September 17, 2019

Moving and shaking: JFLA Circle of Hope, artworxLA, UC-JIR benefit and more

The Jewish Free Loan Association’s (JFLA) Circle of Hope Tribute Dinner at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel on June 1 honored Ivan Wolkind, Aaron Bloom, Jessica Rosen and the Zimmer Family Foundation. 

Wolkind, the recipient of the Ben & Anne Werber Communal Service Award, is The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ chief operating and financial officer. Bloom, a trial lawyer who served three terms as JFLA’s president and currently chairs the organization’s strategic planning committee, received the Nathan Shapell Memorial Lifetime Commitment Award.

Rosen, who received a JFLA loan in 2014 enabling her to open the yoga business One Down Dog in Silver Lake, received the Salter Family Foundation Client Recognition Award. And accepting the award on behalf of the Zimmer Family Foundation, which received the Mitchell Family Foundation Philanthropy Award, were Jonathan Flier and his fiancée, Darlene Basch, Ninel Khayat and Charles Lieberman.

The event’s approximately 220 attendees included JFLA President Harold Tomin and JFLA CEO David Levy.

According to the JFLA website, JFLA, which distributes interest-free loans to community members in need, “grants more than 1,200 loans every year, with more than $12 million circulating throughout the community.” Its focus is on emergencies, education, developing small businesses, health care and lifecycle events.

Robyn Lewis, who served as executive director of Shalhevet High School for the past four years, has been hired as the new executive director of Beth Jacob Congregation. She will begin July 1.

Robyn Lewis Photo courtesy of Shalhevet High School 

“Robyn is excited about the opportunity of working for and with Beth Jacob and we believe she possesses the skill set, experience and personality that will enable Beth Jacob to grow and prosper,” Beth Jacob president Jess Dolgin and chairman of the board Jack Fenigstein co-wrote in a June 15 email to members.

Lewis succeeds Allen Ishakis, who is resigning as the Modern Orthodox congregation’s executive director after 10 years of service in the position. He announced his resignation in a June 8 letter addressed to Dolgin.

“Everyone is working closely to ensure a smooth transition and there is no finalized date as to when Allen will be leaving,” Dolgin said in an email to the Journal.

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s (HUC-JIR) third annual benefit gala honored Marlene and Sandy Louchheim and their family — including children Terry, Mark, Thomas and Deborah — May 17 at the Skirball Cultural Center.

Sandy and Marlene Louchheim (front) with Rabbi Aaron Panken, president of HUC-JIR (back left), and Joshua Holo, dean of HUC-JIR. 

The HUC-JIR Los Angeles campus houses the Jerome H. Louchheim School for Judaic Studies, which was founded in 1972 by the namesake’s son, William. His son, Sandy, and Sandy’s wife, Marlene, have long been involved with HUC-JIR, with Marlene having previously served on the school’s national board of governors and on its Western region board of overseers.

A number of their children and grandchildren have connections to HUC-JIR, as well. Terry previously served on the HUC-JIR Western region board of overseers. Thomas, who was ordained at HUC-JIR, is rabbi of Congregation Or Chadash in Tucson, Ariz., while his wife, Marcia, a graduate of the HUC-JIR Rhea Hirsch School of Education, is the founding educator there.

Mark is president of Bobrick Washroom Equipment Inc. and chair of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles board of directors, and his son, Matthew, is a third-generation overseer of the Skirball campus.

The event drew 330 attendees, including HUC-JIR President Rabbi Aaron Panken; Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills Senior Rabbi Laura Geller, a Western region board of overseers member; L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin and his husband, Temple Akiba’s Rabbi Zachary Shapiro, a member of the regional board of overseers; and Skirball Cultural Center President Uri Herscher.

Leo Baeck Temple Senior Rabbi Ken Chasen provided musical entertainment, with HUC-JIR rabbinical students Jeff Stombaugh and Bryan Zive accompanying him.

HUC-JIR trains rabbis and cantors for the Reform movement and also offers graduate programs for educators and nonprofit professionals. It has campuses in Cincinnati, New York, Jerusalem and Los Angeles.

Leo Baeck Temple (LBT) recently raised more than $100,000 “to support LBT’s programs and educational opportunities,” according to a statement from the synagogue. It also honored board of trustees member Brian Rose and congregant Vida Brucker during the Reform synagogue’s 11th annual “Heroes & Angels” gala. 

Vida Brucker. Photo courtesy of Leo Baeck Temple

“Brian and Vida embody the caring, socially conscious ideals upon which LBT was founded, and their contributions to our community and the City of Los Angeles and beyond are immeasurable,” a statement said.

More than 300 people turned out for the May 14 event, which was Mediterranean-themed and held at the shul on Sepulveda Boulevard. 

Nonprofit arts organization artworxLA’s 24th annual gala, which was held May 5 at the Taglyan Cultural Complex, honored L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl; Hello Giggles CEO Sophia Rivka Rossi; and architect and artworxLA board member Grant Kirkpatrick.

From left: Architect and artworxLA board member Grant Kirkpatrick, Hello Giggles CEO Sophia Rivka Rossi, artworxLA founder and executive director Cynthia Campoy Brophy and L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. Photo by Chris Devlin

The gala raised more than $260,000 to support artworxLA programs, according to the organization’s website. Attendees included Cynthia Campoy Brophy, founder and executive director of artworxLA.

Founded in 1992, artworxLA serves 650 students annually at 26 alternative high school sites. The organization, which aims to combat the epidemic of high school dropouts by engaging students with the arts, previously partnered with the Skirball Cultural Center on the exhibition “Visions and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America.”

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