Who Wrote the bible?
At a luncheon recently sponsored by the Foundation for Jewish Education, Inc., which provides scholarships for unaffiliated needy children ages 5-13 to attend a Jewish day school, Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei from Sinai Temple spoke on the topic "Who Wrote the Bible?" (From left) Myrtle G. Sitowitz, Rena Brooks, Schuldenfrei, Marlene Kreitenberg (founder) and Ester Spektor.
JEWISH HOME'S Addition
Jewish Home for the Aging (JHA) drew more than 300 dignitaries, contributors, board members and staff to a Feb. 8 groundbreaking ceremony in Reseda to launch the largest facility expansion in its 100-year history.
The Residential Medical Center, which will serve 249 frail elderly when completed, is part of a $72 million project to address the growing needs of the city's graying Jewish population.
Designed by Perkins & Will, the medical center will anchor JHA's Grancell Village campus with three interconnected buildings -- the Brandman Research Institute, the Hazan Pavillion and the LaKretz-Black Tower. The center's design will offer specialized medical and psychiatric care within a residential setting, which will include indoor and outdoor recreation areas, kosher kitchen and dining room facilities, as well as a computer center, library, deli, salon and spa.
"Our mothers and fathers will have a new place to call home," said Earl Greinetz, JHA board chairman. "It is now our turn to provide for them."
The Keeping the Promise capital campaign, chaired by Richard Ziman, has raised $51 million since 1999 to build new facilities, upgrade and replace existing buildings and expand JHA's ability to serve the elderly.
Dr. Sol Hazan, who was introduced by Los Angeles Sephardic Home for the Aging President Rae Cohen, said that his contribution of the Hazan Pavillion was done in honor of his parents.
"You don't have to be Sephardic to support the home," Hazan said. "This is a community effort to raise the level of care for your family."
Molly Forrest, the home's CEO, introduced Brandman Research Institute sponsors Joyce and Saul Brandman; she alluded to the day's Tu B'Shevat holiday in her remarks, saying, "Today, with your gifts and support, you have planted a tree of life."
Saul Brandman, who named the institute in honor of his parents, recounted memories of the original Jewish Home, which he said he could see from his childhood home in Boyle Heights.
"Our association with the home is old and long," Brandman said, "and I hope it goes on for a very long time."
Just prior to the groundbreaking, Mort LaKretz, who co-sponsored the LaKretz-Black Tower with Stanley and Joyce Black, said, "I hope it makes a difference in the lives of your loved ones."
Other participants included Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn, Councilman Dennis Zine, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Marilyn and Monty Hall and Janis Black Goldman. -- Adam Wills, Associate Editor
TERROR AND IRAN
On Feb. 11, the 25th anniversary of the 1979 revolution in Iran, 700 Iranian Jews filled the ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel for Together Forever, an event that focused on the situation in Iran.
The event started with a film that traced the history of Iran from ancient times to the present. It was followed by a number of speeches by such personalities as author Kenneth Timmerman, talk show host Larry Elder and Shaul Bakhash, a visiting fellow from the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C.
Timmerman, a conservative reporter turned best-selling author, was part of a 1995 commission to assess the ballistic missile threat to the United States. The commission subsequently alerted the United States that Iran and Iraq were capable of producing weapons of mass destruction.
"In 1995, I set up a foundation for democracy in Iran, with half Iranians, half Americans on board, with the goal of bringing Congress more information about human rights abuses inside Iran," Timmerman said.
"During the student uprising in 1999, within minutes we had the first photos out on the Internet of kids being thrown out from balconies and murdered," he told The Journal. "That changed the way people reported on unrest inside Iran."
In his speech, Timmerman said that Iranian Americans can play a role in bringing freedom to Iran, and that doing so will also bring an end to war and terror.
While Timmerman rejected any ideas of negotiation with Iran, Bakhash rejected the idea of military intervention in Iran.
"I think even Iranians who are not happy with their government will not welcome American military intervention in Iran," he said.
Timmerman, whose approach was more hard line, said, "There is only one solution for terrorists, and that is to kill them. We can not allow terrorists to think that we are weak and we will not retaliate." -- Mojdeh Sionit, Contributing Writer
HARRISON FORD HONORED
Harrison Ford received B'nai B'rith International's Distinguished Humanitarian Award Feb. 4 at a Beverly Hills Hotel dinner.
Ford was honored for his lifelong activism to educate the world about environmental conservation and his ongoing support of organizations that work to protect the environment and conserve resources around the globe.
"I am very proud to be a part of the efforts of B'nai B'rith, and am very grateful for this honor," Ford said. "I am motivated to add my resources and capabilities to an aid organization that is strategically addressing the issues at hand."
B'nai B'rith International President Joel S. Kaplan presented the award to Ford after a concert by Grammy-winning entertainer Judy Collins.
Funds from the event went to support B'nai B'rith International programs in California and around the world, including the Disaster Relief program, a global initiative that provides financial assistance to restore areas that have been affected by natural devastation, and the Environmental Awareness Program, which implements educational programs to enlighten communities about environmental protection.
AND THE AWARD GOES TO...
The real hospital, Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, honored a fictional one on Jan. 31 at the Director's Guild of America.
Shaare Zedek honored the cast and crew of "ER" for raising the awareness of the importance of emergency medicine throughout the world.
The hospital 's world-famous dean of emergency medicine, Dr. Peter Rosen, presented the producers and cast with the award.
Waiters at the event wore hospital scrubs, and "ER" cast members Alex Kingston, Mekhi Phifer, Ming-Na and Maura Tierney were in attendance. Also there were Debra Appelbaum, widow of Dr. David Appelbaum, Shaare Zedek's director of emergency medicine, who was murdered along with his daughter, Naava, in a Jerusalem terrorist attack.
Monica Rosenthal Horan, who plays Amy Barone on "Everybody Loves Raymond" paid tribute to Appelbaum, who had visited her in Los Angeles not long before his death.
"I was initially intimidated to meet this person, who was a famous doctor and a rabbi," Horan said. "But he immediately put me at ease. He was an uncommon individual with a common touch."
Honorary chairman of the event was Steven Spielberg, and the emcee was well known Israeli actor Mark Burstyn.
The evening finished with a concert by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame. Yarrow had the "ER" cast members on stage to accompany him as he sang "Puff the Magic Dragon," while the audience sang along.
Proceeds went to benefit the new Weinstock Family Department of Emergency Medicine at Shaare Zede, which is now under construction.