August 20, 2019

Moving and Shaking: Remembering Shimon Peres, Angel of Peace Awards gala and more

About 400 people at Stephen Wise Temple in Bel Air attended an Oct. 6 memorial service for former Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres, who died Sept. 28 at age 93.

Among the evening’s speakers, actress Sharon Stone fought back tears as she remembered her unlikely friend, Peres, with whom she worked in engaging Arab youth through the YaLa Young Leaders program.

“He wouldn’t want me to waste my time being sad, but I am heartbroken,” said the actress known for roles in such films as “Basic Instinct” and “Casino.”

Stephen Wise Temple’s senior rabbi, Yoshi Zweiback, said Peres balanced optimism and pessimism in his approach to Israel’s ongoing conflicts with the Arab world. “As hopeful and optimistic as Peres was,” Zweiback said of the Nobel laureate, “he was neither naïve nor impractical.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ CEO, Jay Sanderson, emphasized Peres’ connection to Los Angeles. “He was a great man who loved Los Angeles and Los Angeles loved him,” Sanderson said.

Sam Grundwerg, Israel consul general in Los Angeles, said Peres, “much like Israel itself, was the connection between tradition and modernity.”

Other participants in the program included Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), Israeli-American Council regional council member Tamir Cohen, Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin, Stephen Wise Temple Cantor Nathan Lam, Yiddish performer Mike Burstyn and singer Ninet Tayeb.

The event began with attendees writing notes of remembrance as they entered the temple’s sanctuary. It concluded with attendees singing Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikvah” (The Hope).

L.A. Inner City Mass Choir members sing at the 2016 Angel of Peace Awards gala of the Violence Prevention Coalition at the Japanese American National Museum. Photo courtesy of Violence Prevention Coalition. Photo courtesy of Violence Prevention Coalition

The Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles, a leader in the movement to frame violence as an issue of public health rather than criminal justice, celebrated its 2016 Angel of Peace Awards gala on Sept. 21 at the Japanese American National Museum by honoring the leadership of Los Angeles Police Department Officer Stinson Brown, Larry Cohen of Prevention Institute and Peter Long of the Blue Shield of California Foundation. Andy Vasquez was named winner of the Tony Borbon Youth Scholarship Video Contest. The event, attended by 180 guests, featured a performance by the L.A. Inner City Mass Choir and opening remarks by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

— Jewish Journal staff 

From left: Fruma Ita Schapiro and Ilana Ribak

The Milken Family Foundation has announced the recipients of its 2016 Jewish Educator Awards.  

They are: Fruma Ita Schapiro, a Torah studies teacher and extracurricular activities coordinator at Ohel Chana High School; Ilana Ribak, a Judaic studies kindergarten and Hebrew immersion teacher at Sinai Akiba Academy; Rabbi Chaim Trainer, a fourth-grade Judaic studies teacher at Yeshiva Rav Isacsohn; and Tammy Shpall, a history teacher, ninth-grade dean and dean of all levels at de Toledo High School.

In announcing the recipients, the foundation said Schapiro “engages her students and develops pride in their roots by connecting history and tradition to daily life,” and Ribak “immerses her students in creative Hebrew language instruction that is both rigorous and playful.” Trainer created a conflict-resolution curriculum called Project Resolve that “focuses on behavior modification to address bullying, fighting and other conflicts,” the foundation said, and Shpall “seamlessly infuses Jewish values, wisdom and community.”

From left: Rabbi Chaim Trainer and Tammy Shpall. Photos Courtesy of Milken Family Foundation

The awards were presented by Richard Sandler, the foundation’s executive vice president, and Gil Graff, executive director of Builders of Jewish Education (BJE), during surprise ceremonies at the four schools.

The award, which includes a $15,000 cash prize, honors “K-12 teachers, administrators and other education professionals who are making outstanding contributions to the Jewish and secular education of students in BJE-affiliated day schools across Greater Los Angeles.”

About 100 Jewish, Christian and Muslim students from Weizmann Day School in Pasadena, B’nai Simcha Jewish Community Preschool in Pasadena, Saint Mark’s School in Altadena and New Horizon School in Pasadena came together at Weizmann Day School on Oct. 6 to participate in the 15th annual Daniel Pearl World Music Days program.

The program is an international network of concerts that was launched in 2002 by the family of Wall Street Journal reporter and amateur musician Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and murdered that same year by Pakistani terrorists. This year’s concerts take place throughout October.

His parents, Judea Pearl and Ruth Pearl, attended the event, described as “the only multicultural, multi-elementary school performance registered with … [the] World Music Days program.” The event’s 300 attendees included Weizmann Head of School Lisa Feldman, B’nai Simcha Preschool Director Judy Callahan, New Horizon Head of School Amira al-Sarraf, and Saint Mark’s School Head of School Jennifer Tolbert.

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