The Touch of Kotton
The apparel industry is not just about sartorial splendor. On Nov. 22, the aptly named Issy Kotton, and the less-aptly named Fred Lionetti both received the Apparel Industry Humanitarian of the Year Award at a black-tie gala at the Beverly Hilton.
Kotton is a Bel Air resident and senior partner with BDO Seidman, LLP, in Century City, where he specializes in apparel, manufacturing/distribution and technology. Lionetti is the senior vice president of Continental Business Credit in Woodland Hills. Both are members of the Professional and Financial Association, currently known as the Apparel Industries Group for City of Hope.
The event raised $275,000 for the National Jewish Medical and Research Center (NJMRC), a nonprofit and nonsectarian institution, which is the only medical and research center in the United States that is devoted entirely to respiratory, allergic and immune system diseases -- including asthma, tuberculosis, emphysema, severe allergies, AIDS, cancer and autoimmune diseases such as lupus. The NJMRC is one of the wonderful types of institutions that treats all patients regardless of their ability to pay.
Book 'Em, Carl
The Robert F. Kennedy Medical Center in Hawthorne made Chanukah shopping for your favorite bibliophile easier by hosting its 27th annual Book Affaire luncheon at the Ritz Carlton in Marina del Rey on Nov. 21, which raised $2.5 million for its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Carl Reiner, Carol Channing and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. were among the many authors promoting their books at the benefit.
Reiner was doing double duty by signing both his children's book, "Tell Me a Story ... But Not Too Scary!" and "My Anecdotal Life," a memoir about his career as a comedian and director. So what fueled his success in the entertainment industry?
"What inspired me is life and people I've met along the way," Reiner said.
And while the 2,000-year-old man may believe that Saran Wrap is humanity's greatest gift to itself, Reiner puts his support behind another great accomplishment: books.
Author and musician Barney Saltzberg was also in attendance promoting his new children's book and CD, "The Soccer Mom From Outer Space," in which a young boy learns his mother is an alien. His plans for the upcoming holiday? "Latkes and opening presents," he said. -- Alena Barrett, Editorial Intern
The Desert and Oz
Israeli author Amos Oz delivered the keynote address at the American Associates, Ben-Gurion University 2003 Tribute Dinner on Nov. 16. The dinner honored the Magbit Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, and Vilma and Ivan Halaj received the Lifetime Support Award for their Halaj Family Foundation.
Ben-Gurion University, located in the Negev in Israel, has more than 17,000 students, and is one of the institutions that has helped transform what was once a desolate wasteland into a valuable resource for Israel's security, economic growth and social progress. It has become one of Israel's major centers for biotechnology and high technology and is also a university that takes its communal responsibilities very seriously.
"It's one of the only universities that requires its students to participate in community action before graduating," said Israel-Christian Nexus founder Shimon Erem, who was at the dinner with his wife, Danielle.
Also spotted in the crowd: playwright Dan Israely, who told The Journal that his new play, "Orgasms," was very funny; Dr. Steven Teitelbaum, American Jewish Congress Pacific Southwest Region president; and Murray Fromson, director of the USC journalism school.
Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, president of the Southern California Board of Rabbis, was the master of ceremonies at the Skirball Cultural Center dinner, while Deputy Consul General of Israel Tzvi Vapni brought greetings from the Holy Land.
Movable Minyan Moves
The name Movable Minyan conjures up an image of some itinerant worshippers who go from place to place bringing prayer wherever they go, but actually the Los Angeles minyan has just parked itself at its new home at 8330 W. Third Street. On Nov. 30, singing and dancing Movable Minyan members escorted two Torah scrolls on a 1.8-mile march through the streets of Los Angeles to the new premises during a traditional haknasat Sefer Torah.
The Movable Minyan is a nondenominational group that conducts lay-led, egalitarian services, with an emphasis on group and individual participation. Children get their own sessions at the Movable Minyan on Shabbat morning, where they are encouraged to learn and lead through art or dramatic interpretation. Services are conducted the first and third Saturday of every month at 10 a.m.
For more information, call (310) 285-3317.
Good as Gold
Beverly Hills-based Stanley P. Gold, the president and CEO of the Burbank-based Shamrock Holdings, Inc., has been in the news a lot lately since he and his longtime ally, Roy Disney, recently resigned from the board of directors of The Walt Disney Co.
But even without his Disney credentials, Gold is still a very influential figure in the Jewish community. On Dec. 4, he was one of the honorees at the Israel Policy Forum's (IPF) 10th Anniversary Dinner in New York, where New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman delivered the keynote address. Friedman spoke about what America should do to salvage the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Stephen P. Cohen, IPF national scholar and diplomat, and David Makovsky, senior fellow and director of the Middle East Peace Project at the Washington Institute for Middle East Policy, also addressed the crowd.
The IPF also honored Seymour D. Reich, senior partner at Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP and psychologist Yaffa Martitz and offered special recognition to both Lord Michael Levy, who acts as a personal envoy and adviser on the Middle East to Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Lady Gilda Levy, who is active in education, public affairs and the Jewish community in Great Britain.
Vive La Veterans!
There are more than 30 veterans of the armed forces living in the Jewish Home for the Aging (JHA), and on Nov. 11, Veteran's Day, the JHA saluted them in a special presentation of drama and song in its main dining room. The event was far from somber, and it uncovered some hitherto undiscovered nonagenarian talent -- 96-year-old Grandma Rapper, a.k.a. Lee Glanzer, who rapped "Gunner Jim's Rap Poem."
Other highlights included Dorothy Scott, 80, who read "Thank You Dear Dad," World War II letters from a daughter, and the JHA's men's glee club (which includes four veterans) sang a variety of service songs, including "Mariner's Hymn," "Anchors Away," "The Caissons Go Rolling Along" and "My Country 'Tis of Thee."
Play It Again, Shlomo
For people who love Jewish music, the late Shlomo Carlebach is a legend. He composed hundreds of songs that have become such an entrenched part of the synagogue liturgy that it would be almost impossible to imagine davening without them. His warm and embracing approach to Judaism inspired thousands to become more in touch with their religion.
On Nov. 22, the Happy Minyan -- Los Angeles' own Carlebach-style minyan, held its ninth annual Memorial Concert in Honor of Shlomo Carlebach in the main sanctuary at Congregation Beth Jacob. The cream of Los Angeles' musical talent performed, including the Moshav Band, the Happy Minyan Band, Avshalom Katz, Sam Glaser, Neil Seidel, Gregg Fisher, Yedidyah Blanton with Phil "P.F." Sloan, Yisroel Koch and Etan G., the Jewish Rapper. The music managed to fire everyone up -- at several points in the night there was dancing in the aisles going on.
A number of guest speakers, including David Sacks, Stuart Wax, Darlene Rose, Rachel Espana and Olivia and Shlomo Schwartz (a.k.a. Schwartzie), shared their memories of Carlebach with the crowd.
'Tis the Season
'Tis the season to be giving and to feed the homeless, says West Coast Chabad Lubavitch, which teamed up with the Hard Rock Cafe in Los Angeles on Thanksgiving to feed hundreds of homeless people.
Chabad brought in kosher food and koshered the service line in the kitchen, while the Hollywood Food Coalition bused in people from shelters all over Los Angeles. Volunteers from the Chabad Drug Treatment Center came to help serve and clean.
Rabbi Shimon Kashani and his wife, Vered, of the Southern California Jewish Center also got into in the giving spirit by joining forces with the annual Thanksgiving Food Basket Distribution Program provided by the 98th Street Community Youth Organization and donating more than 50 turkeys to needy families in South Los Angeles. And, to make Thanksgiving even sweeter for those families, Kashani also donated cars.
"This outreach is our new annual venture to bridge together the regional, social and ethnic groups in this city, with the thought that if we begin at home, we can bring the message to all," Kashani said. "There is much wisdom and knowledge to be shared between our communities and the Southern California Jewish Center has taken this first step to reach out to the inner city."