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Jewish Journal

Moving and Shaking: ADL and Shalom Institute galas plus Bruce Whizin honored

by Ryan Torok

January 3, 2014 | 10:24 pm

Approximately 900 people turned out for the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Centennial Gala on Dec. 10, which was held at the Beverly Hilton hotel. 

“The event raised nearly $1.4 million to support ADL efforts to combat anti-Semitism and bigotry of all kinds,” said a statement by the ADL, which was founded in 1913. 

It also honored several community members, including Barbara and Thomas Leanse and George David Kieffer — “for their excellence in their professional fields and community leadership,” the ADL statement said.

Speakers included Los Angles World Airports Police Chief Patrick Gannon, who was part of the official response team to the recent deadly shooting at LAX; UCLA student Sunny Singh, a participant in ADL’s campus leaders mission; Detective Chris Keeling of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department; and high school teacher Katherine Friedman, who has taught ADL’s Holocaust education curriculum to her students.

Additionally, UC Irvine School of Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky attended, presenting the Jurisprudence Award to Kieffer, a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and member of the Board of Regents of the University of California. Meanwhile, the Leanses received the Humanitarian Award, in recognition of their philanthropic efforts.

“It is incumbent on all of us to help when we can,” said Thomas Leanse, senior executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary of the Macerich Co., a real-estate company based in Santa Monica. Barbara Leanse is staff director of Cedars-Sinai’s volunteer services.

Other attendees included ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. The event was emceed by actor Mark Feuerstein and included musical entertainment from the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.


The Shalom Institute’s 2013 gala, which took place on Dec. 5, honored Camp JCA Shalom alumni Jennifer Rheuban, Barri Worth Girvan and Jacob Knobel. More than 300 people turned out for the event, which was held at the Peterson Automotive Museum, in the Miracle Mile.

Camp JCA Shalom, a sleep-away camp in Malibu, is Shalom Institute’s “biggest and most known program,” according to shalominstitute.com.

The event shed light on the honorees’ various accomplishments. Rheuban, an institute board member, created Adult Color Wars, which raises money for camp scholarships; Worth Girvan is the director of government affairs and community engagement programs for The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and is a former staff member in the L.A. mayor’s office; and Knobel, a software engineer and entrepreneur, has supported Shalom Institute’s technological infrastructure. 

Rheuban received the Trailblazers Award. Worth Girvan and Knobel both received the Emerging Young Leaders Award.


Camp Ramah in California celebrated board member Bruce Whizin on Nov. 17 at Sinai Temple.

“Everybody in this room deserves to be up here,” said Whizin, a philanthropist in the Jewish community who has supported Camp Ramah for many years.

The Westwood fundraiser for the Conservative movement’s summer camp in Ojai drew more than 360 attendees, including clergy who once worked or camped there. Among them were Rabbis Ed Feinstein (Valley Beth Shalom), Sharon Brous (IKAR) and David Wolpe (Sinai Temple). The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles president Jay Sanderson also attended the event.

Ramah-California Executive Director Rabbi Joe Menashe called the event a “multigenerational celebration of Camp Ramah.”


Moving and Shaking acknowledges accomplishments by members of the local Jewish community, including people who start new jobs, leave jobs, win awards and more, as well as local events that featured leaders from the Jewish and Israeli communities. Got a tip? E-mail it to ryant@jewishjournal.com.

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