In 2008, Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation donated $100,000 to the Library Foundation of Los Angeles to buy a collection of Jewish books for the Los Angeles Central Library.
Recently, the foundation gave the Library Foundation $30,000, to help pay for a speaker series that brings together clergy and prominent members of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities for free, public discussions through ALOUD at Central Library’s Interfaith Series, which the Library Foundation, an independent nonprofit, holds at the downtown library.
The ALOUD interfaith series started in April 2010. One recent event featured Rabbi Laura Geller of Reform congregation Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills in a panel discussion following a screening of excerpts from the documentary “Finding God in the City of Angels.”
On Jan. 12, Dr. Izzeldin Abeulaish, a Palestinian physician, will be featured. He is best known for his call for reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians, despite losing his daughters in an Israeli attack in Gaza.
Louise Steinman, director of Cultural Programming for the Library Foundation, said the ALOUD interfaith events, which typically feature a lecture and Q-and-A, help build understanding between people of different faiths.
“There are so many conflicts that stem from religious misunderstanding,” Steinman said, “so [we like] the idea of putting people together in a public situation where we can hear each other’s point of view.”
Spielberg founded the Righteous Persons Foundation in 1994, shortly after directing “Schindler’s List.” According to the foundation’s Web site, the grants support “efforts that build a diverse and vibrant Jewish community in the United States. The foundation awards grants typically from $25,000 to $50,000.
Other recent recipients of the foundation’s funds include the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and “Israel: Portrait of a Work in Progress,” a photography project.