The Israeli-American Council’s (IAC) annual Celebrate Israel festival, this year commemorating Israel’s 70th birthday, was held on May 6 at Rancho Park in West Los Angeles.
The event drew more than 18,000 attendees.
“This weekend in Los Angeles, the IAC made history, with the single largest celebration of Israel’s landmark 70th birthday outside of the Jewish State,” IAC Board Member Naty Saidoff said in a statement. “We were inspired to join more than 18,000 people in a powerful display of love, pride and support for the Jewish State and all that it represents.”
Saidoff and his wife, Debbie, were the main sponsors of the event, subsidizing admission to the festival.
The daylong gathering kicked off in the morning with a 1-mile Israel solidarity march organized by the pro-Israel group StandWithUs. Participants marched from Rancho Park to the Simon Wiesenthal Center and then returned to the park.
High-profile supporters of Israel turned out, including Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, who have helped to drive the growth of the IAC, and Haim Saban.
Also at the festival, the Taglit Innovation Center held a special interactive exhibition titled “70 Years of Zionism, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”
Highlights included a performance by the Israeli pop duo Static and Ben-El, Liraz Russo and Ben-El Tavori.
The IAC held Celebrate Israel festivals in cities across the United States.
IAC CEO Shoham Nicolet said he hoped the enthusiasm people showed for Israel during the Celebrate Israel festival continued throughout the year.
“Israel is a miracle and a gift we should be celebrating every day, not just once a year,” Nicolet said. “The festivals across the nation are bringing to life our vision of Israeli-Americans, who serve as a living bridge between Israel and the Jewish-American and pro-Israel communities here in the United States.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles held its annual Real Estate and Construction Division dinner on May 9 at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.
The dinner honored Michael Hackman, founder and CEO of Hackman Capital Partners, for his leadership and contributions to Federation and the Jewish community. The dinner brought together more than 1,500 professionals and community members and raised more than $3 million for Federation.
Hackman Capital Partners is a privately held real estate investment and operating company that focuses on commercial and industrial properties in major U.S. markets.
Jay Sanderson, president and CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, said the organization’s Real Estate and Construction Division plays a part in Federation’s success.
“The leaders of our Federation’s Real Estate and Construction Division are incredible partners, helping achieve and make a reality the important work of the Federation on a daily basis,” he said. “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the real estate group and the community at large.”
Attorney Richard Pachulski presented the award to Hackman, who made remarks to the audience.
“It was a wonderful evening for the real estate industry and those who are leading the way in support of the Jewish Federation,” Hackman said. “I would like to thank all those who invest in our future, help the most vulnerable, and support our community. I am humbled by the outpouring of support and fun that was had at this record-setting event, and would like to thank all of the sponsors, donors and attendees for stepping up in such a big way.”
The evening began with a cocktail hour, followed by an a cappella performance by the Pellas, a Jewish ensemble. Following the dinner, many guests attended the after-party.
Bryan Berkett, Brent Iloulian, David Chasin and Reuben Robin co-chaired the event. Jonathan Klein, chair of Federation’s Real Estate and Construction division, also spoke.
According to the Federation website, the Federation’s Real Estate and Construction Division professionals meet regularly to network, discuss trends in the industry and conduct philanthropic work.
An interfaith delegation from Azerbaijan visited the Jewish Journal office on May 14.
During the visit, Consul General of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Los Angeles Nasimi Aghayev discussed with Journal Publisher and Editor-in-Chief David Suissa the Jewish community of Azerbaijan and the former Soviet country’s positive relationship with Israel.
Azerbaijan is Israel’s largest supplier of oil and a major purchaser of Israeli defense technology.
Appearing along with eight Azerbaijani leaders, Aghayev said his country is a place where Jews, Muslim and Christians peacefully coexist.
The delegation members were Mubariz Gurbanli, chairman of the state committee for work with religious organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan; Milikh Yevdayev, president of the religious community of the Mountain Jews of Azerbaijan; Aleksandr Sharovskiy, president of the religious community of European Jews of Azerbaijan; Yevgeniy Brenneysen, vice president of the religious community of European Jews of Azerbaijan; Fuad Nurullayev, deputy chairman of the Caucasian Muslims’ office; Robert Mobili, president of the Albanian-Udi Christian religious community of Azerbaijan; Elnur Afandiyev, archpriest of the Russian Orthodox church; and Nijat Mammadli, head of the foreign relations section of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
That evening, the Azerbaijanis participated in an event at Sinai Temple titled “Multifaith Harmony Without Conflict,” which drew 300 attendees.
A May 9 event celebrating Israel’s 70th birthday drew more than 200 guests to the Peninsula hotel in Beverly Hills.
Sharona Nazarian and Gina Raphael chaired the invitation-only gathering.
Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Sam Grundwerg attended along with half of his consul, as well as all members of the Beverly Hills City Council, including Mayor Julian Gold, Beverly Hills Vice Mayor John Mirisch and Beverly Hills City Council member Lili Bosse.
The event featured a video presentation along with Mike Burstyn serving as the emcee. Hedva Emrani, who started his career in the late-1960s as part of the famous duo Hedva and David, was the special guest performer.
The event recognized the relationship between Beverly Hills and Herzliya, Israel, with the official signing of the sister-city agreement between the two cities.
The guests, city council members and Grundwerg stood together and sang “Jerusalem of Gold.”
An April 22 Yom Hashoah ceremony gathered together Holocaust survivor Hedy Orden, 30 members of her family, residents of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, and supporters and participants of Vista Del Mar’s Jewish Life Programs.
During the event, held at Vista Del Mar’s Los Angeles campus, the Orden family passed the Memorial Scroll Torah — on permanent loan to Vista Del Mar from the Memorial Scrolls Trust in London— down the line until it came to Orden.
The scroll featured a new Torah cover designed by artist Wendy Peretz that honored Orden, her late husband, Ted, and their family. The cover acknowledged the Ordens’ support for Vista Del Mar’s Jewish Life Programs, which provide individualized religious education programming, bar and bat mitzvah tutoring, and inclusive High Holy Days services to children with autism and other special needs.
Attendees included Vista Del Mar Board Chair Laurie Konheim and Executive Vice Chair Marla Kantor.