Help: A Laughing Matter
Laughter and love marked the occasion of the annual Laughing Matters luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel to benefit the L.A. Free Clinic. Celebrities and civic notables coifed and dressed to the nines were on hand to lend their humor and presence to the lustrous event that helps the clinic serve those in need of medical attention. West Hollywood Mayor Abbe Land, who announced her candidacy for Paul Koretz's (D-Los Angeles) assembly seat next year, opened the festivities and introduced Laughing Matters co-founder Greta Furst.
The packed crystal ballroom was treated to personal antidotes from such glitterati as Jamie Lee Curtis who publicly and humorously thanked fellow panel member Jack Klugman for her first acting role on his "Quincy" series. Klugman joined other notables including Theodore Bikel, Barbara Minkus, Charlotte Rae, Ed Asner and Yuppie and "Preppie Handbook" author/writer Lisa Birnbach, as mistress of ceremonies Renee Taylor, introduced as the "love of his life" by husband Joe Bologna, led the panel members in an enjoyable diatribe of personal reminiscences and humorous antidotes.
Other notables including civic leader Soraya Melamed, Annabelle Wasserstein Award honoree Barbara Fox and Gay Parish attended the luncheon. Also on hand to honor Fox and join in the laughter were her son-in-law, Beverly Hills School Board member John Millan; Fox's daughter, Gail; and her husband, Judge Elden Fox; school board president Alissa Roston; and Bonnie Webb, wife of Beverly Hills Vice Mayor Steve Webb. Guests bid on the silent auction items before a delicious lunch and afternoon of laughter.
For information about the L.A. Free Clinic, call ( 323) 330-1670.
Mink's New Hope
Tanya Mink was recently named vice president of development for City of Hope. The center for biomedical research and treatment center for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, appointed Mink, an accomplished professional with 25 years of experience in academic fundraising, to oversee responsibility for advancing City of Hope's relationships with private foundations and supporting the fundraising and volunteer development efforts of City of Hope's Beckman Research Institute.
Mink is the former vice president for college advancement at Harvey Mudd College, where she was chief development officer. Previous to this, she held a variety of fundraising positions at Caltech, including director of corporate relations, director of the Campaign for Caltech, director of principal and major gifts and director of the Biological Sciences Initiative.
"I am excited and honored to join City of Hope," Mink said. "With a history of scientific distinction and compassionate care, the institution is an important and positive force for biomedical advancement. I am eager to do my part in supporting this tradition of accomplishment."
For more information, visit www.cityofhope.org.
A cocktail reception and silent auction kicked off the evening as the Southern California Counseling Center hosted its 39th Annual City Lights Gala, May 5 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
To begin the festivities, City Lights gala chair Angela Rinaldi welcomed Gayle Anderson of KTLA News as the gala's mistress of ceremonies.
Guests listened attentively as a former gangmember and a former victim of domestic violence gave speeches on how their lives had been turned around by the counseling services they received at the center. The Henri Mancini Institute provided music during the dinner portion of the evening.
Margo Peck, the center's executive director, gave a brief speech about the counseling center prior to the presentation of awards where Dr. Nancy Snyderman presented the Mardi Arquette Spirit Award to Dr. Drew Pinsky, and mentioned his ability to bridge the age gap and appeal to young people. Dr. Emanuel Maidenberg of UCLA Medical Center a specialist in anxiety disorders presented the City Lights Award to Tony Shalhoub for his work on the TV show "Monk." Shalhoub won a Golden Globe for his work as a detective with an anxiety disorder.
Rabbi Harvey Fields presented Audrey Irmas with the Wallis Annenberg Founder's Award for all of her work with the center and in the community over the years, describing Irmas as a straight shooter.
"I am greatly honored," Irmas said. "The counseling center is a wonderful group that does a great service for low-income people and homeless people."
Justice for All
At a tribute dinner at the Highlands Hall in Highland Park, The Sholem Community, a progressive, secular Jewish organization honored two of its own, educational director Hershl Hartman and Mark Rosenbaum, legal director of the ACLU of Southern California. Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, longtime member and supporter of the organization emceed the event, attended by more than 200 people.
Both honorees spoke of the value of social justice and its connection to Jewish history.
Hartman, an internationally recognized writer, translator and teacher, spoke about passing on a legacy: "The legacy I've striven to pass on through the Sholem Community [is] that simple yet complex synthesis of what Yiddish thinkers called yidishkayt un mentshlikhkayt, Jewishness and humanism -- the broader and more profound are personal and social rights and liberties in the greater society, the deeper and richer are the potentials for continuity and development of the Jewish people and its culture."
Rosenbaum, a leader at the forefront of civil rights struggles in Los Angeles for three decades, connected his passion for justice with his Jewishness.
"What Sholem enabled me to figure out; what Sholem showed me, taught me, was that the soul of Judaism -- its historical, cultural, political and moral core -- was community, kehilla. That's what we share as our birthright and I think as our mission is a belief system in common action as a way out of impossible conditions. That what we do together is a struggle for justice and humanity."
For more information about Sholem Community, visit www.sholem.org or call (818) 760-6625.
A Full Nelson
The Women's Alliance for Israel Political Action Committee (WAIPAC) held an afternoon tea and briefing with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) on May 4 at the Skirball Cultural Center.
Vice president and event coordinator Nancy Klemens introduced Nelson, who spoke on U.S.-Israel relations and his experiences in the Senate. After Nelson gave his speech, he opened the floor for questions and several WAIPAC members asked about the situation in Israel including the senator's feelings on disarmament and airspace over Israel.
Nelson made his position clear that he does not believe in giving monetary aid to the Palestinians until they disarm.
"We need help the people with computers, jobs, skills and economy, " he said.
Nelson described the women's group as "a very warm group with a lot of good ideas. We may have the same ideals but different ideas about how to carry them out," he said.
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