Life Is Beautiful
"Beautiful Music," produced by the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Moriah Films division, was winner of the best documentary award at the Hollywood Film Festival for director Richard Trank. It tells the story of a blind, autistic Arab girl whose astonishing musical talents are discovered and nurtured by a caring Jewish piano teacher in Jerusalem. -- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
Dancing and celebration was the order of the evening recently as the Maple Counseling Center honored former Beverly Hills Mayor Mark Egerman; his wife, Dr. Lynn Egerman; and "Desperate Housewife"-psychologist Marcia Cross at its annual fundraising dinner. The room was filled to capacity with attendees who dined, danced and celebrated the work of this organization that doesn't turn away anyone in need, regardless of ability to pay.
For information, call (310) 271-9999.
Singer's New Tune
Bringing attention to the groundbreaking research, technological innovation and vast educational resources of the world's largest Jewish university is the mission defined by Ruth Singer for her tenure as Western region chairperson of the Tel Aviv University: American Council. Recently named to the position by Tel Aviv University President Itamar Rabinovich, Singer will be responsible for making people aware of the institution's accomplishments and needs.
"People know about other universities in Israel, but they don't know enough about Tel Aviv University," Singer said. "Yet this is where much of the world's most exciting work is being done -- breakthrough research on cancer, diabetes and Parkinson's ... not to mention pioneering work in social and political change. Just as important is the daily work the university does to provide undergraduates and graduate students with the highest caliber education, preparing them to shape Israel's future -- and the world's."
Singer has led more than 30 mission trips to Israel as the missions chairperson of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. As a former national officer of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, she worked with members of Congress to ensure that U.S.-Israel relations remain a top priority.
"Ruth Singer leads by example," said Sam Witkin, president of the Tel Aviv University: American Council. "Her national and international work on behalf of Israel is phenomenal, and we are fortunate to welcome her into the leadership ranks of our organization."
That's a WRRAP
The newly renovated Luxe Bel Air Hotel was the setting as the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, was awarded The Rose Award by the Women's Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP).
The afternoon's mistress of ceremonies was actress Christina Pickles who starred as Monica and Ross' mother on the hit show "Friends." The luncheon featured a stunning holiday boutique and silent auction with 95 percent of all money raised going to help low-income women exercise the full range of their reproductive rights.
Among the notable host committee members and sponsors were Elayne Boosler, Bettina Duval, Amy Everitt, Gloria Feldt, Katherine Forster, Debbie Goldberger, Billie Heller, Laura Kightlinger, Mary Leonard, Kathleen McDowell, Vanessa Poster, Marsha Rothpan, Julianne Scott, Cari Siestra, Heather Sourial, Gloria Steinem, Mary Jane Wagle, Faye Wattleton and Sarah Weddington.
WRRAP, which was started and nurtured at the Los Angeles section of the National Council of Jewish Women, raises money for low-income women of all ages, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds who are unable to pay for either emergency contraception or a safe and legal abortion. Its services are provided free of charge to clinics across the country.
For more information, call (323) 223-7727 or visit www.wrrap.org.Hatred Exposed
Closer to a Cure
Dr. Patricia Ganz, a nationally renowned expert in the identification and management of quality-of-life issues related to breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, has received the prestigious Jill Rose Award, an honor given to top cancer scientists, by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Ganz, director of cancer prevention and control research at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center, was honored in New York for her "extraordinary research accomplishments," which have changed the way doctors and patients deal with the physical and psychological quality of life issues that follow breast cancer treatment, said Evelyn H. Lauder, founder and chair of the foundation.
"No other individual could match her research accomplishments in this area," Lauder said. "The impact of her work is profound."
Named after a late New York philanthropist and founding Breast Cancer Research Foundation advisory board member, the Jill Rose Award carries with it a $25,000 grant.
For more information on the Jonsson Cancer Center, visit at www.cancer.mednet.ucla.edu.