The Jewish community's biggest annual fundraiser garnered $4.5 million in support for The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. The success of the Super Sunday telethon Feb. 10 edged out the total of $4.4 million raised last year.
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, L.A. City Councilman Jack Weiss and other politicians joined about 2,000 volunteers stationed at three locations in Mid-Wilshire, the San Fernando Valley and the South Bay. The fundraiser is seen as an important kickoff for The Federation's annual campaign, which officials hope this year will raise about $55 million -- money all the more in demand with state funding of social services decreasing.
"Super Sunday to me indicates the way the community is seeing the need and their obligation to step up and contribute to those needs," said Paul Castro, executive director and CEO of Jewish Family Service. "The good news is in this community there has always been a really strong showing on Super Sunday."
Event co-chair Ryan Yatman said: "Super Sunday exemplifies the Jewish community's long-standing commitment to helping those in need: in Los Angeles, in Israel and around the globe."
-- Brad A. Greenberg, Senior Writer
Hall of Fame Inducts Sports Luminaries
Scandals have touched baseball, football, cycling and track and field in the last year, calling into question the integrity of American athletics. Returned medals, use and abuse of performance-enhancing drugs and an illegal dog-fighting ring have given the larger sports world a black eye, said Rabbi Edward Tenenbaum of Temple Beth Zion, who helped kick off the 13th Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (SCJSHF) Dinner.
In contrast, the Jan. 27 event at the Skirball Cultural Center paid tribute to So Cal sports legends with a squeaky-clean rep. "Tonight we honor athletes that bring glory to our name," Rabbi Tenenbaum said during the invocation.
Inductees for 2008 include Jonathan Bornstein (soccer, defender and midfielder for local MLS team Chivas USA), Glenn Cowan (top table tennis champ), Jerry Feldman (baseball, Angels 1963 draft pick and AAA Pacific Coast League MVP), Shaney Fink (vollyeball, Women's Pro Beach Volleyball 1996-97, U.S. Maccabiah and Kiriat Haim teams), Perry Klein (football, Atlanta Falcons quarterback and Parade Magazine High School All-American), Kathy Kohner-Zuckerman (surfing, the real-life inspiration for the "Gidget" novels and films, written by her father, Frederick Kohner), Ron Price (high school football coach, 1990 L.A. Times Westside Coach of the Year with two conference and five league championship wins), Craig Steinberg (golf, four-time Southern California Gold Association Amateur champion), Arn Tellem (sports agent, named most influential agent by Sports Business Journal and The Sporting News in 2006), Wallace Wolf (U.S. Olympic swimmer and water polo player) and the 1960-1965 Westside JCC Volleyball Team.
Pillar of Achievement awards went to Rose Bowl general manager Darryl Dunn and Bob Marks, JCC Maccabi coach and former president of West Hills Baseball; and students Alix Klineman (volleyball) and Jordan Sigman (baseball) took female and male athlete of the year for their enviable high school records.
In addition to inducting the new slate of sports luminaries, the evening also paid tribute to the memory of Eli Sherman, a name synonymous with the L.A. Jewish sports world since the 1950s and founder of the Hall of Fame, which is located in West Hills at the Milken JCC. The SCJSHF dinner was the first held since Sherman died at 74 of natural causes at a Palm Desert rehabilitation center on Nov. 14, 2006.
XTRA and CBS 2 commentator Steve Hartman emceed the evening, which drew 240 people and had sports fans bidding on dozens of collectibles that included an autographed Sandy Koufax Dodgers jersey from his Cy Young and World Series MVP Award-winning 1963 season.
During her awards speech Kohner-Zuckerman, who first paddled out at 15 and was ranked seventh among the 25 most influential people in surfing by Surfer Magazine, said she's recently been going back to surf the baby waves in Malibu.
"'Gidget' brought girls into the water, and I'm proud to have paved the way," said the 60-something, who ended up marrying Yiddish professor Marvin Zuckerman rather than Moondoggie.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Klein decried the lack of Jews in football saying "the chances of [a Jew] owning a football team are better than playing for one," while during his speech agent Tellen held up the book his grandparents gave him at 12 that helped reinforce his love of sports -- "Jews in American Sports." "It's thicker than 'WASPs in Comedy,'" he joked.
-- Adam Wills, Senior Editor
ADL Presents Law Enforcement Award
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) presented its Helene & Joseph Sherwood Prize for Combating Hate to five men and three agencies at an event at the Skirball Cultural Center on Feb. 5.
The Sherwood Prize, which recognizes outstanding law enforcement personnel combating bias and extremism in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties, was awarded to Sgt. Anthony Campbell of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department for working to reduce racially motivated crimes; Costa Mesa police Lt. Clay Epperson and Orange County Deputy Probation Officer Lowell Smith for suppressing racist gangs; Anaheim police Officer Omar Adham and the late Garden Grove police Officer Steve LaFond for building relationships with the Muslim community.
The U.S. Attorney's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also were honored for the investigation and prosecution of the Aryan Brotherhood. And the Ventura Police Department's special enforcement team was recognized for pursuing skinhead gangs.