The year was 1993, and the glitterati of the L.A. Jewish community gathered at Shaare Tefila to honor Rabbi Meir Lau, the new chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Israel.
As the rabbi walked on the red carpet among other prominent rabbis and Jewish machers, he paused and looked toward a short, 63-year-old man who was serving drinks, and called out: "Avramale!"
The crowd wondered, "Who is this Avramale getting a hug from the chief rabbi?"
Avramale is Albert Lanciano, now 75, who today is the shamash/caretaker of Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel in Westwood. This year will mark his 10th anniversary as the synagogue's resident jack-of-all-trades.