LOS ANGELES -- The Erwin Rautenberg Foundation awarded Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA) a $500,000 grant to support and name its college guidance program. The Erwin Rautenberg College Guidance Program provides youth in need free guidance throughout high school and during college. One to one college guidance counseling services ensure students submit successful applications to the college of their choice and earn a higher degree at a four-year university.

Ninety-two percent (22 out of 24) of high school seniors who graduated in June and participated in the Erwin Rautenberg College Guidance Program will be attending a four-year college this fall. Nearly half of these students will be heading to private or out-of-state public schools. The wide variety of college acceptances and selections underscore the fact that this program was able to help students find a good fit for themselves. The 22 college bound students will be attending 21 different schools. Randy Schwab, Chief Executive Officer of JBBBSLA says, “We believe that our program’s combination of individualized services delivered by college admissions professionals is key to getting outstanding results for our program participants.”

Approximately 80% of the youth served by JBBBSLA come from families that have a low-to-moderate income and attend Los Angeles public schools. According to the LA School Report, “The average high school counselor caseload at LA Unified is 378 students.” Private college counseling is unaffordable for the families we serve. The Erwin Rautenberg College Guidance Program offers free college guidance to students in our mentoring, teen, and camp programs. The core of this program is providing ongoing one-on-one counseling to students throughout the school year. Essentially, students receive customized services like those that students paying for private counseling receive.

Through the Erwin Rautenberg College Guidance Program, students learn how to strategically select core curriculum classes, develop a personalized college list, improve their essay writing skills, learn how to find and enroll in extracurricular activities, master the college interview, tailor their applications for each college, find financial aid and scholarship opportunities, and receive guidance with their college course selection. This free program provides students with a customized curriculum for each year of high school. Students attending community college before transferring to a four-year college will have college guidance sessions during their senior year in high school and their time in community college.  

In a letter to his college guidance counselor, Alan Karbachinsky, a student in the Erwin Rautenberg College Guidance Program who will be attending USC this year said, “I am beyond honored and grateful that I was able to trek this extremely important journey with you and you’re one of a kind guidance. I hope to keep making you proud. You will always be a special and important person in my life. Thank you for believing in me and helping me unfold my dreams.”
This year, we anticipate serving 150 students in the Erwin Rautenberg College Guidance Program. These students include high school and college students as well as “Student Ambassadors” who are alumnae of our program attending the same college. Student Ambassadors form a social group that support each other on their college journey. In the years to come, JBBBSLA and the Erwin Rautenberg Foundation look forward to helping hundreds of students become college graduates and live their best life.

About the Erwin Rautenberg Foundation: Near the end of his life, Erwin Rautenberg contemplated the disposition of his wealth with a circle of confidants, including his longtime accountant Tom Corby, and Foundation President & CEO Marvin Schotland. When Mr. Rautenberg died in 2011, the bulk of his estate was bequeathed to the Erwin Rautenberg Foundation to benefit Jewish causes.


Teach CA, a project of the Orthodox Union (OU) and a leading advocate for equitable funding for California’s nonpublic schools, thanked Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing an historic bill into law today that established the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

The program was given $15 million in initial funding for nonpublic schools, places of worship and other nonprofit institutions. The program will provide up to $200,000 per institution at risk of bias crimes or attacks due to its ideology, beliefs or mission. For the first time, these institutions can use the fund to pay for security personnel.  

Teach CA has been advocating for increased security funding for at risk institutions since 2016, and specifically to increase the critical State Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

Both on the state and federal levels, the Orthodox Union has long focused on creating legislation to increase safety for schools and other nonprofits at risk of terror attacks. Teach CA and its affiliated region-based programs in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida Maryland and Ontario work with their local communities to assist them in securing and advocating for similar funding programs.

“Today, the California state legislature and the Governor have shown their commitment to the safety and security of all Californians, including those most at risk of bias or hate crimes. The Jewish community is grateful for the creation of this program as our community faces increased anti-Semitic violence and rhetoric,” said Teach CA Director of State Political Affairs Dan Mitzner. “This grant program allows access to additional State funding to secure our institutions, including our synagogues and day schools.”

 “We are extremely grateful to Governor Newsom for heeding the call of so many and making the well-being and security of California’s at-risk institutions a priority,” said Teach CA CO-Chairman Michael Buchman. “With acts of senseless violence reoccurring on a regular basis, including horrific incidents in our own state, a strong response was necessary by the government of California to ensure that people of all faiths feel safe in their community institutions. We thank Governor Newsom, Assembly Member Gabriel and Assembly Member Maienschein for their leadership in passing this bill.”

Teach Coalition was founded in 2013 to advocate for equitable government funding for nonpublic schools. With a vast network of community leaders, parents and lawmakers across the country, Teach Coalition is working to keep the costs down of sending children to nonpublic schools.

The network has secured an increase a $1 billion in government aid for nonpublic schools since 2011.


SACRAMENTO – On last week Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the several appointments:, among them are Richard Rubin, 69, of Mill Valley, who has been appointed to the California Law Revision Commission. 

Rubin has been a contributing columnist for Fox and Hounds since 2015 and for the Marin Independent Journal since 1998.  Rubin founded Richard Rubin & Associates in 1984, where he was president until 2019. Rubin was an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco’s Fromm Institute from 2004 to 2012. He served as a legislative assistant in the Office of U.S. Senator Harrison Williams (D-NJ) from 1966 to 1970 and U.S. Senator John Tunney (D-CA) from 1970 to 1973. He is a former vice president of the California State Bar Board and former chair of the California Commonwealth Club Board of Governors, Berkeley Repertory Theater Board, and the San Francisco Self Help for the Elderly Board.

Rubin earned a Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University Law School and a Master of Arts degree in international affairs from Columbia University. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Rubin is a Democrat.


Raphael J. Sonenshein speaks about the poll findings

by J. Emilio Flores, Cal State LA


The Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs (PBI) at Cal State LA today released a new poll of Jewish voters in Los Angeles County, offering key insights on topics including President Donald Trump and concern over rising anti-Semitism.

The survey paints a portrait of a complex, yet seldom polled community. The last survey of Jewish residents in Los Angeles was conducted more than two decades ago.

The findings reveal Jewish voters’ disapproval of President Trump and support for the Democratic presidential candidates leading in national polls, with Senator Elizabeth Warren as the favorite, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders.

The poll shows that Jewish voters in Los Angeles County see rising anti-Semitism in the U.S. as a serious problem. They also actively take part in civic activities and political activism, including donating to charities, communicating with elected officials and talking with friends and family about politics, as well as signing letters or petitions about social or political issues. The findings also detail the community’s views on topics including Jewish identity, religious activities and support of Israel.

The findings were announced at a special event at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Koreatown on Oct. 3, less than two weeks before the next Democratic presidential primary debate on Oct. 15.

More than 1,800 registered Jewish voters in Los Angeles County were polled as part of the survey. Public opinion research firm EVITARUS conducted the poll from Aug. 7 to Sept. 19, with the survey completed before the current impeachment inquiry.

The poll reveals that a large majority of surveyed Jewish voters in Los Angeles County hold negative attitudes toward Trump, with 75% saying they disapprove of the president and 74% saying they would not vote to re-elect him in 2020.

Of the respondents, 75% said they believe rising anti-Semitism is a current serious problem. One survey respondent expressed deep concern over “alt right hate groups and governments that are sprouting up around the world.” Another pointed to “anti-Israel rhetoric on the left melting together with anti-Jewish rhetoric on the right.”

“I think it’s a really striking result,” said Raphael J. Sonenshein, executive director for the Pat Brown Institute. “Regardless of ideology, regardless of party, the overwhelming share of L.A. County registered Jewish voters are very, very concerned about what they perceive as rising anti-Semitism. I don’t remember a time in the years since I have started studying this when I think the temperature on this concern was so high.”

In the Democratic presidential race, 38% of those surveyed favored Warren, 15% backed Biden and 14% supported Sanders.

The findings also show that Jewish voters showed strong support for progressive policies, including those concerning same-sex marriage, abortion, gun control, health care and immigration.

In the poll, 54% of respondents identified as Democrats, 30% as independent or third party voters, and 13% as Republicans.

Orthodox Jewish voters showed distinctive attitudes from the overall sample of voters, with 43% identifying as strong Republicans. They expressed high support of Trump and his re-election, with 70% approving of the president’s job performance.

“One of the rich values of this survey is that we have enough respondents to be able to segment the community in greater detail than has been done in the recent past,” said Shakari Byerly, partner and principal researcher for EVITARUS.

Nearly 3 in 5 Jewish voters surveyed said being Jewish is an important part of their life. More than two-thirds said remembering the Holocaust and working for justice and equality are essential aspects of their Jewish identity.

The findings show that 69% of Jewish voters surveyed are not currently a member of a synagogue or a temple.  Regarding attitudes toward Israel, 73% viewed the existence of Israel as a Jewish state as important.  Nearly 90% of polled Jewish voters view themselves as “generally pro-Israel,” while some express reservations about some or many policies of Israel’s government.

Overall, 93% of respondents completed the survey online and 7% by phone, with 3% reached by cellphones and 4% reached via a landline. The poll’s margin of error is ± 2.3% at the 95% confidence level.

The poll is part of a pathbreaking multiyear PBI project to survey four major racial and ethnic populations in Los Angeles County: the Asian American, Latino, African American, and Jewish communities. The poll of African American voters was released in July. The polls of Asian American and Latino voters were released in 2016.

“This groundbreaking polling project has generated valuable insights into the complex social and political dynamics of Los Angeles and will help bring further engagement and understanding of the communities we serve,” said Cal State LA Provost and Executive Vice President Jose A. Gomez, who also serves as chair of the PBI Board of Advisers.

Visit the PBI website for more information on the poll.

California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 28,000 students and has more than 250,000 distinguished alumni.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center.

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                           15-21 Tishrei, 5780                                                   Oct. 14-20, 2019 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES --  628th Web Ed.