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Moving and Shaking

Brianna Fischer named Fishel Fellow, Rabbi Aaron Lerner ordained, Rabbi Denise Eger celebrated, AJR-CA graduation

by Ryan Torok

July 10, 2013 | 1:51 pm

Brianna Fischer

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles named recent UCLA graduate Brianna Fischer of Oak Park as its inaugural Fishel Fellow last month. As part of the two-year paid fellowship, she will participate in hands-on community-service experiences in both Jewish and non-Jewish settings throughout the world, including in Israel, India and Germany. The program culminates with a 10-month paid position at Federation in Los Angeles.

Fischer welcomed the opportunity, saying in a statement, “The Fishel Fellowship will allow me to explore international nonprofit work and further develop my career aspirations while making a difference in the world.”

Created for young adults who have a passion for the Jewish community and global service, the fellowship was named after former Federation President John Fishel, an advocate for global Jewish social entrepreneurship who helped develop the program.

Fischer graduated with a major in anthropology and a minor in Middle Eastern/North African studies. A committee of local Jewish community leaders and professional Federation staff selected her for the fellowship. She departed for India on June 16, one day after she finished school. 


Rabbi Aaron Lerner

Rabbi Aaron Lerner, a UCLA Hillel educator, was ordained by the Riverdale, N.Y.-based Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School last month during a ceremony that took place at New York City’s Jewish Center on June 9.

A member of Yeshivat Chovevei’s 10th class, Lerner is the Jim Joseph Foundation’s senior Jewish educator at the Hillel at UCLA. A part of B’nai David-Judea Congregation, Lerner lives in Pico-Robertson with his wife and three daughters. 


Rabbi Denise Eger, left

Rabbi Denise Eger recently celebrated her silver anniversary in the rabbinate. A June 15 ceremony at Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood, where she is the spiritual leader, marked the occasion.

Eger’s contributions to the Jewish community during the past 25 years are numerous. They include working in support of social justice and equality for all, serving as the rabbi of the gay-and-lesbian-oriented Reform synagogue Kol Ami and speaking on the changing Jewish family, LGBT issues, AIDS, spirituality and health, politics, progressive Judaism and the radical right. 

In addition, Eger is the immediate past president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and was installed as president-elect of the Central Conference of American Rabbis this year.


Last month, two Cedars-Sinai physician groups received top scores from a professional organization composed of 150 of the state’s leading managed care groups, the California Association of Physician Groups (CAPG). It awarded Cedars-Sinai Medical Group (CSMG) and Cedars-Sinai Health Associates (CSHA) its highest possible designation for quality care. 

“We’re very pleased that both our physician groups have earned these high-level distinctions on an ongoing basis. We see it as strong validation of our efforts,” said Thomas D. Gordon, chief executive officer of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Network, the umbrella organization for CSMG and CSHA.


The Academy for Jewish Religion California (AJRCA)'s eleventh ordination and graduation ceremony class. Photo by GoldWong Photography.

The Academy of Jewish Religion, California (AJR-CA) graduated its 11th class of rabbinic and cantorial ordinees last month.

AJR-CA’s inaugural graduation-ordination under the leadership of President Tamar Frankiel; Dean of the Rabbinical School Rabbi Michael Menitoff and Dean of the Chaplaincy School Rabbi Rochelle Robins ordained seven rabbis and one cantor, and graduated three chaplains on June 10 at Stephen S. Wise Temple.

The new rabbis, cantors and chaplains include Rabbi Batshir Torchio; Rabbi Robin Podolsky; Rabbi Robin Hoffman; Rabbi Belle Michael; Cantor Sandy Bernstein; Chaplain Ronnie Abrams; Rabbi Ron Li-Paz; Chaplain Jennifer Eaves Nye; Rabbi Dov Gottesfeld; Rabbi Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon and Chaplain Stephen Macht.

Nearly 100 rabbis, cantors or chaplains have graduated from or been ordained by the Los Angeles-based transdenominational seminary since its first ordination in 2003.


Congregation Adat Ari El’s 75th anniversary weekend of celebration took place last month, featuring an erev musical Shabbat family service and Shabbat dinner; a Shabbat morning service and Kiddush luncheon; and a gala honoring Adat Ari El Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe Bernhard. The festivities took place during the weekend of June 7-9.

The Valley Village synagogue’s history dates back to 1938, when a group of San Fernando Valley’s families founded the Valley Jewish Communtiy Center and Temple, which later became Adat Ari El.

Bernhard, who came to the Conservative shul in 1996, is the third senior rabbi at the congregation. He was recently became president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.


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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