphs deli/bakery merchandiser Liz Wilson and Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, director of the OU West Coast region. Photo courtesy of Orthodox Union

Kendra Doyel, vice president of public relations and government affairs for Ralphs, and Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, director of the OU West Coast region, were among those who offered praised for the relationship between the two entities.

“The icing on the cake for us is the OU supervision, which is the best in the industry, for our counters,” Doyel said in a statement. 

“We are very proud of the relationship we have with Ralphs, as its corporate values mesh very closely with the values that guide the OU as well,” Kalinsky said.

Temple Adat Elohim of Thousand Oaks has hired Rabbi Andrew Straus as its new spiritual leader after a “lengthy international search,” according to a press release.

“I am honored to join Temple Adat Elohim as the 48-year-old congregation’s newest rabbi,” Straus, an ordinee of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, said in a statement. “I am dedicated to continuing its vibrant tradition of lifelong learning, social justice and profound desire to make Reform Judaism accessible for all who seek its embrace.”

Rabbi Andrew Straus is the new spiritual leader of Temple Adat Elohim. Photo courtesy of Temple Adat Elohim

Straus, who begins in the position July 1, previously served as interim rabbi at Central Synagogue in New York City; as senior rabbi at Temple Sinai in Oakland, Calif.; and as the spiritual leader of Temple Emanuel of Tempe, Ariz.

Interim Senior Rabbi Barry Diamond will be leaving and joining Agudas Achim Congregation in Coralville, Iowa. Meanwhile, Adat Elohim Rabbi Rebecca L. Dubowe, who is the rabbinate’s first female deaf rabbi and has served at Adat Elohim for the past 18 years, “will be moving to the next stage of her rabbinate,” the release said.

“The temple has decided to change from two rabbis to one rabbi,” Adat Elohim President-elect Peggy Frank said in an email. 

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