Jewish Journal


September 29, 2005

The Circuit


Dual Appointments

It was a busy few days for attorney Andrew Friedman. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed him fire commissioner and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors nominated Friedman to serve as commissioner of the L.A. County Judicial Procedures Commission.

In introducing the new commissioner, Villaraigosa said, "I am pleased to appoint attorney Andrew Friedman, a good friend of mine, to the Fire Commission." Villaraigosa then noted that Friedman served the city of Los Angeles for many years, including as a member of the Los Angeles Charter Commission and has been active in numerous community organizations, including being president of Congregation Bais Naftoli.

Friedman, whose 85-year-old father is a Holocaust survivor and escaped from Hungarian communism in 1956, told the crowd, "During these times of international terrorism and natural disasters it is important that we have a strong Fire Department. I will work on the commission to make sure that all Angelenos are properly served."

His other board, the L.A. County Judicial Procedures Commission is in charge of recommending changes in the judicial system that will result in a more efficient judicial administration. It works in cooperation with the courts and the California Judicial Council on issues of mutual interest.

Networking Women

Rina Bar-Tal, Israel Women's Network (IWN) chair, and Avital Shachar, executive director of IWN, were back in Los Angeles recently sharing IWN accomplishments during the past year and discussing the challenges still ahead. Participants attended a reception and movie screening of "Two States of Mind."

For more information on Israel Women's Network, contact Rivka Dori at (818) 535-0533.


The weather cooperated Sunday afternoon, delivering a magnificent day for the ACLU's annual garden party at the home of Betty and Stanley Sheinbaum in Brentwood. Almost 700 people turned out to participate in the festivities as the ACLU honored Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); actress Alexandra Paul; Maria Elena Durazo; Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, Local 11, president, and, in memoriam, her husband, Miguel Contreras, for their work in social activism and preserving civil liberties.

Supporters and celebrities including Edward Asner and Mike Farrell turned out to nibble on stuffed grape leaves and other assorted goodies as they watched L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa present the award to Durazo and reaffirm his commitment to the ACLU.

"I am proud to have been a part of the ACLU; and I call upon all of you and your friends to be willing to stand up and continue the fight no matter what the consequences," Villaraigosa said.

West Hollywood Mayor Abbe Land and husband, Martin, noted, "There has never been a more important time to support the ACLU and fight to protect civil liberties with a president and Congress trying to take them away from us."

In her introduction of Villraigosa, Ramona Ripston, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California (ACLU/SC), said. "It is a true privilege to honor this year's recipients. The ACLU/SC has always fought for the freedom to express one's beliefs and bring issues of social disparity to the forefront of our awareness. Sen. Boxer, Alexandra Paul, Maria Elena Durazo and Miguel Contreras have all demonstrated an enormous commitment to stand up for what is right and we are proud to honor them."

The ACLU/SC presented Birdie Reed with the Chapter Activist of the Year Award. Reed has been an ACLU/SC member since the 1960s and is currently the president of the Orange County chapter.

For information on the ACLU, call (213) 977-9500.

A Golden Volunteer

Nearly 400 community leaders, family members and friends attended a gala dinner on Sunday, Sept. 18, at the Beverly Hills Hotel honoring Ruth Shuken for her more than 50 years of volunteer service with Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, one of the nation's leading child welfare agencies.

Shuken, who celebrated her 95th birthday this past July 4, serves as chair of Vista's Board of Ambassadors, and has been a member of the agency's board of directors for more than 35 years -- she is currently a vice chair of the board. She also serves on Vista's Legislative Advocacy Committee and is a 40-plus year member of the Associates, the organization's oldest support group, which sponsored the event.

The Look of Langer

Architect Naomi Langer was recently feted for her work on the new look of B'nai David-Judea Congregation. The award, which was given by Faith and Forum magazine and the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture, honors design achievements for new, renovated and restored religious buildings. B'nai David-Judea is unique in that it is housed in the building that was originally the art deco Stadium Theater built in 1931. A planned renovation was to provide equal access and safety for children in an inspirational ambience.

"The challenge entailed infusing life and spirituality into the sanctuary while respecting the historical building," Langer said.

Renovations included: linking the spaces to a hydraulic elevator, adding accessible bathrooms to the lobby, which was extended, existing bathrooms, offices, banquet hall and lobby were refurbished.

The exterior was repainted a five-color palette and lined in Jerusalem stone. Exterior doors were retrofitted with translucent glass and windows were replaced. Original Art Deco details were maintained to maximize natural light. Langer said the design of the sanctuary involved three main components: introducing natural light, dividing the space into two equal parts according to Orthodox tradition and adding handicapped accessibility.

Geiderman Gives Back

Dr. Joel M. Geiderman, co-chair of the emergency department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, has been appointed by President Bush as vice chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Council, the governing body of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Geiderman has served as a council member since 2002, and was appointed to the museum's executive committee in 2003.

"Dr. Geiderman's appointment as vice chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council reflects his deep commitment as both a physician and son of a Holocaust survivor to the art and science of healing -- a mission that both Cedars-Sinai and the Holocaust Memorial Museum share," said Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

As the child of a Holocaust survivor, Geiderman decided early in life that he wanted to go into a profession where he could help people, and chose a career in medicine.

"I have said that the most formative experience in my life occurred during a period that spanned six to 12 years before I was born," Geiderman said. "Ever since I became aware of and understood what happened during the Holocaust, I resolved that I needed to do something meaningful with my life."

Book on Nimmer

David Nimmer, lawyer and long time Bureau of Jewish Education board member, was appointed the new chair of the the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles Sept. 15.

Serving of counsel to Irell & Manella LLP in Los Angeles, he was a visiting professor at UCLA Law School and distinguished scholar at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. He has published a series of articles on the subject of U.S. and international copyright.

HUC-JIR Happenings

Joshua Holo was recently appointed to the faculty of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) as the director of the Louchheim School of Judaic studies, collaborating with USC to coordinate the undergraduate Jewish Studies curriculum. He has also been appointed as associate professor of Jewish history and is currently working on his first book, "Byzantine Jewry in the Mediterranean Economy," forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

Sharon Gillerman is newly appointed director of Edgar F. Magnin School of Graduate Studies at HUC-JIR, where she also serves as associate professor of Jewish history. She received her doctorate in history from UCLA and wrote her dissertation on the crisis of the Jewish family during the Weimar Republic.

Her other research interests include gender and Jewish history, the history of the family, and the history of Berlin. She has published articles on the German Jewish family, German Jewish history, the History of Holocaust education, and Holocaust memorialization. She is currently completing a book titled, "Germans Into Jews: Remaking the Jewish Social Body in the Weimar Republic." The professor has also taught at Brandeis University, UCLA, Harvard and the University of Hamburg.

Matt Albert was recently appointed regional director of admissions and recruitment at HUC-JIR. Albert received his doctorate from UCLA, a master's in political science from Columbia University and a bachelor of arts in political science from UCSD. He spent nine years at Milken Community High School in, where he most recently served as assistant principal.


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