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Jewish Journal

Hollywood stars to mark Israel’s Anniversary; Four Jewish scientists to receive science medals

September 11, 2008 | 12:43 am

Hollywood stars are due to turn out in force to celebrate Israel's 60th anniversary at a "From Vision to Reality" dinner and show on Sept. 18 at Paramount Studios.

Among the announced guests are Jason Alexander, Warren Beatty, Heidi Klum and Seal, Debi Mazar, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Stone, Kiefer Sutherland and Shaun Toub.

Hosts for the evening are the Consulate General of Israel and the Citizens' Empowerment Center in Israel (CECI).

Producer Arnon Milchan will be honored with a Legacy of Citizens Lifetime Achievement Award to be presented by Peter Chernin, president of News Corp. and CEO of The Fox Group. The head honchos of Hollywood's main studios are serving as honorary chairs.

Several Israeli dignitaries will participate, including Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, Education Minister Yuli Tamir and the leaders of the Israeli scouting movement and the Council of Youth Movements.

"This special occasion marks the rebirth of a state and the coming together of a nation which has endured and excelled," Israeli Consul General Yaakov Dayan said.

CECI founder Izak Parvis Nazarian noted, "The past 60 years have been a shining testament to Israel's strength and the invincible spirit of her people."

CECI's goal is to strengthen Israel's democratic foundation and reform the country's electoral system. The evening's emphasis will be on a new education initiative for Israel's 27,000 youth movement counselors.

Milchan, 63, a native of Rehovot, near Tel Aviv, has led an adventurous life in Israel, Britain and the United States as a soldier, national soccer star, business entrepreneur, arms consultant and producer of nearly 100 movies.

He founded New Regency Productions in 1991, and his credits include such films as "Once Upon a Time in America," "Brazil," "Pretty Woman," "JFK," "Free Willy," "L.A. Confidential" and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith."

"As an 11th generation Israeli, I am especially proud to participate in this tribute to my home country," Milchan said.

An in-depth interview with the Arnon Milchan will appear in an upcoming issue of The Journal.

Tickets to the event are $1,000 per person. For information, call (310) 300-4120 or e-mail igal@ceci.org.il.

-- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

Jewish Home Negotiating for Westside Site

Jewish Home for the Aging announced on Sept. 7 that its longstanding plan to bring a facility to West Los Angeles is closer to becoming a reality.

"We have identified a site and entered into negotiations," said Molly Forrest, CEO/president of the Reseda-based nonprofit senior facility.

The 2.4-acre site in Culver City, at Venice Boulevard between Delmas Terrace and Hughes Avenue, is the westernmost building of Brotman Medical Center, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2007. The Delmas West Tower Building houses a variety of services, including the center's emergency room, administrative offices and outpatient care, among others. A Brotman spokesman said the services would be relocated to its Delmas East Building as part of the proposed arrangement.

No financial details about the negotiations were available as The Journal went to press on Tuesday.

The nonprofit sought supporters to join its Westside Founders of the Los Angeles Jewish Home at its annual "Reflections" dinner on Sept. 7. However, it will not officially launch a campaign until purchase of the site is completed.

The Jewish Home was founded in Boyle Heights in 1912 with just five residents and currently cares for more than 2,000 through residential care or its of-site programs at its two village campuses in the San Fernando Valley.

For more information about the Westside Founders, call (818) 774-3197.

-- Adam Wills, Senior Editor

Four Jewish Scientists to Receive Science Medals

Southern Californians Leonard Kleinrock and Andrew J. Viterbi are among four Jewish scientists and engineers selected for the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor in science and technology.

They are among eight U.S. honorees announced Aug. 25 by President Bush, who will confer the awards on Sept. 29 at a White House ceremony.

Kleinrock, of West Los Angeles, is a distinguished professor of computer science at UCLA and pioneered in developing the foundations of the Internet.

Viterbi, whose family came to the United States to escape fascist persecution in Italy, is considered the father of cell technology and founded cellphone giant Qualcomm in San Diego.

A USC doctoral graduate and former UCLA professor, Viterbi has endowed the USC Engineering School bearing his name, a program in Mediterranean Jewish Studies at UCLA and a number of Jewish institutions in the San Diego area.

The two other Jewish honorees are Fay Ajzenberg-Selove, who was born in Berlin into a Russian-Jewish family and is a nuclear physicist at the University of Pennsylvania, and Robert J. Lefkowitz, a physician and path-breaking biochemist at Duke University.

The other four honorees are Bert W. O'Malley of the Baylor College of Medicine; Charles P. Slichter, University of Illinois; David Wineland, National Institute of Standards and Technology; and Mustafa A. El-Sayed, Georgia Institute of Technology.

-- TT

Hertz Israel Establishes U.S. Office in Encino

Hertz Israel has set up a dedicated call-in reservation system in Los Angeles, which marks the first time an Israeli franchise of a car rental agency has established an office outside of the Jewish state.

The L.A. office, which is for U.S. customers only, is intended to bridge the time difference between Israel and the United States, as well as free up workers at the 24-hour Hertz Ben-Gurion Airport office, who frequently have to juggle phone reservations with customers at the service counter.

The new toll-free number for U.S. customers rings directly in the Encino home of Maya Eliasi, who uses a dedicated computer to set up reservations in much the same way JetBlue uses work-at-home mothers for customer service.

"I have the same system that they work with in Israel," said Eliasi, who formerly worked in the Ben-Gurion office.

"I get the phones from New York in the [early] morning and then take calls from the rest of the United States throughout the day," she said.

Hertz Israel's sole U.S. employee usually ends her day at about 9 p.m., when the toll-free line is then redirected to the morning crew in Israel.

To contact Hertz Israel in the United States, call (866) 429-9998.

-- AW

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