Jewish Journal


Posted on Mar. 20, 2003 at 7:00 pm

Delshad Wins Beverly Hills Council Seat

Jimmy Delshad is used to being an overachiever, but not much can match his victory in winning a Beverly Hills City Council seat -- the first time an Iranian American has been elected to the legislative body.

"I was elated, very excited," Delshad said. "I've had calls from Israel and all over the country. It is a very important beginning, a new era in Beverly Hills. We are moving from being not only a diverse community but a unified community, as well."

Delshad, a former president of Sinai Temple, is the president of the Magbit Education Foundation, a Persian Jewish organization that provides interest-free loans to college students and raises money to help terror victims throughout Israel.

The 62-year-old philanthropist was born in Iran and moved to Los Angeles in 1959. He has been a Beverly Hills resident for the past 14 years, growing gradually more active in  city government and serving on several local committees.

The March 4 election was a tight race, but Delshad placed second, winning one of two available council seats. He attributed his victory to the two-pronged campaign he began a year and a half ago to get his name and position known to traditional voters and to register and educate Iranian Americans.

The community leader took office Tuesday, sworn in by Sinai's Rabbi David Wolpe. In an interview earlier that day, Delshad said his goals as councilman include establishing a security task force for the city (none currently exists); dealing with the city's budget deficit, caused in part by a decrease in tourism since Sept. 11, and launching a full investigation into the health controversy involving oil wells at Beverly Hills High School.

A group of Beverly Hills High alumni, represented by activist Erin Brokovich and attorney Ed Masry, believe the presence of oil drilling on the campus caused them to later develop cancer. Delshad said he hopes to resolve the issue and "do what is right for the residents." -- Wendy J. Madnick, Contributing Writer

Spare the Discipline and 'Kindle' the Kid

When it comes to disciplining children, parenting experts offer a variety of strategies, ranging from timeouts to child problem-solving to corporal punishment.

However, Rabbi Joshua Kohl of the Valley Kollel offers an alternative solution: preventing problems before they start by creating an environment supporting each child's individual needs, which he will outline in a seminar on March 25.

Kohl's philosophy is based partly on his own experience as a father and a rabbi, but primarily on the parenting advice outlined in the book, "To Kindle a Soul," by Lawrence Keleman, a professor of education at Neve Yerushalayim College in Jerusalem. In his book, Keleman emphasizes the overall structure of a child's daily life as opposed to using popular, quick-fix methods like timeouts.

"This method is focused on ways to improve a child's life," Kohl said of Keleman's book. "It is a very proactive, rather than reactive, method of parenting."

Kohl acknowledged the "To Kindle a Soul" method requires a lot more work initially on the part of parents, "but if you do that well, you can deal with the problems that arise in a much easier and more painless way."

The next local seminar will be held Tuesday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m., at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills. For more information on the parenting workshops offered through the Valley Kollel, call (877) 456-5535. -- WJM

Israeli Film Festival Postpones L.A. Run

The annual Israel Film Festival, which was scheduled to open in Los Angeles on April 2, has been postponed because of the threatening war situation. It has been re-scheduled to run May 28-June 8.

"I think the mood just isn't right now for a celebration," said Meir Fenigstein, founder and executive director of the festival. He also cited the reluctance of Israeli directors and actors to travel outside their country at this time and the likely blackout of nonwar news by the media as reasons for the postponement.

The four-city festival will now open in Chicago and run May 8-15, as previously planned, followed by the Los Angeles event. For logistical reasons, the New York festival has been postponed one week and will run June 19-July 3, with the tour winding up in Miami, Nov.13-20.

At each venue, the festival will consist of approximately 35 feature movies, television films, documentaries and student shorts. Fenigstein said that he had already received some cancellations from among the 15 Israeli filmmakers who had planned to attend the original Los Angeles event.

The Los Angeles festival, now in its 19th year, has been postponed only once before, following the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

"At that time, we delayed the opening by one week to allow people to sit shiva," said Fenigstein. "As it turned out, the 1995 festival became our biggest success ever."

Despite, or perhaps because, of the current war jitters, support for the festival by Los Angeles sponsors and community organizations is at its all-time high, Fenigstein reported.

For updates on the festival, call (323) 966-4166 or go to www.israelfilmfestival.com . -- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

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