A Message from Lila Guirguis,
Karsh Center Executive Director

Dear Friends of the Karsh Center,

No more “new normal,” please! 

To say there hasn’t been change over these last months, in the world, in this country, in the city of Los Angeles, in the Karsh Center and even within the doors of our very own homes, is to be disingenuous to the extreme. 

Even using the oxymoronic phrase, “new normal,” has begun to ring hollow in my ears. 

I’ve promised myself to do my best to refrain from even using that phrase along with, “when things get back to normal” because both are less than true. 

Instead, we, the Karsh staff, are reframing our view of this journey with openness, pride and I hope, bravery. Although we have changed our operations in dramatic ways, the fundamentals of what makes us the “Karsh Center” has not changed at all. 

We are still moved into action by the pronounced vulnerabilities of individuals and families in our immediate area and all over Los Angeles and we still embrace the support of incredibly generous providers, community members and, our many amazing donors.

Day in and day out I am so impressed by the Karsh Center team’s ability to pivot, step up and wear different hats, determined to help and support the community, working through changes on a weekly and daily basis. Their willingness and ability to be flexible, innovative, and strong, only fuels my determination to be an even better organization, in the face of what is happening now.

An illustration of this: we had been planning our 2nd Annual Mothers and Caregivers celebration, with the expectation that it was going to be bigger and better than last year. Months earlier, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple Religious School had prepared Mother’s Day gifts, which we call “pampering bags.”  Unfortunately, like so many public events, due to health concerns, this event needed to be canceled. Undaunted, we asked ourselves what could we still do?

Putting our heads together, we found a way to utilize the gift bags and adapt to this situation.

We presented the bags to clients coming in for the weekly diapers and grocery bags, adding card-making kits we created ourselves and a long-stemmed red or white rose, which was generously provided by one of our food pantry volunteers on Mother’s Day, May 10th.

To say the least, the clients were deeply touched by the expression of support, that we see and believe in their resilience to endure, and that the Karsh Center is committed to being there for them. 

Without a doubt, we, the Karsh Center staff, are very grateful for their smiles, blessings, and the opportunity to find ways to prove the glass is not half-empty and that the work we do is more important than ever.

Yes, this global pandemic is devastating, but we are still privileged to stand on the front line to witness so much kindness and goodwill. The Karsh Center has always sought to be a safety net within our community so that children and families have a chance for a better life. We are fulfilling our mission every day, through our actions, the actions of our collaborators, and the belief of our community. 

Be well, stay well.




The Karsh Center is located in Los Angeles’ Koreatown neighborhood, which Wilshire Boulevard Temple has called home since 1929.

Located in one of Los Angeles’s most dense, diverse, and economically challenged neighborhoods,
the Karsh Center offers multiple services under one roof. At the Karsh Center, clients can access
dental care, vision care, mental health services, pro bono legal services, grief support, healthy and
nutritious groceries, clothing vouchers, baby supplies, and other resources, as well as learn about
additional regional service providers from Karsh Center volunteers.

The services offered at the Karsh Center are provided directly by the Karsh Center staff or through our collaborations with 27 mission-aligned
social service providers (our “Collaborators”), incorporating our network of dedicated volunteers. Our unique approach allows us to offer a wide range of resources across six program areas without compromising the responsiveness and quality of our services.