"Out of the Darkness.... Into The Light" was the official theme of the evening when the Echo Park-based institution Gateways Hospital & Mental Health Center celebrated its 50th anniversary at the Regent Beverly Wilshire. Since 1953, Gateways has helped thousands of people shed the darkness of depression and restart their lives as productive citizens.
Gateways chose to celebrate the occasion by honoring two of this city's most productive citizens -- Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy "Lee" Baca, and his wife, Carol Chiang Baca.
"Life is fragile," Sheriff Baca said. "None of us here can make it here without each other."
Like City of Hope and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Gateways sprang out of Los Angeles' Jewish community. The independent, nonsectarian organization's mission has been to provide facilities, programs and treatment for the mentally ill, emotionally disturbed and otherwise maladjusted individuals of all ages. In addition to pioneering new methods of treatment, the center has united on educational programs with law enforcement and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
Gateways' CEO Mara Pelsman told The Circuit about the organization's current endeavor to add 30 beds to its facility and a 12-bed emergency shelter for the homeless.
Gateways Chair Myles Weiss stressed how important it is for the hospital to continue its outreach to the emotionally troubled.
"If we can help them before they get into that position, it will help law enforcement and taxpayers at large," Weiss said.
Louis Ziskind, founder of Gateways Hospital with his late wife, Dr. Esther Somerfield, and brother, Eugene Ziskind, said that he "didn't have two nickels to rub together" when he started Gateways while head of psychology at USC Medical School. Ziskind credited the late Rabbi Edgar Magnin, influential spiritual leader of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, for helping to attract support from the community to establish Gateways' original 437 N. Hoover facility when Ziskind was servicing incarcerated Jewish prisoners with pyschiatric treatment.
"I can't think of a nicer thing than to come back 50 years later," said Ziskind, 95, accompanied by his son Gregg Ziskind. "It's fulfilled a life dream for me."
Also feted at the event with a Lifetime Achievement Award was 93-year-old Pauline Ledeen, founding director of the Jewish Committee for Personal Service, a Gateways' program that provides counseling and spiritual succor for the incarcerated.
Special guests included Ford Roosevelt, grandson of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, who dedicated Gateways' primary facility in 1961.
Young Judaea Mission
Ten students from the Los Angeles and Orange County area left for Israel at the end of August, courtesy of Hadassah Southern California's Young Judaea. They will spend 10 months living, studying and working in Israel while earning college credits, as part of Young Judaea's Year Course program. This year's Young Judaea Year Course is the largest to date for Hadassah International, with 240 participants coming to Israel from the United States and Great Britain.
For more information about Year Course call (310) 709-8015 or visit on the web at www.yearcourse.org.
Reflections on a Big Screen
The Jewish Home for the Aging (JHA) and its fundraising arm, The Guardians, both staged high-profile events.
JHA supporters returned to the Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland for its annual Reflections gala, this year honoring Paul Goldenberg; Lisa and Ernest Auerbach; and Lenore and Fred Kayne and Suzanne and Ric Kayne were on hand to honor their father, Jerry Kayne and his late wife, Ida, who provided the inspiration for the Ida Kayne Transitional Care Unit.
Comedienne Rita Rudner had audience members rolling with laughter and women at the gala high-fiving over her observations on the differences between men and women in relationships. She also joked about growing up in "the typical middle-class Jewish home -- we were rich," and kidded that her family was so hoity-toity that "we used to read the Torah in French."
It was so apropos that Goldenberg's face was televised on giant screens inside the Ballroom. Goldenberg, the self-proclaimed King of Big Screen TV's ("I am the King!"), stepped down from his throne to knight last year's Reflections honoree Monty Hall as the "King of Hearts" for personally inspiring Goldenberg to give to JHA and start him on his road to tzedakah. Goldenberg -- who with Richard and Daphna Ziman partnered on a JHA building, and whose 96-year-old cousin, Izzy, lives on the Reseda JHA campus -- also "thanked God for my parents. They were the best parents anybody could ever have. The most loving parents anybody could ever have."
"We are proud that they are following in our path," Ernest Auerbach said of his children. He also sized up the common trait among all the honorees: "We all seem to come from the same background of hard work."
Attendees at the packed Ballroom included major JHA supporter Joyce Eisenberg Keefer, City Councilman Dennis Zine and Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo.
The Guardians, meanwhile, met the evening before at the Beverly Hills home of the Zimans, who opened up their garden to a fundraising party topped off by a performance from Al Jarreau, who began his set with an Elton John song and topped it off with his own composition, the theme from "Moonlighting." Guests included Karl and DeeDee Sussman.
2003: A Literary Odyssey
Concurrent with The Guardians' Beverly Hills fundraiser was a reception kicking off the Literary Odyssey Dinners in neighboring Bel Air at the home of Dody Booth. Actor Kirk Douglas, author Michael Crichton, screenwriter Larry Gelbart and "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Doris Roberts are among the guests of this year's dinners, which will raise money for the Los Angeles Public Library. Spotted at this affair: Annette Kaufman, chief librarian Susan Kent, Jim Svejda of KUSC and Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum Executive Director Peter Tokofsky.
The Library Literary Odyssey Dinners will take place on Nov. 3, 2003, with all proceeds benefiting reading programs for children and teens at the Los Angeles Public Library's Central Library and its 67 branches.
For reservations to the dinners, please contact Jackie Frame at (323) 466-8977.