August 20, 2019

Moving and shaking: Dodgers, ICRF Women of Action gala and more

In front of thousands of baseball fans on a recent evening in Chavez Ravine, Uri Herscher, founding president of the Skirball Cultural Center, threw out a ceremonial pitch before the Los Angeles Dodgers squared off against the Colorado Rockies, who ended up winning 6-1. 

Before the throw, a short video highlighted “Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American,” an acclaimed exhibition at the Skirball that highlights the Jewish contribution to the game of baseball and how the sport has served as a means for assimilation for Jewish immigrants into the fabric of American society. It is on view through Oct. 30.

Herscher, 75, who also is a board member for TRIBE Media Corp., the parent company of the Journal, waved to the crowd while wearing a Dodgers baseball cap, a fleece emblazoned with the Skirball logo and Nike sneakers.

Muslims and Jews came together June 8 for the seventh annual community iftar — the meal eaten to break the fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan — organized by NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change. 

A June 8 community iftar included prayers for Jews (left) and Muslims. Photos by Lakshna Mehta

The event at Wilshire Boulevard Temple also served as the graduation for the organization’s professional fellows. NewGround was started 10 years ago to facilitate conversations between Muslims and Jews through different programs. 

Amid prayers — Salat for the Muslims and Ma’ariv for the Jews — and a meal that was kosher and halal, 350 people discussed their lives and caught up with old friends and acquaintances. 

“When we started, there were maybe a 100 people at the graduation dinner,” said Farah Khan, a fellow from NewGround’s inaugural cohort in 2007-08. “Now there are hundreds. They have built a very supportive network.”

Among those who attended were current board members Rabbi Susan Goldberg of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Rabbi Sarah Bassin of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills and Brie Loskota; Aziza Hasan, executive director of NewGround; and NewGround facilitators Tasneem Noor and Nina Berenfeld. 

As part of the professional fellowship, participants have conversations about their lives, learning about each other’s styles of resolving conflict, and personal experiences related to religion and anti-Semitism.

—Lakshna Mehta, Contributing Writer

The Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) held its 2016 Women of Action gala May 19 at the Beverly Hilton. The event drew approximately 400 attendees, including ICRF board member and Spago Beverly Hills co-founder Barbara Lazaroff; ICRF board member Michael Rosenmayer; Sinai Temple Rabbi David Wolpe; businessman and philanthropist Stanley Black; Factor’s Famous Deli co-owner Susie Markowitz; and others, who enjoyed cocktails, a kosher dinner, live auctions and more.

From left: ICRF Los Angeles President Martin Finkelstein; ICRF 2016 honorees Myra and Dr. Nicole Nourmand; Saeed Nourmand, Myra’s husband and Nicole’s father; ICRF Los Angeles Board Chairman Benjamin Bonavida; and ICRF National Executive Director Eric Heffler. Photo by Michelle Mivzari

Also in attendance was Martin Finkelstein, ICRF regional president and Jewish Journal advertising executive director, whose father, Edward, died of renal cell carcinoma. “I believe the cure to cancer is in Israel cancer research,” Finkelstein told the crowd.

CNN anchorman Wolf Blitzer delivered a prerecorded video message congratulating the honorees, mother and daughter Myra and Dr. Nicole Nourmand, principal at real estate company Nourmand & Associates, and founding partner of Premier Pediatrics, respectively.

“I can’t think of a better way to honor my grandmother’s memory than to support Israel through this incredible organization,” Nicole Nourmand said upon accepting her award.

The evening raised more than $300,000 to fund the efforts of Israeli scientists working toward curing cancer. The ICRF was established by American and Canadian researchers, physicians and other medical professionals who were determined to utilize the wealth of scientific resources in Israel to combat cancer. The organization seeks to stem the departure of scientists from Israel to other countries and fund Israelis’ research through post-doctoral fellowships. 

The event followed an ICRF Rachel’s Society reception on April 20 at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills. Beverly Cohen, the chairwoman of Rachel’s Society, and her husband, Robert Cohen, hosted the April event with keynote speaker Ran Taube, associate professor at the Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva, Israel. In his talk “A Breakthrough in Infant Leukemia,” Taube detailed the similarities between the disease and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Also in attendance was Benjamin Bonavida, professor of immunology and the Chairman of ICRF Los Angeles chapter. 

Ryan Torok, Staff Writer and Avi Sholkoff, Contributing Writer

Amal Khan, a Daniel Pearl Fellow from Lahore, Pakistan, has joined the staff of the Jewish Journal for the summer, beginning June 9.

Daniel Pearl Fellow Amal Khan has joined the Jewish Journal for the summer. 

Khan is currently the editor of the features desk at the Pakistani English-language publication The Nation and previously served as the op-ed editor there. Khan studied government as an undergraduate at Smith College in Massachusetts and has a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

Daniel Pearl Fellows are journalists who are citizens of Muslim-majority countries who come to the United States, work at U.S. newsrooms “and experience the dynamics of a free press environment first hand,” according to The fellowship, a partnership between the Daniel Pearl Foundation and Press Partners, was established in the aftermath of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and murder by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002.

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