Jewish Book Month in November kicked off with the 2005 Harold U. Ribalow Prize to Jenna Blum, author of "Those Who Save Us" (Harcourt, 2004). Administered by the award-winning Hadassah Magazine, the Ribalow Prize is given annually to an author who has created an outstanding work of fiction on a Jewish theme.
Blum's debut novel is a mother-daughter drama that chronicles protagonist Trudy Brandt's investigation into her mother's wartime experience in Germany. Inspiration for her book included work filming interviews for Steven Spielberg's Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. Blum, of German and Jewish descent herself, has traveled to Germany four times with her mother to explore her own heritage, as well as deepen her knowledge of the country and its past.
In accepting the award, Blum said that her novel "examines a crucial time period from a slightly different perspective, from the point of view of how the Nazi regime affected an average German woman," she said. "My novel explores the gray area between heroism and culpability. When history is lost, imagination steps in."
Putting Out Fires
Sen. Hilary Clinton (D-N.Y.) called Israeli firefighters "pioneers" when presented with a firefighter's helmet by Israel's Fire & Rescue Commissioner Shimon Romach on behalf of the Israel Firefighters. The ceremony was held in Givat Mordechai's Fire and Rescue Station in Jerusalem. Friends of Israeli Fire and Rescue Services raise money for the crucial need for fire engines in Israel.
For more information, call (310) 777-3177.
A Little Laughter
The evening was upbeat at the Jewish Television Network's (JTN) Vision Award Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, honoring Sony Pictures Television President Steve Mosko. "Jeopardy's" Alex Trebek hosted the evening, while Peter Frampton and comedian Garry Shandling performed.
The array of stars was dazzling at the Regent that night as Kevin James, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara were all on hand to support the cause and honor Mosko.
JTN Productions annually honors an industry leader who promotes positive values and diversity through television.
For more information about JTN or future programming, call (818) 789-5891.
Music Sweet Music
Some of the most beautiful voices and unparalleled musical talent joined forces last month to honor Cantor Ilan Davidson of Temple Beth El in San Pedro. In the magnificent Warner Grand Theater, an art deco, historic movie house known as "Pantages South," Temple Beth El and more than 300 guests celebrated Davidson's 10th anniversary and his dedication to his community with Seasons of Song, an evening of opera, musical comedy, traditional Jewish liturgy and Israeli songs. Joining Davidson were many friends and colleagues including Cantor Sam Radwine, Congregation Ner Tamid of Rancho Palos Verdes; Cantor Jonathan Grant, Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach; Cantor Patti Linsky, Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge; and Dr. Noreen Green, who serves as musical director for both Valley Beth Shalom in Encino and the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony.
Green brought with her the 40-piece Koheleth Orchestra and the 35 member choir from Valley Beth Shalom. Special guests who delivered tributes to Davidson included L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and Dr. Bruce Zuckerman of USC's Casden Institute.
"Cantor Davidson never fails to delight his congregation, and this time he exceeded every expectation," said Ronnie Kauffman, event co-chair. "He was at his absolute best, and there is no doubt that our congregation loves him."
The Mighty Pen
Fifty-three writers were hosted in private homes throughout greater Los Angeles for the Literary Odyssey Dinners coordinated by The Council of the Library Foundation.
All proceeds from the dinners will benefit the Fund for New Information Technologies of the Los Angeles Public Library, which includes the Central Library and 71 branches.
The council is a group of female community leaders who serve as library ambassadors, increasing public awareness of the valuable resources of the Los Angeles Public Library.