December 10, 2019

Moving and shaking: Temple Ner Simcha commemorates Paris victims; OUR HOUSE gala and more

Trans-denominational synagogue Temple Ner Simcha in Agoura Hills held a ceremony Nov. 16 to commemorate the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks, which took place three days prior.

Temple Ner Simcha Rabbi Michael Barclay (center) leads a prayer service to honor the victims of the Paris attack. Clergy leaders joining him include (from left) Ner Simcha Cantor Paul Dorman, the Rev. Gary Alan Dickey, Decon Vahan Manoogian, Sue Rubin, Elder Craig Nielson, Bishop Garry Pace, Pastor Zak Shellabarger and the Rev. Steve Herder. Photo courtesy of Temple Ner Simcha

“I think it’s extremely meaningful for us to pray as Jews with people of other faiths,” Rabbi Michael Barclay said in a phone interview with regard to his synagogue’s gathering, which featured a variety of Conejo Valley faith leaders and drew a crowd of approximately 150 people.

Additional participants in the event included the shul’s Cantor Paul Dorman; the Rev. Gary Alan Dickey of United Methodist Church of Westlake Village; Western Diocese of the Armenian Church Deacon Vahan Manoogian; Religious Science leader Sue Rubin; and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Elder Craig Nielson

The event featured a PowerPoint presentation showing photographs of a majority of victims of the attack, which killed at least 130 people and wounded more than 350.

Ner Simcha, which has approximately 500 member units, was one of several institutions across Los Angeles to hold a commemorative ceremony in the wake of the Paris attacks. A gathering for the victims also took place at Los Angeles City Hall, on Nov. 17. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Consul General of France in Los Angeles Christophe Lemoine were among those in attendance, according to the mayor’s office.

The OUR HOUSE grief support center’s 2015 House of Hope gala took place Nov. 14 underneath the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center, raising more than $500,000 for the organization’s adult and children’s grief support programs. It also honored board member and former OUR HOUSE treasurer Todd Gilman with the Founder’s Award, according to OUR HOUSE spokeswoman Lucia Singer.

The “no tie, yes jeans” gathering drew approximately 500 casually dressed attendees, including Melissa Rivers, 2013 House of Hope honoree and daughter of the late comedian Joan Rivers; OUR HOUSE Executive Director Michele Prince; OUR HOUSE Board Chairman Jory Feldman and the honoree’s wife, Terry.

A screening of the IMAX film “Hubble 3D” followed the awards ceremony, along with a Q-and-A with Toni Myers, the film’s producer and director. The evening also included a brief tribute to the victims of the Nov. 13 terrorist attack in Paris.

OUR HOUSE is a nonsectarian grief support center with Jewish roots that serves 9,000 people each year. It was founded by Jo-Ann Lautman in 1993 and has offices in West Los Angeles and Woodland Hills, as well as satellite services.

The Max Factor Family Foundation (MFFF) announced it is awarding a $50,000 grant to Chai Lifeline’s i-Shine Los Angeles initiative, an afterschool program that offers support, mentorship and Jewish experiences for schoolchildren whose siblings or parents are seriously ill.

“At our meeting, several members spoke about how providing support to the healthy children of a family in crises can mitigate the long-term effects of trauma, rippling out into that individual’s current and future lives, and even one day to their own families and children. In short, i-Shine’s mission resonated powerfully with our own life experiences,” MFFF trustee Jenny Factor said in a Nov. 17 statement.

The grant will build upon a three-year, $200,000 grant recently awarded to the Chai Lifeline program by the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles.

“We are honored by the Max Factor Family Foundation’s demonstration of confidence, choosing to leverage our Cutting Edge Grant to i-Shine through additional collaborative funding of its own, as well as its stated commitment to similarly fund an additional program each year,” said Marvin Schotland, the foundation’s president and CEO. “Working together offers the potential of a ‘multiplier effect’ — making our foundation’s grant even more meaningful while increasing the prospect for success of the initiative.”

California State Assembly Speaker Emeritus John Perez demonstrated strong support for Israel during a discussion at Congregation Kol Ami on Nov. 12 with the Reform synagogue’s Rabbi Denise Eger.

California State Assembly Speaker Emeritus John Perez and Congregation Kol Ami Rabbi Denise Eger discuss Jewish-Latino relations, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and more. Photo by Ryan Torok

Among other things, the current member of the University of California Board of Regents denounced the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

“Academia is increasingly adapting a BDS mentality … an absolute affront to academic freedom,” Perez said, addressing an audience of about 20 people at the LGBT synagogue in West Hollywood.

Perez and Eger also discussed local dialogue between Latino and Jewish communities. “I think the history of the relationships is strong,” Perez said, citing the work of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles toward creating inroads between the Jewish and Latino communities here in Los Angeles. He also spotlighted the work of the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles, which organizes the annual community event Fiesta Shalom. That event took place this year on Nov. 23 at Tamayo Restaurant and Art Gallery in East Los Angeles.

What’s next for Perez, whose term as Assembly speaker ended in 2014? He said he might consider running for Congress.

The event was part of “Conversations With Rabbi Eger,” an ongoing series.

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