By Alisa Roberts
This past Thursday was a special one for Emek Hebrew Academy Teichman Family Torah Center. The school, located in part on city property previously known as Magnolia Park, hosted a celebration to dedicate the park to the Teichman Family.
“Rabbi Mordechai Shifman, our Head of School, wanted to honor one of the founders of our school by holding an official ceremony to inaugurate the park,” explains Sandra R’bibo, the event coordinator. “Much of the land from Woodley Ave to Sepulveda Blvd belongs to the US Corps of Army Engineers from whom we lease some of our land. In 1995, the deserted space was transformed into the beautiful grounds it is today with some tender love and care funded by the Teichman Family. Today, we officially recognized the area known as ‘Magnolia Park’ and renamed ‘Teichman Family Magnolia Park’ for the Teichman’s dedication to our school.”
The renaming had real significance. “The Teichman name is on the school itself, but having the name on the park is important because the park is where the children get to go to enjoy themselves and have fun,” says Rabbi Shifman. “We feel that school is about the whole package, not just the academics. This allows us to focus on the entire child.” The school also has a special connection to the Teichman family. “Parks can only be named for people who have passed on,” explains Rabbi Shifman. “The family is the link to those who have passed on, but also to the next 50 years. The the link between the past and the future.”
In attendance were Sol and Ruth Teichman, Dubby Teichman, and Alan and Dorit Teichman and their three children. Rabbi Shifman and board president Daniel Aharonoff were there, along with several other board members. The list of distinguished guests also included Congressman Brad Sherman, Jeffrey Prang (Councilmember for the District of West Hollywood), Representative for Tom LaBonge (Councilmember for District 4), Representative for Bob Blumenfeld (Councilmember for District 3), Representative for Paul Krekorian (Councilmember for District 2), Former State Senator Sheila Kuehl, Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, Patrol Commanding Officer Captain Ernest Eskridge, Shirley Friedman (State Commissioner), Mr. Jerry Thomas (Parks & Recreation), Members of the US Army Corps of Engineers, and Joe Bernstein, lawyer who assisted in park naming. The entire student body also attended, as well as the parents of the 3rd grade class who performed two songs under the direction of Rachel Seidel.
The Congressman spoke about the US-Middle East Conflict and presented the school with an official United States flag. The Teichman Family was then given a beautiful plaque commemorating the event, which was followed by the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The guests, including Rabbi Shifman, enjoyed the day. “I thought it was excellent. It focused on the kids. Seeing 500 kids on the lawn … it was beautiful, especially to those who remembered when it started with only a handful of kids.” Emek opened its doors over 50 years ago, and today educates over 600 students. “It will be a day to remember in Emek’s history,” says R’bibo.