Chabad Telethon Nets Stars and Millions
Last Sunday's 21st Annual Chabad Telethon proved another successful fundraising year for the Chassidic outreach network. The seven-hour nationally televised fundraiser, broadcast locally on UPN Channel 13, pulled in $5,104,533 in pledges (not including Internet pledges). While the total came up shy of last year's $6.5 million, it smashed 1999's $4 million plus tally.
"Boston Public" star Fyvush Finkel returned to emcee for the third year in a row, with producer Jeff Cutler and writer Jerry Cutler returning behind the scenes. Marshall Grossman and Jerry Weintraub co-chaired. Longtime Chabad friends Jon Voight and Elliot Gould, as well as Michael York, Scott Baio, Jayne Meadows, Bernie Kopell, Sally Kirkland and Apollonia, (Prince's co-star in "Purple Rain") were among the entertainers appearing in person to pitch in for the fundraising effort.
"Besides the materialistic aspect that raises the funds," Chabad West Coast patriarch Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin told The Journal, "the telethon serves an important voice of the Lubavitcher Rebbe all over the world."
Reflecting on the Middle East crisis, Cunin added that the Telethon drummed up solidarity with the people of Israel. "As the Lubavitcher Rebbe said, 'We cannot allow the enemy of the Jews to break our spirit.'"
One of Cunin's sons, Rabbi Yossi Cunin, said that the money will help subsidize the Chabad treatment center on Olympic and Hauser, and a brand new Chabad school on Pico and Doheny, toward which Gary Winnick has contributed $3 million in matching funds. The school, which will serve children from preschool to junior high, should reach completion by early 2003.
-- Michael Aushenker, Staff Writer
L.A. Hate Crimes on the Rise
Hate crimes against Jews in Los Angeles County rose by 4 percent in 2000, compared to 1999, according to a report by the county's Human Relations Commission, released last week.
With nearly 10 million inhabitants, L.A. County has a larger population than 42 states in the nation.
However, the slight increase is at variance with statistics on hate crimes for the entire state of California during the same time periods, one compiled by the state's attorney general, the other by the Anti-Defamation League.
According to the ADL report, anti-Jewish hate crimes dropped by 6.5 percent in 2000 compared to the preceding year, and in the attorney general's statistics by 15 percent.
In all three reports, however, Jews made up the bulk of victims targeted on religious grounds, accounting for 83 percent in that category for L.A. County.
Similarly, in the overall hate crimes figures cited in the three reports, blacks were the most frequently victimized group, followed by male homosexuals. Jews came in third and Latinos fourth in the official state report, but the positions were reversed in the L.A. County compilations.
The reversed positions are likely caused by the vast increase of Latinos in L.A. County, and an upswing in activity by Latino gangs, said Robin Toma, executive director of the county's Human Relations Commission.
Discrepancies in the three reports may be partially due to different criteria for defining and counting hate crimes, said Tamar Galatzan, West Coast associate counsel for the regional ADL.
"The state and county count only actual crimes, such as vandalism and assault, while we also include other incidents, such as swastika daubings on a garage door," Galatzan said.
Dana Friedlander, director of domestic affairs for the regional American Jewish Committee, noted that the statistical methods of different organizations vary, with none of the three reports citing margins of error for their compilations.
-- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor