July 12, 2007
Complaints ‘too late’: California scholastic debate tournament still set for first night of Pesach
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Fakheri has resigned as president of the Eretz-SIAMAK Cultural Center in Tarzana. Fakheri, 58, cited personal reasons for stepping down from his leadership post in April and only recently publicly acknowledged his new plans.
"I wanted to give the new generation the opportunity to contribute and lead," Fakheri said. "I will stay on as a consultant for the Eretz-SIAMAK Cultural Center and all the Jewish organizations in L.A. -- sharing my experiences with them, if asked."
Fakheri was one of the founders of the Iranian American Jewish Association, also known as SIAMAK. The group was formed after the Iranian Revolution in 1979 to help new Iranian Jewish immigrants reconnect with one another. Under Fakheri's leadership, SIAMAK was heavily involved in Iranian Jewish youth activities and community outreach, helping to subsidize the food and living expenses of nearly 100 impoverished Iranian Jewish families not being helped by any other local Jewish groups. He has received both praise and condemnation from Southern California Iranian Jews for his frank and often bold criticisms of other local Iranian Jewish leaders, whom he accused of coddling up to the wealthy rather than providing social programs for troubled youth and struggling low-income families.
"We at our organization did a lot of firsts that benefited so many and changed our community's norm," Fakheri said.
In 2004, Fakheri's SIAMAK organization merged with the Eretz Cultural Center and Neria Yomtoubian Organization to form the Eretz-SIAMAK Cultural Center in Tarzana, now the largest Iranian Jewish organization in the San Fernando Valley.
Fakheri said he will continue to support the efforts of the Israeli Macabee Games within the Iranian Jewish community and to work as editor-in-chief of the nonprofit Iranian Jewish Chronicle magazine (http://www.ijchronicle.com), which he helped establish nearly 18 years ago.
-- Karmel Melamed, Contributing Writer
Award Honors Jewish Contributions
The deadline is Aug. 1 for this year's Cohon Award, a $15,000 grant established by Baruch J. Cohon and Claire S. Cohon in honor of Rabbi Samuel S. Cohon and A. Irma Cohon, and given annually to an individual who has benefited Jews, either "by bringing unity to diverse factions of Jews, by education which includes using the arts, or by bringing rescue to those in danger."
Previous winners include the Koppel Family of Cleveland, Ohio, who independently compiled an annual library-oriented reference guide to all Jewish publications; Henry H. Sapoznik of New York, who was a leader in bringing back Klezmer music to Jews and the world; and in 2006, Glenn Richter of New York City and Simon Frumkin of Studio City, California, leaders in the Soviet Jewry movement.
Information and applications can be found at www.cohonaward.com or by contacting The Rabbi Samuel S. and A. Irma Cohon Memorial Foundation, Box 35092, Los Angeles, CA 90035.
-- Staff Report
BBYO Campers Get Busy in L.A.
For two weeks, 40 Jewish teens from across the country will spend their summer days serving people in Los Angeles instead of shopping at the mall or swimming in the pool. The two-week community-service program, a project of BBYO (formerly affiliated with B'nai Brith), began Monday.
Participants in Nitzotz, a BBYO Inc., program in partnership with Jewish Funds for Justice, will tutor students at Hazeltine Elementary School, create and administer a "mini-summer camp" for children involved with LA Family Housing and work with Tree People on environmental beautification.
"The magic of Nitzotz is that it provides the participants the opportunity to experience the core Jewish value of tikkun olam on a meaningful, personal level," said Matthew Grossman, executive director of BBYO. "The notable increase in participation in Nitzotz leading to the launch in LA confirms that today's teens are committed to hands-on service work and making a difference in the world around them."
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