What’s Happening in Jewish L.A. April 21-25: L.A. Jewish Film Festival and Walk to End Genocide
SAT APRIL 21
FESTIVAL OF BOOKS
Writers, poets, artists, musicians and filmmakers appear at the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, a weekend celebration of the written word. Ed Asner discusses his 2017 book, “The Grouchy Historian”; religious scholar Reza Aslan appears in conversation with Jewish Journal Book Editor Jonathan Kirsch; actress, neuroscientist and author Mayim Bialik explores the nexus of science, geek culture and girl power; author Steven Ross (“Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America”) and Journal contributor Bill Boyarsky examine “History: Telling Hidden Stories”; Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky weighs in on “Our Endangered Constitution” and L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turan participates on a panel titled “The Entertainment Industry.” Through April 22. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. USC’s University Park Campus, Los Angeles. latimes.com/festivalofbooks.
JEWISH FEMINISM IN THE FACE OF RACIALISM
Amanda Berman, co-founder and president of Zioness, a group that seeks to empower Jewish women to participate in progressive spaces, discusses “Jewish Feminism in the Face of Racialism.” Berman previously worked on Democratic campaigns, and in law school she served at the Bet Tzedek Legal Services Clinic. Her lecture follows a Saturday morning Shabbat service. 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Free. Beverly Hills Hotel, 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 276-4246. beverlyhillsjc.org.
KNOW YOUR REPS, WITH CONGRESSMAN ADAM SCHIFF
Over lunch after Shabbat services, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) discusses the latest goings on in Washington, D.C. Schiff is the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which oversees the nation’s intelligence agencies. Sponsored by IKAR. Free. 12:30 p.m. Shalhevet High School, 910 S. Fairfax, Los Angeles. (323) 634-1870. ikar-la.org.
In Joshua Harmon’s scathingly funny play “Bad Jews,” two cousins clash ferociously over who has the right to inherit the chai necklace that belonged to their beloved grandfather, “Poppy,” which Poppy preserved during the Holocaust by hiding it under his tongue. Through June 17. Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.; Wednesday, May 9 and May 30, 8 p.m.; Thursday, May 17 and June 14, 8 p.m. $25–$35. 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 477-2055. odysseytheatre.com.
SUN APRIL 22
WALK TO END GENOCIDE
Seeking to influence the end of deadly conflicts in Syria, Sudan, Myanmar and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jewish World Watch stages its 12th annual Walk to End Genocide. The three-hour event brings together a broad range of advocates sending the message, “We will not stand idly by while genocide and mass atrocities occur.” The walk raises funds to underwrite support programs in affected communities. 9 a.m.-noon. $36 adults; $28 students, ages 12-22; $18 children, ages 5-11; toddlers, free. Pan Pacific Park, 7600 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. (818) 501-1836. jww.org.
A 5,000-year-old board game that originated in the Middle East receives a fresh airing when JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa) and Kahal Joseph Congregation co-host an all-ages backgammon tournament. Prizes will be awarded to the top players, and players who bring their own backgammon boards will receive a free raffle ticket. 10 a.m. Before April 20: tournament entry fee, $20; general admission, $10 adults, kids free. At the door: entry fee, $30; general admission, $10 adults, $5 kids. Kahal Joseph Congregation, 10505 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 474-0559. kahaljoseph.org.
ANNIE KORZEN AND MARK SCHIFF
Whizin’s Stand-Up Comedy Showcase presents comedians Annie Korzen and Mark Schiff. Korzen played the recurring role of Doris Klompus on “Seinfeld.” Schiff, who recently opened for Jerry Seinfeld in Israel, appeared many times on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and “Late Night With David Letterman.” He has starred in HBO and Showtime specials, and written for “The Roseanne Show.” 4 p.m. $25. The David Alan Shapiro Memorial Synagogue Center, American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. (310) 476-9777. wcce.aju.edu.
“THE HEBREW HILLBILLY”
Singer-songwriter Shelley Fisher performs her musical one-woman play, which chronicles her growing up Jewish in the Deep South with a flamboyant mother who frowned on her dating the local boys, and her dreams of bright lights and show business. 6:30 p.m. $20. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica. (310) 394-9779. santamonicaplayhouse.com.
UnCabaret, the downtown Los Angeles home of original alternative comedy for nearly 25 years, holds an evening of laughter, featuring Kira Soltanovich, James Adomian, Lauren Weedman, Zach Sherwin, Paige Weldon and the Frogtown Serenaders. Beth Lapides, who appeared on the series “Sex and the City,” “Will & Grace” and “Politically Incorrect,” hosts this weekly program. 8 p.m. $10-$30. The Showroom at Au Lac, 701 W. First St., Los Angeles. (213) 706-3630. uncabaret.com
MON APRIL 23
“BELIEF: THE CHALLENGE OF OUR TIMES”
During this annual Yom Iyun evening of learning, two leaders of Ohr Samayach International explore “Belief: The Challenge of Our Times.” Rabbi Akiva Tatz speaks on “Faith in a Faithless World” and Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb identifies “Reasons to Believe.” For men and women. Refreshments served. 7:30-11:55 p.m. Advance, $10. After April 22, $15. Students free. Nessah Synagogue, 142 S. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills. (718) 677-6200. nessah.org.
AUTHOR ABIGAIL POGREBIN
Abigail Pogrebin, author of “My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew,” embarked on a year of research and writing about every Jewish ritual, fast and festival in one Jewish year. In a book infused with humorous details, Pogrebin imparts the wisdom of more than 60 rabbis she interviewed. In conversation with Rabbi Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom. 7:30 p.m. $10. Burton Sperber Jewish Community Library, American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. (310) 476-9777. wcce.aju.edu
“RUSSIAN ROULETTE” AUTHOR
Investigative journalist Michael Isikoff, co-author of “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump,” shares his conclusions about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. The book, which he wrote with journalist David Corn, argues that the attempted sabotage of American democracy brought Trump to the presidency. 7:30 p.m. $20, admission; $42, book and admission. Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, 8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills. (310) 288-3737. writersblocpresents.com.
TUE APRIL 24
“MAIMONIDES AND THE MERCHANTS”
The advent of Islam in the seventh century brought profound economic changes to Jews living in the Middle East. The Talmud, written in and for an agrarian society, was in many ways ill-equipped for the new economy. Not previously noticed, however, in the Mishneh Torah, Maimonides made efforts to update the halachah to make it conform with Jewish merchant practices. Author Mark R. Cohen talk about his book, “Maimonides and the Merchants: Jewish Law and Society in the Medieval Islamic World.” Cohen is a professor emeritus at Princeton University. Sponsored by the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies. Free and open to the public. 4-6 p.m. UCLA Royce Hall, Room 314, 10745 Dickson Court, Los Angeles. (310) 267-5327. email@example.com.
“LEONARD BERNSTEIN AT 100”
On the centennial of composer Leonard Bernstein’s birth, the Skirball Cultural Center presents an exhibition celebrating the life and work of the great American composer and conductor who dedicated his life to making classical music a vibrant part of American culture. The Grammy- and Tony Award-winning Bernstein (1918–1990) wrote landmark scores for musical theater (“West Side Story,” “Candide”) and film (“On the Waterfront”). Organized by the Grammy Museum and curated by its founding executive director and renowned music historian, Robert Santelli. Through Sept. 2. Included with museum admission. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. skirball.org.
DEEPER LOOK AT THE EXODUS
Inspired and educated by her father, who headed a rabbinical court in the United Kingdom, Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, a lifetime Torah scholar, discusses her book “Exodus: Narrative or Anti-Narrative?” The London-born former National Jewish Book Award winner has taught Torah in Jerusalem for 30 years. 6 p.m. dinner, 7:30 p.m. lecture. $15, lecture. $40, dinner and lecture. UCLA Hillel, 574 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 208-3081, ext. 108. hillelatucla.wufoo.com.
“ISRAEL AS A JEWISH DEMOCRACY”
Tal Becker, a renowned expert in Israeli political thought, delivers an informative, measured and scholarly lecture on “Israel as a Jewish Democracy: A Conversation Through Case Studies.” He discusses the idea of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, using case studies taken from the headlines, and explores the complex relationship between these two aspirations. 7:45 p.m. Shalhevet High School, 910 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 930-9333. shalhevet.org.
WED APRIL 25
THE LOS ANGELES JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL
From saluting the late entertainment giant Sammy Davis Jr., in “Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me,” on opening night, to celebrating living icons past 90 years old in “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast” on closing night, the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival celebrates the tapestry of Jewish experience. Old friends of Davis, including “Laugh-In” creator George Schlatter, actor Tom Dreesen and Davis’ son Manny appear onstage for the Los Angeles premiere of the opening film. Then, over eight days at Laemmle theaters across Los Angeles, the festival showcases films from around the world, including “Seeing Allred,” featuring an in-person appearance by Gloria Allred, and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the 1935 classic that captured two Academy Awards. On April 28, actor Hal Linden accepts the Marvin Paige Hollywood Legacy Award before the world premiere of his new film, “The Samuel Project,” at Laemmle’s Music Hall, Beverly Hills. On April 29, David Suissa, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Jewish Journal, receives the Visionary Award ahead of the North American premiere of the Israeli television series “Commandments.” Through May 2. Opening night: 7:15 p.m., $40. Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre, 8556 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (800) 838-3006. lajfilmfest.org.
“ISRAEL AND DIASPORA”
Daylong conference “Israel and Diaspora: Peoplehood in Crisis?” marks Israel’s 70th birthday by exploring how to develop a compelling narrative that holds Jews from different backgrounds, beliefs and politics together in a meaningful way. Key speakers include Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America; Tal Becker, a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute and Jewish Journal Senior Writer Danielle Berrin. Light breakfast and lunch included. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. $36 general, $18 students. UCLA Hillel, 574 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles. shalomhartman.org/laiengage18.