Supporters of the Friends of Sheba Medical Center filled the ballroom at the Four Seasons last week to honor three remarkable women -- Rita and Sue Brucker and Dr. Elizabeth Morgan with their prestigious Women of Achievement Award. Morgan gained national attention in 1987 when she went to jail rather than allow her daughter to attend court-ordered visits with her ex-husband who, Morgan believed was abusing her daughter. As a result, Congress passed two acts to safeguard children.
Affectionately known as "Bubbe the Clown," Rita Brucker has decorated the faces of countless children with cancer and was recognized as "Mother of the Year" and "Volunteer of the Year" by Bezalel Hadassah Chapter, among her other honors. Brucker praised the work Sheba Medical Center is doing to ensure the health of newborns, urging everyone to continue supporting their efforts. Daughter-in-law Sue, wife of Beverly Hills Councilman Barry Brucker, credited her parents with living a life of charity and service, setting an example she has embraced and passed on to her children.
"If my children, Lauren and Richard, and their peers are indicative of the next generation, I know we have nothing to worry about," she told the attendees. Among her other honors and achievements, Sue Brucker has been feted by Hadassah of Southern California and is currently president of Temple Emanuel. Event Chair Ruth Steinberger and co-chairs Aviva Harari and Lynn Ziman called on writer/humorist extraordinaire and "Save Me a Seat" author Rhea Kohan to hostess the event. Kohan entertained the group with a humorous take on daughters, sons and living life in the middle-aged lane.
A boutique featuring a wide variety of items drew buyers before and after the luncheon -- all designed to raise money for newborn screening at Sheba Medical Center. Seen wandering about checking out the boutiques were Beverly Hills School Board President Myra Lurie and her mother, Bess; Allison Levyn and her mother-in-law, Toni; Denise Avchen; Helene Harris; Marilyn Weiss; Lonnie Delshad, wife of Beverly Hills Vice Mayor Jimmy Delshad; Susie Wallach, Stacia and Larry Kopeikin; Amy and Noah Furie, and Nancy Krasne.
Aviva Brightens Bel Air
A misty day couldn't dampen the spirits of Aviva Family and Children's Services supporters last week when they gathered at the home of uber-philanthropist Robin Broidy for an elegant and successful benefit luncheon.
Broidy tented the yard in her Bel Air home for the delicious event, which was catered by Wolfgang Puck and featured a tempting Fendi boutique that contributed 15 percent of its sales to the charity -- as well as the fabulous Fendi goodie bags.
The luncheon planned and executed by Broidy and underwritten by Susan Casden, raised more than $75,000 to support the worthwhile projects of Aviva. President Andrew Diamond updated the group and invited guests to tour the facility. The guest list was brimming with many of Los Angeles' most charitable and giving women including: Linda May, Barbara Miller, Pamela Dennis, Lilly Tartikoff, Lola Levey, Diane Glazer, Jami Gertz and Annette Plotkin.
Founded in 1915, Aviva Family and Children's Services provides care and treatment to abandoned, neglected, abused and at-risk youth in the greater Los Angeles community.
On the Avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue-Beverly Hills held its "I Want It" event last week to raise funds for the Tower Cancer Research Foundation. Attendees, including Judy Henning, Bonnie Webb and Lillian Raffels, sipped martinis and nibbled morsels while wandering through the store trying to decide what to purchase with their $50 gift cards. The Henri Mancini Trio provided live music as fabulous frocks and jewels by designers such as Tony Duquette kept everyone mesmerized. The night was a complete success for cancer research and a fun shopping experience for guests.
Liberty for All
The first Torah scroll written exclusively to honor and memorialize members of the U.S. military was inaugurated in a ceremony Sept. 10 at the Chabad of Oxnard Jewish Center.
Known as the first letters of the Liberty Torah, it was inscribed by a Jewish scribe, or sofer, at the ceremony timed to coincide with the eve of the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11 and marked by prayers for our military and peace in the world.
The Liberty Torah was initiated by Oxnard residents Dr. David and Edi Boxstein and their family to honor their son, Jonathan, who is currently serving in Iraq in the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division.
"The Liberty Torah gives everyone, regardless of their political or religious affiliation, the opportunity to honor all our soldiers who have served our great country throughout our history, and to pray for an end to all hostilities," said Chabad of Oxnard director Rabbi Dov Muchnik.
The Torah was sent to Israel to be completed, and then will be returned to the Chabad of Oxnard Jewish Center for use in its holiday and Shabbat services. The event also featured live music, refreshments and a hands-on Torah writing workshop for children.
For more information, visit www.libertytorah.com, or call (805) 382-4770.
Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels was honored with a Peace Award from the Wilshire Center Interfaith Council and the Interreligious Council of Southern California at the Islamic Center of Southern California. Comess-Daniels thanked the Beth Shir Sholom community for enabling him to "pray with his legs" in ways that result in this kind of recognition and he gratefully shared the award with Beth Shir Sholom.
Screenwriter author Nora Ephron ("Heartburn, "Silkwood" "Sleepless in Seattle," "When Harry Met Sally") spoke to an overflowing crowd last Thursday night at the Writer's Guild Writer's Bloc event. Hosting Ephron and serving as moderator was megaproducer mogul Linda Obst, who offered insights into her longtime friendship with Ephron. Ephron entertained the audience with stories about her years in Washington, her experiences as a journalist and the agony of aging as chronicled in her new book " I Feel Bad About my Neck."
For more information about upcoming events, call (310) 335-0917.
Reflecting on a Great Cause
The UCLA Marching Band escorts Jewish Home Lifetime Award recipient Sylvia and Sherman Grancell into the gala Celebration of Life: Reflections 2006 event held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The beat of the UCLA Marching Band announced the opening of festivities last week when almost 600 people attended the Celebration of Life: Reflections 2006 dinner at the Beverly Hilton to benefit the Jewish Home for the Aging. A live auction hosted by Monty Hall raised $31,000 of the more than $500,000 total by offering blimp rides, a Wells Fargo box at Dodger Stadium, private screening with catering and Fox football studio viewing. All previous lifetime achievement award recipients were present including; Marilyn and Monty Hall, Paul Goldenberg and Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer, who presented this year's award to honorees Sylvia and Sherman Grancell.
Mel Torme Jr., son of icon the Velvet Fog himself, entertained the enthusiastic crowd. Among those seen schmoozing were Beverly Hills Councilwoman Linda Briskman and her husband, Gary; Robert Zarnigan, and Judge Elden Fox.
Committed to Israel
Guests were treated to an informative morning last week when Gen. Shimon Erem and Beverly Hills resident Ari Bussel hosted Christian leaders fighting for Israel. The Rev. Willem Glashouwer from the Netherlands is a member of a Dutch Reformed family active in the Resistance movement during World War II and one of the pioneers who helped establish the Institute for Evangelical Higher Education in the Netherlands and the Christian School for Journalism; Robert Stearns is the founder and executive director of Eagles' Wings, a ministry involved in a variety of projects around the world, and he is the visionary behind the worldwide prayer initiative, "The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem" observed every year the first Sunday in October.
Erem was a key figure in Israel's War of Independence, organizing and commanding Jewish underground operations in Europe to smuggle Holocaust survivors and arms into the Land of Israel. To further those goals, in 2002, he founded the Israel Christian Nexus to bring together Christians and Jews in support of Israel and the Jewish people, and in defense of our shared Judeo-Christian heritage and values.