William and Elizabeth Shatner made their first U.S. public appearance on behalf of the William and Elizabeth Shatner-Jewish National Fund Therapeutic Riding Consortium Endowment for Israel last week at "An Evening of Magical Information." The $10 million endowment will support therapeutic riding programs for the disabled throughout Israel so that more individuals can benefit from the essential contribution equine therapy makes to the overall well-being of the disabled. The long-term hope is to forge cooperative networks between Israel and neighboring countries in support of therapeutic riding for the disabled.
Four of a Kind
The San Fernando Valley Council of Na'amat USA (formerly Pioneer Women) honored two local couples Sept. 10 with its 2006 Distinguished Community Award. Marilyn and Jerry Bristol and Trudy and Lou Kestenbuam were recognized for their decades of philanthropy and public service. The lunch at Braemar Country Club in Tarzana raised $75,000 for the Petach Tikvah MultiPurpose Center in Israel. Middle East expert Yoav Ben-Horin gave a thoughtful speech on the current situation in Israel and reminded everyone that events in the Middle East never turn out predictably. Phil Blazer served as master of ceremonies for the evening.
At the Thalians ball, from left, Doris Roberts, Marc Cherry and Andrea Bowen.
This year's 51st anniversary Thalian Ball, regularly a star-gazing event, was also a star- quotable event this year at the Century Plaza Oct. 7. The Thalians honored "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry and actress Connie Stevens, who showcased her singing talents with daughters Joely and Tricia Leigh Fischer for the appreciative audience.
Cherry amused the crowd with his comments and quips that flew fast and furious throughout the evening. During bidding for naming rights for a baby tiger at the auction, Cherry offered $3,000 and won -- saying he was going to name it Eva Longoria ... because it's a maneater.
Cherry accepted the accolades admitting, "What do I know about mental health...I work with four women over 40."
He told attendees, "My mother was the one who gave me the idea for 'Desperate Housewives,' she is very much like Marcia Cross. One day while watching television with her and viewing the trial about the woman who murdered her five children, she turned to me and said, 'I've been there,' Cherry laughed.
Cherry said it was his parents who held him up after his agent of 13 years embezzled his money and Hollywood turned its back on him.
"When I hit rock bottom, it was so great to have my parents thinking I was the greatest thing since sliced bread. It gave me the courage to go out and try again," he said. "I feel so sorry for all those people who don't have that kind of support. That's what the Thalians is there for, to support those people."
While introducing Stevens, legend Debbie Reynolds took a few potshots at their former husband, Eddie Fisher.
"After Elizabeth [Taylor] married him, after Connie married him, after I married him, we were all Idiots," Debbie said.
"Everybody Loves Raymond's" Doris Roberts presented the award to Marc Cherry and said "What about a show about desperate widows ... I'm available."
More than $400,000 was raised to support the treatment through The Thalians Mental Health Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Shelley and Gary Hann chaired the event that was underwritten by Bob Ahmanson in tribute to late actress June Haver. For more information, please visit www.thalians.org.
Mayor Meets Mayor
Rabbi David Baron of Temple of the Arts hosted Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Mayor Yona Yahav of Haifa, Israel's third largest city, on Yom Kippur. The Israeli city was recently shut down for more than a month during the destructive Hezbollah missile attacks. "Mayor Yahav is a symbol of resiliency" said Baron. "This is a recurring theme of Yom Kippur -- that the Jewish people will endure hatred and violence to pray for peace."
The vision of Temple of the Arts, which was founded by Baron, is "to reconnect fellow Jews and all people seeking spiritual enlightenment with the beliefs and traditions of Judaism through the arts."
For further information, or to attend the services, call (323) 658-4900 or visit www.templeofthearts.com.
Social Justice? Here I Am
Temple Emanuel held its Hineni partnership event in the Sukkah on Monday Oct. 9. Hineni is a social justice initiative, which includes a partnership with Bryant Temple AME Church. Out of discussions in this partnership, research groups have taken root to delve deeper into the specific issues of our communities. The elder care research group discussed the issues surrounding elder care, and the significance of the holiday in its relation to elder care. Members shared stories, discussed local issues and ways to achieve better elder care in their communities. Temple Emanuel congregants were joined by members of neighboring synagogues and churches, participants in One LA.