August 17, 2019

Moving & Shaking: Federation Honors Beth Freeman, Sinai Hosts Middle East Security Forum

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ Sylvia Weisz Women’s Philanthropy group’s annual L’Dor V’Dor event on Oct. 26 at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel honored Beth Freeman with the Doris Factor Women’s Leadership Award “for her long-standing partnership” with the group and her “remarkable dedication to our community.”

Upon receiving the award, Freeman discussed sharing traditions from generation to generation, her family, Jewish values, involvement in the community and more. She also said it was important to dream for the future and use traditions as a guidepost in taking action to heal and repair the world.

Jess Carbino, a sociologist at the dating app Tinder and a high-tech dating expert, was the guest speaker.

The evening was organized to introduce new people to Federation, to engage new and longtime supporters, and to connect women from across generations in the community to one another and to Federation’s work.

Attendees included L’Dor V’Dor leadership members Sarina Klemes, Debi Graboff, Stephanie Gold, Joanna Tait and Jodi Galen.

His Royal Highness Turki al Faisal speaks to Rabbi David Wolpe at the Middle East Security Forum. Photo courtesy of Israel Policy Forum

“Middle East Security Forum” on Oct. 29 that examined challenges and opportunities for the United States, Israel and surrounding countries.

American, Israel and Arab scholars and policy experts, including Nimrod Novik, a fellow at the Israel Policy Forum and a former adviser to Shimon Peres, Dalia Dassa Kaye, director of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy, and former Congressman Howard Berman discussed Iran’s nuclear pursuits, the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate and more.

“If the U.S. walks away from the nuclear agreement, it loses credibility,” Alireza Nader, senior international/defense researcher at the RAND Corp., said during a panel titled “Iran’s Regional Posture and Nuclear Pursuit.”

Meanwhile, Sima Shine, a senior research fellow with the Israel Institute for National Security Studies, said she believed it was possible President Donald Trump would pull the U.S. out of the agreement. “I would not bet my money on the fact that he would not do it,” Shine said.

Also participating on the panel about Iran were Ilan Goldenberg, director of the Middle East program at the Center for a New American Security, and Professor David Menashri, a visiting Israel Institute fellow at the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies.

Participants in “Addressing the Israeli-Palestinian Stalemate” included Ghaith Al-Omari, Shira Efron and Israel Defense Forces Major General (Res.) Avi Mizrachi. Michael Koplow, policy director of the Israel Policy Forum, moderated.

Sinai Temple Max Webb Senior Rabbi David Wolpe and His Royal Highness Prince Turki al Faisal, a former Saudi chief of intelligence and former ambassador to the United Kingdom, participated in a closing discussion.

Additional speakers were Sinai Temple President Angela Maddahi and Israel Policy Forum Executive Director David Halperin.

The more than 250 attendees included Jacob Segal, a board member of the Southern California Israel Chamber of Commerce.

From left: Jewish Public Affairs Committee Board Chair Cece Feiler, State Assembly Member Richard Bloom and Samara Hutman attend a JPAC event honoring Bloom for his work combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Photo courtesy of Jewish Public Affairs Committee

The Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California (JPAC), the largest single-state coalition of Jewish organizations in America, on Oct. 26 honored California State Assemblyman Richard Bloom for his efforts opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The honor was bestowed at a gathering in the Brentwood home of Cece and Bill Feiler, which drew about 40 people, including Assemblymen Matt Dababneh, Marc Levine and Adrin Nazarian, as well as Los Angeles Board of Education member Nick Melvoin. Bloom discussed the challenges he faced passing Assembly Bill 2844, an anti-BDS measure prohibiting state contracts with entities boycotting Israel and other sovereign nations.

Speakers included JPAC Executive Director Julie Zeisler, who gave a recap of her organization’s accomplishments over the year.

Cece Feiler, board chair of JPAC, spoke about how Bloom’s family took in her family when they first came to the United States after the Holocaust.

Nazarian, Levine and Melvoin gave toasts to Bloom, and Nazarian presented Bloom with an honorary Assembly resolution recognizing his leadership in the state legislature. Since 2012, Bloom has represented the 50th District, which includes Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood and West Los Angeles.

Zeisler later told the Journal that Bloom “spoke about the bill as a larger effort to continue to defend and empower the Jewish people against the forces that are determined to vilify Jews and Israel.”

Heather Cooper Ortner, president and CEO of Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles

Heather Cooper Ortner, former director of development for the Brandeis-Bardin Institute and director of the Western Area Development Center for Hadassah, has been named president and CEO of Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles (ALZGLA).

Mark Liberman, co-chair of the organization’s board of directors, announced Cooper Ortner’s appointment on Sept. 18.

“Heather brings a wealth of experience in the health care arena to Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles,” Liberman said in a statement. “Her proactive approach and passion for her work, coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit, make her a valuable asset, particularly as awareness continues to grow for the comprehensive programs and support ALZGLA provides for the entire community.”

Cooper Ortner, a UCLA graduate, previously was CEO for the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation.

“I am honored to be joining Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles,” Cooper Ortner said in a statement. “By providing a multitude of free programs and ongoing assistance, ALZGLA is clearly bringing much-needed support to those with Alzheimer’s as well as their families and caregivers here in Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. I am grateful to the board of directors for the opportunity to lead this exceptional organization of dedicated and talented professionals. I look forward to helping raise the profile and to increasing funding and efficiency so ALZGLA can serve even more people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

ALZGLA describes itself as “the only local full-service, dementia-focused nonprofit with 36 years of experience and five locations serving Greater Los Angeles and the Inland Empire.”

From left: Pablo Sepelak, the Consul General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles; Dan Schnur, the Director of the Los Angeles Region of the American Jewish Committee (AJC); and Hynek Kmonicek, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States, at an AJC ACCESS program on the Czech Republic’s Jewish heritage and Czech-Israeli relations. Photo by Siamak Kordestani

Hynek KmoniCek, the Czech Republic’s ambassador to the United States, on Oct. 10 gave a presentation on his country’s history to members of ACCESS LA, the young leadership division of the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

Kmonicek, in the address to about 30 guests at a private dinner party in the Beverly Hills home of attorney Honey Amado, spoke about the similarities between the Czech and Jewish states — in particular, that much of each country’s population comes from somewhere else, and if either nation were to lose a war, it would cease to exist.

In honor of Sukkot, Amado converted part of her residence and backyard into a sukkah and showed Kmonicek and Czech Consul General Pavol Sepelak how to shake a lulav and etrog.

Among the ACCESS LA’s activities are building relationships with the consular corps and with diverse ethnic and religious communities in Los Angeles, said its director, Rachel Wallace, who organized the program.

When the Journal asked Kmonicek whether he was Jewish, he answered, “Yes, in the sense that my mother was Jewish, although I didn’t find this out until I was 26 years old. My father was Czech, and my own wife was born into a Muslim family.”

Also speaking at the dinner was Jiri Duzar, deputy director of the Czech Tourism Office in New York, who urged tourists to venture beyond Prague when visiting his country.

Speaking for the AJC were Dan Schnur, director of the organization’s Los Angeles region, and ACCESS leaders Jonathan Waxman and Aaron Kollitz.

Jacob Ari Labendz, director of the Center for Judaism and Holocaust Studies at Youngstown State University in Ohio, discussed his research on Czech-Jewish relations.

— Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

From left: Michael and Corie Kross, activist Chloe Valdary and actor Jonathan Lipnicki attended the Birthright Israel Foundation fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Birthright Israel Foundation

The Birthright Israel Foundation held an Oct. 18 fundraiser at Stephen Wise Temple to support its program that provides free 10-day trips to Israel for 45,000 young Jewish adults annually.

Since it began in 2000, Birthright Israel has sent more than 600,000 young adults on the trip, including actor Jonathan Lipnicki (“Jerry Maguire”), who this summer became the program’s 600,000th participant. Lipnicki and pro-Israel activist Chloe Valdary appeared at the event, which was the New York-based foundation’s fourth annual fundraiser in the Los Angeles area.

More than 200 people attended, including the foundation’s L.A. Leadership Council members Arlene and Buddy Pupp, Regional Director Art Paikowsky, and President and CEO Izzy Tapoohi. Also attending were Betsy Berger, Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles vice president for strategic philanthropy and planned giving, and philanthropists Adam Milstein and Shawn Evenhaim. Corie and Michael Koss co-chaired the event.