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Jewish Journal

The Circuit

by Gaby Wenig

June 10, 2004 | 8:00 pm

Out of Town Honors

Some prominent Angelenos were recently honored for their contributions to the community.

On May 20, Walt Disney Company CEO Michael Eisner received the Steven S. Ross Humanitarian Award, the highest tribute of the UJA-Federation of New York.

The same day, Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesethal Center in Los Angeles received an honorary doctoral degree from Yeshiva University at its 73rd annual commencement.

And in Israel, Barbara Kort celebrated the May 18 groundbreaking of the Fred and Barbara Kort Language Studies Building at Bar-Ilan University in the presence of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel C. Kurtzer.

The Kort building will be a five-story affair, complete with computer and audio-visual labs for language study and translation that will serve as a teaching center for foreign languages and culture.

At the groundbreaking, following a special memorial tribute to Barbara's husband, Fred, Kurtzer said, "If this building can teach us the languages and words that help to build bridges, then it will not only be beneficial to Bar-Ilan University, but it will help all the people of Israel, the region and the world to reach a greater degree of understanding and mutual respect."

Lawyer of the Year

Stanton "Larry" Stein -- senior partner and head of the entertainment litigation department of Alschuler, Grossman, Stein & Kahan -- was named the 2004 Entertainment Lawyer of the Year by the Beverly Hills Bar Association during its annual Entertainment Law Awards Dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel on May 6.

In addition to representing entertainment guilds, talent agencies, writers, directors, producers, actors and musicians, Stein is also an adjunct professor at the USC School of Law.

Hostesses Who Lunch

More than 400 women gathered at the Beverly Hills Hotel on May 18 for the 62nd annual United Hostesses' Charities (UHC) luncheon.

"This beautiful event is our way of saying thank you to all the people who have supported us over the years and welcome to all of our newcomers," said Marilyn Gilfenbain, UHC president of 10 years.

UHC supports the Cardiology Division of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and research director P.K. Shah. Most recently, the organization pledged $1.5 million toward UHC Cardiac/Stroke Care center in Cedar-Sinai's emergency department, which provides specialized patient care for heart attack and stroke victims as well as research and medical education.

The luncheon, co-chaired by Roberta K. Weissman and Cindy Flagg, celebrated Barbara Colner, Cedars-Sinai's volunteer services director, and nurse Madeline Lerman, patient relations representative.

"It's my personal goal to recruit at least one volunteer a day for Cedars-Sinai," Colner said.

For the 12th time in 62 years, UHC also bestowed its highest honor, the Didi Award to one of its members. A very surprised and flattered UHC treasurer Lillian Raffel received the honor.

Following a cocktail hour and lunch, guests were treated to a fashion show featuring designs from Kevin Hall, GianFranco Ferre and Edward-Lowell Furs of Beverly Hills. The show previewed spring collections, evening gowns, fur wraps, and for the Beverly Hills man Edwards-Lowell presented fur boxer shorts. -- Carin Davis, Contributing Writer

I Love Judaism

Illana Levy, an 11th-grader at Bais Chana High School, won first place in Jews for Judaism's Creative Writing & Art Contest. More than 300 students entered, writing on the topic "I love Judaism." Levy won by peppering her essay with lines like "Dude, don't you love being Jewish?"

There were 16 overall winners in the contest, which was open to students from elementary, middle and high schools, who came from El Camino Real High School, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy, Palisades Charter High School, Pennekamp Elementary School, San Diego Jewish Academy, Torat Hayim Academy, Yavneh Hebrew Academy, Yeshiva Ohr Elchanon Chabad, and Yeshiva Ohr Eliyahu.

For more information on winners and their entries, visit www.jewsforjudaism.org.

Ordination Season

Southern California's three Jewish seminaries ordained a collective 13 rabbis in May, and one of the schools has produced the first cantors ever to be ordained on the West Coast.

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) ordained four Reform rabbis on May 16 at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, while Sinai Temple in Westwood hosted the ceremony for the University of Judaism's (UJ) six new Conservative rabbis the following day. On May 31, the nondenominational Academy for Jewish Religion (AJR) ordained three rabbis and two cantors at Stephen S. Wise Temple in Bel Air.

Of the new movement-affiliated rabbis, several are entering congregations. Among the UJ graduates, Avi Libman will go to Congregation Beth El in La Jolla, Rachel Lawson Shere will begin her career at Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills, Mich., and Mark Soloway will be at Congregation Bonai Shalom in Boulder, Colo.

From HUC-JIR Daniel Young is leaving town to become assistant rabbi at Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh, and Steven Moskowitz, a former attorney, will stay in the area as assistant rabbi of Temple Israel of Long Beach.

HUC-JIR ordinee Amy Idit Jacques and UJ ordinee William Berkovitz will become Hillel rabbis, while UJ graduate Paul Steinberg has accepted a post as school rabbi for Solomon Schechter School in Dallas. Sarah Meytin, of HUC-JIR, and Alan Abrams, a former journalist ordained at UJ, have not yet finalized their plans.

The three rabbis ordained at AJR, where almost all students matriculate after successfully pursuing other careers, have commuted weekly to the Mar Vista campus from out of town. Paula Marcus, longtime cantorial soloist of Temple Beth El in Aptos, Calif., will return to her synagogue as assistant rabbi. Yocheved Mintz, grandmother of 11, interior designer and a Jewish educator for 44 years, will work with people interested in "transdenominational Judaism" in her home community of Las Vegas. Albuquerque-based Min Kantrowitz will be rabbinic director of the Jewish Community Chaplaincy Program, a newly developed program to provide chaplaincy, pastoral care, and outreach services to Jews in New Mexico.

In contrast, the two women completing the cantorial program at the four-year-old AJR are Los Angeles based. Judy Greenfeld, a fitness company owner and author of two books on Judaism, will continue as cantor at Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills. Eva Robbins who has sung for Congregation Na'vay Shalom will continue as the congregation's cantor. She also serves as AJR's director of admissions and recruitment.

"They are both accomplished, incredible human beings," said Cantor Nathan Lam, dean of AJR's cantorial school.

"It's never too late to find your passion," Robbins said. "We're really making history." -- Ellen Jaffe-Gill, Contributing Writer

FYI

In "Ah a Spa" (May 21), the number for the Luxe Spa is (310) 691-7550.

In "A Valentine to Dena" (June 4), the event at the University of Judaism raised $600,000.

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