September 22, 2019

Moving and Shaking: LAMOTH fundraiser, Hummus Festival, Israel-Asia Community Summit and more

About 600 supporters of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH) attended its annual fundraiser Nov. 6 at the Beverly Wilshire hotel, which honored deceased Holocaust survivor Jona Goldrich and film producer Gary Foster for his film “Denial.”

Historian Deborah Lipstadt — the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, and author of the book “History on Trial: My Day in Court With a Holocaust Denier,” upon which “Denial” is based — was the guest of honor and presented Foster with his award.

“When I learned that David Irving, the leading Holocaust denier, was suing me for libel, my first reaction was to laugh,” Lipstadt said. “This was a guy who claimed more people died in Sen. Ted Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick than in the Holocaust. But the burden of proof was on me to prove the truth of what I [wrote], and we did that. The man was left destroyed, and much of the foundation of hardcore Holocaust denial was destroyed too.”

In accepting his award, Foster said he was inspired to make a film about Holocaust denial after hearing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then president of Iran, publicly deny the Holocaust. Foster began researching the topic and happened upon Lipstadt and her book, “History on Trial,” pretty much by accident. Once he discovered Lipstadt, he said, he knew he had to turn her story into a movie.

Lipstadt said she was skeptical: “I told him, ‘I’m ready to sign [the film contract] but you’ve got to understand this story is about truth. This movie has got to be accurate.’ ”

From left: Israeli American Council Los Angeles co-chair Tamir Cohen, Beverly Hills Vice Mayor Nancy Krasne, Beverly Hills Recreation and Parks Commissioner Frances Bilak and Maya Kadosh, consul for public diplomacy, culture, media and public affairs at the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles served as judges at the Hummus Festival. Courtesy of the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles

Despite sporadic rainfall, nearly 300 individuals crowded the Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market on Oct. 30 for the inaugural Hummus Festival. The goal was to not only indulge in the popular Middle Eastern dipping sauce but to partake in Israeli food, music and the arts.

The event sponsors included the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles, City of Beverly Hills and the Israeli-American Council (IAC).

“This festival is a part of the historic partnership agreement signed last year between the Israeli government and the city of Beverly Hills to increase the cultural exchanges between Israel and the city, as well as offer locals exposure to rich Israeli food, Israeli music, the arts, film and music,” said Maya Kadosh, Israeli Consul for Public Diplomacy, Culture, Media and Public Affairs.

Kadosh and four local culinary experts were on hand to recognize the best-tasting hummus produced from among nearly a dozen local restaurants, food manufacturers and food trucks. It was a tie for first place between Rose Kemp and Rachid Rouhi.

“We thought Beverly Hills would be a natural fit for this event because of the large Jewish population and Israeli population in the city, and when you bring in food and culture to a place like the Farmers’ Market, it is a win-win situation for everyone,” said Dikla Kadosh, senior director for the IAC’s community center and events.

Young children at the festival took part in an Israeli dance competition and families enjoyed a band as well as DJ playing popular Israeli music. Also on hand for the event were local Israeli artists, jewelry makers, clothing vendors and even a booth offering visitors a virtual reality tour of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, using the latest in high-tech Israeli electronic goggles.  

— Karmel Melamed, Contributing Writer