LOS ANGELES, CA — On October 6, 2016, the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, and the IAC – Israeli American Council, hosted a community-wide memorial ceremony for former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres at Stephen Wise Temple. Peres, who passed away on September 28, 2016 in Israel, was an inspiration and leader in Israel and beyond.
This ceremony brought together those in the Los Angeles community who wanted to memorialize and honor Peres’ legacy. The memorial included remarks from community leaders, elected officials and others who were personally connected to Shimon Peres.
Sam Grundwerg, Consul General of Israel to the Southwest US, said, “It was incredible for us to witness the outpouring of support and admiration for Shimon Peres at tonight’s tribute. Hundreds of people from the greater Los Angeles area gathered together to honor the last of the founding fathers of the State of Israel. Shimon Peres personified the very same principles that Israel stands for – courage, optimism, persistence, resilience, vision, innovation and an unrelenting thirst for knowledge and commitment to Israel and the Jewish people. His legacy will guide us in the future.”
“Shimon Peres was a true visionary,” said Jay Sanderson, President & CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. “He was a part of Israel’s historic past, but he dreamed about Israel’s future. More than any Israeli statesman, he felt a true connection to the Los Angeles Jewish community. His first trip to Los Angeles, at the behest of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, was sixty-six years ago. He returned countless times, including last year to address the Jewish community. I was privileged and honored to know him personally and to have spent time with him over the past thirty years. He truly helped shape my connection to the State of Israel.”
Tamir Cohen, Co-Chair of IAC told of the influence Shimon Peres’ grandfather had on Shimon Peres. When the grandfather said his farewells to his grandson Shimon, he asked him to ‘always stay Jewish.’ Tamir ended his speech by saying, “I would like to imagine that when he meets his grandfather in the heavens above, his grandfather will hold his grandson’s chin up, pat his head and tell him ‘well done Shimon, I am proud of you.’ And Shimon will look up to his grandfather and say ‘I just did as you asked, I kept us Jewish.’
Congressman Brad Sherman also gave his remarks, and was joined by other elected officials to light a memorial candle for Shimon Peres. The memorial ceremony also included performances by singer and songwriter Ninet Tayeb, and Mike Burstyn.
Sharon Stone, Academy Award Nominee and friend of Shimon Peres spoke of her memories with the former President and Prime Minister during the memorial. “And I know he isn’t dead, he is alive – in the hearts and the minds and the futures of these young people.” She continued, “I know that he wouldn’t want me to waste my time being sad, though I am heart-broken.” Before concluding her remarks, Stone said “I can’t even believe that this great man took time to be my friend, took time to believe in me. But he did. And he believed what I believed, that there can be peace.”
Photography Credit: Linda Kasian
Picture 1: From Left to Right: Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback, Senior Rabbi of Stephen Wise Temple; Congressman Brad Sherman; Jay Sanderson, President & CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles; Sam Grundwerg, Consul General of Israel to the Southwest US; Sharon Stone, Academy Award Nominated Actress
Picture 2: Event Picture at Stephen Wise Temple
For more information, please contact Alana Weiner at AWeiner@JewishLA.org.