July 1, 2020 — Los Angeles
On June 30th, AJC Los Angeles advocates, Board members, and honored dignitaries came together in celebration of the 75th AJC Kaufman Family Annual Meeting. We wish first to thank our sponsors for their generosity, especially the Martin Gang Institute at Loyola Marymount University for its generous support of the Dr. Neil Sandberg Memorial Lecture. In our first ever, technologically ambitious Virtual Annual Meeting, we celebrated 75 years of AJC achievement in Los Angeles and honored Scott Edelman for his extraordinary leadership over four years as Board president.
AJC Los Angeles Regional Director Richard Hirschaut opened the ceremony, welcoming the attendees to an “engaging, informative, and festive celebration of AJC’s good work across Southern California and beyond.”
Outgoing AJC LA Regional President Scott Edelman gave the President’s Report, paying tribute to Judi and Roy Kaufman, “who left an indelible mark on the soul of AJC Los Angeles” and in whose honor the Annual Meeting is dedicated, and to the memory of Marcia Burnham, “an extraordinary woman of dignity, intelligence, generosity, kindness, and personal courage.” Edelman called on the Jewish community to mobilize in the fight against systemic racism and for civil rights, saying “We need to be part of the solution.”
AJC leadership, former AJC National President Bruce Ramer, Congressman Adam Schiff, and Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin saluted Scott for his years of leadership on behalf of the Jewish community and democratic values. Controller Galperin praised “the incredible and crucial work” of AJC “to advocate for the Jewish community in Israel, to combat antisemitism, and to safeguard the rights and the freedoms for all people” and Scott’s “exemplary service and dedication.” Congressman Schiff thanked AJC Los Angeles for its work on behalf of the Jewish community, saying “now more than ever, we need your advocacy,” and congratulated Scott for “a job well done.” Former National President Bruce Ramer thanked Scott for his service to the Los Angeles community, saying that his leadership during the last four years at AJC “has been nothing short of extraordinary.”
AJC LA Nominating Committee Chair Bob Horning announced the slate for new Board officers and members, and the Board unanimously approved the appointment of Marc Graboff as new Regional President along with two new members of the Board, Marc Seltzer and Erit Yellen.
Marc Graboff gave his first remarks as Regional President, saying that, in this uncertain time marked by a global pandemic, economic hardship, and racial inequality, “AJC is perfectly positioned as the global advocate of the Jewish people to address these challenges.”
Holly Huffnagle, AJC’s U.S. Director for Combating Antisemitism and formerly assistant director of AJC’s Los Angeles office, introduced new Board member and filmmaker Erit Yellen, distinguished guest and Olympian Lenny Krayzelburg, and David Harris, AJC’s CEO since 1990 and a renowned advocate, described by Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres as the “foreign minister of the Jewish people.”
Yellen, an adjunct professor at USC's Annenberg School of Communications, debuted the trailer of Odessa Gold, a film chronicling the life and career of Krayzelburg, from his early years in the Former Soviet Union to his becoming an Olympic swimmer and four-time gold medalist.
Huffnagle moderated a discussion between Harris and Krayzelburg on the Soviet Jewish experience, Krayzelburg’s struggles as a young Soviet Jew and emigration to America, and Harris’s leadership in the Soviet Jewry movement.
Krayzelburg discussed his upbringing as a Jewish boy in the Soviet Union, experiences of antisemitism during his childhood, and the exciting experience of leaving Odessa for America, “a land of opportunity.”
David Harris shared the story of his involvement in the Soviet Jewry liberation movement, describing the oppression of Soviet Jews as a “cultural genocide” and his advocacy for their freedom to emigrate.
We are grateful to our Board, affiliates, guests and staff for their participation in the 75th Annual Meeting. Although held under challenging circumstances that prevented hosting an in-person event, the ceremony illustrated the resilience and passion of Los Angeles’s Jewish community and our unyielding commitment to the Jewish people, democratic values and human rights, whether at home or abroad.