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Sharon Stone, Howie Mandel, Arianna Huffington, William Kristol and Lenny Krayzelburg step up

by Danielle Berrin

November 21, 2008 | 4:25 pm

Jewish TV Network honors Uni honcho Jeff Gaspin

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(From left) Howie Mandel;  Ron Meyer, president and chief operating officer, Universal Studios; Bonnie Hammer; Jeff Gaspin, president and chief operating officer, Universal Television Group; Mark Graboff, co-chairman, NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Studio, and Jay Sanderson, CEO, JTN Productions). NBC Photo: Trae Patton

“It’s a groundbreaking week,” Howie Mandel said to some 1,000 guests at Jewish Television Network’s annual benefit at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Nov. 5. “Just yesterday we elected a black man president, and tonight we’re honoring a Jew in show business.”

Mandel hosted the event to bestow JTN’s 2008 Vision Award on Jeff Gaspin, president and CEO of the Universal Television Group, who was honored with the 2008 Vision Award at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

Gaspin, who developed such shows as “Deal or No Deal,” “The Apprentice,” “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “Project Runway,” was feted by Jeff Goldblum, Tori Spelling, Dean McDermott, Katee Sackhoff, Billy Bush, Nancy O’Dell, Cory Hardrict, singer Lenka, who performed, and Sean Hayes, who introduced/roasted his longtime friend.

“Jeff is a visionary executive ... committed to his family and his community and a real ‘mensch,’” said Jay Sanderson, the CEO of JTN Productions.
JTN announced a $5 million lead gift from co-chair Seth Merrin and aired a portion of its upcoming PBS documentary on genocide, “Worse Than War.”

Zimmer fetes advocates for kids

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(From left) Dr. Charles J. Sophy, Sharon Stone, Esther Netter, Zimmer Children’s Museum CEO, and Jeff Wachtel. Photo by Barry E. Levine

The Zimmer Children’s Museum feted two important people in children’s lives: a doctor and a guy who creates TV programming. The lucky recipients of The Discovery Award, Jeff Wachtel, USA Network’s head of original programming, and Dr. Charles J. Sophy, medical director for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, which is responsible for more than 30,000 foster children, were celebrated on Nov. 6 by an industry-heavy crowd at The Beverly Hills Hotel. Jeff Garlin, an executive producer of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” emceed.

Rock among the rockets

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(From left) Ada Horwich,  L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Elana Horwich, Israeli Consul General Jacob Dayan, director Laura Bialis, Avi Vaknin, Ravit Markus and Dan Katzir Photo by Orly Halevy

Ada and Jim Horwich hosted a private film screening of Laura Bialis’ documentary, “Sderot: Rock in the Red Zone,” about the nascent music scene taking hold in the rocket-riven town in Southern Israel. Israeli Consul General Jacob Dayan joined the gathering on Nov. 5 to support the resilience of a place where bomb shelters are transmuting into rock clubs.

Westside JCC dives into pool construction

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(From left) Nancy Bell, capital campaign chair; Michael Kaminsky, board president; Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Beryl Weiner, capital campaign co-chair; Lenny Krayzelburg, honorary capital campaign chair; Brian Greene, executive director.

The Westside Jewish Community Center has a hot new commodity. Neighbors and city officials gathered on Oct. 29 for the groundbreaking of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Aquatic Center, a multiphase renovation that will add locker rooms, saline water systems and an environmentally friendly design for the Olympic-size pool. Olympic gold medalist Lenny Krayzelburg, who trained at the Westside JCC, attended the event, where an expected 1,400 monthly visitors will swim in medal-making waters.

Celebration of Books draws big names

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(From left) William Kristol, Arianna Huffington, Rabbi Robert Wexler at Celebration of Jewish Books.

American Jewish University’s Celebration of Jewish Books brought some big names to town to discuss and debate topical issues of the day: William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, and Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post squared off on the aftermath of the nation’s historic election on Nov. 10; two nights later, Rabbi David Wolpe and best-selling author Christopher Hitchens debated the role of religion in society to a full house at the Wilshire Theatre.

Stars come out for Big Brothers and Sisters

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(From left) Rising Stars gala honorees Paula Wagner, Abigail Breslin, Michael Sitrick and Big Brothers Big Sisters Los Angeles Guild President Sandy Bilson.

PR mogul Michael Sitrick, producer Paula Wagner and young actress Abigail Breslin were honored at Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters biggest annual fundraiser, the “Rising Stars Gala,” on Oct. 30 at the Beverly Hilton. Larry King, Alan Arkin and Cuba Gooding Jr. presented awards and the cast from the upcoming “Forever Plaid” movie entertained the 700 guests. Catch a falling star, anybody?


Milken High students join AIDS Walk

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Milken Community High School’s Kids Who Care AIDS walk team

A group of students from Milken Community High School joined the fight against AIDS with their feet and their finances. The school-sponsored Kids Who Care team participated in AIDS Walk Los Angeles on Oct. 19. Tenth-grade chairs, Michelle Nabati, who raised nearly $2,000 on her own, and Jillian Weyman signed up more than 100 students for the walk and raised $5,000 for AIDS medical research.

Inaugural award goes to volunteer social worker

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Sally Miller and Charlotte Kamenir Photo by Melody Vargas/JFS

Sally Miller, a social worker from New York City who moved to Los Angeles, has spent the past few years caring for lonely and frail seniors living in Park LaBrea. Her volunteer efforts through Jewish Family Service’s L.I.F.E. program earned her the first Charlotte Kamenir Volunteer of Distinction award,presented during a Nov. 5 luncheon in Brentwood.

U.N. kids support Israel

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(From left) Nir Winshtok, Liron Hala, Viviana Artzyeli, Public Affairs Consul Shahar Azani, Dalia Mizrahi, Carolyn Ben Natan and LiAmi Lawrence

The Israeli Consulate staff participated in the 10th annual “Kids Uniting Nations Day” at the Santa Monica Pier. The event, sponsored by Daphne Ziman, brought together 1,000 foster children for an afternoon of L.A. fun. But the best part? A bunch of multiethnic children wearing backpacks that said, “You have a friend in Israel.”

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