Categorized | Middle East, USA

Shalom Institute honors the Bennetts, raises 200G

By Norman Greene

Norman Greene

LOS ANGELES — Over $200,000 was raised at the Shalom Institute’s 2017 December Gala which honored San Diegans Linda and Michael Bennett. The successful event, held at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, attracted 400 dinner guests who also celebrated Los Angeles supporters AdamWeiss and Arthur Pinchev.

The Bennetts were awarded the “Marla Bennett Inspiration Award” named in memory of their daughter who was murdered by a terrorist bomb explosion in 2002 while attending Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Marla was pursuing her dream of becoming a Jewish educator at the time of her death.

Camp JCA Shalom had been a central element of Marla’s young life, first as a young camper and then as a counselor and active supporter. The Bennetts turned their grief into leadership in the Jewish community as a positive way to honor the memory of their remarkable daughter. Thecouple worked with the Shalom Institute to create The Marla Bennett Israel Discovery Center and Garden in 2004 which offers hands-on learning each year teaching thousands of children and adults about the land, history and the people of Israel. Their programs stress the relationship of Judaism to the environment.

Both Michael and Linda are active in the Jewish community. The couple were co-chairs of the the United Jewish Federation’s Young Leadership group and Michael was recognized as the Young Leader of the year in 1974. Both have served on UJF’s boards. Linda has long served on the Jewish Family Service board and is now on the board of the Hebrew Home for the Aged, which operates the Seacrest Village Retirement Homes.

After Marla’s death, Linda was asked to be on the board of American Friends of Hebrew University, a position she still holds.

As they share stories and memories of Marla with their grand daughter Annika, little could they have realized that Marla‘s legacy would be so integral to the success of the Shalom Institute and Camp JCA Shalom. It is their hope that future generations will be inspired by Marla’s passions.

Greene is a freelance writer based in San Diego.

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