A Hollywood Humanitarian
The paparazzi lined the halls of the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on March 31 hoping for a glimpse of some of the A-List guests arriving to watch producer and Revolution Studios founder Joe Roth receive the Dorothy and Sherrill C. Corwin Human Relations Award at the American Jewish Committee's (AJC) annual dinner.
The event raised more than $100,000 for the AJC, and featured talk show host Oprah Winfrey as the keynote speaker, and comedian Tim Allen as the master of ceremonies. Other guests included the Wayans brothers -- Keenan Ivory, Marlon and Shawn -- Ice Cube, Anne Archer, Judy Greer and Sharon Lawrence.
Peter M. Weil, L.A. chapter president, provided an overview of the work done by AJC, which is dedicated to protecting the civil and religious rights of all people, promoting mutual understanding and advancing democratic values worldwide.
Winfrey, who had worked with Roth on the film "Beloved," told the crowd that he was one of those rare persons whom people speak kindly of -- both to his face and behind his back. She also included quotes praising Roth from childhood friends, studio heads and actress Julia Roberts. Winfrey said Roth was a "deeply good person," and that he, like her, possessed the "move-the-ball-forward gene."
"Joe is a solid citizen," she said. "I think that his life reflects, in many ways, the missions of the AJC and the purpose of the Corwin award and that is, as I see it, to bring light, to do work that should be done and to do that kind of work with kindness, with grace, and to teach through your own example, to show love through your work, and to make it better. That is what Joe does, and I say, well done."
Roth responded to the evening's accolades by placing the spotlight on people who have been of great inspiration to him -- Winfrey, attorney Skip Brittenham and Roth's Revolution Studios partner Tom Sherak.
"Each of these people is loyal, fair minded, fearless and tireless," Roth said. "Each makes important contributions because of a belief in an ideal or a cause. By having such beliefs, they raise the standard or quality of life. They preserve those standards with their actions and we will thank them for their efforts."
The dinner chairs were Peter Chernin, Richard Cook, Brian Grazer, Brad Grey, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ron Meyer, Amy Pascal, Bruce M. Ramer and Stacey Snider. Brittenham and Sir Howard Stringer were honorary chairs.
The Corwin award is given to outstanding leaders in the entertainment and communications industries whose professional and civic endeavors help promote tolerance, understanding and cooperation. Throughout their lives, the Corwins worked tirelessly to promote and support a number of humanitarian causes with the entertainment industry and the in the community at large.
Lawyers Upon Lawyers
Hundreds of lawyers came to the Beverly Hilton Hotel to honor fellow attorney Marshall Grossman at The Jewish Federation Legal Services Division's 56th annual dinner on March 18. About 700 people watched Grossman, a name partner in Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan LLP, receive the division's Bruce I. Hochman Maimonides Torch of Justice Award.
The affair attracted Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and L.A. City Councilman Jack Weiss. The night's opening speech was made by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who praised Israel for continuing its counterterrorism measures, and still turning to their courts for guidance.
"Remain true to our legal principles," Spitzer told the crowd, "Just as the State of Israel has."
The Legal Division's Hochman Award (Hochman's widow, Harriet, chairs the Federation's board) honors Jewish attorneys renowned for their philanthropic and community activities. Grossman has chaired The Federation's Jewish Community Relations Committee, is a regular at Chabad fundraisers and serves on the American Jewish Committee's national board and the local boards of Jewish Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Bet Tzedek Legal Services.
In 1968, Grossman, then 29, sued Playboy magazine owner Hugh Hefner and got him to drop what he saw as unfair surcharges at the Playboy Club, where Grossman was a member. As a Zionist, Grossman encouraged the Federation's dinner guests to give Israel endless support.
"Be vigilant. Be involved," he said. -- David Finnigan, Contributing Writer
Author Jessica Weiner wrote a book about being "A Very Hungry Girl," which landed her appearances on "Oprah," "The Today Show," "The View," "Good Morning America," CNN and MTV. On March 18, a less-hungry Weiner keynoted an interactive workshop called Been There, Done That, Now What??? to teach Los Angeles' Birthright Israel alumni how to take action in their personal, professional and Jewish lives.
Birthright Israel is a program that gives young people free trips to Israel so that they can experience the Holy Land for themselves and strengthen their Jewish identity. There are more than 2,000 Birthright alumni in Los Angeles who went to Israel on Birthright-sponsored trips like Hillel, Oranim, Israel Experts or Livnot. The Been There program was designed to teach and motivate the alumni to take action by sharing their experiences, individually and collectively, in the hopes of encouraging others to take part in the Israel experience.
Sale After Sale
Tired of paying retail? You might want to think about paying resale -- it's much cheaper, and if you choose wisely nobody will know that your purchases have been preowned. On March 21 Hadassah of Southern California opened its second resale store, Time After Time, on 7125 Reseda Blvd. Hadassah's other Time After Time store is at 8250 Pico Boulevard.
The opening celebration included at mezuzah ceremony conducted by Rabbi Jonah Goldson of CSUN's Hillel and a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by City Councilman Dennis Zine.
The proceeds from the stores are going to provide aide and support to Israel, and Hadassah plans to have three more stores in operation by 2007.
"We hope that our support of the new resale stores will encourage the community to embrace our dedication to Israel and Hadassah Hospital and the life-saving work that it does," said co-chair Fae Lipeles of both resale stores.
With more than 300,000 members, Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, is the largest women's and largest Zionist organization in the United States.
Antiques Go Funny
Be prepared to look at antiques and yuk it up at the same time when "Tonight Show" funnyman Jay Leno and his wife, Mavis, are the honorary chairs for the 2004 gala preview of the ninth annual Los Angeles Antique Show at the Barker Hangar on the Santa Monica Airport on April 29. The show will run until May 2. The Lenos will be joined by the philanthropists Geri and Richard Braverman who are also the honorary chairs.
L.A. Mayor James K. Hahn was the honorary co-chair of the 50th annual National Conference for Community and Justice Real Estate Humanitarian Awards Dinner on March 18 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire.
The evening honored the Real Estate community for 50 years of community leadership. Proceeds from the evening went to benefit the National Conference for Community and Justice and KTLA Charities, a fund of the McCormick Tribune Foundation.