World Zionist Organization Applauds Actor for Volunteering to Help LA Jewish Community Stay Safe
The chairman of the World Zionist Organization praised Jewish former actor Jonathan Lipnicki for taking part in a volunteer group in Los Angeles that helps Jews safely walk to and from synagogues on Shabbat following a number of local antisemitic attacks.
Yaakov Hagoel, who is also acting chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, said in a letter to Lipnicki on Monday that he was “deeply moved” by the actor’s initiative to help the Los Angeles Jewish community.
The 30-year-old — a black belt in Brazilian Jujutsu who got his big break as a child star in “Jerry Maguire” — helps escort synagogue goers in the Fairfax District on Fridays and Saturdays, as part of a volunteer group organized by fellow actor and martial artist Remington Franklin. The group has been nicknamed the “Shabbat Angels.”
“I strongly commend your efforts,” Hagoel wrote. “In the face of rising antisemitism, which reached new heights during Israel’s Operation Guardian of the Walls in May, the work of you and your colleagues to assist Jews in openly and safely practicing their faith, while raising public awareness of the threat to Jewish communities, is extremely important.”
Hagoel cited a Jewish phrase about how “all members of the Jewish people are responsible for one another” and told Lipnicki “the work of the Shabbat Angels is a true example of turning this value of mutual responsibility into action.” The WZO chairman also said that the actor’s late grandfather, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, would “no doubt feel the deepest pride in seeing you today protecting your fellow Jews.”
Hagoel concluded his letter by saying he hopes to see Lipnicki in Israel, and relayed a blessing: “May you continue to go from strength to strength, and may the Shabbat Angels be an inspiration for Jewish solidarity, unity and pride around the world.”