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Jewish Journal

The Circuit

by Gaby Wenig

September 9, 2004 | 8:00 pm

FIT FOR AMIT

To inaugurate Debbie Herbst, the new regional president, 30 members of AMIT gathered July 15 at the Luxe Hotel in Beverly Hills for an installation brunch.

AMIT, the Zionist program supporting religious education and social services for Israeli youth, has until now "been largely sustained by the older generation," said Gail Bershon, Western regional director.

One of Herbst's goals as president is to integrate younger generations to create a more intergenerational program.

"We want to continue with the AMIT mission, but we also want to create a new generation for Los Angeles," said Herbst, who will serve as regional president for three years. "We want to expand and focus on bringing in new members.... We want to do more events and want the public to be more knowledgeable about what we do, which is helping the neglected and abused kids of Israel."

Ex-president Dina Goldstein was honored for her three years of service and "untiring efforts," receiving a small sculpture representing the AMIT icon. All other ex-presidents in attendance were presented with small Israeli flags. -- Lauren Bragin, Contributing Writer

STARS GIVE HOPE

City of Hope's 2004 national convention July 17-19 at the Beverly Hilton concluded with a traditional black-tie banquet.

The banquet honored former City of Hope head Ben Horowitz and actress Rhonda Fleming for their dedication and commitment to City of Hope, known for its cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes treatment and research centers.

Comedian Norm Crosby, who celebrated his 21st year as City of Hope's national ambassador of good will, introduced Carol Channing who presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Fleming, her longtime friend.

"I just have to say one thing: I give God all the glory, because he blessed me so," said an emotional Fleming. "This is one of the highlights of my life, to have this happen tonight."

Chairman emeritus Mike Hirsch introduced special honoree Horowitz, who was greeted by a standing ovation.

"I have been sharing the most significant aspects of my life with the City of Hope," Horowitz said.

"May the light you shine bring hope to the world and to all mankind," he added, speaking to the more than 1,000 delegates in attendance, at which point he was surprised with a cake to celebrate his 90th birthday.

Among those present at the convention were actor Efrem Zimbalist Jr., with his daughter, actress Stephanie Zimbalist; unmerciful fashion critic Mr. Blackwell; and former game show host Monty Hall, who emceed the Roll Call of the Nation, at which volunteers turned in the money they'd raised on behalf of City of Hope, among others.

JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME

Aish L.A.'s sold-out Journey of a Lifetime dinner at the Beverly Hilton June 8 attracted a crowd of more than 1,100 guests to raise money for Aish programs.

Aish, which became popular with its SpeedDating program, now has more than 25 branches in eight countries. Aish provides "outreach for the unaffiliated Jew to reconnect as a young adult," said Chana Heller who is in charge of women's outreach programming. Besides social events, Aish L.A. offers everything from weekly study classes and discovery seminars to low-cost trips to Israel.

At the dinner, speakers shared personal stories about their trips to Israel with Aish.

"Jews and Israel are tied together -- it recharges your soul when you go there," said Lauren Kest, recalling her trip to Israel with her family through Aish L.A.

Following dinner, more than 400 young professionals in their 20s to early 40s attended the after-party upstairs in the penthouse suite, with refreshments and drinks and mingled until the wee hours of the morning

"Aish L.A. aspires to be the No. 1 place in Los Angeles for young Jews to meet, network and learn more about their Jewish heritage," said Rabbi Aryeh Markman, Aish L.A.'s executive director.

For more information on Aish's programming and next trip to Israel, call Rabbi David Ordon at (310) 278-8672, ext. 503. -- Mihal Peretz

DESIGNING WOMAN

New jewelry stores are always welcome additions to Los Angeles' shopping landscape. In June, designer Hilary Druxman opened Hilary Druxman Design, her flagship store at 1413 Montana Ave., Santa Monica.

COMMANDMENT PERFORMANCE

More than 500 people filled the sanctuary at Temple Etz Chaim in Thousand Oaks July 25 for a free preview performance of "The Ten Commandments: A New Musical," sponsored by The Jewish Journal, BCBG and Max Azria Entertainment.

Rabbi Richard Spiegel of Temple Etz Chaim opened the evening, followed by "The Ten Commandments" director Robert Iscove, who discussed the success of the musical abroad, which opens in Los Angeles on Sept. 18. He introduced two of the original cast members, Kevin Earley and Nick Rodriguez.

Earley and Rodriguez each sang a selection from the original score, then concluded with the duet, "Brothers Still."

The performances were followed by a panel discussion about the Ten Commandments and pop culture, moderated by Spiegel. Panelists included Rabbi Isaac Jaret, president of Brandeis-Bardin Institute, Rabbi Daniel Bouskila of Sepharadic Temple Tifereth Israel and Rabbi Morris Rubenstein of Valley Beth Israel in Sun Valley.

At the event's conclusion, guests viewed original artwork by artist Melissa Blatt, while they enjoyed a catered dessert reception donated by Delice Bakery in Los Angeles.

The successful event was the second in a series of free community events sponsored by The Jewish Journal and Jewish Families of Conejo and the West Valley.

For more information on free Jewish Journal-sponsored events in the Conejo Valley or your area, call (213) 368-1661, ext. 246. -- MP

OSBOURNE'S CANCER SHOW

People who know the Osbourne family from their eponymous MTV reality show will probably know that matriarch Sharon Osbourne had a not-so-wonderful reality of her own -- cancer.

Following her struggle with colon cancer, Osbourne decided she wanted to get involved by providing support for the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was treated. The establishment of the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program was announced July 28.

"The program will focus on three main components," said Dr. Edward Phillips, director of the Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery. "It will provide financial assistance and sponsored care to those who might not otherwise be able to afford treatment, it will give all patients access to state-of-the-art treatment protocols and at the same time, it will research new treatments and elevate public awareness about colon cancer."

"Colon cancer is a particularly insidious disease that strikes both men and women," Osbourne said. "If caught in time, the treatments can be highly effective -- but they are not fun for anyone and can be out of reach financially for too many. When I saw people taking the public bus after a chemotherapy treatment, I knew I had to get involved." -- LB

CANCER CRUSADERS

The Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) is an organization that does a lot of fundraising in America so that scientists in Israel can continue seeking a cure for cancer.

In Los Angeles, the ICRF held its ninth annual Women of Action luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel June 23. The luncheon bestowed the Women of Action award on actress-dancer Debbie Allen, artist and ICRF board chairman Jacqueline Bell, internist and cardiologist Debra R. Judelson and investment banker Lauren B. Leichtman.

Other guests included Robin Broidy and luncheon chair Norma Fink. There was also a surprise visit from mayoral candidate Robert Hertzberg who stopped in to give the awardees city proclamations.

ICRF has contributed nearly $28 million to underwrite 1,413 research grants at all the major hospitals, universities and cancer research institutions in Israel. art of giving

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