The Jewish Free Loan Association (JFLA) honored five distinguished benefactors at its annual gala awards dinner on May 6. The event at the Beverly Hills Hotel celebrated more than a century of JFLA’s interest-free lending for education, small businesses and emergencies. Awards were presented to Joyce and Stanley Black, prime benefactors of the Los Angeles ORT Technical Institute and the special care facility at Vista Del Mar Child & Family Services in Cheviot Hills; Marilyn Ziering, president of the Ziering Family Foundation; Vivian Seigel, CEO of Jewish Vocational Service; and Carole Kracer, owner of CK Travel Services.
Standing With ‘The Accomplices’
StandWithUs hosted a special matinee performance of the play, “The Accomplices,” for board members and major donors June 1 at the Odyssey Theatre. The performance was followed by a question-and-answer session with the actors and dinner at a private home.
Naty and Debbie Saidoff underwrote the performance, and proceeds from ticket sales will benefit both StandWithUs and the Israeli Leadership Council.
Former New York Times reporter Bernard Weinraub wrote “The Accomplices,” based on the story of Peter Bergson, who challenged the U.S. State Department and the American Jewish establishment in his fight to rescue European Jews from the Nazis.
At the performance, StandWithUs distributed copies of the famous 1943 ads Bergson placed in U.S. newspapers directing attention to his crusade.
Friendship Circle Marks Special Needs Program’s 6 Years
Every Sunday morning, Joseph Weiss waits by the window, anticipating the moment his buddies will come up the walkway. When the two teen boys get there—just to play with him—Joseph, an 11-year-old with developmental delays, bounds past his parents with hardly a wave.
Joseph’s parents, David and Michele Weiss, told this story when they were honored last month by the Friendship Circle, the organization that sends these friends to play with Joseph.
The Friendship circle pairs teen volunteers with special needs kids through its Friends at Home program, and through holiday celebrations, Sunday activities, and Club Kung Fu and the Girls Karate Club, where the volunteers and the kids together learn the martial art, a program funded by the Jewish Community Foundation. More than 220 teen volunteers from 37 middle and high schools – both Jewish and secular – are paired with about 140 kids with special needs.
The May 13 dinner at the Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills also honored about 20 teen volunteers who have been committed to Friendship Circle for several years. Jessica Kianmahd an 11th grader at Milken Community High School spoke of the friendship she has developed with the special needs child she visits.
The Weiss family recently funded the Max. T Weiss Birthday Bash celebrations, a monthly party—complete with projects, music, cake and gifts – for all the kids with birthdays that month. Michele Weiss also worked on getting Friendship Circle’s winter camp certified as a vendor for the state’s Regional Center system.
The Weisses lauded the Friendship Circle for its commitment to not look away or stare in the presence of special needs children, as others might do, but to welcome them into the community with warmth, music and love.
Founders Rabbi Michy and Miriam Rav-Noy were praised for the joy that fills any room they enter. The Rav-Noys founded the Friendship Circle just six years ago with 26 special needs kids and 42 volunteers.
To great applause, Michy Rav-Noy announced at the dinner that the organizations would be launching after-school Judaic classes for special needs children who are not in Jewish schools.
— Julie Gruenbaum Fax, Senior Writer
Congregation Bais Naftoli Honors Jerry Brown, Cardiologist
More than 300 rabbinic, civic and community leaders gathered at Congregation Bais Naftoli’s 17th annual breakfast to honor California Attorney General Jerry Brown and renowned cardiologist Ivor Geft.
Among those in attendance were members of the Los Angeles Police and Fire departments; representatives of such federal agencies as the FBI, DEA and ICE; County Supervisors Mike Antonovich and Zev Yaroslavsky; Sheriff Lee Baca; Assemblyman Mike Feuer; and Councilman Dennis Zine, among others.
A cohort of Orthodox rabbis from the community’s leading religious and educational institutions also attended the breakfast, the theme of which was “The Rise of Anti-Semitism in America.”
Saint John’s Calendar Wins Award
LITCO Marketing was recently honored by the Summit International Awards organization with the bronze award for its Saint John’s Health Center Jewish Calendar, distributed free in The Jewish Journal.
Among thousands of submissions from 26 countries, the Santa Monica-based boutique design firm was recognized for matching excellence in creativity with strategic marketing practices. The calendar was part of an outreach campaign by the health center to inform the Jewish community about health care services Saint John’s provides.
“We partnered with The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles because of their exceptional relationship with the Jewish community. With their expert assistance, the 2008-2009 Jewish calendar that our firm produced for Saint John’s honors Jewish traditions and holidays and highlights Saint John’s physicians’ (many of whom are Jewish) memories of their own traditions,” said Larry Turkheimer, LITCO Marketing president.