Literary Odyssey Dinners, a unique fundraiser which arranges 50 dinners with renowned authors in private homes to benefit the Los Angeles Public Library's Reading Programs for Children and Teens, held its kickoff party at The Peninsula in Beverly Hills.
Speakers Larry Gelbart, Traci Lambrecht and John Sacret Young were among the authors in attendance.
The 50 dinners will begin on Nov. 3. Among the hosts who will open up their homes are Wallis Annenberg, Judith and Steve Krantz, Mary and Norman Pattiz, and Liane and Richard Weintraub. This year's stable of participating authors will include: Laurence Bergreen, Michael Crichton, Susan Fales-Hill, Richard Reeves, Lisa See and Garry Willis.
Lauded with Laws
Philanthropist-entrepreneur Peter Gold and Judge Harry Pregerson were both awarded honorary doctor of laws degrees at the 88th commencement ceremonies of Southwestern University School of Law, held at the Shrine Auditorium.
Joy Book Club
Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy elementary school students donated 24 copies of David Saltzman's "The Jester Has Lost Its Jingle" children's books and 18 Jester and Pharley dolls to young patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Cedars-Sinai child life specialist Joanne Borromeo accepted the donation at a Harkham Hillel special assembly.
Congregation Beth Meier of Studio City announced the appointment of Rabbi Aaron Benson. The 27-year-old Benson, who has served as a rabbinic intern with the shul for the past three years, was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies this past May.
The Brandeis-Bardin Institute honored longtime participants Ellie and Gil Somerfield during their annual dinner at The Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Rabbi Lee Bycel gave the keynote address and the event was co-chaired by Vicki Kupetz, Laurie Cohen and Caren Sokol. Board Chair Helen Zukin presented the honorees with a tzedakah box.
David Horovitz, left, editor of The Jerusalem Report, with Rob Eshman, editor-in-chief of The Jewish Journal, at the American Techion Society's May 18 event at the Four Seasons.
Land of Magbit and Honey
When Magbit Foundation of Greater Los Angeles celebrated the 55th Israel Independence Day at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, it was slightly different from previous years.
Last year, Magbit raised $3.5 million for the victims of war and terror in Israel and a delegation from Magbit handed the money to different organizations in Israel. This time, they were not soliciting any money or financial support.
A "Celebration of Life," organized by Dora Ghadisha and Pouran Nazarian, featured wheelchair-bound dancers -- disabled Israeli war veterans who are members of Beit Halochem (House of the Warriro) -- in a special dance performance.
Also on hand: Jimmy Delshad, Beverly Hills' newly elected city councilman, and Yuval Rotem, Israel consul general to the Southwestern United States.
"We want your passion," host Bijan Nahai said. "We want you not to forget what you saw tonight. We want you not to forget those dancers in wheelchairs. We want you to contribute all through the year, not at a dinner party." -- Mojdeh Sionit, Contributing Writer
Center of Attention
(From left) Dustin Hoffman, 2003 Music Center Distinguished Artist Award honoree; event chair Connie Abell; and Variety's Army Archerd, who presented Hoffman his award. Other honorees included Cyd Charisse, John Williams and John Ritter, who came with wife Amy Yasbeck. Also taking part: Henry Winkler, Debbie Reynolds, Stefanie Powers, Cynthia Gibb-Kramer and emcee Debbie Allen. Photo by Bonnie Toman