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The Legacy of a Leader Lives On

A few years ago, our community lost a beloved leader, philanthropist, and mensch:  Sam Rosenwald. Sam touched so many lives around him, particularly those of the young emerging leaders he took the time and care to mentor.

A supporter of our Federation for over 20 years, Sam served as the Chair of our Real Estate & Construction (REC) Division from 2009-2010 and was an active member of the Real Estate Principals Organization who often offered his talents and resources to REC and the community-at-large. Interested in the next generation, Sam’s goal was to bring as many voices to the table as possible.

According to Lori Tessel, Chief Development Officer at the Valley Alliance, “Sam was a protector—of his family, of the REC Division, of The Jewish Federation, of the Jewish community. He was optimistic, saw the best in people, and made those in his presence feel important.” Even in the darkest of days, Sam was confident, reassuring and, most of all, loving and grateful for all those around him.

Sam’s friends and family are helping to ensure his legacy and to guarantee that young people will continue to learn from him and his leadership. Two young people in our community have been selected as Sam Rosenwald Fellows and will honor his legacy as they emulate Sam’s leadership and follow in his footsteps.

Recently, Sam’s wife Gita Rosenwald, along with REC leaders Mark Weinstein, Ken Kahan, and Jesse Sharf and their families, came together for dinner with the Rosenwald Fellows, Shana Paredes and Brendan Nahmias. Mark, Ken, and Jesse, who will serve as mentors to these young adults, shared stories about Sam’s life and legacy and how he impacted each of them.

Shana and Brendan, young adults who have been touched by various Jewish Federation programs and staff, exemplify the qualities and character Sam possessed, and will be mentored as they continue to grow as community members and leaders.

Shana is originally from Florida, and after moving to Los Angeles, participated on Birthright Israel LA Way to make friends in her new home. She then served as a Kahn Fellow, planning Jewish programs and opportunities for her friends from the trip. She recently joined the YALA board as Newcomers’ and Outreach Chair.

Brendan is a Los Angeles native and recent graduate from Chapman University, where he participated on Birthright Israel with Hillels of Orange County (staffed at that time by Federation’s current Birthright Israel Program Director). Brendan recently moved back to Los Angeles and is excited to find his unique place in the Jewish community.

The Jewish Federation is thankful to Gita, Mark, Ken, and Jesse for making this opportunity possible and for helping ensure Sam’s much deserved legacy in our community.

For more information, contact Margalit Rosenthal at MRosenthal@JewishLA.org or (323) 761-8208.

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