They came for the kosher and stayed for the kibitz.
About 100 people attended the Democrats For Israel, Los Angeles (DFI-LA) Summer Garden Party on Aug. 25 at the Bel Air home of Frank Ponder, general manager of Bel Air Camera and DFI-LA board member. Dyed-in-the-wool Dems talked Israel, party politics and the Jewish singles scene, met with L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and witnessed the group's changing of the guard.
Paul Kujawsky, DFI-LA's former vice president, moved up to become president, while Linda Bear stepped in as the group's new vice president. Treasurer Reuben Zadeh and secretary Ken Silk will continue in their positions. Marilyn Landau, DFI-LA's president for the last two years, will stay on as a board member.
DFI-LA, co-founded in 1989 by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-24th District), is the only Jewish Democratic organization in Los Angeles and works closely with the party's state central committee. The group recently issued a paper to the state Democratic executive board on the need to support Israel.
"There's so much bad information that gets picked up by the media regarding Israel," DFI-LA Chair Howard Welinsky said. "I think the Jewish community needs to remember that there's always an opportunity to educate about the Middle East." -- Adam Wills, Associate Editor
Comedian/comic actor Larry Miller ("The Princess Diaries," "The Nutty Professor") recently returned from a trip to Israel, visiting children, victims of terror and professionals in Israel. Miller, a parlor-meeting fixture, has been an active participant in The Jewish Federation's Jews in Crisis Campaign, which has raised $17 million in support of victims of terror, provided trauma care and created summer activities in a safe and secure setting for children in Israel.
Sarit Finkelstein-Boim was elected the president of B'nai B'rith International's Shalom Unit on July 24. The installation ball is scheduled for Nov. 16 at Sinai Temple. For reservations, call (310) 471-8545.
Women's International Zionist Organization (WIZO) will hold its Los Angeles Annual Gala on Nov. 10 at the Four Seasons in West Hollywood. Dan Raviv, the Washington-based CBS News correspondent who this year released the book "Comics Wars," his Wall Street tell-all of the fall and resurrection of Marvel Entertainment, will be the keynote speaker at the banquet. This year's honorary chairpersons will be Drs. Anna and Max Webb. The evening will honor WIZO member Annie Gross as its 2002 Woman of the Year.
Leading American shoe company Florsheim, which is based in Chicago, opened its first Israeli outlet in Jerusalem at the Center One shopping mall on 43 Yirmiyahu St.
"Especially during these difficult days," said Florsheim Jerusalem owner Tzvi Berg, "I am proud of Florsheim for the commitment they have made and the confidence they have shown in the Israeli market."
Northridge resident Meirav Fishman Cafri, a West Valley Hebrew Academy student, is the national Jewish National Fund (JNF) Blue Box Contest winner. The contest, which engaged more than 350 kids to create artwork featuring JNF's Blue Box, was held in the spirit of the 100th anniversary of JNF.
The National Jewish Medical and Research Center honored local attorney Jeffrey Kapor, a shareholder at Buchalter, Nemer, Fields & Younger.
The commitment to connect college students with Jewish life was the recurring theme at the Los Angeles Hillel Council's (LAHC) annual Back to Campus Celebration on Aug. 18 at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, where Michael Diamond -- LAHC immediate past president who heads the litigation department at the Los Angeles office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCloy -- received the Rabbi Richard N. Levy Award, and UC students David Cygielman (UCSB) and Panteha Haverim (UCLA) each received a Distinguished Student Award.
Event co-chair Jonathan Anschell made the opening remarks, while actress Mayim Bialik (of "Blossom" fame) served as emcee. Event co-chair Kenneth Ostrow presented Diamond with his award, while Diamond's daughter, Beth Diamond, read a poetic tribute she had written.
State Sen. Richard Alarcón (D-Dist. 20) attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Sept. 9 grand opening of the Temple Ramat Zion kindergarten in Northridge. He presented the temple with a congratulatory certificate and cut the ribbon on the new classroom. On Jan. 1, the senator's district will expand to include Northridge, and he is reaching out to the community in every way possible.
"We are pleased that Sen. Alarcón is extending his hand to the Jewish Community in Northridge," said Betty Gorelick, director of Early Childhood Education. "We are very excited about our new kindergarten, and are thankful for everyone's efforts in making this happen."
Temple Ramat Zion has been serving the Jewish Community in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Simi valleys for 40 years.
The Friars Club threw a party for the debut of Richard Crystal's new jazz album, "Nearer."
On hand to introduce his brother was Billy Crystal, proctor of the New York Friars Club. Among the others in attendance: Billy Crystal's "Mr. Saturday Night" co-star David Paymer.
Richard "Rip" Crystal began his career playing the lead roles in numerous musicals, including "The Fantasticks," "Finian's Rainbow" and "Bye Bye Birdie." He eventually moved behind the camera and has had a successful career as a writer and producer. Most recently, he conceived and produced the feature film, "Murder By Numbers," starring Sandra Bullock.
The recently discovered photographs of artistic collaborators Benjamin Strauss and Homer Peyton are the subject of "Art and Artifice," an exhibit that runs from Sept. 30-Dec. 20 at the Bell Family Gallery at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Strauss and Peyton perfected a style of portraiture, combining photography with pencil/crayon enhancement that captured the flavor and the feel of their era, the Roaring '20s. Gallery hours are by appointment only. For information, call Judy Fischer at (323) 761-8352.
Oralingua School for the Hearing Impaired will honor actor Elliott Gould ("M*A*S*H*," "Friends") at its 14th Annual Gala Dinner Dance and Auction on Nov. 9 at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel. Proceeds will support the nonprofit Oralingua's auditory/oral deaf education program, which focuses on students' capabilities rather than their disabilities.
For information on this event, contact Elizabeth Haig at (310) 265-7200, or visit www.oralingua.org.