November 16, 2018

Moving and shaking: Alpert Jewish Community Center, Temple Beth Am and more

Alayna Cosores, assistant director of early childhood education at the Alpert Jewish Community Center in Long Beach, is among the 19 early childhood educators from across the country to be named Fellows in JCC Association’s first Sheva-Covenant Directors Institute.

The three-year program is designed to keep participants current with regard to the latest educational practices as well as provide concrete skills in order to grow as leaders in the field. Funded with a $230,000 Covenant Foundation Signature Grant, it includes in-person retreats, distance learning and a study tour to Israel. 

“This is an exciting opportunity to shape the field of Jewish early childhood education,” Mark Horowitz, JCC Association’s vice president for early childhood education and family engagement, said in a statement.

Cosores said she feels honored to be selected and excited about the opportunity. “I am going to be working and learning with other people who are just as passionate about helping children develop while instilling a Jewish identity that they will carry with them all of their lives,” she told the Journal.

The Fellows also will work on a national director’s credential, Aim4Excellence, through the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University in Chicago.

One reason for the program is to train a new group of educational leaders as others retire. Recent JCC Association research determined about 40 percent of active JCC early childhood education directors will retire over the next five to seven years. 

“By educating and preparing leaders in this field, we are ensuring positive growth,” Cosores said. 

— Zoe Shirken, Contributing Writer

A Temple Beth Am gala on June 14 that attracted more than 300 community members also concluded the synagogue’s annual giving campaign, pushing the shul’s yearlong fundraising total to more than $1 million.

From left: Temple Beth Am Rabbi Emeritus Joel Rembaum, Temple Beth Am executive director Sheryl Goldman and Temple Beth Am Senior Rabbi Adam Kligfeld. Photo by Steve Cohn Photography

The evening celebrated the Conservative synagogue’s executive director, Sheryl Goldman, for the 20 years she has served in that role, and honored the memory of Lou Colen, who died at the age of 100 shortly before the gala. “It was a bittersweet occasion for our community,” Goldman said in an email to the Journal. The synagogue renamed its Ma’ayan Hamitgaber Legacy Award the Lou Colen Ma’ayan Award in Colen’s honor. The synagogue had planned to present the award to Colen before he died.

Attendees of the event, held at the temple’s campus on South La Cienega Boulevard, included Beth Am Senior Rabbi Adam Kligfeld, Beth Am Rabbi Emeritus Joel Rembaum and congregants Dvorah Colker and Marilyn Ziering.

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles’ (JBBBSLA) Camp Bob Waldorf on the Max Straus Campus’ charity golf event took place June 22 at the Valencia Country Club and raised more than $210,000 toward funding affordable camp experiences for underserved children.

From left: Businessman and philanthropist Bob Waldorf and Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters Los Angeles CEO Randy Schwab. Photo by Vince Bucci

There were 120 competitors at the 20th annual John W. Carson “18 Pockets of Joy” golf event, which also marked the recent renaming of Camp Bob Waldorf on the Max Straus Campus in Glendale, formerly known as Camp Max Straus.

Attendees included businessman, philanthropist and camp namesake Bob Waldorf; event co-chair Joey Behrstock; the mentoring organization’s CEO Randy Schwab; and vice president of development Laurie Feldman.

“I’ve had the pleasure of not only organizing the golf classic for the past three years, but also playing in it. All of the participants share a common love for golf as well as a desire to give back to children in the community,” Feldman said in a press release. “This event helps directly impact the lives of so many children in need, and also ensures that Camp Bob Waldorf on the Max Straus Campus continues to make a difference and serve even more children for years to come.”

University Synagogue Rabbi Joel Simonds has been named the associate program director for the West Coast branch of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC). Simonds’ responsibilities will include increasing the RAC outreach to the West Coast, a June 30 press release said.

Rabbi Joel Simonds. Photo courtesy of University Synagogue

The RAC is the self-described “social action office” of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), an umbrella organization of more than 900 synagogue congregations across North America and representative of more than 1.5 million Reform Jews.

Simonds has made social justice a part of his purview as an associate rabbi at the Brentwood synagogue for the past six years, working to create partnerships with other Reform congregations around immigration reform and educating young professionals about the need for such reform. He also is a founding member of the social justice initiative Reform California. 

Simonds said in a statement that the RAC has long meant something to him and to his family. He began at the RAC on July 1. 

Meanwhile, he will continue to serve in a limited capacity as an associate rabbi at University Synagogue, he told the Journal in an email.  

“Even though I have taken on this new position, I will remain connected to University as associate rabbi, but my responsibilities will be scaled back,” he said.

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