Jewish Journal


November 6, 2003

The Circuit


Songs for a Cure

Photos of smiling children suffering from familial dysautonomia (FD) greeted community members gathered at the Luxe Summit Hotel in Bel Air to fundraise for a cure. The second event for the fledgling organization honored Rabbi Morley Feinstein, co-founder of the Cure FD Foundation and senior rabbi of University Synagogue in Brentwood. The event also served to educate supporters of the recent findings of Drs. Berish Rubin and Sylvia Anderson, who recently isolated the gene that causes this neurological degenerative disease that affects hundreds of Ashkenazi children. Rubin, who is chair of biological sciences at Fordham University and director of research for the Cure FD Foundation, discussed the use of a new compound, Tocotrienol, a form of Vitamin E that has been successful with some children suffering with the disease.

"We believe that with time, these children will live normal lives," he said.

Lightening up the evening with a father-daughter act, University Synagogue's Cantor Jay Frailich and Lonee Frailich, performed songs from Broadway musicals such as "Miss Saigon" and "Les Miserables." Joining their team, Feinstein stepped into a rendition of Irving Berlin's "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better." Feinstein, who has been instrumental in spreading awareness of the disease and organizing fundraisers for a cure, spoke about the duty of the community to help these unfortunate children.

"We can fulfill the words of the Talmud, 'If we can save one life, we can save the world.' That's our task," he said.

Mavis Feinberg, the foundation's president, whose 5-year-old grandson has the disease, feels the cure is imminent.

"We hope to be out of business real soon," she said.

The next fundraiser is an evening of music on Sunday, April 25 at the Leo Baeck Temple. For more information, visit www.curefd.org or call (310) 459-1056. -- Leora Alhadeff, Contributing Writer

Peacetime for Bubis

Luis Lanier, chair of Americans for Peace Now, presented professor Gerald Bubis with the 2003 Yitzhak Rabin Peace Award at a Sept. 21 luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Bubis, founding director and professor of Jewish communal studies at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, was honored for a lifetime of dedication to Jewish causes.

At the lunch, keynote speaker Rabbi Harold Schulweis urged the audience to continue dialogue and debate with Jews they might disagree with. "If you stop dialogue, you start talking only to yourself," he said, "and that's a sign of insanity."

Among the hundreds who came out to honor Bubis were Israeli Ambassador Yuval Rotem, Elaine Hoffman, Arthur Stern, Peace Now founder Galia Golan and Barbara and Rabbi John Rosove.

Bubis summed up his joy at the event: "Better a lot of taffy when you're alive," he said, than a lot of 'epitaph-y' when you're dead."

Ramah Rules!

It's never to early to start training new Jewish leaders, which is why Rhoda and Bob Barnhard are endowing the Barnhard Mador Young Leadership Program at Camp Ramah for exceptional high school seniors.

"Madorniks" will attend sessions in childhood development, community service and Jewish education, but these courses will exist alongside full bunk responsibilities, enabling the counselors-in-training to immediately begin honing their newly developed skills.

Camp Ramah will honor the Barnhards at its annual dinner on Dec. 4 at Temple Valley Beth Shalom in Encino. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the program.

For more information, please call (310) 476-8571.

Hollywood Meets Holy Land

Israel and the United States may be the David and Goliath of the international movie and TV industry, but filmmakers from both countries found a common professional language when they gathered at the Beverly Hills mansion of mega Hollywood producer Mike Medavoy and his wife, Irena.

Guests of honor were two Tel Aviv University professors, Freddie Rokem, dean of the faculty of arts, and Ilan Avisar, head of the film and television department.

The evening party celebrated the establishment, at the initiative of local Tel Aviv University representative Robert T. Wise, of a board of trustees to further the work of the university's film students.

Avisar told The Circuit that his department was bursting at the seams with approximately 700 students, while annual applications are running at 1,000 hopefuls.

The new direction of the Israeli cinema, hitherto fairly insular and introspective, is toward more "communicative" and "commercial" productions, Avisar said, to allow Israeli features to compete more successfully on the international scene.

Hollywood veterans, such as producer Arthur Hiller, passed on tips to young Tel Aviv University alumni working in Los Angeles, among them filmmakers Dan Katzir and Ravit Markus. -- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

Prince's Dream

Beverly Hills-raised TV producer Jonathan Prince was honored on Oct. 19 at the Beverly Hilton, where he has attended many bar mitzvahs and weddings, when he received this year's Catholics in Media Associates award as executive producer of the NBC family drama, "American Dreams," about an Irish Catholic family in 1960s Philadelphia.

"They say, 'Write what you know' -- a loud Jewish family is what I know," said Prince, a lifelong member of Temple Emmanuel. "What I don't know is Catholicism, so I did a lot of boning up on Catholicism."

Universal Pictures' "Seabiscuit" received the group's movie honor and actor Ricardo Montalban was given the organization's Life Achievement Award. -- David Finnigan, Contributing Writer

Daters Party On

Several hundred eligible Jews mingled at JDate's Oct. 16 party at the Hollywood club Garden of Eden. The first hour was slow due to that evening's baseball playoffs, but the event became more crowded by 9 p.m.

When asked if she met any nice guys that evening, a woman replied, "Nice guys? I met a lot guys. I met four people I knew, but that's Jewish geography."

"JDate parties are hit and miss," said Westwood-raised 30-something Debra Mindlin. "Some of them are amazing and some of them are less than amazing." -- DF

Haircut Haven

The beautiful thing about feeling beautiful is that it can make extremely serious challenges in your life seem just a little more manageable. That is what the folks at Secrets Salon & Spa in Northridge believe, which is why on Oct. 13 they volunteered their time and expertise to give 50 women from the Haven Hills Shelter and Family Violence Project of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles a beauty makeover and a buffet lunch. The event was part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Semper Fi

The Jewish Journal is good for many things, including dinner invitations. Rabbi Mordechai Finley of Temple Ohr Ha Torah in Valley Village was invited to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Ball at the Beverly Hilton after the national director of the foundation, Brig. Gen. Michael Wholley, read Finley's Journal article about his son, Marine Cpl. Kayitz Finley, in Iraq.

The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation was established in 1962 to provide scholarships for the children of active and former Marines to attend college. The foundation has pledged to provide $10,000 to the children of all U.S. servicemen who perished fighting during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The event raised more than $330,000 for the foundation.


The Marina Beach Marriot was bedecked with roulette tables, gaming chips and lots of smart looking young professionals in cocktail attire when VISIONS, the Next Generation of the Israel Cancer Research Fund held its third annual Monte Carlo Night.

VISIONS was established to promote cancer awareness among young people and to raise funds for fellowships in VISIONS' name. Lisa Dichter, the evening's event chair, said that last year's Monte Carlo night funded VISIONS' inaugural fellowship, which was awarded to Dr. Ephrat Wertheimer of Tel Aviv University, who is investigating the role of insulin in signaling skin cancer.

Tribute to Tenembaum

Rep. Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo) bestowed a congressional tribute on Baruch Tenembaum on Oct. 16. Tenembaum founded the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, which is dedicated to creating a living memorial to Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who saved nearly 100,000 Jews during World War II.

Right on Roski

The Los Angeles Real Estate and Construction Industries for City of Hope honored Ed Roski Jr., chairman and CEO of Majestic Realty, with the Spirit of Life Award on Oct. 9 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

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