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Religion | SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FILE / JOHN DART

Event Illustrates Shift in Jewish Center

September 07, 1996|JOHN DART

The Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles will install its new president Sunday at an Encino synagogue--marking the first time the ceremony has been held in the San Fernando Valley.

The installation of businessman Herbert Gelfand will be held at Valley Beth Shalom, where Gelfand is a member. The site was chosen, in part, to reflect the significant growth of the Jewish population north of Mulholland Drive, said Valley Beth Shalom Rabbi Harold Schulweis, who will speak at the event.

Gelfand, chief executive officer of De Anza Corp. and a prominent figure in Jewish community and civic affairs, is a past general chair of the United Jewish Fund. He will succeed Irwin Field in a two-year term as president of the giant Jewish Federation Council, an umbrella organization based at 6505 Wilshire Blvd., just east of Beverly Hills.

The installation will take place at 7 p.m. and be hosted by the Jewish Federation Valley Alliance, which estimates that 250,000 Jews live in the San Fernando, Conejo, Simi, Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.

The installation is one of several occasions illustrating the shift of the Jewish center of gravity away from Los Angeles' Westside:

* The Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies--the first four-year seminary for rabbis on the West Coast--began classes this week with 33 students at the University of Judaism, which sits on Mulholland Drive atop the Sepulveda Pass, near the San Fernando Valley and the Westside. Just below is the large Stephen S. Wise Temple complex and across the San Diego Freeway is the recently opened Skirball Cultural Center and Museum.

The 18 men and 15 women studying in the new program are seeking the first Rabbinic ordinations to be granted west of the Mississippi River. "Rabbis today have to make the case for Judaism," Dean Daniel Gordis told the group. Because of the new spiritual hunger pervading American Jewish life, future rabbis must show that Judaism "possesses both intellectual and spiritual sophistication," Gordis said.

* The energetic Chabad movement of Hasidic Jewish centers will mark another milestone with a ceremony in Agoura Hills at 11 a.m. Sunday to dedicate a $500,000 Chabad worship and educational center in the Conejo Valley. Rabbi Moshe Bryski said the new facility at 30345 Canwood St. near the Ventura Freeway will serve that growing community as well as two congregations that meet inside the Ventura County line in Westlake Village and Oak Park.

For the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur rites, however, Chabad in the Conejo Valley is renting space in the nearby Radisson Hotel to accommodate an expected 1,000 people for services. A healthy, apolitical spirit exists among Jewish residents in western San Fernando Valley and the Conejo Valley, Bryski said. "There is very little feeling of competition between synagogues," he said.

* The Valley Alliance will host state Senate President Pro Tem Bill Lockyer (D-Hayward) at its 7:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday at the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus in West Hills.

Lockyer will talk about the influence of the Christian Right in Sacramento, the failed legislative attempt to help the San Fernando Valley secede from Los Angeles, and education proposals to help the state's lowest-performing students.

PEOPLE

Episcopal priest and author Malcolm Boyd became poet-in-residence this week at the Los Angeles Diocese's Cathedral Center of St. Paul in Echo Park. Boyd recently retired from a staff position at St. Augustine by-the-Sea Episcopal parish in Santa Monica.

Of his 24 books, Boyd's best-known work is "Are You Running With Me, Jesus?"

Boyd is volunteering his services to a variety of projects at the Cathedral Center, where he is already chaplain of the Bishop's Commission of AIDS Ministry in the diocese.

CONGREGATION

When Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Central Los Angeles folded in November, most of the remnant congregation joined St. Andrew's Lutheran Church on Los Angeles' Westside. Not only that, they brought 26 small, stained-glass windows with them.

Each of the windows, installed in 1959 at the first church, has a phrase from the Apostles' Creed plus symbols relating to the words. Judson Studios of Los Angeles repaired and redesigned the window panels to fit into four large windows at St. Andrew's.

The windows will be dedicated Sunday during the 10 a.m. service led by the Rev. Carol A. Nolte, pastor of St. Andrew's, which is located at 11555 National Blvd.

DATES

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles will preside Sunday at the 225th anniversary Mass and Rededication of the San Gabriel Mission. Only reserved seating is available in the old mission for the 5 p.m. rites, but general seating is possible in the Chapel of the Annunciation. The San Gabriel Mission, at 537 W. Mission Drive, is two miles north of the San Bernardino Freeway in San Gabriel. (818) 457-3035.

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