Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Jesse Gabriel, a member of the state legislature from the San Fernando Valley and chair of the Legislative Jewish Caucus, recalled that shortly after the birth of his third son, Noah, in April he received a text from Padilla that said, “Mazel tov.”

“He has that kind of cultural sensitivity to reach out,” Gabriel said. “He’s a menschy guy, smart, a good guy, a great public servant who shows he cares about our issues. He checks all the boxes.”


Monday, August 12, 2019

In a show of unity, 11 California lawmakers representing the Jewish and Latino legislative caucuses toured Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego on Aug. 9 after increasing scrutiny about conditions at the facility.

The legislators conducted interviews and met with detainees at the center, which is overseen by private prison company CoreCivic and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Visiting the Otay Mesa detention facility was powerful and profoundly sad,” said Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto), a member of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. “We all have a responsibility to highlight what is going on at the border. But I do think Jews have a unique history and experience that allows us to empathize with today’s migrants that much more.”


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Elected officials in the state are trying to address the threat, with encouragement from Jewish lawmakers. On April 29, two days after the Poway shooting, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a revision to the state budget that will pour $15 million into the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. The program, which helps bulk up security at nonprofits that are “targets of hate-motivated violence,” had paid out only $4.5 million since 2015.

State Sen. Ben Allen (D-Los Angeles County) said the California Legislative Jewish Caucus lobbied Newsom for an increase even before Poway.

“We met with the governor over a nice breakfast with bagels” earlier this year, he said. “We laid out a series of asks. It was a wonderful meeting. Our message really got through.”

In a statement announcing the revision, delivered on the heels of a Holocaust memorial ceremony at the statehouse, Newsom cited the “troubling trend of hate-fueled attacks across the country.”

“An attack against any community is an attack against our entire state,” the governor said.

Allen said he hopes the money will be available as soon as this summer. Grant recipients will be chosen by the state’s Office of Emergency Services.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

BY ALEX CRAMER - The Hollywood Reporter

FC Bayern Munich is one of the most famous and successful soccer clubs in the world, but few people are aware of their history of Nazi resistance during World War II. The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust is now honoring the Jewish members of that club through their new exhibit, "Venerated – Persecuted – Forgotten: Victims of Nazism at FC Bayern Munich."

American and German dignitaries, including California State Senator Henry Stern, Germany’s Consul General to Los Angeles Stefan Schneider, Bayern’s CEO and Executive Board Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, and Stephen Smith, the director of the USC Shoah Foundation, gathered in the Museum’s Children’s Memorial on Tuesday afternoon, to speak to the importance of remembering the Holocaust and those who were victims of the Nazis...

Senator Stern worked with the California Jewish Caucus to bring the exhibit to the museum and he spoke to the importance of keeping Holocaust history alive. "It's an obligation for the Jewish Caucus and for all of us here who are Jews and non-Jews to not let these stories die. You are storytellers, you are winners and champions so to give your platform to this cause, I think that Mr. Landauer is smiling down today."


Tuesday, July 16, 2019


Nearly 75 years after the end of World War II, the tragic secret of Germany’s famed soccer team is being revealed in Los Angeles for the first time.

Members of FC Bayern Munich helped welcome the Venerated-Persecuted-Forgotten exhibit at the Museum of the Holocaust Tuesday.

The exhibit tells the story of the nine players and officials who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazis during the war. It also tells the story of the bold people, including Kurt Landauer, who helped rebuild the club after the war was over.

“It’s to acknowledge their history with the Holocaust and that Kurt Landauer, way back when, survived Dachau only to rebuild this incredible sports organization,” State Sen. Henry Stern, D-Calabasas, said. “History matters, and we forget that.”


Wednesday, July 10, 2019


A bill to enshrine the right of Californians to hang mezuzahs on their doorframes is moving through the state Legislature and is on its way to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

SB 652 bars landlords and condo associations from prohibiting “the display of religious items” of a certain size on doors and doorframes. Known to some as the “mezuzah bill” — though it also has the support of secular organizations, as well as Catholic and Hindu groups — it is sailing through the statehouse in Sacramento, where it passed the Assembly 72-0 on July 8 after being approved by the Senate on May 6.

The bill was introduced Feb. 22 by all seven state senators on the 16-member California Legislative Jewish Caucus, including Democrats Steve Glazer of Contra Costa County, Scott Wiener of San Francisco and chairman Ben Allen of Los Angeles.


Monday, July 1, 2019

BY RYAN TOROK - Jewish Journal

The California Legislative Jewish Caucus has secured approximately $60 million in funding for Jewish camps and other priorities in California Governor Gavin Newsom’s new state budget... According to a statement released by Jewish Caucus chair and State Senator Ben Allen, the California Legislative Jewish Caucus successfully lobbied for five of its budget priorities in the state budget.

Along with state money for the camps, the budget allocates $15 million for the state’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which assists religious centers, community centers, schools and other similar locations that are at risk of hate-motivated crimes; $14.8 million for California Department of Aging’s Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP), which serves frail older adults, including Holocaust survivors; $6 million for the expansion of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH) at Pan Pacific Park and $5 million for a restorative justice pilot program that the Jewish Caucus described as one of its “Tikkun Olam-Repairing the World priority bills.”

For his part, Allen said he was proud of the work the caucus did to obtain the state funds.

“This has been a successful year for the Jewish Caucus and its work improving quality of life in the Jewish community and for all Californians,” he said. “In the wake of increases in acts of anti-Semitism and bigotry of all forms, destruction caused by the state’s wildfires, and the ever-pressing need for health care in our aging Holocaust survivor population and others who have experienced trauma, we asked more of our state leaders than ever before, and they stood with us.”

The California Legislative Jewish Caucus is comprised of 16 state lawmakers that advocate in the state legislature for Jewish interests. The group has both Jewish and non-Jewish state senators and assembly members.


Friday, June 28, 2019

BY ALON EINHORN - Jerusalem Post

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed new formal budget additions on Thursday, designating $15 million to the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP), three months after one person was killed and a rabbi maimed in a shooting attack in Poway...

“With the stark rise in hate-motivated violence, we must do more to secure gathering places to prevent future attacks, and educate people on the dangers of antisemitism and hate of all forms," Senator Ben Allen, Chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus said following Newsom's announcement. Allen commented once again after signing the budget additions, saying that “This has been a successful year for the Jewish Caucus and its work improving quality of life in the Jewish community and for all Californians.”

Other than the money transferred to the NSGP, Newsom also added to the budget $6 million designated to expand the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.


Friday, June 28, 2019

BY BEN SALES - Jewish Telegraphic Agency

The newly passed California state budget includes a number of priorities backed by Jewish legislators, from rebuilding summer camps burned in wildfires to the construction of a new Holocaust museum.

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the $214.8 billion budget on Thursday. The budget includes funds for health care, child care and combatting homelessness, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The budget also includes five priorities pushed by the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, a group of a dozen state senators and assembly members, along with four associate members.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

BY RYAN TOROK - Jewish Journal

Following advocacy efforts by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign a budget deal allocating $23.5 million in state funding to three California Jewish summer camps destroyed in the 2018 Woolsey and the 2017 Tubbs fires...

During a June 14 interview at Federation’s offices, CEO and President Jay Sanderson said his organization coordinated the efforts to secure state funding for the camps, working with Jewish California lawmakers including State Sens. Ben Allen, chairman of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, Henry Stern and Bob Hertzberg, and Assembly members Richard Bloom and Jesse Gabriel, vice chairman of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus...

Gabriel told the Journal the aim was to have the money distributed equitably among the camps. “We felt these are such important institutions for the community, both in Southern California and Northern California, and so we went to bat … [and] made it clear to our colleagues and to the legislature that this is important to the Jewish community and broader community, as well.”