The Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer Medical Center,which will be dedicated Oct. 29 as the newest facility at the Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda.
Twenty parents from the Emek Hebrew Academy in Valley Village have come on a chilly winter evening to hear Dr. Francine Kaufman, a national expert on diabetes and childhood obesity, talk about promoting children's health. Although the school has 455 families, Rabbi Sholom Strajcher, the school's dean, is not discouraged by the modest turnout.
Weight-loss prevention is one of the principal areas of investigation at the Borun Center, a joint venture between JHA and UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine. Housed on the JHA campus in Reseda, the center was established in 1989 to identify and test nonmedical measures that could improve daily care and quality of life for nursing home residents.
George Smith hates to lose. A Harvard Business School graduate, Smith founded one of Southern California's largest, most prominent real estate investment banking firms and will receive an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University next week. Still, he smarts a little from a grievance endured at Hamilton High more than 50 years ago.
"I graduated second in my class to a home economics major," said the 70-year-old real estate guru and father of four. "She had one B in three years and I had two. My physics teacher graded me at a different level than anyone else because she knew I was going on to Cal Tech."
He holds no grudge. And this small injustice would help to fuel rather than blunt his drive to succeed, which has served Smith well in building a firm that exceeded $2 billion in commercial financing last year. He never imagined that he'd also apply this indomitable will another way: in a fight to save his daughter's life.
Becca Smith was 5 years old in 1983 when she was diagnosed with Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T), a rare, progressively degenerative neurological disease for which there is no cure. Children with A-T have difficulty walking and with balance, and are more susceptible to infection and certain cancers. Smith and his wife, Pam, were told that Becca was unlikely to reach her 20th birthday.
Rabbi Toba August likes to accentuate the positive, and the new year is no exception.
"Too often for the High Holidays, we're told about our shortcomings," August said. "I want to concentrate on what we're doing right.... We don't recognize the things we do that matter. I want us to walk out of services feeling elevated and validated and renewed."
August has reason to focus on the positive, because this summer she was made the principal spiritual leader of Adat Shalom, a Conservative synagogue in West Los Angeles. Currently, August is one of only two women to head a longstanding Conservative congregation in Los Angeles. (The other is Rabbi Sally Olins of Temple Bnai Hayim in Sherman Oaks.) Her appointment comes just as the Conservative movement is grappling with the disparity of women rabbis in the movement.
The Los Angeles Fearless Family Caregiver Conference is in Carson on June 28 It is sponsored by Today's Caregiver magazine along with the City of L.A. Department of Aging and the L.A. County Area Agency on Aging.
El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills has once again given Los Angeles something to kvell about. The school claimed top honors at this year's national Academic Decathlon, the annual contest of intellectual prowess.
Three of the nine team members generated special pride for the Jewish community: Lindsey Cohen and Linsday Gibbs are both affiliated with Shomrei Torah, while Kevin Rosenberg attends Temple Aliyah.
"I got enormous support from my parents, from my temple [Shomrei Torah] and from my friends," Gibbs said. "After we won state, the rabbi sent me a letter and the cantor called me.... They didn't know what I got on each test or how I did medal-wise, and yet, they were all so supportive and welcoming and congratulatory when I got back."
As 14-year-old Lisa Jura said goodbye to her mother at a Vienna train station in 1938, Jura’s mother spoke words that would inspire her for a lifetime: “Hold on to your music. It will be your best friend.”
Jura didn’t imagine that these words — and how her life came to embody them — would inspire subsequent generations of teenagers, even 70 years later.
Obesity has reached record rates among children and adults, bringing with it increased risk for developing diabetes and related health problems. In addition to the more than 18 million Americans currently living with diabetes, another 41 million are considered prediabetic, and are likely to develop the disease unless they take action.
In her new book, "Diabesity: The Obesity-Diabetes Epidemic That Threatens America -- And What We Must Do to Stop It" (Bantam), Dr. Francine R. Kaufman describes how reversing these trends requires efforts from all levels of society.
Looking for a getaway with a Jewish twist? With Passover approaching and summer down the road, there are many opportunities for such travel.
First, there was the red string kabbalah bracelet popularized by Madonna; then, the yellow "LIVESTRONG" wristband supporting the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Now, there are blessing rings, which may just become the next national craze in message-imbued jewelry. (If they do, you heard it here first, folks.)
The Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School West team labored close to two years on their assignment. They administered surveys, compiled data and poured through reams of material. This homework, however, was completed not by students, but by staff and faculty. And the project was not so much required as extra credit.
Rabbi Donald Goor, senior rabbi of Temple Judea in the West Valley, has identified a deficiency within the Jewish community: There's not enough emphasis on care of the soul.
"In my rabbinate, I see so many people who walk around wounded. They function very well in life, but they carry pain."
This weekend, Goor and approximately 100 others will explore how Judaism can heal this pain when they meet at the third-annual Partner Gathering, convened by the Kalsman Institute on Judaism and Health. For two days, leaders of the Jewish Healing movement from around the country will discuss how to help those facing illness, loss and other life challenges.
Perry Factor looks like an ideal college applicant. The Harvard-Westlake senior scored 1530 on his SAT and maintains a 4.036 (weighted) GPA. He's volunteered for years at his former elementary school, is a production editor on the high school paper, sings in the school choir and is on the jujitsu team. Nevertheless, Factor said he's "not entirely confident" about getting into his top college choice, Rice University in Texas.
"There are always horror stories about looking like the perfect candidate and not getting admitted," he said.
Like Factor, teens around the nation -- and their parents -- are finding an increasingly competitive atmosphere for college applicants.
"There are more students applying than ever before ... yet there are not necessarily more spaces," said Tami Gelb, college counselor at Yeshiva University High Schools of Los Angeles (YULA).
I've lived in two of the country's most ridiculed locales. I was born in New Jersey, the punch line of stand-up comics everywhere. Adding insult to injury, my family moved to the San Fernando Valley in the early '70s. At that time, the Valley was perceived as the end of the earth -- a place you'd need a passport to visit, should you actually want to. Over time, the remaining farmland and orchards gave way to more strip malls and housing tracts, while the Valley retained its reputation as a place where nothing worthwhile happens.
Things change. I now live on the Westside. Hoboken is considered hip. And the San Fernando Valley, well, it's begun to resemble the Westside in ways both positive and negative.
It was a hot and sunny June afternoon, just hours before Julie Davine's meticulously planned 1991 wedding at the Hotel Sofitel. The huppah stood festooned in tulle with pink and white roses for the evening ceremony. Upstairs, the tuxedoed and gowned wedding party posed for photographs on the balcony of the penthouse bridal suite. Suddenly, Julie said she saw a cloud of black smoke. "I said, 'What's that smoke?' But everyone said I was being neurotic, so I dismissed it," she said.
Last May, Dr. Michael A. Friedman took the helm of City of Hope as its CEO. A federally designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, the 112-acre biomedical research and treatment center in Duarte got its start in 1914 when members of the Jewish Consumptive Relief Association set up two tents as a haven for those stricken with
Friedman, an oncologist and clinical researcher, also has experience in public policy and commercial drug development. He served as the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under President Bill Clinton and as associate director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He got his start as a clinical oncologist and professor at UC San Francisco Medical Center and most recently worked in the pharmaceutical industry.
The Jewish Journal spoke with Friedman as City of Hope celebrates its 90th anniversary, Friedman marks his first year with the institution and a state-of-the-art Helford Clinical Research Hospital, scheduled to open this fall, nears completion:
Retired cardiologist Dr. Robert Peck remembers the 40-year-old uninsured patient who was admitted to the emergency room of a local hospital with severe chest pains. The patient was stabilized, but required further treatment. Since he had no insurance, he was to be transferred to one of the county hospitals that serve the uninsured. But the patient died while awaiting transfer.
Like many working mothers, Rose Ziff was already spread pretty thin when she took on care-giving responsibility for her 85-year-old mother. The Culver City resident works full time as an administrator at UCLA. She and her husband, Ron, are raising two daughters, ages 12 and 10, and dealing with their younger daughter's recent autism diagnosis. In her limited discretionary time, Ziff was co-leading the 10-year-old's Brownie troop, serving on her synagogue's board of directors and co-chairing the religious school's parent association. In April, Ziff added another ball in the air by moving her mother, Evelyn Goldman, from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Life isn't so easy for Genia Cohen. The 68-year-old widow lives in a low-income apartment in Hollywood. She finds it difficult to get together with her sister, her only living relative in the area, who's also suffering from the aches and pains of age.
At the ages of 83 and 84, Rose and Sam Leff began to feel isolated in their two-bedroom Woodland Hills apartment. "We had given up driving, so there really wasn't too much for us to do," Rose said.
The Leffs decided to move to a residential care facility at the Jewish Home for the Aging, which provides kosher meals, housekeeping services, transportation, social and recreational activities and a medical clinic on-site. While they agree it was difficult adjusting to living in one room ("If we have a fight, I'm out in the hall," Sam joked), four years later, they have no regrets about their decision.
Dr. S. Jerome Tamkin doesn't keep a little black book, but he does keep a large white binder. And if you're an educational, Jewish or health organization, you want to be listed there, because the binder tracks 32 organizations which Tamkin and his wife, Judith, have chosen to support through their Tamkin Foundation. And that's just the major projects. It also includes a list of more than 100 additional entities which receive donations from the foundation.
Is our national health care system beyond cure? Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Dr. Alexandra M. Levine, medical director of the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, believe that the Jewish community can take a role in advancing remedies for our nation's health care ills.
Angelenos in need of emergency care are facing the threat of longer journeys to fewer facilities. Faced with a projected deficit in excess of $700 million in 2005, the L.A. County Department of Health Services has proposed to shut down two of its hospitals, increasing the burden on remaining hospitals countywide.
Soroya Nazarian learned about hereditary inclusion body myopathy (HIBM), an uncommon muscular disorder that affects the Persian Jewish community, while in Israel on a Hadassah mission about five years ago. There, she met professor Zohar Argov, from the department of neurology at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, the researcher who first discovered the rare disease in 1984. Although Nazarian did not know anyone personally affected with HIBM, the self-described "professional volunteer" knew her involvement with Hadassah Southern California put her in a unique position to increase awareness and raise funds for the condition that seemed to unfairly target her community.
Bob Dole. General Norman Schwarzkopf. Harry Belafonte. Robert Goulet. The willingness of such well-known figures to make public their battle with prostate cancer has brought visibility to an issue that until the last few years, lacked the attention, funding and research interest befitting a disease that will strike more than 180,000 men in the United States this year.
As founder and chair of Westwood One, the biggest radio network in the country, Norman J. Pattiz has an impact on what's carried over the airwaves in the United States and beyond. Now that he is a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, he has an even greater voice in international broadcasting.
Smiling at the memory of being asked to serve as chairman of the board of City of Hope, Jack Suzar confides, "They caught me in one of the weakest points of my life."
When Pam Acosta's mother, Rose, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June of 1996, Acosta was at a loss. The only thing she knew about the disease was that it claimed actor Michael Landon's life. "The doctors offered no answers, no hope. Only a three- to six-month sentence," says Acosta. In anguish, she wondered, "If Michael Landon couldn't save himself, how can I save my mother?"
Rabbi Eli Herscher is leading a discussion about the December holidays with about two dozen participants of Stephen S. Wise Temple's Holiday Workshop Series. The class attracts a good number of intermarried couples and those considering conversion, but they are not the only ones who squirm over the topic.
The ad caught our eye: an all-expense paid Shabbat weekend at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute for couples married withinthe past 18 months. I had been to Brandeis before, so I knew that, if nothing else, my husband, Neal, and I would experience a tranquil Shabbat in a beautiful setting.