JQ International, an organization serving Los Angeles’ LGBTQ Jews, held its annual JQ Awards Garden Brunch May 7 at the Beverly Hills home of Angela and Jamshid Maddahi.
“It was a gorgeous day honoring three amazing role models who inspire each of us with their work advocating for the LGBTQ Jewish community,” JQ International founder and Executive Director Asher Gellis said in an interview.
The outdoor event honored community leader Courtney Mizel with the Community Leadership Award, Hollywood producer Zvi Howard Rosenman (“Father of the Bride,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) with the Trailblazer Award and image therapist Liana Chaouli with the Inspiration Award.
Presenting Mizel with her award, Esther Netter, CEO of the Zimmer Children’s Museum, called Mizel “a human in tune and a LinkedIn site all her own … she is fluid in her thinking and intensely present.”
Jewish Journal Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Rob Eshman and Jewish Journal President David Suissa presented Rosenman with the Trailblazer Award.
“I was a gay Jew before there were Jewish queers,” Rosenman said, sharing his story of what it was like growing up gay and Orthodox and how he made a name for himself in Hollywood.
Amanda Maddahi, JQ’s director of operations, presented the Inspiration Award to Chaouli, her aunt, after sharing moving remarks about growing up in the very house where the event was held.
JQ provides programs, services and education to Los Angeles’ LGBTQ Jews and allies. Its social programming and support services include the JQ Helpline, JQ Speakers Bureau, Inclusion Consulting and support groups.
“Together,” Gellis said, “we are changing hearts and minds, and making our Jewish community more inclusive for all.”
— Esther D. Kustanowitz, Contributing Writer
West Hills-based Kadima Day School’s April 2 gala at the Hyatt Regency Westlake in Westlake Village honored school supporters Michaela and Ami Fridman, and Sivan and Avi Kobi, and recognized longtime educator Sara Goren with the Excellence in Education Award.
Michaela Fridman and Sivan Kobi serve on the executive committee of Kadima Day School as Parent Teacher Organization co-presidents.
Goren is the Hebrew coordinator and a Hebrew and Judaic studies teacher at Kadima.
Attendees included businessman and philanthropist Naty Saidoff, who pledged $50,000 to the school; Shawn Evenhaim, namesake of the school’s Evenhaim Family Campus; and Scott Abrams, district director for U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), in whose district the school is located.
Kadima Day School operates a preschool, elementary school and middle school.
The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH) partnered with the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival and Jewish World Watch in holding the April 30 student film showcase “Voices of Hope” at the LAMOTH campus at Pan Pacific Park.
The event featured the screening of 12 student films and immediately followed the Jewish World Watch Walk to End Genocide in Pan Pacific Park.
Attendees included LAMOTH Creative Programs Director Rachel Fidler, who led a panel with the student filmmakers after the screening; Naja Butler, director and star of one of the films, “An American Girl”; Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival Director Hilary Helstein; singer-songwriter, activist and educator Jaclyn Riva Beck; Samrina Vasani, an alumnus of a NewGround program bringing high school-age Jews and Muslims together; and Samara Hutman, director of Remember Us and The Righteous Conversations Project.
The museum received about 500 film submissions from students in sixth through 12th grades around the nation.
The screened films tackled “social justice issues and human stories that matter,” Fidler said in an email. The films addressed issues such as bullying in schools, challenges facing young American Muslims, the subverting of gender stereotypes, and the importance of storytelling in carrying on the memory of the Holocaust.
The gathering, attended by about 30 people, was held in the museum’s upstairs library.
The newly formed social justice committee of the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center (PJTC) kicked off its programming with an April 20 appearance at the synagogue by U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park), whose district includes Pasadena.
PJTC Rabbi Noam Raucher introduced the congresswoman to the approximately 300 temple members in attendance.
After Chu’s opening remarks, Peter Braun, a synagogue member and University of Southern California lecturer in leadership and management, moderated a Q-and-A session with the audience. Discussion topics ranged from Israel to tax policy and health care.
As the event concluded, Rabbi Marvin Gross, a former nonprofit director and chair of PJTC’s social justice committee, presented Chu with a sign reading “Immigrants & Refugees Welcome, We Must Not Stand Idly By … ”
The sign was part of a campaign launched by members of the social justice committee, who distributed 250 signs in Pasadena and the surrounding area.
— Eitan Arom, Staff Writer
At The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ annual “It Takes a Woman” (ITAW) event on May 10, Olympic gold-medal gymnast Alexandra “Aly” Raisman discussed what it meant to represent the United States and the Jewish people in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.
Federation’s Sylvia Weisz Women’s Philanthropy group at the Jewish Federation Valley Alliance organized the event at the Skirball Cultural Center, which drew more than 400 female attendees.
In an onstage interview with Federation President and CEO Jay Sanderson, Raisman discussed her experiences at the two Olympics, the challenges of being a female athlete and how she is now using that experience to teach younger generations about confidence, kindness and positive body image.
Raisman, 22, is a two-time captain of the Olympic gold-medal-winning U.S. women’s gymnastics team and the second most-decorated American female gymnast in the history of the sport. She has earned six Olympic medals, including three gold.
ITAW is focused on introducing women to the work of Federation. Women are the fastest-growing segment of donors within Federation, with gifts made by women in their own names comprising 25 percent of its annual fundraising campaign, according to Federation’s website.
— Esther D. Kustanowitz, Contributing Writer
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