May 2021 Newsletter

Dear Rotary Family,
With only a couple of months left before the close of the Rotary year and my term as President of our club, I am filled with both excitement and trepidation. It has been such a glorious experience to serve as the president of our wonderful club and build so many meaningful relationships with all of you. After meeting with our President elect, Charles, and in an effort to pave the way for his term, I thought that it would be fun to highlight some of the new committees that were started this year so you could all decide where you want to participate or focus your efforts in the upcoming Rotary term.
My nature is to be positive and find the blessings in life: I hope that has been apparent during our meetings. We all have enough on our plates and I hope that Rotary is a positive escape that you look forward to attending weekly. Although running the meetings on zoom initially posed a challenge, I am grateful that we were quickly able to find the silver lining. As a result, were able to engage with world renowned speakers from all around the world that we would normally not have access to due to proximity. We have more incredible speakers in store for you so be prepared to be inspired, enlightened and entertained! We still have space for one speaker, so if you have suggestions to take us out on a high, please let us know.
I am so grateful that we continue to have members who make significant donations to our Charitable Foundation. Through their generosity, we have managed to provide multiple grants to both our local and international partners and recipients.
I hope that you will join us for the Social Action Project that we have planned for May 17th. We will meet in front of the BH Fire Department to assemble survival bags for the most innocent and vulnerable members of our community, youth that are displaced from their homes. This will be a great way to provide service above self in a safe environment. On that day, we will also distribute all of the Paul Harris Certificates and pins that just arrived today for EVERY SINGLE MEMBER!
I am also looking forward to seeing many of you for our first Social at Bruce Meyer’s Garage on June 2nd so please be sure to RSVP! Be sure to review our new member spotlights so you get to know our new members better.
In closing, I want to reiterate that none of this would be possible without all of our fantastic Rotary family. We continue to work together as a team, #UnitedAsOne. Through these trying times and come up on top. We are truly a unique club and I have been so proud to serve with all of you! Your participation and membership has meant a great deal to me.
Warmly with Gratitude,


May 10th - Vocational Service Awards
 Includes Metro Update, and address by Beverly Hills City Mayor Robert Wunderlich.
May 17th - Mike Sweetney
Mental Health Awareness
Michael Sweetney was born in Oxon Hill, Maryland where he attended Oxon Hill High School and won a state Championship. He went on to play at Georgetown University for 3 years. He was selected ninth overall in the 2003 NBA draft by the New York Knicks. He played two years in New York and two years for the Chicago Bulls. He left the game for a while and returned to playing basketball overseas in a number of different countries.
After the loss of his father Michael began suffering from depression. For years he suffered silently until he finally sought the help he needed. Now he works tirelessly to help others especially teens who suffer.

He has since lectured around the world to fortune 500 hundred companies as well as local youth centers about the importance of mental health issues. He also runs basketball camps in and around the New York City area.

He is the newest member on the New Horizon team as their outreach specialist. He is able to reach out and have a hands one effect on changing the stigma in the community. He is a husband to his wife of 13 years India and father of three, Ayden, Grayson and Stella.
May 24th - Dr. Erroll Strouthers
Violent Extremism – Above CNN but Below Classified
Dr. Erroll Strouthers is the Director of the Safe Communities Institute and Homegrown Violent Extremism Studies at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy, where he is also a Professor of the Practice in National & Homeland Security.

Previously, Dr. Strouthers also served as: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Deputy Director in the California Office of Homeland Security; Chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence for the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department (the nation’s largest airport police department); and President Barack Obama’s first nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Transportation Security Administration.

Before this, Dr. Strouthers was a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and also worked seven years as a police officer with the Santa Monica Police Department. Lecturing at Joint Chiefs of Staff Antiterrorism Seminars and testifying before Congress on homeland security matters, Dr. Strouthers was recognized in Security Magazine’s Top 25 Most Influential Industry Thought Leaders in the United States and is a recipient of the Earl Warren Outstanding Public Service Award.
April 26 – Vera Zdravkova
Vera Zdravkova spoke to the BH Rotary Club on Monday, April 26th about U.S.-China relations. Vera currently works as a desk officer in the State Department’s Office of Chinese and Mongolian affairs.
Vera spoke on the complexities of our relationship with China. China is our most
consequential bilateral relationship and yet, at the same time, the Chinese government presents the US with some of its greatest humanitarian, economic and diplomatic challenges. Balancing economic interests with national security is tricky. She felt that raising awareness of the difficulties with China has become our main strategy now.
We also presented a grant to Jordanna Gessler representing The Holocaust Museum L.A. from our Charitable Foundation. The Museum has been hosting 2-6 virtual presentations each month through the pandemic and has provided virtual tours for over 5,000 students.
April 19 – Stephen D. Smith, PhD & Ita Gordon
Our April 19th meeting acknowledged and recognized Holocaust Remembrance Day with two brilliant speakers.
Ita began their presentation by describing her work with their 55,000-interview
database and her greatest reward in locating two women who had been close
during their time in the concentration camp. Stephen Smith explored the purpose
of the Shoah Foundation as that of a programmer, resource and convener. Two
hundred other partners hold their archives. They offer a two-day in-residence
leadership program for student presidents to become future voices against
April 12 – Varun Soni
Varun Soni is the dean of religious life and spiritual life at the University of
Southern California, where he also serves as vice provost of campus wellness and
crisis intervention, and where he teaches courses in the School of Religion and the
Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. In his different
roles, he oversees campus wellbeing, threat assessment, support and advocacy,
ombudsman services, and spiritual life for the university. Before arriving at the
University of Southern of California, he spent four years teaching in the Law and
Society Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Dean Varun addressed issues that he is seeing on the UC campus” generation Z
are the loneliest due to a digital environment (social media) and lack of religion
and, therefore, community. The Covid-19 pandemic has isolated people even
more, and staff and faculty have noticed increased anxiety. Dr. Varun addressed
practical solutions for thriving and flourishing.
We have listed below all the Clubs, Subcommittees and Socials of the Beverly Hills Rotary.  Some will be active every month and others periodically.  This will give everyone an understanding of how busy our Rotary Club is.
Women’s Roundtable
Rotary has a long history, yet women have only been admitted to Rotary since 1989!  So, as an initiative to empower the strong, intelligent  women of Beverly Hills Rotary, the Women’s Round Table has been created.

We meet several times throughout the year, to look at women’s issues in the arenas of health, politics, society, and business and to discuss how to bring positive changes. We have a woman leader in the above fields to do a presentation at each meeting. We also aim to assist the fight against child trafficking. Thus far, we have raised $29K to combat child/ human trafficking. 
The group did not meet in April but will have its next meeting on the second Thursday of the month, May 13th at 3 pm.  We will have a fantastic speaker from Girls Learn International.  GLI was founded on the principles that humanitarianism has no minimum age requirement and that global youth, in particular girls, have a crucial role to play in leading the movement to affect change for girls and women all over the world.
Real Estate Roundtable
 When COVID-19 hit, many of our members in the real estate world were deeply affected. We want to keep our members informed about the latest laws, rules and market dynamics. We also give updates from the Beverly Hills Planning Commission, and new developments in the city.  With over 50 participants at some meetings, this committee has become a huge success and very popular.

The meeting on April 21st featured Rotarian Curt Northrup discussing the lack of inventory in the residential market.  Jeffrey Prang, LA County Assessor, followed with an explanation of the responsibilities of his office and a discussion of the impact of Proposition 19 and the confusion created by the lack of specificity of the proposition’s language.  This proposition covers home protection for seniors, severely disabled, families, and victims of wildfire or natural disasters.
Walk & Talk Tuesdays 
Please join us Tuesdays at 5 pm in front of the fountains at Will Rogers Park (Sunset and Beverly Drive across from the Beverly Hills Hotel) for a 1-hour walk. Your mental and emotional health are very important to us and your safety is key so please don't forget your mask, walking shoes, and water.  Looking forward to seeing you. Please email Sharona at to let us know you will be joining us.
50 and Under Club
Socialize with members of our club 50 years old and Under Club. We wanted to create an environment where our members can mingle at some of the top locations in town while observing safe social distancing. The 50 and Under Club is a social gathering held once a quarter to bring together the younger members of The Beverly Hills Rotary Club. We mingle at a “hot spot” around Beverly Hills to network and build fellowship.  We love to support our members and our community while developing stronger relationships.

The next get-together will be at Wally’s Beverly Hills on May 13th.
Presidents Club
The Presidents Club provides past-presidents of Beverly Hills Rotary the chance to meet socially and share thoughts on the direction of Rotary.
COVID-19 Task Force
We have a committee of trained professionals/ doctors who give our club updates on all things COVID related as it pertains to our City, County and our health.
City Occurrences Committee
Updates from Chief of Police, Chief of Fire, the Mayor of BH or various City Council Members.  Beverly Hills is a busy town and Rotarians like to stay in the know!! This Committee makes sure to keep us connected to our community by providing updates from various City and Elected Officials.
Recently Police Chief Rivetti let us know that his department was ready for any repercussions from the verdict of the Derek Chauvin trial.  Jesse Holzer with the Transportation and Planning Department of the City of Beverly Hills briefly discussed the draft plan for Connect Beverly Hills.  More information is available on the website at
Sunshine Club (Good and Welfare)
We want to stay connected with our members by celebrating your birthdays and important lifecycle events, passings and occurrences. Were you featured in the news? We want to hear from you. Do you have a birthday coming up? Be sure to share your photo with us and look out for your personalized birthday card from President Sharona!
Social Action Committee
A very active component of the Rotary Club of Beverly Hills.  We strive to impact our community in meaningful ways.  From distributing masks and hand sanitizer to the needy in the middle of COVID-19 to collecting blankets for the homeless during winter and during the holidays delivering toys to underprivileged kids; we look to make a huge impact in our community. We have also relished planting new trees at Tree People and assembling homeless kits for at risk youth. 
During a time where so many of us are thankful for the blessings in our lives, let's come together as a club to share the good fortune.

Please join us on
Monday, May 17th from 3:30- 4:45pm
Beverly Hills Fire Station
445 N Rexford Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

We will stuff 100 large survival bags for young youth who are displaced from their homes. It will be like an assembly line. You will come and stuff as many bags as you like with basic necessities like toiletries, socks, baby wipes, underwear, dry snacks and much more that we will provide for you. A big thank you to Joey Behrstock and Jr Dzubak for heading this up. 
We are still in need of some items like small water bottles, granola bars and more so please contact Joey Behrstock if you are interested in contributing.
Disco Bingo Night
This great event was held on April 12th and was great fun.  Participants received bags of goodies and 5 bingo cards.  The prizes were fantastic!  This is sure to be a repeat so keep an eye out for it in the future.
Rotary Club Social At Bruce Meyer's Car Garage
It is with much excitement that I invite you for an evening of fun and relaxation as we finally meet in person! Bruce Meyer's Private Car Garage - Our 1st Official Social Since the Pandemic (Address will be sent upon RSVP)

Wednesday, June 2nd - 6pm -8pm
Heavy Appetizers, Wine, and refreshments will be served

$40/ Person (*Members ONLY). 
RSVP and PAY HERE as space is limited and reservations will fill up quickly.
All members received our New Member Spotlight Newsletter last week which will go out every couple of months. It's a great way to get to know our newest Rotarians on a deeper level.
Are you a new member? Please send us a picture and paragraph about yourself to
Charitable Foundation

On April 12th Alan Kaye with The Charitable Foundation gave a donation to Jessica Hughes with Ability First.  Jessica explained that they offered programs for people with developmental disabilities. On the 19th a donation was given to Craig Taubman, Co-Founder of the Pico Union Project.  During the pandemic.  They distributed food to 2000 families on Tuesdays and Fridays and served as a  vaccination site for 800 residents per week. On the 26th the Club gave a donation to Jordanna Gessler representing the Holocaust Museum LA.  The Museum has been hosting 2-6 virtual presentations each month through the pandemic and has provided virtual tours for 5,000 students.

The Charitable Foundation is accepting applications. Please contact Alan Kaye at
District Breakfast
The final District Breakfast will be on May 4th at 8 am.  This is an excellent opportunity for new members to experience how the District functions.
Incoming City Council Members
We are proud to congratulate our incoming Beverly Hills City Council Members and Rotary members, Mayor Robert Wunderlich, Vice-Mayor Lilli Bosse, and we thank former BH Mayor Lester Friedman for his dedicated service to our community. Congratulations!
May Birthdays
Is your birthday in May? We want to celebrate YOU! Please send your pictures to George at
COVID Vaccines
Stay safe. For Vaccine Appointments and Tiers please visit:
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