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Jewish Journal

Moving and shaking

by Ryan Torok

March 5, 2014 | 2:41 pm

Saul Friedlander  Photo courtesy of American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Saul Friedlander Photo courtesy of American Friends of Tel Aviv University

UCLA Holocaust historian Saul Friedlander has been named one of the winners of the 2014 Dan David Prize. He splits a
 $1 million award with Polish writer and activist Krzysztof Czyzewski and French historian Pierre Nora.

“To get the prize is quite an honor. I’m very, very glad, of course, and honored,” the 81-year-old Friedlander said in a statement published on the UCLA Web site.

Tel Aviv University serves as the headquarters for the prize. An initiative of the Dan David Foundation, the award recognizes innovative and interdisciplinary research in three categories: past, present and future.

“Professor Friedlander is credited with initiating a sustained debate over the proper interpretation of Nazi history and the extent to which the Holocaust and the history of the Third Reich should be considered exceptional,” a statement by the fundraising organization American Friends of Tel Aviv University said.

This is not Friedlander’s first significant prize. The inaugural holder of the 1939 Club Chair in Holocaust Studies at UCLA was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1999, and his book “The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945,” the second of two volumes on the Nazi persecution and extermination of European Jewry, was recognized with a Pulitzer Prize in 2008. 

Los Angeles Hebrew High School (LAHHS) recognized Barbara and Zev Yaroslavsky with the Chesed Award on Feb. 23. The event recognizing the couple’s dedication to L.A. Jewish life took place at Sinai Temple. 

From left: LAHHS supporters David and Susan Farkas, LAHHS honorees Barbara and Zev Yaroslavsky, LAHHS president Bobbie Blau and LAHHS head of school Dalia Orion Oz. Photo by Bell Productions

Zev Yaroslavsy, a 1964 alumnus of LAHHS who currently serves on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and his wife, a community activist, share a deep connection to the school. The two met when Zev Yaroslavsky was working as a shomer — hall monitor — at the school’s Sunday program and Barbara Yaroslavsky was working at the front desk of American Jewish University (then known as the University of Judaism), which housed LAHHS at the time.

Many turned out to express todah (Hebrew for “thank you”) to the honorees. Rabbi David Vorspan — founding rabbi of Congregation Shir Ami, rabbi-in-residence of New Community Jewish High School and a 1963 LAHHS alumnus — served as master of ceremonies at the gala event. Rabbi Richard Levy, faculty member of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, delivered the invocation, and musician Craig Taubman, who graduated from LAHHS in 1976, treated the audience to a musical tribute. Comedian Wendy Liebman also performed at the event, which was chaired by 1994 alumna Alisha Sela.

Zev Yaroslavsky’s sister, Shimona Yaroslavsky Kushner, presented the award with the honorees’ son David Yaroslavsky. Speakers from LAHHS included president Bobbie Blau, head of school Dalia Orion-Oz, educator Michael Singer and student Jake Shulman

Conejo Jewish Day School’s (CJDS) 13th annual gala benefit, on Feb. 23, honored Greg and Melissa Friedman. The evening, which took place at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel, recognized the couple’s support of the school.

It also spotlighted Stuart and Carrie Greenberg, Michael and Leora Langberg, Michael and Debra Laskow, Fran Prager, Rabbi Yitzchak and Brocha Sapochkinsky, David and Gisella Scharf, and Chris and Kathy Vanderlaan, who participated in establishing the school. They were all recipients of the Founder Award.

CJDS, which opened in 2001, operates in Thousand Oaks under the auspices of the Chabad of the Conejo Valley. Its funding, however, draws primarily from private donors. The school serves nearly 100 students, from kindergarten to eighth grade, according to its Web site. 

Additionally, vice president of the CJDS school board Rebbetzin Racheli Muchnik and her husband, Rabbi Dov Muchnik of Chabad of Oxnard and CJDS rabbi, presented a surprise award to school president Alvin Schrage for his dedication in sustaining CJDS. 

From left: CJDS president Alvin Schrage receives an award from Rabbi Dov Muchnik of Chabad of Oxnard and his wife, Rebbetzin Racheli Muchnik, vice president of the CJDS school board. Photo by David Cooper

Jewish Journal columnist and radio personality Dennis Prager appeared as the guest speaker at the Luxe, and he delivered remarks that echoed the mission statement of the Jewish institution in the Conejo. He emphasized the role of Jewish education in providing youth with a strong sense of identity, according to Shula Bryski, rebbetzin of Chabad of Thousand Oaks. Bryski served as the evening’s master of ceremonies and helped organize the affair. 

Honorary chairpersons included Joe and Stevie Friedman, Gary and Fran Oppenheimer, and Zeev and Varda Rav-Noy. Banquet chairpersons were Bryski, Tovi Bistritsky, Jordana Goodman, Nomi Greenwald, Alon Marer, Racheli Muchnik and Rabbi Robbie Tombosky.

Moving and Shaking highlights events, honors, simchas and more. Got a tip? E-mail ryant@jewishjournal.com.

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