December 10, 2018

The Circuit: Interfaith at Beth Shir Shalom, Kehillat Israel, Janet Madden, Miriam Heller Stern

Muslim singer and prayer leader Ben Youcef, left, and the Islamic Center of Southern California’s Religious Affairs Director Jihad Turk, second from right, joined Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels, right, and Cantor Ken Cohen, second from left, for Rosh Hashanah song and prayer at Santa Monica’s Beth Shir Sholom. In his sermon, “A Holy Place,” Comess-Daniels urged congregants to support the Manhattan Islamic community center. Photo courtesy of Beth Shir Sholom

Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Congregation in Pacific Palisades celebrated the “bar mitzvah” of political columnist Thomas Elias’ kidney transplant during the Yom Kippur afternoon service on Sept. 18. Elias, who has competed in the Olympic-style National Kidney Foundation U.S. Transplant Games, held a break-the-fast at his Santa Monica home with 30 people, including Dr. Hans Gritsch, UCLA’s chief kidney transplant surgeon, who assisted on Elias’ transplant 13 years ago; Dr. Jeffrey Kraut, chief of dialysis at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center; and L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl.

From left: Dr. Jeffrey Kraut, Debbie Kraut and Thomas Elias at the break-the-fast. Photo by Michelle Lebowski

Dr. Hans Gritsch. Photo by Michelle Lebowski

Janet Madden, a fifth-year rabbinical student at The Academy for Jewish Religion, California, has been named a 2011 GreenFaith Fellow. The GreenFaith Fellowship Program is a comprehensive education and training program to prepare lay and ordained leaders from diverse religious traditions for environmental leadership.

American Jewish University (AJU) appointed Miriam Heller Stern as dean of the Fingerhut School of Education, which prepares students for diverse careers in Jewish education. Stern, a Wexner fellow, earned her doctorate in education from Stanford University and previously served as AJU’s director of curriculum and research.