Los Angeles
Los Angeles iStock

The chairman of the World Zionist Organization commended Jerry Maguire child star and martial arts expert Jonathan Lipnicki for volunteering with a Los Angeles group that escorts Jews to and from area synagogues on Shabbat in the wake of a recent series of anti-Semitic attacks in the city.

Yaakov Hagoel wrote Monday in a letter to the Jewish actor that he was “deeply moved to learn of your initiative to accompany members of the Los Angeles Jewish community to and from synagogue on Shabbat.”

Hagoel, who is also the acting chairman of the Jewish Agency, said that 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.”

The 30-year old Jewish former actor, who shot to fame for his role in Jerry Maguire (1996) and who last year received his black belt in jiu-jitsu, walks with Orthodox Jews to synagogue on Fridays and Saturdays in Los Angeles’s Fairfax District as part of a group dubbed the Shabbat Angels he started with actor and fellow martial arts expert Remington Franklin.

“One of the core values of Judaism is Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh LaZeh, that all members of the Jewish People are responsible for one another,” wrote Hagoel. “The work of the Shabbat Angels is a true example of turning this value of mutual responsibility into action.”

He added: “I understand that your grandfather was an Auschwitz survivor. As a survivor of that darkest period in history in which Jews were powerless, I have no doubt that he would feel the deepest pride in seeing you today protecting your fellow Jews. While we hope and pray for the day when it will no longer be necessary to provide security to Jewish communities and institutions, we know that we must be ever vigilant in the fight against anti-Jewish hate.”