"We're all losers here." This from Harry Shearer, comedic writer and actor, addressing hundreds of journalists at the Los Angeles Press Club Awards dinner at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel on Saturday, June 21.
Shearer was alluding to the fact that L.A. journalists are often looked down upon by their New York and D.C. peers. But at the Press Club's 50th anniversary awards celebration, even print journalists turned out to celebrate their own.
The Jewish Journal, which was nominated for a record 13 awards, took home 10.
Congratulations to Brad A. Greenberg (first place for individual weblog), Tom Tugend (first place for International Commentary and honorable mention for International Entertainment News for his work in the Jerusalem Post), Judea Pearl (second place for Signed Commentary), Robert David Jaffe (second place for Sports and for Entertainment Review), Jay Firestone (honorable mention for Headlines), Dan Kacvinski and Carvin Knowles (second place and honorable mention for Design) and to me, Amy Klein (honorable mention for Columnist).
It's an honor just to be nominated.
-- Amy Klein, Contributing Writer
MYL board members and volunteers: (Back row, from left) Babak Naffas, Avi Cohen, Daniel Kianmahd, Shawn Abdian and Mike Kianmahd; (front row, from left) Carolyn Afari, Natalie Djavaheri, Shushana Djavaheri, Parisa Leviadin, Azzy Ghanooni and Amanda Ebrahim.
Music was pumping, drinks were flowing and sushi was plentiful for the nearly 350 young local Iranian Jews who packed an old downtown-adjacent restaurant -- which was temporarily transformed into a comedy club -- on June 28 to help raise funds for Magbit Young Leadership scholarships and interest-free loans.
The event, dubbed as "Jokefest," showcased a number of emerging comedians, including popular Iranian Muslim comedian Maz Jobrani.
Magbit was formed in 1990 by several Iranian Jews in Southern California and has offered millions of dollars in interest-free loans and scholarships to nearly 9,000 financially struggling students in Israel and the United States.
"The reason we want to make sure education is a priority for young Jews who are less fortunate is because we want to empower them to have the same successes and opportunities we've had by getting an education," said Avi Cohen, president of Magbit, which has also provided more than $1 million to Israeli victims of terror.
-- Karmel Melamed, Contributing Writer
(From left) Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services Board Chairman Joel Mogy, Henry and Marcia Baron and Elias Lefferman, Vista's CEO.
Henry and Marcia Baron donated $1.5 million to Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services to establish an early intervention program at the Julia Ann Singer Center, an educational program for children with autism and other special needs.
The center will be renamed the Henry amd Marcia Baron School for Exceptional Children, and will focus on the therapeutic needs of toddlers and preschoolers on the autism spectrum. In addition to the requisite developmental programs, the gift will enable Vista to focus on other educational avenues in art, drama and multimedia.
The donation follows Henry Baron's long history of support for Vista. In 2002, he established the Joan Baron Scholarship Fund to honor the memory of his late wife.
Sporting Support for Jewish Seniors
The only thing seniors love more than grandchildren are, well, grandchildren with a little softball on the side.
The Synagogue Softball League, comprised of more than 600 players and 37 teams from synagogues in the San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles, hosted its fifth annual Spring Classic to support the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging on June 29. Dozens of softball players and their families joined nearly 150 residents of the Jewish Home for an action-packed afternoon of sports, a talent show, Polynesian dancing -- and manicures for those less athletically inclined.
"The Spring Classic is not only about the fundraising, but getting the kids to participate -- it means something," said Doug Gellerman, a Congregation Or Ami team player who volunteers to help organize the event each year. Gellerman's wife, Rhonda, also attends annually and brings their three children.
Carol Geiger, activities manager at the Jewish Home, commended the Synagogue Softball fundraiser, which this year raised more than $2,000.
"Getting to know people from the outside community means a lot for our residents," she said.
Netty Laury, a 92-year-old resident at the Home, met the Gellermans at the first synagogue softball event and now visits with them on a monthly basis.
"They are the greatest in what they do," Laury said of the Gellermans.
She and many other residents never miss the Spring Classic, because it provides them with the perfect combination of fun and excitement -- grandkids, some softball and maybe a manicure or two.
-- Benji Davis, Contributing Writer