Jewish Journal

What’s Happening in Jewish L.A. Dec. 8-14: Hanukkah Celebrations, JCC Run & Walk, and More

FRI DEC 8
“BIG SONIA”

Sonia Warshawski

Holocaust survivor. Grandma. Diva. Big Sonia. Director Leah Warshawski’s documentary film follows her octogenarian grandmother, Sonia Warshawski, a Holocaust survivor who runs the last store in a defunct shopping mall, a tailor shop she’s owned for more than 30 years. When Sonia, one of the last remaining survivors in Kansas City, is given an eviction notice, the specter of retirement forces her to confront her harrowing past, which includes concentration camps and death marches. The film weaves Sonia’s current conflict with stories about her diva-like personality from family and friends. Various times. Laemmle Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Laemmle Town Center 5, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (310) 478-3836. laemmle.com.

A MICHAEL FEINSTEIN HOLIDAY CELEBRATION

Five-time Grammy nominee Michael Feinstein performs holiday classics from his album “A Michael Feinstein Christmas.” Feinstein has been called the “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook” for preserving and presenting the meld of old and new vocals. The crooner will belt out holiday classics, including “Sleigh Ride,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” 8 p.m. $38-$98. Valley Performing Arts Center, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. (818) 677-8800. valleyperformingartscenter.org.

DANIEL CAINER

Award-winning songwriter, storyteller and artist Daniel Cainer performs a one-man Shabbat concert. The London-based Cainer shows off of a knack for clever lyrics and sweet melodies as he sings about his childhood encounters with anti-Semitism, explores the tapestry that makes up family and how Judaism has changed over the years, and examines the enigma that is Israel. 9 p.m. dessert, 9:30 p.m. show. $20. Pico Union Project, 1153 Valencia St., Los Angeles. (213) 915-0084. picounionproject.org.

SAT DEC 9
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS CELEBRATION

Enjoy games, crafts, music, food and more at this family-friendly event, which annually welcomes more than 500 local Eastsiders, including families with children, to the Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center (SIJCC). Entertainment will include performances by the Hollow Trees, Sing With Sylvie, Stoli Magic, Ms. Hellen’s Silver Lake Ballet School, Love Bug & Me Music and students from the SIJCC’s Jewish Learning Center. Activities will include spinning top and wind chime craft booths, a “toddler zone,” reptile fun with the Critter Squad, animal balloon making, face painting and a doughnut-eating contest. The SIJCC also will hold a bake sale fundraiser, featuring food ranging from latkes and empanadas to brownies and cupcakes. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children 2 and older, $15; adults, free. Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center, 1110 Bates, Ave., Los Angeles. (Street parking only. Ride-sharing service, bicycling or public transportation highly recommended.) (323) 663-2255. sijcc.net.

“LET THERE BE WATER”

Seth Siegel, entrepreneur, water activist and New York Times best-selling author, will discuss whether the technology utilized in Israel is the key to helping solve global water needs. Siegel wrote the award-winning, international best-seller “Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World.” Free. Reservations required. 11:30 a.m. The Beverly Hills Hotel, 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 276-4246. beverlyhillsjc.org.

SUN DEC 10
WESTSIDE JCC 5K RUN AND WALK

Do good — and feel good doing it! More than 600 runners, walkers and volunteers of all ages are expected at the Westside Jewish Community Center’s second annual 5-kilometer run and walk. The certified, timed route and pet-friendly, stroller-friendly course is on the northwest lane of San Vicente Boulevard, between Olympic Boulevard and La Brea Avenue. A shortened kids’ fun run serves the community’s youngest members. There also will be a health and wellness expo with food, drinks, a kids’ fun zone and finish-line celebrations. Funds raised will benefit wellness programs at the Westside JCC, which serves seniors, special needs individuals, children and teens. Participants receive a bagel breakfast, gift bag, T-shirt and finisher’s medal. 6:30 a.m. (registration opens), 8 a.m. (5K run/walk), 9:30 a.m. (kids’ fun run). $35 (ages 18 and older), $25 (ages 5-17), $15 (fun run for kids), $20 (fan). Westside Jewish Community Center, 5870 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 556-5238. wizathon.com/wjcc5k.

HERITAGE SQUARE MUSEUM AND JEWISH DOWNTOWN L.A. WALKING TOUR

Docents Stephen Sass and Jeremy Sunderland will take guests, on foot and by mass transit, on a 2 1/2-mile tour from Union Station to sites of Jewish historic interest. Stops include Heritage Square Museum and the newly rebuilt Colonial Drug, operated for six decades by Jewish pharmacist George A. Simmons and family. Guests also will discover the role played by the Jewish community in the growth and development of El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles. Sass is president of the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California; Sunderland is on the board of the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California and the Breed Street Shul Project. Sponsored by the Whizin Center for Continuing Education. $58. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Waiting list is available. Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., Los Angeles. (310) 440-1572. wcce.aju.edu.

HANUKKAH FESTIVAL: LA/LA

Klezmer Juice

Guests of all ages can enjoy live music, dance, art and food at the Skirball Center. Latin-Jewish bands Klezmer Juice and Pan Felipe perform; dance ensembles Versa-Style and Mambo Inc. teach attendees salsa, cumbia, mambo and hip-hop moves; visual artist Sandy Rodriguez leads attendees in creating a visual art installation; Maite Gomez-Rejon, founder of Art Bites, teaches about Mexican chocolate and decorating chocolate gelt; and storytellers Mario Ibarra and Julia Garcia-Combs recount the age-old story of Hanukkah in English and Spanish. The museum’s current exhibitions, “Another Promised Land: Anita Brenner’s Mexico” and “Surface Tension by Ken Gonzales-Day: Murals, Signs and Mark-Making in L.A.” will be open. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. $12 (general), $9 (seniors, full-time students and children older than 12), $7 (children 2-12). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. skirball.org.

HOLIDAY CONCERT IN BEVERLY HILLS

Enjoy the festive Hanukkah and holiday season sounds of the Beverly Hills Madrigals, the Beverly Hills Unified School District middle school choir and the fourth- and fifth-grade honors choir. Complimentary holiday refreshments provided by students from the Beverly Hills High Culinary Arts program. Presented by Friends of Beverly Gardens and the Beverly Hills Community Services Department. Free. 1-2:30 p.m. Beverly Gardens Park (near the lily pond), 9439 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills. beverlyhills.org/boldholidays.

NATHAN ENGLANDER

Novelist and short story writer Nathan Englander discusses his new book, “Dinner at the Center of the Earth,” a tragicomic take of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with David Ulin, former editor of the Los Angeles Times books section. Join Wilshire Boulevard Temple for a conversation about Judaism, anti-Semitism, Israel and literature. A book sale, signing and a dessert reception follow. 7-10:30 p.m. Free. Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 11661 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. (213) 388-2401. wbtla.org.

MON DEC 11
“MARTIN BUBER: PHILOSOPHICAL, POLITICAL & SOCIAL REBEL”

Journalist Jonathan Dobrer explores the work of Martin Buber, one of the most important and influential modern Jewish philosophers who redefined Jewish thinking and bridged Chasidic spirituality with the secularism of Freud. Dobrer, an author of serious and humorous essays on contemporary culture, explores the question of what it means to consider Buber a dissident. 7:30 p.m. $20. American Jewish University, David Alan Shapiro Memorial Synagogue Center, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 476-9777. aju.edu.

TUE DEC 12
*INFINITE LIGHT*

On the first night of Hanukkah, young adult movement NuRoots kicks off its third annual citywide celebration of miracles. That evening’s event, “First Night,” is one party in two locations, with people on the Westside gathering at Bergamot Station and people on the Eastside at Conduit DTLA for a creative dining experience featuring Hanukkah-inspired craft cocktails, swag, music and more. Additionally, more than 30 events will take place through Dec. 22 as part of this Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles initiative, including “Latkes and Vodka,” “Get Lit Fashion Show,” “Ugly Sweater Party” and the flappers-themed party “The Great Gatsberg.” Organizations including East Side Jews, Moishe House, Bend the Arc and the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles partner on various events. Through Dec. 22. 7:30 p.m., $30. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Conduit DTLA, 1635 N. Spring St., Los Angeles. (323) 761-8118. infinitelight.la.

MENORAH LIGHTINGS ON THIRD STREET PROMENADE

Join local synagogues and community groups as their members celebrate Hanukkah. Lighting the menorah begins shortly after sundown each evening. Participating synagogues include Mishkon Tephilo, Santa Monica Synagogue, Stephen Wise Temple, Kehillat Israel, Nashuva, Beth Shir Shalom and Chabad of Santa Monica. 4-8 p.m. Free. 1351 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica. (310) 393-8355. santamonica.com/things-to-do/events.

WED DEC 13
DANIEL ELLSBERG

Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, a study of government decisions related to the Vietnam War, to the media when he was an analyst for the Rand Corp., discusses his new book, “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner,” a nonfiction account of the nuclear arms race. The event takes place in a run-up to the January release of Steven Spielberg’s new film, “The Post,” in which Ellsberg is a key figure. 8 p.m. $20 (general admission), $30 (reserved seat), $45 (reserve seat plus book). William Turner Gallery, Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. livetalksla.org.

THU DEC 14
LOS ANGELES CAR MENORAH PARADE

Honk if you love Hanukkah! On the third night of Hanukkah, Chabad-Lubavitch’s Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad, a seminary for Chabad high school students, celebrates the festival of lights by driving through the city in a caravan of celebration. Order an electric menorah to mount on top of your car and join the fun. Beep beep! 6:30 p.m. (lineup), 7 p.m. (departure). Start: Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad, 7215 Waring Ave., Los Angeles. Finish: Third Street and South Harper Avenue, Beverly Hills. To order a menorah for your car or for more information, call (410) 209-0545 or email yoecshluchim@gmail.com.