November 15, 2007
Meet some extraordinary givers
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Marilyn Ziering is living out her dream: She regularly gives to several dozen causes, and those closest to her heart are the American Jewish University -- where she established the Sigi Ziering Institute to study the Holocaust and has been a board member for more than 20 years -- Temple Beth Am, Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Israel and the Los Angeles Opera.
Founders of a medical supplies company, Diagnostic Products Corp., the Zierings have been passionately committed to Jewish philanthropy and the Jewish community throughout their lives. Sigi Ziering was born in Kassel, Germany and, along with his mother and brother, was deported to the ghetto in Riga, Latvia in 1941. All three survived the Holocaust. He served as the co-chair of the Los Angeles branch of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, president of Temple Beth Am, and also on the board of the University of Judaism, now American Jewish University.
Marilyn Ziering professes that she has a hard time saying no to good causes, and as a result can hardly count all the organizations she has contributed to. Many of her philanthropic activities stem directly from her personal involvement in the Jewish community. She has donated to the private schools her children attended; Camp Ramah, where the Ziering children spent their summers; and Temple Beth Am, where she has been an active member for three decades.
Ziering has recently started to give to other, not specifically Jewish interests she is passionate about, such as opera. She is a board member of the Los Angeles Opera and donated $3.25 million to fund its "Recovered Voices" project. Her love of opera comes from growing up with an amateur tenor father.
"There's a saying," Ziering said, "You take care of yourself first, then your family, then your community ... I feel that's what I try to live up to."
-- Dikla Kadosh, Contributing Writer
Who knows what Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer would be doing today if she hadn't made that promise to her husband 21 years ago, when Ben Eisenberg was dying of cancer but felt his community needed him too much for him to rest in peace?
"Don't worry," she comforted him. "I'll take care of everything."
And she has.
In the years since, Eisenberg-Keefer quadrupled the philanthropy of the Ben B. and Joyce E. Eisenberg Foundation, which donates millions of dollars each year to diverse organizations, from Shaare Zedek Hospital in Israel to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to the USC band. The Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer Medical Center recently opened at the Jewish Home for the Aging, where her parents lived out the final years of their lives. Now in her 70s, she's donated tens of millions of dollars to the home since she began volunteering there at age 24.
"When I go there, I cry," she says. "I get a lump in my throat with happiness that these people have a place to go."
Her philanthropy is supported by the foundation's Eisenberg Properties, which owns a few industrial buildings and the historic New Mart tower downtown, a 12-story art deco edifice with more than 100 fashion showrooms. All income from Eisenberg Properties goes to the foundation's many charities, which have included the Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer Breast Cancer Center at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, The Wellness Community, Israel Children's Centers and The Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.
Much of her efforts are directed at Jewish causes, even though her second husband, Mel Keefer, calls her "the most un-Jewish person I know."
-- Brad A. Greenberg, Staff Writer
Monica Horan Rosenthal
Monica Horan and Phil Rosenthal were not rich when they got married. But then he created "Everybody Loves Raymond," one of the most popular sitcoms of the past two decades, and the bank account began billowing.
"I remember the first time I saw a dramatic change in our income," said Horan Rosenthal, who was among the show's cast. "I wondered, 'Oh my God, don't I need to build a hospital now?'"
They began by supporting a friend's theater workshop at Marshall High School, which grew into the Flourish Foundation, supporting arts and education. Flourish gives grants to students from Los Angeles schools and UCLA to put on performances about social issues -- homelessness, drugs, AIDS, immigration -- throughout Los Angeles.
Not long after, Horan Rosenthal was moved by a message she heard at Temple Israel of Hollywood about genocidal attacks in the Darfur region of Sudan and a Jewish organization trying to raise awareness here and alleviate suffering there. So she started donating to Jewish World Watch.
"There is a legacy there I want my kids to know about. Being raised Catholic and born a Christian, I've always been drawn to the resisters, to the Righteous Persons," said Horan Rosenthal, who converted to Judaism before marriage.
Since then, the family foundation has given to Abraham's Vision, a program of the Clinton Global Initiative studying genocide in the Balkans; has established a chair in religious services at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Israel; and helped the Chabad of Greater Los Feliz move last year into a two-building property on Hillhurst Avenue.
And Horan Rosenthal didn't forget about that hospital. The family foundation donated $2.5 million to the building campaign for Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.
-- Brad A. Greenberg, Staff Writer
When Carmen Harvey was growing up in La Canada in the 1920s, her father, who had bought an avocado orchard in the area, was a major supporter of the Kaspare Cohn Hospital, forerunner of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Carmen followed his example by giving away her toys to the less fortunate kids in her public grammar school.