The Orthodox Union West Coast Region will present its Annual Awards Banquet on Tuesday, June 16 at the Sephardic Temple in Westwood. The banquet will honor two dedicated couples in the Los Angeles Jewish community, including Chazzan Nati and Mrs. Carmit Baram with the “Community Leadership Award,” and Rabbi Yitz and Mrs. Stefanie Etshalom with the “Chinuch (Jewish Education) Leadership Award.” Ralphs Grocery Company, a longtime OU West Coast partner, will be honored as well as with the Kashrut Leadership Award. The banquet will take place at 5:45 p.m. at the synagogue, located at 10500 Wilshire Boulevard.
OU President Martin Nachimson of Los Angeles said, “It’s of great interest to me that we honor both a cantorial family, Chazzan Nati and Carmit Baram; and a rabbinical family, Rabbi Yitz and Stefanie Etshalom. The team of the rabbi and the chazzan are the essence of the synagogue service, and I say with great pride that OU member congregations throughout not only the West Coast, but all over North America, feature rabbis and chazzanim who make davening more than just the rote recitation of prayers, but who bring the spirituality to the services that fosters true kavanah among the worshipers.”
OU Executive Vice President Allen Fagin declared, “Having been a lay leader for many years, and now in my second year as Executive Vice President, I know firsthand how important it is to have a supportive community. The work that we do at the OU is only possible thanks to the generosity and selflessness of those who give their time, energy and resources to their synagogues, yeshivot and the OU itself. Therefore, I am honored to extend my warmest congratulations and best wishes to our well-respected and well-chosen honorees, Chazzan Nati and Carmit Baram, recipients of the ‘Community Leadership Award’; and to Rabbi Yitz and Stefanie Etshalom, who are being presented with the ‘Chinuch Leadership Award’”.Mrs. Stefanie and Rabbi Yitz Etshalom.
Mr. Fagin continued, “In addition, we honor Ralphs Grocery Company, which not only sells an enormous variety of kosher products – so many of them bearing the OU symbol – but which opens its doors every year for pre-Passover programs conducted by OU West Coast Region Director Rabbi Alan Kalinsky and Rabbi Reuven Nathanson. We can truly call Ralphs the ‘Official Supermarket’ of the OU West Coast Region.”
The Barams, who are native Israelis, moved to the United States in 2009. In 2012 Chazzan Baram was appointed cantor at Beverly Hills Synagogue/Young Israel of North Beverly Hills, where he not only presides over the Shabbat and holiday prayers, but also organizes regular musical events and concerts for the wider Jewish community of Los Angeles. Chazzan Baram is also the current director of the Gindi-Maimonides Academy choir. Also musically trained, Mrs. Baram is a graduate of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv University. Since the Barams arrival to Los Angeles with their oldest daughter Roni, Mrs. Baram, a professional musician, devoted herself to raise Roni and their two younger daughters who were born in Los Angeles, Reut and Shira. The family resides in the heart of Beverly Hills.
Rabbi Kalinsky shared about the Barams, “Nati and Carmit, in just a few short years have endeared themselves to so many of the members of the Los Angeles community. They not only enhance the prayer and synagogue experience of their congregants through beautiful music, but they also make everyone around them feel joy in Avodat Hashem.”
Rabbi Etshalom serves on the faculties of the Yeshiva of Los Angeles and of the Simon Wiesenthal Center as associate director of Project Next Step, along with serving as chair of the Bible Department at the Yeshiva University High Schools of Los Angeles (YULA). He lives in Beverlywood with his wife and their five children. Mrs. Etshalom, an educator who has taught at several day schools, is the Youth Leader at the Young Israel of Century City.
Rabbi Kalinsky remarked, “Receiving the ‘Chinuch Leadership Award,’ the Etshaloms are master educators seamlessly bridging the worlds of formal and informal Jewish education. Through their involvement in high school education at YULA, youth and adult education at Young Israel of Century City, and a myriad of shiurim, lectures, and written works, the Etshaloms are true role models for positive and passionate Jewish identity.”
For more information on the banquet call the OU West Coast Region office at 310-229-9000 or email email@example.com.