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Jewish Journal

Moving and Shaking: Janos Ader visits Congregation Bais Naftolil; Tour de Summer Camps

by Ryan Torok

November 14, 2013 | 5:50 pm

Traveling through Hancock Park in a motorcade on Oct. 27, Janos Ader, president of the Republic of Hungary, visited Congregation Bais Naftoli, where he participated in a breakfast held in his honor. Rabbi Avi Leibovic, spiritual leader of Bais Naftoli and executive director of Aish Tamid, introduced the program. 

The event underscored the progress that has been made in relations between Jews and the non-Jewish Hungarian community in the decades since the Holocaust, when Hungary was allied with Nazi Germany and played a role in the persecution of the Jewish people. Ader’s local appearance followed recent remarks by Tibor Navracsics, Hungary’s deputy prime minister, recognizing the country’s role in the Holocaust. The Los Angeles event also acknowledged the Hungarian government’s increasingly hardened stance against anti-Semitism.

Bais Naftoli President Andrew Friedman organized the meeting, which featured Leibovic reciting a special blessing required when greeting the president of a country who has the constitutional power to pardon individuals. Afterward, Friedman recited a traditional prayer in Hungarian.

Hungarian first lady Anita Herczegh accompanied Ader, along with a 14-member, high-level delegation. Additional attendees included Laszlo Kalman, consul general of Hungary in Los Angeles; Miklos Perehazy, president of United Magyar House, an L.A.-based Hungarian community center; and Hungarian Ambassador to the United States Szapary Gyorgy.

Near the end of the event, Ader presented a booklet to the congregation in memory of the synagogue’s founder, Alex Friedman


Cycling team the Ramah Roadies beat out the Sinai Family Minyan Spinners on Oct. 27, during The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ inaugural fundraising cycling event, Tour de Summer Camps, which raised money for scholarships for Jewish camps.

A total of 475 riders signed up for various distances, with some participating as individuals and others on teams. Together they raised approximately $600,000 through donations and sponsorships to benefit Camps Akiba, Alonim, Gilboa, Hess Kramer, JCA Shalom and Ramah; Gindling Hilltop Camp; Kibbutz Max Straus; and Moshava Malibu. 

The Sunday event underscored Federation’s longstanding commitment to the Jewish camps movement, which is widely believed to foster a sense of Jewish identity and planting the seeds for future Jewish leaders. Routes were 18 miles, 36 miles, 62 miles and 100 miles, and at the end of the afternoon, many riders came together at Brandeis-Bardin, the Simi Valley campus of American Jewish University.

“It was an incredible day, beyond all my expectations, especially since it was our inaugural event. I’m so proud of all the participants,” said Rodney Freeman, Tour de Summer Camps ride master, as quoted by The Federation. 

Top fundraisers included Freeman, Aaron Leibovic, Mark Samuel, Jay Reisbaum and Ari Eisenberg. The top teams were the Ramah Roadies, Team REC/YLDI, Sinai Family Minyan Spinners, Team Shomrei Torah and Temple Beth Am Cycles.

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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