Full House of Hope
It was a full house May 14 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire at the 30th annual Celebration of Life Faces of Hope Benefit gala, honoring the City of Hope's bone marrow transplant (BMT) program, along with the program's director, Dr. Stephen J. Forman. Watching the videos and pictures about the program's 30 years and the more than 7,300 transplant procedures conducted, guests were visibly overcome with emotion.
City of Hope is one of the largest BMT programs in the world and patients everywhere benefit from the transplant expertise and research conducted at its campus in Duarte.
Philanthropist Laurie Konheim, a member of City of Hope's board of regents and the organization's Cancer Immunotherapy & Stem Cell Research Committee, co-chaired the event. Honorary Faces of Hope committee members include actor Brad Garrett, supermodel Cindy Crawford, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Also at the event were Howard and Susan Gordon, owners of the Cheesecake Factory; Neil Portnow, CEO of the Recording Academy; Jordan Scott, daughter of director Ridley Scott; Val Zavala, KCET newscaster and member of the Faces of Hope honorary committee, and members of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
United in Charity
Spring was in the air on May 17 at the annual United Hostesses' Charities (UHC) 64th annual Membership Luncheon and Fashion Show in the Crystal Ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel. Women dressed in spring colors and prints gave a festive air to the event and after lunch UHC President Marilyn Gilfenbain presented a check to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, bringing the group nearer their $1.5 million pledge to endow United Hostesses' Charities Cardiac/Stroke Emergency Care and support the groundbreaking research of Dr. Prediman K. Shah, director of the division of cardiology. The group also provides funding for the UHC Center at Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center.
A fashion show featuring the extraordinary designs of Fe Zandi and the skinny models with legs up to their necks, (oh, why did I eat so much at lunch) rounded out the day.
Movies in Focus
Hollywood luminaries were honored at the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) Entertainment Industry Awards, with Focus Features feted at the Beverly Hills Hotel event for distributing tolerance-themed films, such as the gay cowboy saga, "Brokeback Mountain."
Thespians William H. Macy and his wife, Felicity Huffman, emceed the evening, with remarks from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and ADL Pacific Southwest Region Director Amanda Susskind.
"I can't think of an industry that has more reach and power to make a difference than the entertainment industry," Susskind said at the April 5 event. "When we see movies like 'Brokeback Mountain' and 'The Pianist,' we are reminded of this."
Focus Features co-presidents David Linde and James Schamus received the ADL's Distinguished Entertainment Industry Award. Schamus told the audience of more than 300 that given the number of films about oppressed minorities distributed by Universal Pictures-owned Focus, "If you're hated for who you are, you probably have a first-look deal with us."
"Lord of the Rings" executive producer Mark Ordesky, one of the dinner's co-chairs, said that he was fortunate when he grew up because he "never had to experience anything that ADL has combated. The [charity] work I do for ADL truly is the most gratifying." -- David Finnigan, Contributing Writer
The General Speaks
Nearly 100 mostly senior and Israeli members of Shaarey Zedek Congregation in North Hollywood gathered on May 29 to hear a speech given by former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon. The event, sponsored by Los Angeles chapter of the Americans for a Safe Israel, also welcomed their Christian supporters. After a career spanning more than 30 years in the IDF, Ya'alon retired in June 2005, prior to Israel's controversial unilateral withdrawal from Gaza last year, because of his opposition to the policy supported by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. At the gathering, Ya'alon again voiced his strong opposition to Israel's recent disengagement plan to leave certain parts of Judea and Samaria, warning that it was a failed policy of appeasement.
"Unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon was perceived by the Hezbollah as a victory and now it is perceived by Hamas as a victory as well," Ya'alon said. "This encourages and entices Islamic radicalism and they feel like they are winning".
Ya'alon also spoke about the threat Israel faces from Islamic fundamentalist regimes like Iran that have promoted and funded suicide bombings through out the Middle East. -- Karmel Melamed, Contributing Writer
Lauding the Literati
Norman Mailer and Judith Krantz were honored at the 11th annual Los Angeles Public Library Awards Dinner recently at the Central Library. The event honored Mailer, Library Foundation of Los Angeles Executive Director Evelyn Hoffman and Wells Fargo, represented by Regional President Shelley Freeman. The evening, hosted by Keith Carradine, raised $680,000 for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to securing private contributions to support the Los Angeles Public Library.
For 16-year-old former Encino resident Marisa Gobuty it's all about basketball.
Throughout the summer, Gobuty, a 5-foot-7 high school junior point guard, who now lives in Israel and plays for Israel's National Basketball Team, will be playing for the Southern California-based Finest Basketball Club (FBC), and compete in tournaments across the United States.
Six years ago, she and her family moved to Israel for a short two-year stint. They have lived there ever since. But like in Encino, Gobuty's love and passion for basketball led her back on to the courts around Tel Aviv, eventually landing a spot on the Israel National team at age 15. She is now one of only 12 team members on Israel's Segel Zahav, which means Gold Team. It is comprised of the top players in the 16-24 age bracket.
"Living in Israel has been a great learning experience culturally and emotionally," Gobuty said. "By playing basketball there I've also gotten to compete against some of the best in the world playing in European FIBA Championships, as well as having the opportunity to learn about different cultures. But some of my most rewarding moments have been talking to other high school age-teenagers about what it's like to grow up in a country that is constantly on alert in a war time like state and being able to share my experiences."
Support Your Students
The West Coast Supporters of Yeshiva University (YU) recently held a dinner at the L.A. home of Esthi and Walter Feinblum. Forty YU supporters attended the event and raised $100,000 for the West Coast Scholarship Drive to ensure that all qualified undergraduate students who wish to attend YU can do so regardless of their financial circumstances.