August 17, 2019

Moving and Shaking: Jewish Community Day at Dodger Stadium, JCFLA supports Jewish innovation

Wearing a yarmulke, tzitzit and a Sandy Koufax jersey, Rabbi Jason Weiner, senior rabbi and manager of the spiritual care department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, threw the ceremonial first pitch during Jewish Community Day at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 28 to Joc Pederson, a Jewish team member of the Dodgers. 

Weiner, 38, who pitched in college, admitted to being nervous prior to taking the mound, in an interview with the Journal.

“I didn’t sleep the night before. I was nervous. I don’t normally get nervous about things like this but everyone was talking to me about it beforehand: ‘It’s a big deal, you have to throw a strike.’ Joc, when he caught it, he called it ‘strike,’ ” said Weiner, who played ball for Cal State Monterey Bay.

A Modern Orthodox rabbi, Weiner said that in college he left the team after his coach made his membership contingent on practicing or playing on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

He wasn’t the only rabbi on the field before the Dodgers took on the Chicago Cubs, a game Los Angeles would win 1-0. The home team also honored U.S. Army National Guard 1st lieutenant and Rabbi David Becker as the military hero of the Sunday afternoon game. 

Rabbi Brad Artson (third from left), dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University, attended Jewish Community Day with his wife, Elana, and two children, Shira and Jacob. Photo courtesy of Rabbi Brad Artson

Cedars-Sinai, an official sponsor of the Dodgers, turned out approximately 40 attendees to the game. Additional congregations and Jewish organizations at the ballpark included IKAR, Congregation Kol Ami and The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ YALA (Young Adults of Los Angeles). Highlights included free T-shirts with “Dodgers” written in Hebrew, Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage Factory kosher hot dogs, and more. 

The line for hot dogs at Jeff’s was already long during the first inning, as the owner, Jeff Rohatiner, and a small staff of employees worked hard to prepare standard kosher hot dogs, kosher jalapeño dogs and kosher Italian sausage dogs. 

“I think this is great to have the opportunity to show solidarity and enjoy the game,” Young Israel of Century City congregant Betsy Tabacznik said while standing in line for a hot dog with her grandsons, Yaakov, 11, and Zev, 10.

The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (JCFLA) has awarded $2.3 million to 12 “new Jewish initiatives focused on innovation,” according to an Aug. 16 press release by the foundation, a charitable assets manager and grant-making organization. 

“The 2016 Cutting Edge Grant recipients — the 11th annual class awarded by The Foundation — exemplify creative, unique problem-solving necessary for a vibrant, engaged and caring Jewish Los Angeles,” Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles President and CEO Marvin Schotland said in a statement.

The two largest grants given this year — $250,000 apiece — will fund the Aleph Institute’s Project Tikvah, which addresses incarceration among young adults struggling with mental illness and addiction, and “Connections to Care: Interoperability Platform,” a central hub to manage patient care at the Los Angeles Jewish Home.

Molly Forrest, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Jewish Home, said in a statement: “We are grateful to The Foundation for supporting our efforts to care for more frail seniors in our community. The awarding of the Cutting Edge Grant will enable us to develop the tools necessary to provide coordinated, comprehensive, quality care for vulnerable and at-risk seniors.”

Moving Traditions will receive $200,000 to pilot a b’nai mitzvah program, and the Union for Reform Judaism will receive $100,000 for its 6 Points Sports Academy California.

Other grant recipients this year are Builders of Jewish Education, Honeymoon Israel, the Israeli-American Council, Jerusalem U, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Jewish Women’s Theatre, Pico Union Project, and Reboot in partnership with IKAR. The grants are distributed over a multiyear period.

Amir Naiberg is now serving as associate vice chancellor for research at UCLA. Photo courtesy of UCLA

Amir Naiberg has been named UCLA’s associate vice chancellor for research, as well as president and CEO of Westwood Technology Transfer, a nonprofit company controlled by UCLA that protects discoveries made by UCLA researchers. He leads the Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Sponsored Research at UCLA.

Naiberg, who joined UCLA on Aug. 3, co-founded the Israel Technology Transfer Organization in 2004. He previously worked for five years as general counsel and 10 years as CEO of Yeda Research and Development Company, the technology transfer company of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

He holds law degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Fred Toczek, president of the board at Shalhevet High School

Fred Toczek has been named president of the board at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles.

Toczek, an entertainment lawyer whose son, Jacob, graduated from Shalhevet this past year and whose daughter, Sadie, is a Shalhevet sophomore has served on the Modern Orthodox high school’s board for six years.

“I have seen what the school has done, and continues to do, for my children and for so many others, and look forward to my tenure as president,” he said in an Aug. 24 letter to “Shalhevet Family and Friends.” 

He succeeds Larry Gill.

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