More than 300 entertainment executives and supporters of West Coast American Friends of Beit Issie Shapiro gathered to honor Avi Lerner, independent film producer and co-chairman of Nu Image and Millennium Films, for his support of special-needs children. The annual West Coast gala dinner took place Dec. 2 at Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel in West Los Angeles, where Dr. Shlomo and Ilana Melmed as well as Dennis and Myra Monk were also honored for their philanthropic support of the organization.
At the dinner, Michele Shapiro, director of snoezelen and environmental design at Beit Issie Shapiro, discussed her pioneering work in Israel promoting snoezelen — a state-of-the-art, multi-sensory environment that uses sights, sounds, textures, aromas and motion to stimulate the senses of people with developmental disabilities.
Lerner, who was born in Haifa, has long supported the advancement of treatment of children with special needs, and his philanthropic involvements include children’s causes, cancer research and Israel.
Errol Fine and Marty Spiegel served as co-hosts of the gala, which was underwritten by Fine and his wife, Pat. Josh Rubenstein, meteorologist and reporter for CBS2/KCAL9, presided over the live auction and brought in $2,000 for a tour of the television news studio, lunch and the viewing of a live news broadcast.