March 20, 2008
Roland Arnall, Philanthropist and Ameriquest Founder, Dies at 68
Roland E. Arnall, a Holocaust survivor who used his fortune to found or support numerous Jewish institutions, died March 17 of cancer at 68.
Arnall became the first Los Angeles supporter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center when its founder, Marvin Hier, arrived here as a young rabbi from Vancouver, Canada.
"Our first office was a desk in Roland's small real estate office, and when I decided to fly to Vienna and approach Simon Wiesenthal about naming the center in his honor, Roland immediately offered to come along," Hier told The Jewish Journal.
Arnall was born in Paris in 1939. He was was raised Catholic until the age of 6 to escape the dangers of being Jewish.
After World War II, he moved to Canada, then Los Angeles. He parlayed a flower stand into a real estate business, eventually pioneering the field of sub-prime mortgages. The business he founded, Ameriquest Mortgage, eventually made him one of the richest men in America.
Arnall served for 16 years on the Cal State University Board of Trustees. He and his wife, Dawn, donated money to numerous politicians of both parties, though in recent years he became one of the largest donors to President Bush, who nominated Arnall as U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands.
Arnall was an indefatigable fundraiser who never forgot his Jewish roots, and Hier cited one example of his sometimes unorthodox style.
"We were a small group of people who had come to Bilbao in Spain in 2002 to look at Frank Gehry's famous Guggenheim Museum design, before the architect tackled our Museum of Tolerance project in Jerusalem," Hier said.
"Roland offered to fly us to Israel in his small private plane and a few hours into the flight, we ran into a terrible turbulence, which lasted a terrifying 20 minutes," he said. "While the plane was being tossed about, Roland got up and started soliciting each passenger for donations, saying, 'The Good Lord wants you to do the right thing.' When the turbulence finally died down, Roland got up again and intoned, 'You can be proud of yourself. The Good Lord is pleased with you.'"
Arnall was also instrumental in funding Shalhevet, a coeducational, Centrist Orthodox, Jewish day school, in Los Angeles.
This year Arnall and his wife funded the annual Stuart Buchalter Distinguished Student awards through the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, granting second-year graduate students scholarships of $20,000 in recognition of academic excellence.
"Roland was one of the most generous people I have ever met -- he was one of the smartest and a true financial wizard," said Jack Slomovic, a Shalhevet board member, as well as Arnall's former business partner. "Not many people did as much locally, nationally or even internationally for Jewish causes as much as he did. He will be missed."
In addition to his wife and son, Daniel, survivors include his daughter, Michelle; and nephew, Adam Bass, vice chairman of Ameriquest.
-- Tom Tugend contributed to this obituary
Rabbi David Lieb, Leader of Temple Beth El for 30 Years, Dies at 65
The following are remarks from a eulogy given by Rabbi Lawrence Goldmark of Temple Beth Ohr. Rabbi Lieb died March 8.
I stand here today not only as David's friend and colleague but also representing my family as well as the other 22 rabbis who were ordained with David in 1969 at the Hebrew Union College [HUC] in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also represent the 250 Reform rabbis on the West Coast of the United States. All of us join you who loved, respected, and yes, laughed with David for many -- but not enough -- years.
Eliezer Benjamini died Feb. 14 at 79. He is survived by his wife, Leslie; son, Ethan; daughter, Lori; stepdaughter, Carrie Bullock; stepson Jeff Bressler; grandsons, Joshua and Matthew; stepgranchildren; brother Eddi (Dorit); and brother-in-law, Bruce Hackel. Hillside Magda Brown died Feb. 13 at 89. She is survived by her husband, David; son, Lloyd; daughters, Patricia Frieband and Toni; and three grandchildren. Hillside
Dorothy Dexter Cogen died Jan. 25 at 88. She is survived by her son, Harvey; daughters, Lorraine and Margie (Joe) Walsh; brothers, Meyer (Shirley) and Maury (Arlene) Rosenthal; two granchildren; nephews; and nieces. Groman
Paula Freund died Feb. 13 at 106. She is survived by her friends. Malinow and Silverman
Stephanie Hoggert died Feb. 13 at 87. She is survived by her son, Ronnie (Tamra) Hogart. Mount Sinai
Darleen Korn died Feb. 13 at 70. She is survived by her daughters, Lori (Jeffrey) Koff and Sharon (Steven) Palmer; son, Alan (Debie Moss); four grandchildren; and sister, Brindell Rothspan. Malinow and Silverman
Melissa Beth Levitin died Jan. 27 at 31. She is survived by her father, Chuck; brothers, Barnaby and Dylan; and sister, Sonnie. Mount Sinai
Barbara Levy died Feb. 14 at 65. She is survived by her husband, Moishe; daughter, Lisa (Jonathan) Greenfield; sons, Loren Lerner,and Jonathan (Laura); stepson, David (Debbie); brother, Larry (Pepa) Stein; and sister, Liz (Leroy) Kelmmer. Mount Sinai
Jennifer Ann Litz died Feb. 12 at 40. She is survived by her father, Ronald; mother, Jessica Sierra; sister, Wendy (Justin) Schaflander; grandfather, Isaac Anolic; aunt, Barbara (Jerry) Lavinsky; uncles, Ari Anolic and Steve; niece; nephews; and mother-in-law, Gloria. Hillside
Barnett Nathan died Feb. 13 at 96. He is survived by his daughters, Millicent and Pamela; son, Zachary; and two grandchildren. Groman
Betty Pollock died Feb. 12 at 90. She is survived by her daughter, Marsha (Mike); son, Jay (Anita); four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Hillside
Mildred Schiller died Feb. 14 at 90. She is survived by her daughter, Adrienne; and four grandchildren. Groman
Daniel Sztraicher died Feb. 12 at 76. He is survived by his wife, Michelle; sons, Marcel (Karen) and Gustavo (Michelle); three grandchildren; and brother, Juan Sztraicher. Mount Sinai
Daniel Weiser died Feb. 11 at 96. He is survived by his wife, Jona; children, Sylvia (Isadore) Wendel and David (Rina); five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai