Major Buttons, to You
European Jews currently face many challenges because of the situation in Israel, Serge Cwajgenbaum, the secretary general of the European Jewish Congress told The Circuit on his visit to Los Angeles last week.
"Israel is in the middle of the heart of a new battle, and the Jews of Europe are concerned; we consider the fate of the State of Israel ... parallel with the fate of the Jews," he said, noting that since the beginning of the intifada, anti-Semitic attacks have increased in Europe, and in his home country, France.
With more than 700,000 Jews in France compared to 5 million Arabs, French Jews have an uphill battle to fight in the media, "much worse than America," Cwajgenbaum said.
The head of the EJC, a branch of the World Jewish Congress, was speaking from the Bel Air home of Hanns Donig, who hosted a small dinner party with esteemed guests such as comedian Red Buttons.
Buttons was recently awarded the title of Major in the U.S. Army reserves by Veterans for America. "It was a great honor," Buttons told the dinner guests over pasta and champagne.
Cwajgenbaum then told Buttons his name in French (Rouge Boutons) and in Hebrew (Kaftor Adom). "No one's ever told me that one before," Buttons said, pleased.
Plenty of Good Sports
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center threw its 16th Annual Sports Spectacular at the Century Plaza Hotel, with proceeds supporting the hospital's Birth Defects Center. Honorees were Shaquille O'Neal, who received his award from fellow Laker Kobe Bryant; Sugar Ray Leonard; Dave Winfield and Katarina Witt. Among the nearly 2,000 guests were Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Jenner, Carl Lewis, Lenny Krayzelberg, Shane Mosley, and honorary chairs Larry King and Al Michaels.
Munich 11 Remembrance
Noreen Green, founder and conductor of the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, collaborated with composer Andrea Clearfield and choreographer Manfred Fischbeck to pay tribute to the Munich 11 at the opening ceremonies of the Jewish Community Center Maccabi Games at the Liacouras Center of Philadelphia's Temple University.
Angel Harvest has appointed Chuck Scarpaci as its executive director. Angel Harvest serves as a telephone and transportation link among various businesses and agencies that help feed the hungry in Los Angeles with donations of free food.
FIG Wins Big Double Mitzvah
Rabbi Sheryl Nosan has become the new rabbi of Temple Beth Torah in Granada Hills, making the synagogue the only Reform congregation in the Valley to have both a senior female rabbi and a female cantor (Sharone Rosen).
Mount Sinai Bnai Zion Welcomes Israeli Mayor
Benny Kashriel, mayor of Ma'ale Adumim, was in town this month as a guest of Bnai Zion Western Region. Bnai Zion is currently soliciting contributions toward the establishment of a state-of-the-art library in the West Bank town -- several miles east of Jerusalem, with a population of 24,000 -- that will serve as a community center for seven Jewish settlements. Bnai Zion's goal is to raise $1 million for the complex.
Even as Kashriel munched on a bagel at a Bnai Zion breakfast in Beverly Hills, his adviser, Yoam Ben-Shalom, handed him an incoming fax with an allocation request for him to approve. Ma'ale Adumim also needs money for its water system, and Kashriel has had to triple the security budget in recent years.
"The recent bombings have unified Israelis like never before," Kashriel said.
Kashriel criticized Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, and lamented the tight security situation of his city, which is bordered by many Arab villages. Kashriel noted that the tactics of the Palestinian Authority -- whose courts have convicted and executed its own citizens in under 30 minutes -- have alienated many Palestinians.
"Perhaps finally the Palestinians will be strong enough to throw the gang of Arafat back to Tunisia," Kashriel said.