Jewish Journal


June 20, 2002

The Circuit


L.A. resident Ralph Harpuder reports that he had a fantastic time at the 2002 Rickshaw Reunion in Foster City, Calif., which brought together 320 former refugees, including Harpuder, from around the world who were all part of the Shanghai Jewish Ghetto. During World War II, Shanghai was an open port to Jews fleeing Nazi oppression at a time when many other places, including the United States, were reluctant to take in Jewish refugees.

Shanghailanders such as Gary Matzdorff of Ventura and Sonja Muehlberger, author of the book, "Exile Shanghai," recalled "Hongkew" and a popular street, Chusan Road, which was found in the ruins from the Sino-Japanese War and transformed by the refugees into a quaint street with Viennese cafes and restaurants.

Professor Albert Dien spoke about the Sino-Judaic Institute, founded in 1985 to preserve Jewish history in China. Carter administration Secretary of the Treasury W. Michael Blumenthal, also a former Shanghai refugee, gave the keynote address.

"It was exciting to see so many survivors gathered in front of tables to view all the Shanghai memorabilia their parents managed to salvage and preserve," Harpuder said.

Local residents Alice and Nahum Lainer were among the recipients of the Israel Museum's 2002 Honorary Fellowship, bestowed at a June 4 ceremony at the Jerusalem residence of Moshe Katzav, the president of the state of Israel. Katzav and his wife, Gila, were also presented with the museum's Fellowship Award.

"For more than 15 years, Alice and Nahum Lainer have been leaders for the Israel Museum's community of friends on the West Coast," said museum director James Snyder. "They display great affection for the work of our museum, and we have the deepest affection for them."

The Lainers' participation in the museum's 2002 Exhibition Fund have helped sustain such Israel Museum programs as "China: 100 Treasures."

Teddy Kollek, former mayor of Jerusalem and founding father of the museum, was among the presenters. The Lainers were joined on the dais with the rest of this year's Honorary Fellows: The Federmann family of Israel; Stephen Lash, chairman of Christie's America; Sandra and Joseph Rotman of Toronto; and Maud Spaer of Israel. -- Orit Arfa, Contributing Writer

The Del Rey Yacht Club came together for an elegant dinner/ dance to celebrate its commitment to the United Jewish Fund (UJF). The 29th annual UJF Dinner at the Club drew its highest number of participants ever, raising a record $530,000 for the UJF and the Jews in Crisis campaign.

Israeli terrorism expert Dr. Sabi Shabtai delivered a presentation on the United States and Israel before and after Sept. 11. Allan Cutrow, UJF campaign chair, and Bob Singer, event chair, delivered the UJF and Jews in Crisis campaign pitches. The guests also took in a patriotic musical review of "Give My Regards to Broadway" and danced to the Liberty City Band.

New Israel Fund, Progressive Jewish Alliance, Congregation Kol Ami and Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim welcome David Ehrlich, a founder of the Israel AIDS Taskforce, to talk about "Pluralism in Time of Conflict" on June 25 at Congregation Kol Ami. Call (310) 282-0300 or visit newisraelfund.org for information.

USC graduate Matt Davidson, 27, of Santa Monica won The Guild of Temple Musicians' annual international 2002 Young Composers Award competition with his string quartet composition titled "Zikaron," written in commemoration of Yom HaShoah. The work will have its premiere performance on June 24 at the annual conference of the American Conference of Cantors/Guild of Temple Musicians, which will take place in Beaver Creek, Colo. Performing the winning selection will be Wedding Strings, a Colorado string ensemble. Following the premiere of the work, the composer will celebrate his marriage to Lindy Reznick.

Davidson has provided music for over 75 short films and documentaries, and his involvement in Jewish activities includes work with the USC's Hillel Center for Jewish Life, where he is currently assistant director. He also serves as composer and keyboardist for the Tish Tones of Congregation Beth Shir Shalom.

Daniel Shainberg a graduate of Yeshiva University Los Angeles High School, and his college roommate, Justin Goldberg, were awarded the Citizens Committee of New York's first prize by NYU Stern Business School's Dean Choi at the Fleet Youth Entrepreneur Day 2002 Recognition Breakfast. The award went to the pair's efforts to improve the quality of life for their fellow college students via their Web site, Bookstorm.com, which facilitates the resale of college textbooks.

Jewish Free Loan Association (JFLA) hosted its first Afternoon Tea & Silent Auction on June 6 at the Beverly Hills Hotel to support the organization's small-business loan funds. This ladies-only event included a presentation by chic handbag designer Dianne Schweitzer, owner of Dianne Gail Designs. JFLA, a nonprofit that has assisted more than 300,000 families in the Los Angeles community by providing interest-free loans for housing and other needs, is an agency of the United Way and The Jewish Federation.

For information about JFLA or the Afternoon Tea & Silent Auction, call (323) 761-8830.

Women's International Zionist Organization (WIZO) held a Mother's Day Afternoon Tea for mothers, daughters and granddaughters at the Bel Age Wyndham Hotel. The WIZO fundraiser also featured a "Tots & Teens" Fashion Show.

The Southern California Chapter of the American Technion Society and the Government of Israel Economic Mission welcomed Haifa resident Dan Vilenski, chairman of Applied Materials Israel, the largest supplier of products and services to the global semiconductor industry, at its Four Seasons gala.

Rabbi Dr. Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, professor of Responsa Literature at Yeshiva University's Gruss Institute in Jerusalem, spoke about Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik's Vision of Contemporary Israel at Young Israel of Beverly Hills.

Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) invited guest speaker, Dr. Aaron Ciechanover, to Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel to talk about the cell's disposal of protein and cancer. The discussion was moderated by Benjamin Bonavida, ICRF president.

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