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L.A. Jewish Film Fest, Skirball Names Rabbi-in-Residence, Teens in Sacramento

On opening night of the L.A. Jewish Film Festival, Mel Brooks turned up for the screening of “Remembering Gene Wilder.” Courtesy of L.A. Jewish Film Festival

The Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival (LAJFF) called it a wrap on May 24 after nearly a week of screenings at theaters across Los Angeles.

The opening night gala for the annual festival was held May 18 at the Saban Theater. The program included a world premiere screening of the documentary, “Remembering Gene Wilder.” The stars that turned out to celebrate the festival’s opening included the legendary Mel Brooks. 

Additional screenings included “Who are the Marcuses?” which was shown in celebration of Israel’s 75th anniversary. The film recounts the remarkable tale of Israel, water and philanthropy.  The festival also presented the documentary film, “Killing me Softly with His Song,” about the life and work of composer Charles Fox. 

Rabbi Beaumont Shapiro. Courtesy of Rabbi Beaumont Shapiro.

Skirball Cultural Center has appointed Rabbi Beaumont Shapiro to its newly created rabbi-in-residence position. Rabbi Shapiro’s role will commence on June 5. 

At the Skirball, he will serve as a leader, educator and community builder at the organization while partnering closely with Skirball Cultural Center President and CEO Jessie Kornberg and Skirball Cultural Center Executive Vice President Leslie Johnson on the expression of the Jewish values through the museum’s daily operations and programming.

Shapiro said he was looking forward to the opportunity.

“The Skirball is uniquely positioned amongst organizations nationwide to engage people from across the spectrum of Jewish life — and particularly important in this day and age, non-Jews as well — in exploring our connections to one another and our greater community so that, together, we can build a more just society,” he said.

Shapiro previously served as a rabbi and educator for 20 years at Wilshire Boulevard Temple. 

Fifteen Los Angeles teens, including students from Milken Community School, traveled to Sacramento, where they met with elected officials as part of a cohort organized by the Jewish Center for Justice. Courtesy of the Jewish Center for Justice

On May 24, 15 Los Angeles teens traveled to the State Capitol to meet with California legislators as part of the Jewish Center for Justice’s (JCJ) Leadership, Education, Advocacy, Democracy cohort.

The JCJ program mentors the next generation of Jewish leaders, teaches them how to amplify their voices, and empowers them to advocate for solutions to modern-day injustices, JCJ Executive Director Rabbi Joel Thal Simonds said. 

Participating students were from Palisades Charter High School, Milken Community School and the Archer School for Girls. They met with the staff from State Senator Toni Atkins and the California Jewish Legislative Caucus as well as with Assemblymembers Isaac Bryan and Tina McKinnor.

This trip marked the second consecutive year that teen activists from JCJ traveled to Sacramento to meet with elected officials and advocate on key legislative issues.

“Seeing them discover their voice and passion for these issues in real time speaks to the power of this program, and is a positive sign for the future of Jewish justice advocacy,” Simonds, who is also an associate rabbi at University Synagogue, said.

Founded in 2017, Jewish Center for Justice is a social justice, education and leadership development platform. The teen cohort is one of many JCJ programs. 

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