Jewish Journal

Good friends; Keeping the Covenant; Marvelous Mandy

by Norma Zager

Posted on Apr. 12, 2007 at 8:00 pm

(From left) Aron and Judy Shapiro, Jeannine Sefton, Mordechai Shani, Marilyn Ziering, Gidi Rechavi and Larry Miller. Photo by Maxine Picard Photography

(From left) Aron and Judy Shapiro, Jeannine Sefton, Mordechai Shani, Marilyn Ziering, Gidi Rechavi and Larry Miller. Photo by Maxine Picard Photography

Good friends

The ballroom at the Beverly Wilshire was overflowing with well-wishers there to honor uber-philanthropist Marilyn Ziering and renowned professor Gidi Rechavi at the Friends of Sheba Medical Center dinner March 18. Attendees watched a video chronicling Mordechai Shani Medical Visionary Award recipient Rechavi's remarkable work at the center.

Rechavi heads the Sheba Cancer Center and specializes in pediatrics and general hematology. He also heads the Tel Aviv University Cancer Biology Center and holds the Shapiro chair for research in hematology malignancies. The department of pediatric oncology has become the major Israeli center for the treatment of childhood cancer under his leadership.

Ziering received a special tribute for her generosity and countless philanthropic endeavors. In 1976, she and her late husband, Sigi, supported the examining of every baby born in Israel for hypothyroidism. This vision and support of Sheba's newborn screening program has saved more than 2,000 children in Israel from mental retardation. The new Sigi and Marilyn Ziering National Center for Newborn Screening will now test every baby born in Israel for 30 treatable genetic diseases, regardless of race or religion.

The evening's host, comedian/writer/ activist Larry Miller, entertained the audience with a witty and hilarious stream of material that touched everyone's funny bone. His abilities as a fundraiser were called into play when he inspired the audience to raise more than $50,000 in the live auction.

A varied and impressive guest list pointed out the place Sheba Medical Center holds in this community's heart. Seen sipping wine, laughing and happy to be there were Beverly Hills Mayor Jimmy Delshad and his wife, Lonnie; Vice Mayor Barry Brucker and his mother, Rita, and Max and Janet Salter.

Keeping the covenant

It was a preparty party when Covenant House California (CHC) celebrated its upcoming gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. More than 150 guests sipped mojitos and noshed on treats, while discussing whether fellow guest Andy Garcia looks like himself in person. When you look like that, who cares?

A highlight of the evening was a $10,000 check presentation of made by CHC board member Christophe Choo to CHC. Special guests included honorees Dean and Shannon Factor, Arizona Cardinals' wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx, the "Dance Doctor" John Cassese; and Escape Artists producers Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal.

For more information, call (323) 904-4400 or go to www.covdove.org.

Marvelous Mandy

Is there anything entertainer Mandy Patinkin can't do? I think not, and I'm betting everyone agrees. At least everyone who wiped their eyes and became farklempt listening to him perform "Oyfn Pripetshik" ( try saying that fast three times) and other Yiddish and English songs in an hourlong concert to benefit Friends of Jewish Renewal in Poland. The nonprofit organization was established in 1999 to support the re-emergence of the Jewish community in Poland through religious, cultural and educational programs.

About 150 people attended the fundraiser, held at the Brentwood home of Elyse and Stanley Grinstein, including Polish Consul Krystyna Tokarska-Biernacik, as well as philanthropists Anna and Max Webb.

One of the organization's primary benefactors is Beit Warszawa Cultural Center, a Warsaw synagogue headed by U.S. Reform Rabbi Burt Schuman,who is a member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

Bycel takes new post

American Jewish World Service appointed Rabbi Lee T. Bycel executive director of the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) Western Region. An international development organization motivated by Judaism's imperative to pursue justice, AJWS is dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world, regardless of race, religion or nationality.

Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS, said Bycel brings his knowledge of Judaism, substantial experience with international development and personal devotion to social justice to AJWS. She cited his unusual combination of skills and life experiences necessary to provide the leadership and energy needed to expand the size and scope of AJWS on the West Coast.

Recently, Bycel was the senior adviser for global strategy at the International Medical Corps, a global humanitarian organization. His work took him to many parts of the developing world, including Sudan, Ethiopia, Chad, Rwanda and Kenya, giving him insights to the needs and solutions of many of the world's greatest humanitarian challenges.

Bycel has served as dean and director of the Rabbinic School at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, president of the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, a member of the California Task Force on the Holocaust, Genocide, Human Rights and Tolerance Education and senior moderator at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C.

"We can make change in the world by mobilizing all the resources of our community to address the challenging issues of living in a global world," Bycel said. "AJWS is the antidote to indifference and is all about working together."

For more information, visit www.ajws.org.

A generational thing

Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City was the venue when the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue Sisterhood hosted a boutique and luncheon aptly themed, "From Generation to Generation."

The sisterhood honored three generations of the Silver family women, who for the last 40 years have devoted themselves to the shul and sisterhood. Honored were matriarch Min Silver, daughter Renee Borenstein, daughter-in-law Marilyn Silver and granddaughter Rachel Victor.

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