November 4, 1999
Someday he may be on the City Council or perhaps in state office. For now, besides serving on the board of six Jewish organizations and as a county insurance commissioner, he is the outgoing chair of the Valley Alliance's Jewish Community Relations Committee (JCRC). Scott Svonkin will be honored at the JCRC kick-off event on Monday, Nov. 8, along with the families and synagogues who hosted the Kosovo refugees and Irena Kerrtsburg of Jewish Family Service. The event will also feature Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti, who will speak on "Combating Hate: The Changing Face of Criminal Justice" and an update on the Middle East situation by Uriel Palti, deputy consul general of Israel.
During his two years of service, 33-year-old Svonkin brought greater visibility to the Valley JCRC with projects like Mitzvah Day and the Rabbinic Advisory Council, and increased the group's contact with area legislators like Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Congressman Brad Sherman.
"Scott has done an outstanding job keeping in touch with me and with my office."
The Jewish Community Relations Committee establishes relationships between the Federation and other Jewish organizations, like area synagogues, and the diplomatic arm of the Federation in outreach efforts with the non-Jewish community.
Svonkin said he is proud of the change in image and increased diversity of the JCRC during his tenure.
"We have a balance of people representing all of the major Jewish movements and all political persuasions," Svonkin said. "In the past we were viewed as old and liberal; now you can't characterize us in those terms." Svonkin said he would like to see more support for Valley groups like the JCRC from the city's Jewish Federation officials.
"The one thing I was unable to accomplish that I wanted to was increasing the size of the Valley JCRC's staff," Svonkin said.
Replacing Svonkin as chair of the Valley JCRC is Eddy Klein, an attorney with O'Neill, Lysaght and Sun in Santa Monica. Klein, 35, has a long history of involvement with Jewish causes, going back to his membership in Young Judea. He said he hopes to build on the success of the JCRC's last two years and increase the Jewish community's involvement with the organization.
The JCRC kick-off event, which will be held at the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus in West Hills, costs $7 and includes a dessert reception.
For more information or reservations, contact JCRC director Barbara Creme at (818) 464-3203.