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Big Sunday Volunteer Day; New JBBBSLA, Jewish Caucus Leadership



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Nonprofit organization Big Sunday provides thousands of local social service opportunities for volunteers every year, and on Martin Luther King Jr. Day the group stayed true to its mission: Hundreds of people turned out at 24th Street Elementary in South Los Angeles, on Jan. 16, for Big Sunday’s 11th Annual MLK Day Clothing Drive and Community Breakfast. 

Volunteers assembled bags of clothing for those in need, applied fresh coats of paint to the elementary school’s hallway walls and decorated greeting cards for recipients of the bags of new winter clothing. While people stuffed new sweatshirts, beanies and gloves into shopping bags, a spirited funk band performed on the school’s auditorium stage. The upbeat music, along with the free coffee and donuts, boosted the energy of volunteers.

Hurrying around the school’s hallways, bursting with folks donning T-shirts printed with the Big Sunday logo, was David Levinson, the organization’s founder and executive director. 

“We’re so glad to be able to host our MLK Day event in person for the first time since 2020!” Levinson said before the event. “We’re on rain or shine, which seems appropriate since these past few years have brought us all good times and tough times. And what better time to celebrate our differences while finding common ground than on MLK Day?”

Big Sunday, a nonpolitical, nondenominational organization, began in 1999 as the tikkun olam project of Temple Israel of Hollywood. Over the years, it has grown from an organization that facilities volunteer projects one weekend a year to a mobilizer of more than 2,000 social service opportunities all-year long. 

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles President Sanford “Sandy” Sigal. Courtesy of JBBBSLA

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA) has named Sanford “Sandy” Sigal the organization’s new board president.

Sigal has been active on the JBBBSLA board for nearly 20 years. As a child, he attended Camp Bob Waldorf, an overnight camp owned and operated by JBBBSLA, which he credited with teaching him mentorship, inclusivity and a love of camping and horseback riding. 

“We are thrilled to have Sandy take on this important role as our new Board President,” JBBBSLA CEO Cari Uslan said. “His passion, personal connection, and dedication to our organization will be invaluable as we continue to grow and serve more youth in need.” 

Sigal, who has been an entrepreneur in the real estate industry for more than 40 years, is looking forward to serving in the leadership role at JBBBSLA.

“It is an incredible honor to be named President of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters,” he said. “When I was 7-years-old and my mom needed a place for her young son to be nurtured in a positive environment, with positive role models, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters found me a home in Camp Bob Waldorf. To be involved with the organization that changed my life over 50 years ago and help lead it today is the honor of a lifetime.” 

Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, the recently named co-chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. Courtesy of the office of Jesse Gabriel

The California Legislative Jewish Caucus has elected local State Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino) and State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) as co-chairs of the caucus and State Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park) as vice chair. 

They assume their roles immediately, according to a Jan. 6 announcement. 

“I am tremendously proud of the work the Jewish Caucus has done to protect and strengthen our community and to repair the world,” Gabriel said. “Thanks to our collective efforts, we passed major hate crimes legislation, expanded Holocaust education, and secured nearly $250 million to fund top Jewish community priorities. We also collaborated closely with the other diversity caucuses to fight hate and bigotry and to uplift vulnerable Californians of all faiths and backgrounds. I look forward to partnering with my colleagues to continue this important work.” 

The California Legislative Jewish Caucus is a Jewish voice for justice, equality and progress statewide. Caucus membership currently totals 18 legislators, including Senators Ben Allen of Santa Monica and Henry Stern of Calabasas. 


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