Dubbed the "Glamour Summer Night," the Nessah Young Professionals' Aug. 26 annual gala drew more than 600 local Iranian Jewish young professionals and college students to the Area nightclub in West Hollywood, where they danced the night away to live music while also raising money on behalf of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF).
Funds generated by the event this year were set aside for the creation of a mobile recreation facility -- a place to relax, socialize, exercise and check their e-mail -- for Israeli commandos, who aren't given enough time off from assignments along the Israel-Lebanon border to visit permanent FIDF recreational facilities.
"It is so very meaningful and heartwarming to realize that although we live in Beverly Hills, we are still able to have fun, mingle and raise enough money to build a mobile club for our brothers and sisters who are defending and protecting our homeland in Israel," said Simon Etehad, head of the young professionals group based out of Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills. "Some of those Israeli soldiers have just completed high school and are not even old enough to drink."
As in years past, the fundraiser's ultra-hip venue was donated by SBE Entertainment, which is owned by Iranian Jewish hotel and nightclub entrepreneur Sam Nazarian.
Nessah Young Professionals members said the recreational facility in Israel will also be dedicated in memory of Daniel Levian, a local Iranian Jew in his 20s who died last month in an automobile accident. In past years, the young professionals group has raised funds for other FIDF projects, including the LEGACY Program, which provides all-expenses-paid trips to attend summer camp in the United States for bar and bat mitzvah-age children who had a family member killed in action.
-- Karmel Melamed, Contributing Writer
Brandes' 'Quarrel' Opens Off-Broadway
Pico-Robertson playwright/producer David Brandes has turned his 1991 film "The Quarrel" into an off-Broadway play.
Co-authored by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, "The Quarrel" tells the story of two estranged friends -- a pious rabbi and a secular writer -- who reconnect in an accidental meeting after years of being separated by betrayal and war. What ensues is "a fierce battle of wits and a raw test of friendship, faith and tolerance," according to publicity materials.
The play opened last week at the DR2 Theatre in New York, where it will run through Sept. 28.
New Veep for Women's Masorti Movement
Tobie Rosenberg is in line to become vice president of the Women's League for Conservative Judaism. Among her many leadership positions in the Jewish community, Rosenberg has served on the board of directors of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and Valley Beth Shalom, as well as on the International Board and Torah Fund Cabinet of the Women's League.
Rosenberg will be installed at the 2008 biennial convention on Nov. 9 in Dearborn, Mich.
Founded in 1918, the Women's League is the umbrella organization overseeing 600 affiliated women's groups in Conservative/Masorti synagogues in the country.
ADL Reunion Brings Together Scattered Graduates
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reunited 100 graduates from its Glass Leadership Institute, a program established 10 years ago that grooms young professionals for leadership in the ADL. The purpose of the event was to reconnect graduates with the ADL, some of who have gone on to leadership positions within the organization and others who have become lay leaders in other areas of the Jewish community.
Each year, 20 to 25 young professionals in their late 20s to early 40s are nominated to the 10-month institute (formerly known as the Salvin Leadership Institute), which provides education on hate crimes, terrorism, Holocaust education and Israel advocacy. The institute has become a significant talent pool for the ADL, giving rise to new generations of lay leaders.
Current ADL regional board chair Nicole Muchnik is a graduate of the program, along with board officer Seth Gerber and former regional chair Murray Levin.
The ADL is currently accepting nominations for next year's class. For more information, call (310) 446-4243 or visit http://www.adl.org.