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Our Major Gifts Dinner with Hollywood Mensch Joshua Malina

Scandal and West Wing cast member Joshua Malina is a performer second and a Jew first. That’s how the actor described himself to our generous donors and community leaders as the keynote speaker at The Jewish Federation Valley Alliance Major Gifts Dinner at Temple Judea.

Malina, who plays city attorney David Rosen on the Shonda Rhimes-created ABC series Scandal, backed up this assertion with several anecdotes recalling times when his identity as a Jew collided with his film and television aspirations. There was the audition when he was directed to eat pizza during Passover. He didn’t and lost the part.  And the time he was asked to report to work on a film set the second day of Rosh Hashanah. He asked if his schedule could be rearranged.  It was. 

The event, held on May 1st, highlighted impactful programs made possible through the support of our Federation.  Attendees learned about the Special Needs Support Initiative, a program of our partner Jewish Big Brothers and Big Sisters which connects volunteers and mentors with Jewish community members of all ages who have special needs, aligning with our goal of creating a more inclusive Jewish community. They also heard participants in our Federation’s Community Leadership Institute and New Leaders Project discuss the empowering and meaningful effect these programs are making on their lives and our community. 

Check out photos from the event:

The evening raised critical funds in support of our Federation and was special for all thanks to the hard work of Valley Alliance Major Gifts Dinner Chairs Lynne & Michael Feldman and Lisa & George Hess, as well as Vice Chairs Allyn & Jeff Levine and Michelle & David Spiegel.  Valley Alliance Campaign Co-Chair Karmi Monsher delivered a passionate address, telling everyone in the room that they are our Federation’s ambassadors out in the greater community and asking that they share our message about what we are accomplishing together to support and sustain our community today and ensuring a vibrant Jewish future.  Campaign Co-Chair Paul Pepperman underscored her words by handing out specially created wallet cards featuring emergency referral numbers for those in need.  Then it was Malina’s turn to captivate.

A product of Jewish day school, he discussed his upbringing in New York, his relationship with long-time collaborator Sorkin, and the Jewish values he inherited from his parents that he reinforces with his own children.  While Malina is a proud supporter of Israel, which he has visited three times, he believes that there are better, more visible advocates from Hollywood to speak up. In fact, he once attended a Federation rally in Los Angeles in support of Israel and the individual at the VIP check-in desk looked him in the eye and asked for his name. While Malina admitted that half of the people he meets recognize him and the other half think they may have gone to high school together, he would like to see the day when well-known Hollywood figures step out of the shadows and onto the world stage in support of our Jewish homeland.

To learn more about the event, or how you can make a meaningful investment in our Jewish community, please contact Robbie Tombosky at (818) 668-2344 or RTombosky@JewishLA.org.

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