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 The Hebrew Academy is proud to announce that our annual Visionary Dinner will take place this year on Sunday, March 1, 2020 at the magnificent Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. We are honoring very special people who value the vital importance of Jewish education. They are Mark and Leslie Werksman, who will be receiving the Visionary award and Morris and Sharon Silver, who will be receiving the Partners in Education award.  We will also have our Hebrew Alumni, which will represent the graduating class of 1992-1993 and receive the Young Leadership Award for their accomplishments in the community.

The enjoyable evening will again be hosted by television personality Elon Gold with a special guest entertainer.

The Visionary Dinner is the Hebrew Academy’s major fundraising event and the signature evening of the year. The event celebrates Jewish education and the continued accomplishments of the Hebrew Academy that serves over a thousand youngsters annually.

The funds that are raised benefit the school’s scholarship fund, insuring that all children, regardless of their background, will have access to the exemplary educational and social programs that the organization offers. Over a million dollars is distributed annually through the scholarship fund.

The evening opens with appetizers and wine tasting in a stunning courtyard of the Four Seasons followed by a spectacular Four Seasons style dinner leading to awards, entertainment, and the pleasure of the Hebrew Academy’s young choir! 

We welcome everyone to socialize, meet the leading supporters of the school, make important connections and demonstrate commitment to Jewish education the Hebrew Academy way.  If you are interested in attending this event and/or want more information, please call Jenny at the Hebrew Academy at (714) 898-0051 ext. 223  or cell: 909.559.5674 email

 We look forward to greeting you on Sunday March 1, 2020 to celebrate together.

 Visionary Dinner 2020, HONOREES


LESLIE and MARK WERKSMAN, Visionary Award 

Mark and Leslie Werksman of Hermosa Beach will celebrate 35 years of marriage on August 4, 2020. They have three children: Nathan, 28 (married to Jerri); Elyse, 25 and Noah, 22. In April, Mark and Noah plan to participate in the March of the Living in Poland and Israel.

Mark is the founder and managing partner of Werksman, Jackson & Quinn LLP, a ten-lawyer firm in Los Angeles that specializes in criminal defense and civil rights litigation. Mark’s firm has a national reputation for its successful representation of clients in high profile criminal cases. His firm is also a leader in defending the rights of students and faculty members in “Title IX” cases in which they are accused of sexual assault on university campuses. The firm also represents many Israeli nationals in criminal cases in the United States. Mark was the featured speaker at the Israeli Bar Association’s annual conference in Eilat in April 2019. He believes that the pursuit of justice for all, even the unpopular, is the highest calling for any Jew and fulfills the commandment of tzedakah. Leslie is a retired dentist who spent 20 years practicing in Orange County as a board-certified endodontist.

Mark and Leslie have been consistent and generous major donors to The Hebrew Academy and Camp Silver Gan Israel for the past 20 years. They deeply admire Rabbi Newman and Rabbi Greenwald for their dedication in educating the next generation of Jewish children and consider them to be dear friends. They hope that their giving will inspire their children and others to support the great work of The Hebrew Academy as well as other Jewish causes. Mark and Leslie, through their dedication to the Jewish community and support of Jewish causes are well deserving recipients of the 2020 Hebrew Academy’s prestigious Visionary Award.



SHARON and MORRIS SILVER, Partners in Education 

Sharon and Morris Silver relocated from New York to Huntington Beach in 1990 along with their young children Evan, who was almost 4, and Alison, soon to be 2. Morris had an opportunity to be a Gastroenterologist at FHP in Fountain Valley. They were able to relocate to California thanks to the presence of The Hebrew Academy of Huntington Beach and the nearby Chabad.

Rabbi Newman, the staff at the Hebrew Academy, Rabbi Engel at Camp Gan Israel and Rabbi Berkowitz, of Chabad welcomed them with open arms. The family was so happy with the school that they quickly became involved in various projects with the help of Morris’ parents, Dr. Walter and Elaine Silver of blessed memory.

Their first generous gift was a new play structure for the preschool playground. Following that gift the families’ major magnanimous donation was a new pool facility which included a junior Olympic size pool, wader pool for early childhood children and a shower locker building. Through this beautiful gift the camp enrollment grew exponentially and was renamed Silver Gan Israel Day Camp in their honor. It is to their credit that thousands of campers are able to enjoy an exciting summer experience which includes the best of swimming in southern California. Through the years, the Silvers have been involved in various other projects, as well, to help the school keep up with the times.

In addition to Morris’ medical practice and Sharon’s work as a Pediatric physical therapist, they made volunteering at both the school and shul a top priority. Sharon served on the board of the Hebrew Academy and chaired the construction committee responsible for the Huntington Beach Chabad facility. Later she served as President of the shul board.

In 2001 the Silvers moved to Los Angeles where they continue to be involved in the Jewish community and support many Jewish institutions, including The OU, NCSY, AMIT, Congregation Beth Jacob, Young Israel of Century City, Adas Torah, and Merkaz Hatorah Community Kollel.

They are blessed with 3 wonderful granddaughters and are experiencing Jewish day schools as grandparents. The Silvers tell us how this new experience has reinforced their appreciation for the beloved Hebrew Academy of Huntington Beach. They are quick to add that in the almost 30 years since they first came to California no organization has impacted their lives as much the Hebrew Academy and they will be forever grateful to the school.

The Hebrew Academy high school welcomed their niece Chani z”l, 16 at the time, during a very difficult time in her life and was instrumental in providing a warm and stable environment while she stayed at the Silver home. The love and support the school provided to Chani had a positive impact on her and changed the entire family for the better, forever. Unfortunately Chani Cohen Nussbaum lost her battle to breast cancer 3 years ago and passed away leaving a husband and 2 very young sons. The Silver family wanted to do something special at the school in Chani’s name, where she spent so many meaningful years in order to memorialize her and give others the same opportunity to thrive in a warm caring environment. Through a generous gift by the Silver family the Hebrew Academy has established a formal Social Emotional Learning and counseling program in Chani’s name.

May the Silver family be comforted through their knowledge that Chani’s spirit will live on through the assistance the new program will offer other deserving children.