A reception at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles' headquarters brought together Jewish Community Youth Council (JCYC) high schoolers with the visiting Tel Aviv Teen Forum. The project is a byproduct of the Education Committee of the Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Partnership, a Federation beneficiary program.
The municipality of Tel Aviv selected Teen Forum participants through the school system, while local Jewish institutions recommended JCYC teens. The 12 visiting Israeli students and 13 JCYCers mingled before a scheduled trip to Disneyland. JCYC coordinator Stacy Reznikoff Kent oversaw the reception with Teen Forum coordinator Dan Keynan and Galia Avidar, the partnership's education director of international programs.
Posted slogans, such as "All Jews must live in Israel," served as icebreakers sparking lively debate between the American Jews and their Israeli counterparts. Sofi Gendelman of Tel Aviv's Shevah Mofet, rebuked the statement. In fact, she felt that Diaspora Jews were very necessary to spread Judaism worldwide.
Milken High School's Danielle Sheldon agreed, pointing to revered personages Theodore Herzl and Chaim Weitzman as examples of great Jews who lived outside of Palestine.
"We're more than a religion," Sheldon said. "We're a kehillat, a community."
"It's more important to be a good person than to follow the technical things," said Shimrit Haiman of Shevach Mofet.
Chavivia Ayaliyn of Ulpanit B'nai Akiut disagreed: "It was given to us many years ago and we must follow."
"If you think that you're Jewish, you're Jewish," opined Adam Hazzout of Milken High.
Also at the reception: Partnership Education Committee chair Dr. Aaron Willis, past Partnership Education Committee chair Ken Krug and Herb Glaser, a partnership founder and former longtime chair.
"One of the goals of the Education Committee of Tel Aviv-L.A. Partnership," Avidar told The Circuit, "is to expand the informal realm of Jewish education so that we can expose people in public schools who don't have the opportunity to connect with Israelis."
That means teens on both sides plan to follow up this meeting by maintaining correspondence through videoconferencing and e-mail. Forum teens spent August in a summer camp session at Brandeis-Bardin Institute, made possible through scholarships provided by the Simi Valley-based institute and The Federation.
Livin' La Vida Local
To paraphrase the song from "Evita," this was a case of "Do cry for Argentina." "Lifeline to Argentina" -- a Kosher wine tasting event in Santa Monica supported by Young Israel of Century City, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and Sinai Temple -- packed the Hamilton Galleries and Latin American Galleries on a Wednesday night to help Jews caught in the Argentina's economic breakdown. More than 20 percent (that's percent, not proof) of Argentine Jews have been rendered impoverished; nearly one-third of the Jewish population is unable to provide themselves and their loved ones with the basics -- food, shelter, transportation and heating.
Billed as an "art exhibition and wine tasting on the beach," the Ocean Avenue galleries attracted more than 300 young adults throughout the course of the evening. Against the surreal visions of Mexican dreamlands, fishermen snaring a mermaid out of the sea and a headless Minnie Mouse, many of the 20- and 30-somethings faced a tough choice -- choosing between a variety of kosher wines: 2001 Baron Herzog Chardonnay from Sonoma County, a Teal Lake Shiraz 2002 from Australia or Gamla Merlot 2000 from Northern Israel. The Valero Especial Malbec 2002 from Argentina went over especially well, perhaps keeping in the theme of the evening: support Argentina.
Lori Peitruszka and Argentine Consulate's Deputy Consul General Raul Guastavino addressed the young crowd amid a roomful of paintings and sculptures by local contemporary artists
Judy's International, Kosher on Wheels, Kosher Club, La Gondola, Milk N' Honey, Nazdar Supply, Pico Glatt Mart and Trader Joe's all offered support for the event. The Federation will offer a matching grant, doubling the $10,000 raised by the event.
"I wasn't expecting a whole lot," said Diana Fiedotin, "Lifeline to Argentina" project director. "It was much bigger and much better than we expected. It was a wide age range as well. It was a tremendous success."
Dr. Lawrence Libuser of Marina del Rey was among a group of doctors and volunteer medical personnel sent on a mission to aid refugees in Ghana. The United Nations-run refugee camp has over 50,000 people, most natives of Liberia.
The medical envoy will treat as many of these refugees as possible during the summer mission.
A Syn's Big Win
Shomrei Torah Synagogue of West Hills won the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism's (USCJ) Solomon Schecter Award for Excellence. The award will be presented at a USCJ convention to be held in Dallas in October.
Love, American Technion STYLE
A total of 44 American Technion Society supporters took part in the organization's annual mission to Israel. Among the participants pledging a total of $6 million to the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology at its Mount Carmel campus in Haifa: Inga Behr of Pasadena, Rodica and Paul Burg of Palos Verdes Estates, Chuck Levin of Beverly Hills, and Sherry Altura and Rita and Steve Emerson of Los Angeles.
The medical envoy will treat as many of these refugees as possible during their summer mission.
Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen has been appointed vice chancellor of the Ariel Israel Institutes. Cohen is a former president of The Southern California Board of Rabbis and a former vice president of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
Youth volunteers from the Stephen S. Wise Temple Summer Camps volunteer at the Union Rescue Mission. (From left) Lily Tash, Loren Berman and Alex Alpert.
(From left) Dan Meiri, regional director of Bank Leumi USA-California, celebrates with Bank Leumi supporters Jan Czuker and Max Webb the American subsidiary's second quarter upswing -- a yield of $9.5 million in net income; an increase of 2.2 percent from 2002's second quarter.
Flag Day Fete
Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary dedicated a monument with Jewish War Veterans (JWV) in honor of Flag Day. (From left) Jerry King, color guard; Ralph Leventhal, past JWV department commander; Lt. Col. Rabbi Alan Lachtman of Temple Beth Torah of Temple City; Steve Rosmarin, past California JWV commander; Mark Freidman, CEO of Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary; California JWV Commander Odas Flake; and Mel Margolis, color guard.
(From left) At the Music Center Fraternity of Friends annual dinner are immediate past fraternity president Dennis Beck, former president Fred Roberts and Tom Weinberger, current president and newly appointed Music Center board member.
Brindell Gottlieb of Bel Air and Tom Weinberger of Brentwood are among the newly appointed Music Center Board members.
A WINNICK-WINNICK SITUATION
Donors Gary Winnick, far left, and Karen Winnick congratulate the first researchers to receive the Winnick Family Clinical Scholar title at the naming of the Winnick Family Clinical Research Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The researchers are Dr. Daniel Cohn, second from left, an expert in the genetic causes of dwarfism, bone development and short stature, and kidney transplant program director Dr. Stanley Jordan. The third Winnick Clinical Scholar, human autoimmune disease specialist Dr. Sandra McLachlan is not shown. The Winnick Family Clinical Research Center at Cedars-Sinai is primarily engaged in translating human genome research into treatment for a gamut of diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
Photo by Thomas Neerken