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Tag: The Mensch List

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  • The Mensch List 2013

    January 2, 2014 | 4:48 pm

    Last month, for our eighth-annual mensch list, we again invited all of you to submit your nominations of extraordinary volunteers, and again the outpouring of suggestions of amazing people was overwhelming. We faced this enormous response only to wonder, once again, how to choose...

  • Jaleh Naim: A passion for helping struggling Iranian-Americans

    By Karmel Melamed

    January 2, 2014 | 4:18 pm

    Two years ago Elena J., a middle-aged, impoverished Iranian-Jewish woman in Los Angeles, was stricken with a rare illness that forced surgeons to amputate one of her legs. With no family and no friends locally to help her, Elena faced a grim future, as she did not have enough money...

  • Armin Szatmary: Person of the Book

    By Jared Sichel

    January 2, 2014 | 3:30 pm

    Armin Szatmary takes his membership in the “People of the Book” very seriously.

    So seriously, in fact, that once per week, for 15 years, the 73-year-old retired salesman has set aside time to help illiterate kids in Los Angeles’ public schools learn to read.

    Sitting in the...

  • Wendy Colman Levin: The way home

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    January 2, 2014 | 3:08 pm

    Wendy Colman Levin spoke with quiet intensity about the people who have touched her during her four-and-a-half years as an advocate on behalf of the homeless, among them the young woman who was thrown out of her childhood home when she told her stepfather that her stepbrothers were...

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  • The Mensch List 2012

    January 3, 2013 | 1:20 pm

    Last month, for our seventh-annual mensch list, we again invited all of you to submit your nominations of extraordinary volunteers, and again the outpouring of suggestions of amazing people was overwhelming. We faced this enormous response only to wonder, once again, how to choose...

  • Paulinda Schimmel Babbini: Raising ovarian cancer awareness

    January 3, 2013 | 12:10 pm

    Often, when someone is coping with an extraordinary loss, the feelings can be all-encompassing. When Paulinda Schimmel Babbini’s daughter, Robin, died of ovarian cancer at the age of 20, instead of letting the tragic death immobilize her, Babbini made it her mission that no one...

  • Georgia Freedman-Harvey: The art of healing

    By Julie Gruenbaum Fax

    January 3, 2013 | 12:05 pm

    By the way, I forgot to mention,” Georgia Freedman-Harvey said at the end of a long interview, “I was a bone marrow donor for a stranger 10 years ago.”

    That Freedman-Harvey physically gave of herself wasn’t a surprising revelation.

    Nor was it surprising to find out that...

  • Sarah Loew: An optimistic vision

    By Ryan Torok

    January 3, 2013 | 11:59 am

    Sarah Loew didn’t just create the Loew Vision Rehabilitation Institute, which improves the lives of people with permanent vision loss — she is also a patient of the facility.

    Approximately 10 years ago, when she was a 24-year-old struggling actress living in Los Angeles, doctors...

  • Frank Nikbakht: Unflinching voice for Jews in Iran

    By Karmel Melamed

    January 3, 2013 | 11:46 am

    Nearly 13 years ago, 13 Jews living in the Iranian city of Shiraz were arrested on trumped-up charges of spying for Israel and were facing execution by the clerics who ruled Iran. At the time, many of the leaders of Southern California’s Iranian-Jewish community asked their fellow...

  • Ashton Rosin: Bearing witness on campus

    By Danielle Berrin

    January 3, 2013 | 11:24 am

    When author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel was recently asked if he feared future generations might forget the Holocaust once the last surviving witnesses had perished, he answered that he had quelled his anxiety over this problem with a simple dictum: “To listen to a witness,”...

  • Joel Lipton: With a little help from his lens

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    January 3, 2013 | 11:16 am

    When Joel Lipton, who has been a professional photographer for almost 30 years, first started shooting events for Big Sunday, at the time a one-day, annual volunteer event, he initially had some second thoughts about just how much the clicks of his camera were helping. 

    “You...

  • Dr. Matthew Lefferman and Eric Weissman: Putting Sunday sports in play

    By Ryan E. Smith

    January 3, 2013 | 10:35 am

    Nowhere in the Torah does it say: “And on the seventh day, God played soccer.” Which is too bad for observant Jewish youths who would love to take advantage of the many local sports leagues that play on Saturdays.

    Fortunately, there are Dr. Matthew Lefferman and Eric Weissman....

  • The Mensch List 2011

    January 5, 2012 | 5:59 pm

    Last month, for our sixth annual mensch list, we once again invited all of you to submit your nominations of extraordinary volunteers, and once again the outpouring of suggestions of amazing people was overwhelming. We faced this enormous response only to wonder, once more, how to...

  • Latching on to a healthy solution

    By Ryan E. Smith

    January 5, 2012 | 5:22 pm

    As a third-year pediatric resident at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles who works an average of 80 hours per week, Dr. Jonathan Goldfinger could use a break, you would think. Too bad there’s so much else that needs to be done — fighting obesity, lowering the risk of SIDS (sudden...

  • She’s found a world of volunteerism

    By Ryan Torok

    January 5, 2012 | 4:50 pm

    Izzie Levinson, 16, grew up in a family that is devoted to community service:  Her father, David Levinson, is the founder of Big Sunday, an extensive regional volunteer program that grew out of a Mitzvah Day project; her mother is a highly accomplished TV writer who left that work to...

  • Listener, advocate for the dying

    By Anita K. Kantrowitz

    January 5, 2012 | 4:32 pm

    Getting old, as Bette Davis famously said, is not for sissies. And developing a terminal illness, as Davis later learned, is no picnic either. Yet while most of us fear sickness, aging and the end of life, hospice volunteer Michael Curtis finds solace and purpose — pleasure, even...

  • The Mensch List 2010

    By JewishJournal.com

    December 22, 2010 | 9:29 pm

    This fall, we again put out our call for nominations for our annual list of mensches, and you responded with your usual outpouring of suggestions of amazing people. We face this enormous response only to wonder, once more, how do you choose between a 13-year-old who rallied his...

  • Holocaust survivor keeps memories alive

    By Ryan Torok

    December 22, 2010 | 9:24 pm

    For the sake of his career, Jack Voorzanger worked to leave the horrors he endured during the Holocaust behind, but through his volunteer work at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, he has demonstrated his commitment to “never forgetting.” He spends 15 hours each week digitizing the...

  • Promoting unity, Judaism among local Iranian Jews

    By Karmel Melamed

    December 22, 2010 | 9:19 pm

    Southern California’s Iranian Jewish community has long been divided over a host of social and religious issues, often discouraging hopes among the elders for community continuity. Eman Esmailzadeh, a 27-year-old engineer and community activist, is one of a small number of young...

  • The art of living with brain cancer

    December 22, 2010 | 9:15 pm

    When Judi Kaufman was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1997, she was told she had five years left to live.

    But Kaufman — an accomplished chef, writer and active member of the Jewish community — refused to sit back and accept her prognosis without a fight. 

    “I asked [my...

  • Israeli scouting just got hipper

    By Dikla Kadosh

    December 22, 2010 | 9:10 pm

    By nature, Eli Fitlovitz prefers to stay in the background. The kibbutz-raised Israeli, who came to Los Angeles in 1982, has wise eyes, an endearing smile and a quiet confidence. A commercial real estate broker, he and his wife are now raising three teenagers. What finally forced...

  • Foster kids’ angel of light

    December 22, 2010 | 8:58 pm

    As a child, Lauri Burns thought God was punishing her for something horrible she had done in a past life. How else could she explain the years of beatings by her father that began when she was just 5 years old, or the mental abuse that left her suicidal by her bat mitzvah and led her...

  • Teen’s focus on Congo begins at home

    By Julie Gruenbaum Fax

    December 22, 2010 | 8:52 pm

    David Taylor doesn’t see the point in getting emotional about the evils across the globe.

    “What do I accomplish by being sad about it?” he asks.

    Rather, he looks at human rights atrocities and thinks about them methodically — where and how can he make the most impact?

    And...

  • From grief, a dream realized

    By Danielle Berrin

    December 22, 2010 | 8:39 pm

    Gabriella Axelrad, a luminous 13-year-old with a striking smile, had been on the final stretch of a family bike ride in Grand Teton National Park when a white van appeared out of nowhere and knocked the last breath out of her lithe dancer’s body.

    There were no goodbyes. No time...

  • Don’t call him super-rav

    By Jonah Lowenfeld

    December 22, 2010 | 8:29 pm

    “Is Rabbi T a crime-fighting rabbi?” That’s what a student asked Pressman Academy Rav Beit Sefer (head school rabbi) Chaim Tureff at a recent question-and-answer session.

    “Lehavdil,” Tureff responded, using the Hebrew word to draw a distinction between himself and the...

  • Mom, the full-time mensch

    By Orit Arfa

    December 22, 2010 | 8:20 pm

    “Is everybody happy today?” Shana Passman cheerfully asked a table of Holocaust survivors eating lunch at Hollywood Temple Beth El at the annual Chanukah party of Café Europa, a social club for Holocaust Survivors run by the Jewish Family Service (JFS).

    The survivors’ faces...

  • Filmmaker puts JCorps in spotlight

    By Orit Arfa

    December 22, 2010 | 8:08 pm

    In 2008, Adam Irving, a filmmaker and photographer, left his doctoral program in media studies at the University of Texas to make the transition from theory to practice. He landed in Hollywood with the dream of making films, but soon after his arrival found himself feeling...

  • Beauty Bus delivers much-needed pampering

    December 22, 2010 | 7:57 pm

    When Melissa Marantz Nealy died in 2005, her close-knit family was devastated. At 28, Nealy had been diagnosed only a year earlier with a neurodegenerative muscular disorder.

    In response, Wendy Levine, Nealy’s sister, along with their cousin, Alicia Liotta, devoted themselves to...

  • Brave + mensch = ?

    By Rob Eshman

    December 27, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Three years ago, we were sitting around our offices dreaming up an end-of-the-year issue, inundated with examples from other magazines: The Ten Best Movies, The Ten Richest Angelenos, The Ten Most Powerful Hollywood Players, The Ten Top Restaurants, The Ten Hottest Bars and et...
  • Our Second Annual Mensch List

    By JewishJournal.com

    December 28, 2006 | 3:31 pm

    “It is hard to convey the special sense of respect, dignity and approbation that can be conveyed by calling someone ‘a real mensch,’” writes Leo Rosten in “The Joys of Yiddish.” The Yiddish word infuses the basic German denotation—“person”—with an almost indefinable connotation. A...

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