The NBA's only Jewish player conducted a clinic in southern Israel for Jewish and Palestinian children.
Jordan Farmar, a guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, was in Israel Tuesday in cooperation with the Peres Center for Peace. Farmar, 21, was scheduled to lead a workshop Thursday for Jewish and Palestinian girls as part of his eight-day visit.
Israeli women's basketball star Limor Mizrahi, who is related to Farmar, also participated in the workshop.
Farmar, a former standout at UCLA, is in his second season playing in the National Basketball Association.
The Peres Center's Twinned Peace Sports Schools are open to Jewish and Palestinian children aged 6 to 13 from 35 separate schools. They host joint Israeli-Palestinian sports contests every month.
Triple Celebration of Anniversaries
The Irvine Civic Center was awash in brightly colored saris, ornate Korean hanboks and blue Stars of David in a birthday bash simultaneously honoring the 60th anniversaries of Israeli, Indian and South Korean independence.
More than 1,000 celebrants participated in the Aug. 3 event, which was hosted by the nonprofit Irvine Multicultural Association (IMA).
Israeli folksingers, an Indian children's dance troupe and a symphony orchestra were among the performers on two stages at Irvine's City Hall. Merchants sold ethnic wares, while local synagogues, churches and Indian philosophical groups shared information on their activities. Across the plaza, the pungent smell of Korean barbecued beef blended with whiffs of curry and fresh falafel in a bazaar of culinary delights.
"This is a good example of how different cultures can come together in one place," said Irvine resident and Israeli native Yuri Boiarsky, who came with his wife and three children.
Displays on the history, culture and traditions of the three feted countries filled the atrium of the municipal building. The city of Irvine supported the event.
"It's wonderful to see the IMA bring together so many people to create this unique celebration," Irvine Mayor Beth Krom said. "Irvine is a city of great diversity. I think this event really showcases that spirit."
Krom and Irvine City Council members joined Israeli, South Korean and Indian diplomats in welcoming guests. Several dignitaries stayed for the program and mingled with the participants.
The purpose of the event was to build bridges between the city's diverse cultural groups, according to Senthamil Selvan, IMA vice president and associate scientific director of Hoag Memorial Hospital's cancer center.
"The more we understand each other, the more we eliminate barriers and create shared values," Selvan said.
The program heightened public interest in three cultures and laid the groundwork for future multicultural programming, said Howard Charlop, event coordinator.
"Going forward, I am confident that this important step and shared program will have a long-term impact on activities and understanding, because the message is that programs like this are essential, said Charlop, Orange County director of StandWithUs, which underwrote the event.
-- Lisa Armony, Contributing Writer
Two Consulate Officials Returning to Israel
Two mainstays of the Israel Consulate are returning to Jerusalem after completing their three-year assignments, and their successors are on the way.
Deputy Consul General Yaron Gamburg has attended a round of farewell tributes, while Gilad Millo, consul for media and public affairs, sent out a warm goodbye letter.
Both young diplomats will work at the Foreign Ministry, Gamburg as head of the training program for Israeli officials going abroad and Millo on the staff coordinating work among different departments.
The deputy consul general's slot will be filled by Gil Arzyeli, currently in the ministry's Central European department, who was stationed previously in Spain, Mexico and Colombia.
Taking over the media and public affairs desk will be Shahar Azani, coming off three years as deputy head of the Israeli mission to Kenya.
The Los Angeles City Council announced that it would honor Gamburg on Friday, Aug. 8, at the initiative of Councilman Dennis Zine, who is of Lebanese descent.
A week earlier, more than 100 friends gathered at Marvin's Club, and Gamburg left with an armful of plaques and scrolls, which spoke to his numerous activities and relationships during the past three years.
Gamburg kept a low profile during his tenure here, but he worked closely with state and federal homeland security and anti-terrorism officials, three of whom flew down from Sacramento to recognize Gamburg's contributions.
He also established close ties with faith leaders, especially evangelicals and Mormons; the Latino and American Asian communities, and local and state officials.
Yaron and Delphine Gamburg are returning to Israel with an expanded family, thanks to the birth in Los Angeles of son, Noam, now 1 and a half years old.
Millo worked closely with the media in Southern California, five Southwestern states and Hawaii. He also established warm relations with the Hollywood entertainment industry on behalf of Israel.
In his farewell letter, Millo emphasized that "I found here a passion and love for the Jewish homeland, a Zionism the likes of which I had never encountered before."
-- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
ADL Accepting Applications for Youth Education Program to Combat Bias
The Anti-Defamation League is accepting applications from high school students in Los Angeles County for Dream Dialogue, an anti-bias youth education program. Participants with diverse social and ethnic backgrounds will meet six times throughout the year to develop strong connections, leadership skills and embark on a group a project.
The program, which has been a success for the past nine years, has developed social action programs to increase awareness and end discrimination, such as "Stop the Hate," a video for high school students, and "Stop the Cycle," a T-shirt campaign that included messages condemning bias.
Applications are due by Aug. 29 for the 2008-09 school year. The first meeting will be Sept. 21. For more information, call Marisa Romo at (310) 446-8000.
-- Jina Davidovich, Contributing Writer
Tisha B'Av guide:
- Westwood Kehilla and LINK: http://www.linkla.org/tishabav.php3
- Valley Beth Shalom and Adat Ari El: http://www.vbs.org/flyers/TishaB'Av08-08.pdf
- B'nai David Judea and Young Israel of Century City: http://www.bnaidavid.com/bulletin.html.
- Shomeri Torah and Temple Aliyah: http://www.templealiyah.org/cgi-bin/calendar.pl?calendar=TEMPLE
- Ikar and Workmen's Circle: http://www.ikar-la.org
- University Synagogue: http://www.unisyn.org/calender/calender.htm
- Jconnect: http://www.jconnectla.org/nextevent.html
- National Congregation of Synagogue Youth: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org