Global tragedies and the loss of life should incite more than a mere grimace and sad feelings. It should mobilize people to act – at least that is the perspective of Jewish World Watch.

The Encino nonprofit works to combat genocide and mass atrocities around the globe. Founded 10 years ago by recently deceased author and Rabbi Harold M. Shulweis, Jewish World Watch focuses much of its efforts on helping genocide survivors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan.

The nonprofit hosted an award ceremony Nov. 18 to honor a Conejo Valley family of influential business professionals who have worked to prevent genocide and mass atrocities.

The Katzburg Gabriel family includes Stuart Gabriel, director of UCLA’s Ziman Center for Real Estate and a board member for the organization; Stuart’s wife, Judith Katzburg, a Ph.D. nurse; son Jesse Gabriel, an attorney at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher; and son Oren Gabriel, a consultant at Bain & Co. and also a board member for the nonprofit.

The family received the Global Soul Award at the ceremony, held in Royce Hall at UCLA.

“The Global Soul Award is our highest honor, given every other year,” said Janice Kamenir-Reznik, co-founder and president of Jewish World Watch. “The Katzburg Gabriel family has been involved with our work from the very beginning. Every one of them has been immersed in combating genocide in the world, both through (our organization) and individually. It’s an entire family with a conscience; they not only talk the talk but they walk the walk.”

Kamenir-Reznik said the organization has established projects to help refugees in Darfur, a region in western Sudan, and 25 programs to assist survivors in the Congo. In an effort to support Darfuri refugee families, an early childhood education initiative called Little Ripples was created in 2013. This preschool program offers education, food and safety to children within the village while their mothers are working.

In the Congo, the nonprofit partners with hospitals and supporting organizations to offer medical, physical and psychological treatment for thousands of rape victims as well as educational programs for displaced and orphaned children.

“Collectively as a family we’ve been very active in the direction of this organization and promoting its goals. We’re currently working with many groups in the Congo to treat female survivors of atrocity and rape,” said Stuart Gabriel. “Rape has been used as an act of war and an act of societal destruction in the Congo. We’re working with different hospitals in the Congo to treat these victims and seek to help rehabilitate them into society.”

The Jewish World Watch aims to raise $2 million annually to sustain its work around the globe. The organization has served more than 375,000 individuals since its founding and has raised millions to improve the lives of survivors of genocide. The organization also works within local communities in Los Angeles to educate and encourage people to help support its cause, in addition to pushing and supporting legislation that will promote political change and prevent genocide.

“We want to be a force to mobilize the world against genocide, starting with our own community, the Los Angeles community,” Kamenir-Reznik said.

Thanksgiving Food

The YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles hosted a Thanksgiving Food Drive at all 25 of its local branches throughout this month, including at sites in the Antelope and San Fernando valleys.

The nonprofit collected approximately 10,000 pounds of food to distribute to families in need for Thanksgiving dinner. Community members were asked to donate five cans of food throughout the month, and in return the organization waived the $25 joining fee for all who donated.

“With branches that stretch across more than 100 miles of Los Angeles, we (had) a tremendous opportunity to positively impact our community,” said Alan Hostrup, chief executive of YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, in a statement. “This service project (allowed) us to work together as one Y, uniting our employees, members, volunteers and neighbors in an effort to strengthen our community, one meal at a time.”

Bankable Gift

Lancaster Performing Arts Center Foundation received a $10,000 gift from U.S. Bank this month.

The grant will provide educational and inspirational experiences to kindergarten through high school students in the Antelope Valley who participate in the arts center’s programs.

At the center, children are taught to act, dance and sing, often by artists and musicians within the school. On occasion, children are able to participate in theatrical performances.

“We are very appreciative of U.S. Bank’s continued support of the LPAC Foundation and our mission to enrich the lives of students in our community through education,” said foundation board President Steven Derryberry in a statement.

Staff reporter Champaign Williams can be reached at (818) 316-3121 or cwilliams@sfvbj.com.