Monty's a Man -- Again
Philanthropist and game show icon Monty Hall took center stage last week at Temple Shalom for the Arts when he stepped up to the bimah to read from the Torah at his bar mitzvah. Hall embraced the ancient tradition of a second bar mitzvah surrounded by an overflowing group of friends and well-wishers who turned out to share this "second" special life moment.
Hall, born Monty Halperin on Aug. 25, 1924, in Winnipeg, Canada, came to the United States in 1955 and worked for NBC on various projects. In 1963, he became the host of "Let's Make a Deal," a game show he co-created, which ran for 23 years and aired on all three major networks at different times.
With his wife, Marilyn, at his side, he has spent his life in philanthropy, raising millions of dollars for charities, ranging from the Variety Clubs to the Jewish Home for the Aging and a wide array of national and community charitable endeavors, including The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
Hall and his family hosted a Kiddush and reception after the service, which included participation by peacemaker and virtuoso Omar Faruk Tekbilek.
A Family Mitzvah
Charlie Brucker, father of Beverly Hills Councilman Barry Brucker, also celebrated a second bar mitzvah last week at Temple Beth Am as children and grandchildren joined well-wishers and friends to participate in the festivities. Making it even more a family affair, granddaughter Lauren Brucker fashioned a personalized tallit for her grandfather to wear for the ceremonies out of a piece of silk which she tie-dyed and painted depicting the family.
Son Barry, commenting on his father's bar mitzvah, said, "I am so proud of my dad. He has always been an inspiration to me in every aspect of my life and will always continue to be. His children and grandchildren have learned so much from him about what it means to be a Jew and that pride has filtered down through our family and been a shining light to us all."
L.A. Goes for Gold
Los Angeles delegates made a strong showing at the annual JCC Maccabi Games held during August in four U.S. cities: Dallas; San Antonio; St. Paul, Minn., and Richmond, Va. Israel's first Olympic gold medalist, windsurfer Gal Fridman, was in St. Paul to light the torch at the opening ceremony.
Los Angeles, which sent 154 athletes to the games, brought back 131 medals, thanks to star athletes like 14-year-old Alex Fullman, who returned with 13 he earned in swimming -- the most from the delegation.
"It was a wonderful experience for anyone who likes to have fun, play sports, and who likes to be with other Jewish teens," said Fullman, a freshman at Harvard Westlake.
With his incredible achievement it is hard to imagine that Fullman did not expect to compete so well. At last year's games he managed a single bronze medal, so "I didn't know what to expect this year. I just went to do my best and have a good time."
Competing with and meeting other Jewish athletes meant so much to Fullman that he skipped the Junior Olympics that were taking place at the same time to compete at the Maccabi Games.
"I have until I'm 18 to compete at the Junior Olympics, but only until I'm 16 to compete at the Maccabi Games," he said. "I am happy with my decision."
During the JCC Maccabi Games, Jewish teens from around the United States represented their JCCs as they competed against Jews from Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Israel, Venezuela and Poland. -- Roxanne Pourshalimi, Contributing Writer
Chabad Aids Evacuees
Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, director of West Coast Chabad-Lubavitch, announced that Chabad will urge donors during its upcoming "Celebration 25" Telethon to add to their usual contributions in order to support Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The California-based organization has joined as a full partner in a broad relief program undertaken by Chabad-Lubavitch of Louisiana, and is providing vital financial, material and logistical aid to those in need.
"It's impossible to see the images of destruction and loss coming from the Gulf Coast and not be moved to action," Cunin said. "Our hearts go out to the hundreds of thousands who are suffering from this disaster, and we will continue to do everything we can to help the survivors. On Sept. 25, we will ask our generous telethon donors to contribute an extra amount during this emergency that they can earmark for hurricane relief. Chabad has a long, proud tradition of nonsectarian crisis intervention, and now is the time for all of us to step forward."
More than a dozen Chabad centers across the Gulf Coast and the South have been converted into emergency relief stations to provide shelter, food, clothing and accommodations to displaced families. Chabad of Louisiana has been involved in evacuation efforts, and has provided counseling, referrals to other agencies, and networking for those in search of loved ones.
"The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, taught us the special power contained within each good deed," Cunin added. "And after this devastating storm, we will need as many good deeds as possible."
Chabad's Telethon is an annual fundraising event that supports the largest network of educational and nonsectarian social services under Jewish auspices in America. The special Chabad "Celebration 25" Telethon will broadcast live from Hollywood on Sept. 25, from 3 p.m.-midnight. It will also be simulcast online at www.tolife.com.
For information, contact Daniel Ferszt at (310) 729-7108.