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Jewish Journal

The Circuit

by Michael Aushenker

June 13, 2002 | 8:00 pm

A Black Tie Affair

When The Jewish Federation's Real Estate and Construction Division honored Stanley Black with a roast at its annual Regent Beverly Wilshire gala, it was more of a salute than a roast ... only because the worst thing that L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Rep. Brad Sherman, realtor George Smith, Arden Realty's Richard Ziman, Suissa-Miller's David Suissa and master of ceremonies Monty Hall could say about Black was that he helps too many people and never says no to charitable opportunities.

Indeed, Black, a prominent philanthropist and head of Black Equities, may just be the most beloved figure in real estate. As dinner chair David Entin, who grew up with Black and went to school with Black's wife, Joyce, enthused to The Circuit, the evening with "The Quotable Stan Black" drew a record 975 people and raised $2 million for Federation charities -- a record for the division, which had its best year yet with $6 million raised.

Brad Luster, who will be succeeded by incoming division chair Mark Karlan, reflected on his successful term, which doubled the division's take in four years.

"Instead of the obligation to give, I took the approach that it should be your pleasure to give," he said, adding that the secret to his campaigning has been stepping back and letting others shine.

"By leading less, I lead more," Luster said.

The year may have belonged to the division, but the night belonged to Black. No less than Gov. Gray Davis and California's first lady Sharon Davis, attended the Beverly Wilshire cocktail and gala dinner.

The night before traveling to Israel, Ziman made a moving and urgent appeal to his audience to support the Jewish state through tourism and contributions.

"Israel is vibrant," Ziman said. "Israel is great, and Israel is everything to everyone sitting in this room."

At the gala, Black's friends and family were in abundance.

"There's something about him. Everyone likes being with him," said fellow real estate kingpin Jona Goldrich, Black's friend of 40 years. "He's got friends all over the world."

In fact, Amram Mitzna, the mayor of Haifa, called from Israel during the banquet to congratulate Black.

"He's a great man, very philanthropic, with many, many friends," said Black's son, Jack. "He deserves this more than anyone. I love him very much."

"He never turns away anyone," said Black's youngest daughter, Janis. "He loves to help them with career advice and connect them to their future."

Added daughter Jill Zalben, "He always wants you to be the president of everything, not the vice president."

For info on The Jewish Federation's Real Estate and Construction Division, call (323) 761-8227.

Kandel Illuminates House of Justice

And now, another Stanley in real estate does well.

Bet Tzedek Legal Services has installed real estate investor and developer Stanley Kandel as president of its board of directors. &'9;

"It gives us a very personal pleasure to welcome Stanley as our new board president," says Executive Director David Lash. "Although most recently Stanley has served as an active, effective member of our board and executive committee for 12 years, his first involvement with Bet Tzedek began with the birth of the organization some 28 years ago. At that time he was one of our earliest volunteer attorneys."

Giddy About Gidi

About 50 Jews in their 20s and 30s hit Wilshire Boulevard Temple's West L.A. campus for a private reception to meet Gidi Grinstein, before he spoke to a larger general audience at an event co-sponsored by New Israel Fund, Americans for Peace Now and Progressive Jewish Alliance.

Grinstein, who worked on former Prime Minister Ehud Barak's peace negotiations team, recalled the "very surreal" moment in time in October 2000, when all hell broke loose in Israel, even as he was in Washington, D.C., trying to iron out peace negotiations with the Palestinians. The second intifada had begun.

"It was the closest we were, all things considered, to reaching an agreement," Grinstein told the audience. "Barak led a very courageous process designed to open the door for the 21st century."

Grinstein spoke of frustrations on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. During the question-and-answer segment, several audience members challenged Grinstein's left-wing take on the Middle East conflict.

"It's not a matter of Israelis vs. Palestinians," Grinstein responded. "It's a matter of moderates vs. radicals."

After the lecture, New Israel Fund's David Moses told The Circuit, "Gidi brings significant insider perspective on what's really happening and it's fair to say that he brings a cautious optimism."

The May evening came hot on the heels of a weekend during which 30,000 people attended a peace rally in Israel. Moses wants to see more effort applied to bridge building between Israelis and Palestinians.

"I was delighted to see such a strong showing of force for peace," he said of the Israeli rally. "It seemed to be an opportunity for people to find comfort in numbers, and to express how they feel about peace, which may not be as easy when you're a sole voice."

To contact New Israel Fund, call (310) 282-0300.

Singing Sabras

About 500 people joined University of Judaism's department of continuing education and the Council of the Israeli Community in honoring Israeli composer Kobi Oshrat. The musical celebration culminated with the singing of "Halleluyah," Oshrat's 1979 Eurovision Contest-winning composition.

Nine Decades of Dedication

"Everybody Loves Raymond" star Ray Romano, Harry Connick Jr. and other celebrities are scheduled to appear at the 90th birthday 2002 Reflections gala for the Jewish Home for the Aging on July 9 at Hollywood and Highland, for an evening that will be catered by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. Tom Rothman, the Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman responsible for "Independence Day" and "Planet of the Apes," will pay tribute to his parents, while Marilyn and Monty Hall will receive the home's inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.

Steven Bickel and Barbara Miller-Fox will co-chair the evening.

For information on Reflections 2002, call (818) 774-3334.

Directorial Debut for Posterity and Charity

The movie "Zig Zag" officially debuts June 21, but "Blade" franchise screenwriter David Goyer, recently profiled in The Journal, has already put his directorial debut to good use. A special benefit screening of "Zig Zag" at the new ArcLight Theater in Hollywood raised money for the Weingart Center, a transitional and emergency housing, health and human services agency located in the heart of Skid Row. The crime caper-character study, which Goyer says is in the tradition of "Midnight Cowboy," stars Sam Jones III and John Leguizamo and reunites Goyer with his "Blade" collaborator, actor Wesley Snipes.

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