westERN Report Los Angeles
Bar mitzvah boy acts well beyond his age
Professor Eilat Shinar visits L.A.
The traditional bar mitzvah ceremony usually includes the words “Today, I am a man.” Los Angeles native Robert Leeds, 13, took those words to heart and made an adult-sized gesture to MDA.
California was recently treated to a special visit from MDA’s director of blood services, Prof. Eilat Shinar. During her stay in Los Angeles, Prof. Shinar visited AFMDA National Board From left, Barak Raviv, president, Los Angeles Board; Joan members Les Handelsman and Ann AFMDA Handelsman; Prof. Eilat Shinar; Lesser. Later that same day, Prof. Les Handelsman, AFMDA National Board member. Shinar was hosted by Regional Board member Gaby Bashner for lunch before making a trip to meet colleagues at the Cedars-Sinai Blood Center in West Hollywood. Prof. Shinar wrapped up her visit to Los Angeles at a reception in Beverly Hills at the home of Dr. Isaac and Mrs. Shahin Eshaghpour. ■
In lieu of gifts, Robert asked the 800 guests at his bar mitzvah to make a very special commitment to saving lives in Israel: help him purchase an ambulance for MDA.
A communal ambulance dedication From left, Dina Leeds, Charlie Leeds, Alisa Leeds, Robert Leeds, and Gideon Lustig, Israel’s deputy consul general to the Pacific Northwest. Back row, Fred Leeds.
His efforts paid off, and then some. Robert was able to sponsor two ambulances — one Life Support Ambulance and one Mobile Intensive Care Unit. Seeking to make a positive impact on his community and Israel, Robert turned to his father, Fred, and his mother, Dina, an AFMDA national board member, for guidance. Robert decided to donate his bar mitzvah gifts toward an ambulance on Robert Leeds receives the behalf of the city of Sacramento, which Maimonides Award from had just cemented a sister-city relationAFMDA CEO Arnold Gerson. ship with the coastal town of Ashkelon in Israel, an area hit hard by Gaza missile attacks. In making his generous gift, Robert became the youngest person ever to donate an ambulance to MDA and was presented with AFMDA’s Maimonides Award in recognition of his accomplishment.
“I wanted my bar mitzvah to be more than just a party.”
“I wanted my bar mitzvah to be more than just a party,” he said. “Becoming a man to me meant standing up for my brothers and sisters in Israel and helping to cushion the blows they experience on a daily basis. I wanted not only for the ambulance itself to save actual lives, but I also wanted the very action of sending it to be the message that you do not stand alone, and we love you.” ■
AFMDA’s Western Region’s November 18 ambulance dedication represented more than a gift to the people of Israel. It was also the culmination of a commitment by an entire community. The ambulance, dedicated at Yeshiva Gedolah in Los Angeles, was a communal gift led by AFMDA Los Angeles Board president Barak Raviv and supported by 13 other generous donors. ■ From left, Michelle and Marc Rosenbach; Stanley Black; Barak Raviv, president, AFMDA Los Angeles Board; Jona Goldrich; Patricia Moch; Judson Moch; and Regina Kytmanova.
Dr. Mark Moss is latest Bennett Humanitarian Award recipient
From left, Dr. Mark Moss with Linda and Michael Bennett.
In October, Dr. Mark Moss became the latest recipient of the Marla Bennett Humanitarian Award for his passionate support of the San Diego community. Since 2004, the award has honored the life of Marla Bennett, a young San Diego woman who was one of nine people killed in a 2002 terrorist attack in a cafeteria at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. ■