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Jewish Journal

The Circuit

by Michael Aushenker

February 28, 2002 | 7:00 pm

The Rewards of Reform

"Thank you for honoring two of the finest leaders that Jewish life has produced," said Rabbi Ami Hirsch to the audience at the World Union for Progressive Judaism's International Humanitarian Awards Celebration. The event, on Feb. 10, was held to recognize and honor the extraordinary achievements of longtime Reform movement activist Evely Laser Shlensky and Rabbi John L. Rosove, senior rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood.

The night began with the first public showing of the World Union's documentary film, combining voices and stories of those around the world who have benefited from the efforts of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA).

Following the film, Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, introduced Shlensky, the past chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, past president of the Pacific Southwest Council of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) and current board member of UAHC, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and MAZON, among others. Accepting her honor, Shlensky spoke on the importance of maintaining ARZA as "a religious voice, for those voices that have been muted because of their circumstances." -- Rachel Brand, Contributing Writer

Life With the Fast Lainer

Luis Lainer was selected as Americans for Peace Now's (APN) new co-chair . APN's mission is to enhance Israel's security through peace and to support the Israeli Peace Now movement. Lainer has served on the APN executive committee and as the organization's regional co-chair -- a position that will be assumed by Arthur Stern. Lainer was also a co-founder of Bet Tzedek Legal Services, a beneficiary agency of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

Cheers From the Birthday Boy

Assemblyman Paul Koretz's Chief of Staff Scott Svonkin turned the occasion of his 36th birthday into a charity bash at Hollywood Entertainment Museum on Hollywood Boulevard. The event, which attracted 40 guests, raised $6,000 for three charities: B'nai B'rith; Huckleberry Fund, which supports youth outreach programs of Children's Hospital's Division of Adolescent Medicine; and Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy/Workers Relief Fund, which is responding to mass layoffs in Los Angeles' tourism industry following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Realty Check

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles held its annual Real Estate & Construction Division reception and panel at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. About 100 people attended the discussion of today's local real estate market, which was made possible by Lola Levoy and Jeffrey Schick, event co-chairs; Jodi Berman, division director; Brad Luster, division chair; Michael Scott, Business and Professionals chair; and Jordanna Cooper, event planner.

Steve Soboroff, 2001 Los Angeles mayoral candidate, moderated the panel, which featured John Aaroe, Prudential California Realty's Estates Division president; Scott Gibson, Coldwell Banker Greater Los Angeles Company CEO; Saeed Nourmand, Nourmand & Associates president ; and Frank Symons, Sotheby's International Real Estate executive vice president.

Across the board, all of the panelists agreed on one thing -- Southern California real estate market, despite a short post-Sept. 11 lag, is red hot right now. Symons pointed to 80 new homes in the Beverly Park area.

"It's like creating another Bel Air," Symons said. "Hancock Park is on fire. Homes are selling for $5 million. Los Feliz, $4 million."

Gibson said that many of his new agents are from the "dot-com world." "We're in a transitional time," he said. "It's changing."

Nourmand, who, with his wife, Myra, and his three children, are very active Sinai Temple members, warned that there is "too much emphasis on technology. Technology is a tool, it is not salesmanship." He added that he looks for integrity, honesty and the way they communicate when hiring agents.

"If you don't have the passion," Nourmand said, "you're going to burn out."

The biggest laugh of the evening came early when the good-natured Soboroff, referring to California, accidentally cited "the state of Los Angeles." Quipped Soboroff, "That's why I came in third."

Law Reinforcement

On President's Day, Sephardic Tradition And Recreation, a local youth organization, took a group of 80 children, ages 7-12, to Hollywood to meet with representatives of the LAPD.

Officers Pamela George and William Sollie of the LAPD's Hollywood division were on hand to talk to the kids and show them the inside of a squad car. Then it was off to the Guinness World Record Museum and to the El Capitan Theater for a movie. Photos are available for viewing at www.LASTAR.org.

Contest Conquests

The Annual Drawing at Temple Beth Shalom in Long Beach was held on Feb. 9. Entertainment was provided by the musical group Rabbinical School Dropouts, a local Klezmer band. Proceeds from the event benefit the temple.

Mock Marriage

Seventh-grade students at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Northridge had an opportunity to participate in a traditional mock Jewish wedding ceremony. As part of their life cycle studies, students learned about every facet of a Jewish wedding -- from the tisch to the bedeken to the ketubah signing and actual ceremony -- all conducted by the students themselves. Not discussed at all was the get.

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