December 10, 2019

Moving and shaking: AFMDA Humanitarian Award, Tour de Summer Camps and more

The Beverly Hilton was filled with laughter and emotion on the evening of Oct. 22 as Jerry Seinfeld emceed the American Friends of Magen David Adom’s (AFMDA) Los Angeles Red Star Ball, which drew 1,100 guests and raised $12 million. 

Those funds will go toward ambulances, medical supplies and the construction of an underground blood-supply facility in Israel that will be immune to rocket attack and natural disasters and will provide 97 percent of the blood used by Israel’s hospitals and the Israel Defense Forces.

From left: Michael Richards and Jerry Seinfeld attend the American Friends of Magen David Adom Red Star Ball. Photo courtesy of AFMDA

The world-famous comedian and sitcom star took the stage after a series of intense videos highlighting the life-saving role in Israel that Magen David Adom has played, particularly during the spate of Palestinian knife attacks in recent weeks.

“As a comedian, I always like to perform after emergency activities are shown with injured people and blood flowing,” Seinfeld joked. He then went into a routine touching on many of his classic observations of life, ranging from marriage and children to smartphones and voicemails.

Dina and Fred Leeds, the evening’s hosts, told the audience that in the first three weeks of October, Magen David Adom had provided treatment for 174 casualties since the knife attacks began. After the names of the nine Israelis who were murdered in the attacks were read, several Magen David Adom volunteers were brought onstage, including Hananel Alvo, who was stabbed several years ago on his way to work, then became a paramedic for Magen David Adom after his life was saved by the group’s paramedics.

AFMDA presented the Humanitarian of the Year Award to Adam and Gila Milstein, who are major donors to groups such as the Israeli-American Council (IAC) and StandWithUs. (Adam Milstein was recently named national board chairman of the IAC.) Ruth Flinkman-Marandy and Ben Marandy received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Barak Aviv received the Next Generation Award.

Following a 30-minute after-dinner fundraising appeal — which included a $5 million gift from casino mogul and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam — Seinfeld took the stage again before dessert to close out the evening.

Joining Seinfeld in attendance was one of his co-stars from “Seinfeld,” Michael Richards, who played lanky goofball Kramer. Actresses Odeya Rush and Karla Souza also came to honor Magen David Adom. 

Joining them was a distinguished group that included Michael Milken, Art Bilger, Antonio Villaraigosa, Elan Carr, Sam Yebri, Geoffrey Gold, Shawn Evenhaim and Naty Saidoff

— Jared Sichel, Senior Writer

This year’s Tour de Summer Camps — the annual community cycling event organized by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles — drew more than 500 cyclists on Oct. 25 and raised $1.2 million through riders and sponsorships for summer camp scholarships, according to Jay Sanderson, CEO and president of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.  

Tour de Summer Camps, the annual community cycling event organized by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, raises money for summer camp scholarships. Here, some of the beneficiaries express thanks to Federation for its efforts. Photo by Howard Pasamanick Photography 

Rodney Freeman, a Federation supporter who is active in a Federation real estate and construction group and who was instrumental in launching the event three years ago, raised more than $20,000, making him this year’s top individual fundraiser. Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps, the top fundraising team, brought in nearly $43,000 at the event presented by the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation. 

Accommodating all skill levels, the event featured 18-mile, 36-mile, 62-mile and 100-mile rides. Ages 16 and older were eligible to participate. Riders began and ended at Camp Alonim on the Brandeis-Bardin Campus of American Jewish University.

Children were able to enjoy arts and crafts and visit farm animals, as well. Those younger than 16 who raised funds were considered “virtual riders,” according to the Tour de Summer Camps website. 

“It’s about the kids and the family,” Sanderson said. “It’s not about any one camp or institution.”

Entertainment executives mingled with Jewish community leaders at an Oct. 20 American Jewish Committee (AJC) awards dinner at the Globe Theatre. More than 200 people turned out, including dinner co-chairs Ron Meyer, NBCUniversal vice chairman, and Donna Langley, Universal Pictures chairwoman.

From left: NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer; Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara; Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman Jeff Shell; Universal Pictures Chairwoman Donna Langley and Universal Pictures President Jimmy Horowitz attend an American Jewish Committee dinner Oct. 20 at the Globe Theatre. Photo by David Medill

AJC, an advocacy organization focusing on Israel and domestic issues, awarded Jeff Shell, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman, the Dorothy and Sherrill C. Corwin Human Relations Award — the highest honor AJC bestows upon members of the entertainment industry.

“AJC plays an irreplaceable role for the Jewish community,” Shell said, as quoted in a press release. “AJC isn’t just an organization that fights anti-Semitism across the globe — it promotes freedom and tolerance of all religions and cultures and builds bridges at a time when we desperately need them.”

Dana Shell Smith, the honoree’s younger sibling and the United States ambassador to Qatar, delivered a keynote address about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, and AJC Regional President Dean Schramm discussed the mission of the organization.

Mark Hoppus, vocalist and bassist for rock band Blink-182, served as master of ceremonies. Level A Cappella performed. 

Other attendees included Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros. chairman and CEO; Universal Pictures President Jimmy Horowitz; and former national AJC president and prominent entertainment attorney Bruce Ramer, as well as the Corwins’ children, Bonnie Corwin Fuller and Bruce Corwin.

The Tower Cancer Research Foundation (TCRF) Magnolia Council Spirit of Hope Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire honored Harriet Rossetto, founder and executive vice president at Jewish addiction recovery center Beit T’Shuvah, and Nancy Mishkin, chairwoman of the board at TCRF.

Rossetto spoke about how her work with Beit T’Shuvah has helped her understand what it is to be human.

From left: Tower Cancer Research Foundation (TCRF) Magnolia Council President Beth Goren; Harriet Rossetto, founder of Jewish rehabilitation center Beit T’Shuvah; Nancy Mishkin, Tower Cancer Research Foundation board chairwoman; and Shelley Warsavsky, TCRF Magnolia Council chairwoman attend a luncheon to support cancer research. Photo by Tiffany Rose

“I have accepted I matter and I’m good enough, with all my flaws and imperfections, and so are all of us; I make peace within myself with right action; I defeat sloth and existential despair by making my bed; I have resolved my good boy-bad boy problem by finding a Jewish bad boy and helping him become a rabbi,” the wife of Beit T’Shuvah spiritual leader Rabbi Mark Borovitz said.

Mishkin, former board chairwoman at Beit T’Shuvah and the child of Holocaust survivors, focused on how TCRF is making a difference, addressing approximately 400 people at the Oct. 12 event.

Among those present were TCRF Magnolia Council President Beth Goren and Chairwoman Shelley Warsavsky.

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