On April 3, B’nai David-Judea synagogue dedicated its newly renovated building, the Rabbi Philip Schroit Sanctuary. Shirley Kotlar and family named the building in honor of Schroit, who died three years ago and was at the helm of the shul for nearly 50 years.
The addition of an elevator to the lower level social hall and a ramp to the bimah and the ark, made possible by the support of the Jewish Community Foundation, opened up sections of the 80-year-old building to the disabled. The project also moved the mechitza (divider) to the center of the room.
Peter and Janine Lowy, of Westfield Corporation, Inc., sponsored the beautification of the art deco façade and main sanctuary.
Much of the $2 million price tag went to updating the inside of the 24,500-square-foot building, which now has a modern fire safety and security system.
President Robert Blitzstein and Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky recognized the professionals and shul members who made the project possible, presenting them with Hard Hat Awards. Architect Naomi Langer and general contractor Sam Shafer led the professional teams, while the lay effort was lead by Larry Gill, Jeffrey Rabin and Shep Rosenman. Mayor James Hahn also attended the event.
For the Duke
“American Classics: The Music, Movies and People We Love” was the theme of the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary’s 20th anniversary Odyssey Ball. Some 600 people attended the black-tie gala on April 9 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
KLAC 690 DJ Brad “Martini” Chambers hosted the ball, which featured dinner and dancing to the classic tunes of Art Deco and his Society Orchestra.
Attendees included former Wayne co-stars Harry Carey, Jr., Kim Darby and Chris Mitchum, as well as actors Kevin Dobson, Larry Hagman and Anne Jeffreys.
The keynote address at the event, which was co-chaired by John Wayne’s eldest grandchild Anita Swift and Hollace Brown, was given by Amy Smith, a current patient at the John Wayne Cancer Institute.
Patrick Wayne, the institute’s board chair, presented the Special Service Award, affectionately known as the “Duke,” to Diana and Robert W. Thom, supporters of the John Wayne Cancer Institute since its inception.
The John Wayne Cancer Institute was founded in 1981 and named for the actor, who died in 1979 from lung and stomach cancer.
Lieb Tees Off
Temple Beth El members and friends joined Rabbi David Lieb in a golf tournament and dinner on April 6 to begin the calendar of events planned to honor him as he begins his retirement at the end of July after 34 years of service.
The event was held at the Rolling Hills Country Club and organized by Dr. Myron and Susan Goldstein and Dr. Randall and Vicki Hulbert.
A special surprise appearance was made by Lieb’s former student Eric Rigler, world-renowned Scottish bagpiper, Celtic piper and recording artist.
A unique cake was prepared by Vicki Hulbert, owner of Bridal Sweets, in the shape of a golf green and giant golf ball.
The Women of Temple Beth El Sisterhood have also been busy planning an English Garden Tea in June to honor Lieb’s wife, Estelle.
On March 23, The Jewish Federation/Valley Alliance held the Women’s Department annual luncheon, “It Takes a Woman.” More than 180 people gathered to honor Marta Kauffman, co-creator and executive producer of “Friends.” Kauffman gave an inspirational speech about her experience as a woman in a male-dominated industry, the importance of family and the role Judaism plays in her personal and professional success.
Make His Mark
On March 16, Mark T. Drooks , a partner at the Los Angeles firm of Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks & Lincenberg, P.C., was appointed president of the Bet Tzedek board of directors for a one-year term.
For more than 30 years, Bet Tzedek has provided free legal services to low-income Los Angeles residents. Drooks has been a Bet Tzedek volunteer for more than 10 years and member of the board since l996.
“I am honored to serve as Bet Tzedek’s president,” Drooks said, “and I am fully committed to finding ways to expand our mission of providing free legal services to the neediest in our society. With anticipated cuts in health care benefits and an affordable housing crisis here in Los Angeles, the need for Bet Tzedek’s services is greater than ever.”
Drooks graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1981 and has authored numerous articles relating to business litigation.
Tobinworld, a nonprofit special-needs school, held its first fundraiser on March 26 at Shlomi Haziza’s art gallery in Sun Valley.
Tobinworld, established by Judy Weber in 1977, was initially funded by state and local school monies. Catering to students aged 5-22 with autism, emotional and developmental disabilities, the school that started out in a private home now boasts two locations in Northern and Southern California.
Israeli artist Haziza became involved with Tobinworld after Weber purchased several of his glass sculptures. After telling him about the state budget cuts to the school, Haziza donated the use of his gallery and his staff to establish the fundraising event, where vibrant ornaments hung from the ceiling, abstract art pieces and furniture lined the walls and Haziz’s trademark glass centerpieces were later auctioned off.
Entertainment included music provided by The Gear, City Sound and Codi Williams, who sang songs from the musical “Chicago.” After the buffet dinner, the audience was treated to fire dancers from Indra Yoga and Dance and a fashion show courtesy Judith Bodart Beylerian. — Emily Pauker, Contributing Writer