More than 50 local Iranian and other L.A.-area Jewish volunteers of various ages gathered at the Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills on May 25 to celebrate Memorial Day and prepare more than 300 care packages for U.S. troops based in Afghanistan and Iraq. Volunteers included parents and children, as well as mentors and mentees from the Los Angeles Jewish Big Brothers Big Sister's organization, who stopped by waiting stations to fill their boxes with magazines, coffee, pocket fans, toiletries, sun block, nuts, beef jerky and new socks that had been requested by U.S. troops fighting overseas.
"As much as we are Iranian Jews living here in U.S., we are Americans who love this country," said Jacob Hanaie, the event's coordinator and a Nessah Synagogue volunteer. "We wanted to not only show our wonderful soldiers our appreciation for their efforts but to also show our immediate community that it's very important to say thank you to our wonderful soldiers for their efforts and for their sacrifices to help keep us safe here."
A few local non-Jewish Iranian Americans also participated in the gathering after hearing about it in on local Persian-language radio programs.
Volunteers on hand also drew pictures and wrote letters of appreciation to U.S. soldiers, which were included in the care packages.
Nessah board members said they were encouraged to organize the event again after the success of a similar 2006 event that resulted in an influx of thank-you letters from American troops stationed in the Middle East.
-- Karmel Melamed, Contributing Writer
JFS Honors Goodness of Goldstines
When Roz and Abner Goldstine see a void, they fill it. Noticing that the aging Holocaust survivors living in Los Angeles lacked adequate care, the Goldstines established the Abner D. and Roslyn Goldstine Fund for Holocaust Survivor Services through Jewish Family Service (JFS), which provides essential care to survivors and helps them live with dignity and comfort.
For their commitment, the couple were honored with the Spirit of Humanity Award at Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles' 15th annual gala on May 22, where 650 guests filled the ballroom of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and raised $767,000 (an agency record) to provide vital services to L.A. residents, regardless of ethnicity or religion. Rabbi David Wolpe introduced and praised the couple, who are members of Sinai Temple and also serve on its board.
Another compassionate couple, Susan and Jonathan Brandler, were also honored at the dinner with the Anita and Stanley Hirsh Award for their tireless commitment to JFS.
Rabbi Joel H. Myers Receives Acheivement Award
American Jewish University's (AJU) Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies presented Rabbi Joel H. Myers with the Simon Greenberg Award for outstanding achievement in the rabbinate. Myers, who is executive vice president of the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly and serves on the boards of major communal and professional organizations, was bestowed with the honor during AJU's ordination ceremony held at Sinai Temple on May 19. With this honor, Myers joins the company of previous recipients, including Rabbis Elliot Dorff, Jacob Pressman and Harold Schulweis.