January 6, 2010
Our Fifth Annual Salute to Big-Hearted Angelenos
Each year, when we set out our criteria for our annual pantheon of L.A.’s top mensches, we try to find nominees whose good works are, for the most part, unsung.
As it turns out, often that’s the toughest requirement to meet. Finding the people who keep their mitzvahs below the radar isn’t easy, because those who do so do their work out of a true sense of humility. Not feigned. Real.
As a result, many of the mensches we ultimately call upon don’t understand why they’re being included — and often don’t want the recognition at all. It’s not about them, they tell us, it’s about the cause. They don’t work on their own — they’re just one of many who contribute, they protest. Many others do more, they say.
Indeed, some worthy mensches decline the honor. Those who do accept do so because they want to shine a light on their passions — whether it’s working with families of very sick children, baking challah to raise money for Darfurian refugees, setting up a microloan fund for Arab and Jewish women in Israel or sharing the story of the Holocaust with young people.
But even if they don’t need the recognition, we need to know about people like those included here. We as a community and as individuals can learn from these mensches what one person can do to help change the world.
So don’t worry, dear mensches. It’s not about you. It’s about all of us.
The Mensch List
Alisa Malki and Caryn Roth: Changing Lives One Challah at a Time