December 7, 2006
The King of Hearts; Celebrating diversity
"As Henry VIII told each of his six wives, 'I won't keep you long'," promised Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, as he addressed some 300 guests at the Skirball Cultural Center.
The Nov. 16 occasion was a benefit for Atidim, an innovative Israeli project to assure an education for promising youngsters from the country's poorer development towns and thus help close the social and economic gap between Israel's haves and have-nots.
Gillerman assured his audience that the recent battles against Hezbollah in Lebanon had been a success and had changed the rules in the Mideast diplomatic game.
Joining the ambassador on the speaker's rostrum were Rabbi Eli Hirscher, Skirball founder Uri Hirscher, Israeli Consul General Ehud Danoch, and Israeli industrialist Eitan Wertheimer.
The only disappointment was the no-show of megabillionaire Warren Buffet, who called in sick.
Metuka Benjamin, co-organizer of the event with Anette and A. Stuart Rubin, received a standing ovation, as did two Atidim-aided graduates, one from Ethiopia, the other from Russia.
Conversation at the Circuit's table was enlivened by Rochelle Ginsburg, principal of the Stephen S. Wise Temple elementary school, and her physician husband Eli.
As master of ceremonies, actor Michael Burstyn kept the action moving and concluded the evening on a high note by leading guests in singing "Jerusalem of Gold."
-- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
King of Hearts
Larry King and his friends showed the world their determination to provide health care to all no matter what their economic circumstances when the Larry King Cardiac Foundation hosted "An Evening with Larry King and Friends" at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. It was a feast for the eyes and the palate and the heart and there was something for everyone as King and wife Shawn Southwick-King hosted the gala, entertaining the group with playful banter and true stories and incidents in their life.
"Entertainment Tonight"'s adorable Mary Hart acted as emcee, bringing a whole lotta smiles and sunshine to the proceedings that honored Los Angeles' own "movie star" mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, Eva (the men couldn't get their eyes off her) Longoria, beloved and uber-generous philanthropists Alfred and Claude Mann, and renowned cardiologist Dr. Enrique Ostrzega. Athlete extraordinaire Lance Armstrong was on-hand to present the Corazones Unidos (United Hearts) award to Longoria, who thanked Armstrong for being there for her and acknowledged her deep admiration for him as someone who has triumphed in the face of personal adversity.
Three fortunate families bid $15,000 a piece for a personal portrait done by legendary American artist Peter Max.
The event featured entertainment by Il Divo, and raised more than $700,000 in funds to support the partnership forged earlier this year between the LAC+USC Healthcare Network, COPE Health Solutions, the Los Angeles County division of the American Heart Association and the Larry King Cardiac Foundation.
A Woman of Valor
It was a nonstop kvellfest when civic leader Rita Brucker received the Coastal Cities "Volunteer of the Year" award by the American Cancer Society. Brucker was recognized for her 35 years of outstanding service as one of the founding architects for the "Reach to Recovery" program helping breast cancer survivors. Proud son Barry Brucker, Beverly Hills City Council member, who attended the event with his wife, Sue and father, Charlie, stated, "I was amazed at the number of breast cancer survivors who credited my mother for being an integral part in their survival ... it was very emotional and we are very proud."
The evening was as diversified as its cause Nov. 19 at the star-studded black tie Multicultural Motion Picture Association's (MMPA)14th Annual Diversity Awards -- "Celebrating Diversity - Creativity and Talent That Shine." The event, honoring artists for their exceptional achievements in film and television, benefited The Multicultural Motion Picture Association's Educational and Development Scholarship Fund, that helps talented and dedicated students, and upcoming filmmakers, seeking entry into the film and television professions.
Jarvee E. Hutcherson, executive producer of the 14th Annual Diversity Awards and president of MMPA, said, "We are very pleased to honor a very select talented group of artists every year at The Diversity Awards, each of whom our organization feels have broadened the creative landscape in the film and television industry through their visionary work. With this year's theme ... we are recognizing the foundation laid by both artistic leaders and the emerging depth of dedicated young artists, behind and in front of the camera, who are bringing to this industry, a vision and talent indicative of only greater things to come in the future."
MMPA's Educational Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance and technical support to young filmmakers bringing diverse stories to the screen.
Three women were honored at The Wellness Community of West Los Angeles' annual Friends of Wellness luncheon at the Skirball Cultural Center.
The women, Judy Bernstein, Shirley Blitz and Lynda Levy have given of their time, their hearts and their spirit to helping fulfill the mission of The Wellness Community.
"Their efforts have helped bring hope and support to countless people with cancer," said Ellen Silver, executive director of The Wellness Community -West Los Angeles, More than 265 people attended the event that featured a heartwarming presentation from cancer survivor and Wellness Center participant Karen Sabatini and a presentation with authors Carolyn and Lisa See. For more information about The Wellness Community-West Los Angeles, visit www.twc-wla.org.