7 Days in the Arts


Saturday the 14th

?Como se dice, “fun” en Espanol? LA Latino Book and Family Festival, por

Keren’s Corner

Jewish Book Month isn’t till November, but why wait?

Two Jewish children’s authors have events of note going on this week. At Pepperdine’s Smother’s Theatre, see the staged musical adaptation of Judith Viorst’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by now a hilarious classic. Or for Jewish folktale funnies, Children’s Book World hosts storyteller Jon Reed, reading from Ann Redisch Stampler’s “Shlemazel and the Remarkable Spoon of Pohost.” Stampler will also attend and sign copies of the book.

Pepperdine: Oct. 14, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. $10-$15. (310) 506-4522.

Children’s Book World: Oct. 14, 10:30 a.m. Free. (310) 559-2665.

supuesto! The festival comes to the Fairplex in Pomona this weekend, and features a children’s stage and play area, food courts, science discovery center and a youth and adult writing exhibition. Pick up a new title, like Susanna Reich’s “Jose! Born to Dance” in the book village, view Latino arts and crafts in the culture and travel village or wander off into one of the other three themed villages.

10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Sat.), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sun.). Free. (760) 434-7476.

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Monday the 16th

UCLA Hillel’s art galleries mess with our emotions this season. Serenity can be had on the third floor’s “Silent Waves” photographs by Douglas Isaac Busch. Just one floor below, however, the Gindi Auditorium features Shulie Seidler-Feller’s unsettling snapshots of a devastated New Orleans, in “Broken Landscapes.” They are on view through Nov. 15 and the end of December, respectively.
Hillel at UCLA, 574 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 208-3081.

” target=”_blank”>www.westcoastjewishtheatre.org.

Thursday the 19th

Dealer and defender of sentimentality Mitch Albom strikes again with his new release, “For One More Day,” about a suicidal alcoholic man who gets that miraculous titular day with his eight-years-deceased mother. The “Tuesdays With Morrie” writer comes to Starbucks today for a Q-and-A, and to Sinai Temple tonight, for a reading and signing.

Starbucks: Noon. 11707 San Vicente Blvd. (Brentwood), Los Angeles. (310) 207-4202.

Sinai Temple: 7:30 p.m. 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 474-1518.

Friday the 20th

” target=”_blank”>Bob Dylan makes an L.A. stop tonight on the latest installment of his “Never Ending Tour.” What he’ll perform is anyone’s guess. As always, the one thing the show promises to be is unpredictable.

7:30 p.m. $35-$75. The Forum, 3900 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood.

7 Days in The Arts


Saturday, June 3

Left-leaning readers will appreciate tonight’s show featuring political commentary. “Laughing Liberally” is in town for just one night, after a successful February debut at New York City’s Town Hall. Attend to hear comedians/commentators Will Durst, Jim David, Marc Maron, Dean Obeidallah, Rick Overton and Katie Halper skewer Bush and roast the White House.

8:30 p.m. $25-$43. Wadsworth Theatre (on the VA grounds), Building 226, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Brentwood. (213) 365-3500. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Sunday, June 4

The South Robertson Neighborhoods Council puts on its annual block party “It’s a SoRo World” this weekend.
The free festival will include vendor and food booths representing area businesses, including Nathan’s kosher hot dogs, a block-long kids fun zone and an environmental pavilion.

11 a.m.-4 p.m. South Robertson Boulevard, between Beverlywood Street and Cattaraugus Avenue. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Monday, June 5

“Reel Talk With Stephen Farber,” the preview film screening and conversation series hosted by Movieline’s film critic, returns for another 10-evening series, beginning tonight. Head to the Wadsworth Theatre for a screening of “Who Killed the Electric Car?” the documentary by Chris Paine recently shown at Sundance and Tribeca film fests. Farber will converse with Paine and exec producer Dean Devlin following the movie.

7 p.m. Mondays, June 5-Aug. 14. $20 (individual screenings), $150 (series). Wadsworth Theatre (on the VA grounds), Building 226, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Brentwood. (213) 365-3500. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Tuesday, June 6

Writers Bloc’s concept of featuring one renowned author interviewing another has made for unique literary evenings, offering something more than the usual book reading and signing. This evening, their duo will be modern master John Updike, interviewed by L.A.-centric satirical writer Bruce Wagner.

$20. Writers Guild Theater, 135 S. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 335-0917. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

 

Wednesday, June 7

Don’t call the late Claire Falkenstein’s pieces “sculpture.” She preferred “structures,” OK? The acclaimed artist’s works included gates designed for Peggy Guggenheim’s estate in Venice, Italy, in 1961,and many of her large-scale pieces can still be viewed in touring our fair city. Easier still, Louis Stern Fine Arts presents one in a series of exhibitions displaying works from Falkenstein’s estate. “Claire Falkenstein: Structure and Flow, Works from 1950-1980” is on view through Aug. 26.

Free. 9002 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. (310) 276-0147. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Thursday, June 8

They call it California’s Shangri-La; classical music lovers call it home this weekend. It’s Ojai Valley, and today through Sunday, it presents the annual Ojai Music Festival, now in its 60th year. Hear the music of contemporary composer Osvaldo Golijov performed by various vocalists and musicians over the course of the four days, attend lectures and take in the beauty of the lush surroundings.

June 8-11. Single tickets on sale. (805) 646-2094.  

Friday, June 9

The Contemporary Crafts Market offers decorative, functional and wearable art at all price points this weekend at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. More than 250 artisans will show their stuff — including glassware, jewelry, ceramics, watercolors, wood furniture and plenty more.

10 a.m.-6 p.m. (June 9-11). Free (children 12 and under), $6 (adults). 1855 Main St., Santa Monica. (310) 285-3655. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

The ‘Chosen’ Ones Across the Street


It has long been a cliché that Los Angeles does not respect the culture of the book. It is true that this town famously eviscerated Faulkner and Fitzgerald, that Hollywood suits to this day treat screenwriters the way Henry VIII treated his wives. Yet, it is also true that Los Angeles has spawned unique brands of literature, such as, the hard-boiled detective story, and that a major publisher like Judith Regan is moving from New York to Century City.

This weekend more than 100,000 people are expected to flock to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA — and to a new, Jewish-themed People of the Book Festival across the street.

The all-day “People” event April 30 will feature authors such as Amy Wilentz, the former Jerusalem correspondent for the New Yorker (see story on this page); renowned Jewish chef Faye Levy (“Feast From the Mideast : 250 Sun-Drenched Dishes From the Lands of the Bible”); Ruth Andrew Ellenson; Jewish Journal Religion Editor Amy Klein; Lori Gottleib, and Aimee Bender (“The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt”) in a 4 p.m. panel moderated by Tobin Belzer.

It was the proximity to the Times’ festival that prompted UCLA Hillel Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, in part, to approach newspaper officials about a linked event several years ago. Audiences had been growing for Jewish Book Month events each November, starring Jewish literati such as Michael Chabon and Nicole Kraus.

But the Times passed, reportedly due to liability issues arising from attendees crossing Hilgard Avenue. Then Abigail Yasgur of the Jewish Community Library suggested an event to run separately but simultaneously with the existing fair, and the USC Kasden Institute and the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies signed on.

While groups such as the Jewish Federation of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys will continue to hold book festivals in November, the People of the Book organizers have “created some kind of geographic and chronological confluence [that helps]… “keep the focus on books,” says David L. Ulin, book editor of the L.A. Times. “The great thing about books is that they bleed across all kinds of boundaries.”

For more information, visit

Two Dark Tales Illuminated at Sundance


Martin Scorsese has famously influenced a whole generation of American filmmakers, from Abel Ferrara and Quentin Tarantino to Rob Weiss and Nick Gomez. But his influence is not limited to filmmakers in this country.

One who has channeled the Gotham-based auteur, albeit subconsciously, is Tony Krawitz, an Australian director, who specializes in short films. Krawitz’s most recent effort is “Jewboy,” a one-hour feature about Yuri, a Chasidic Jew, who comes back to Sydney, Australia, for his father’s funeral and has a crisis of more than just faith.

Although Krawitz says that he refrained from watching Scorsese’s films while making “Jewboy,” his lead character Yuri reminds one at times of Harvey Keitel’s Charlie in “Mean Streets,” as well as Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver.”

Like Keitel’s Charlie, Yuri places his fingers over the flame of a burning candle. He wonders if God will really punish him, if the flame is truly eternal. He also wants to feel something, even if it’s pain. That is why he touches the fire, since his religion prohibits him from touching a woman, from even holding hands with any female other than a family member.

The provocative title of the film “reflects the mentality of the lead character, so marked is he by being an Orthodox Jew 24/7,” says Krawitz, speaking from Australia. “Jewboy” makes a powerful statement about the oppressiveness and sterility of this Orthodox environment. Smothered with extended family whose expectations are that he will follow his father by becoming a rabbi, Yuri sees a future of loveless marriage, platitudes uttered by friends, and constraint.

More than anything else, he wants to connect with other people, and not only figuratively. The tension in the film occurs whenever he wants to touch a woman. There is a moment early on when he and his Lubavitch girlfriend circle their fingers through powdery flour on a table, coming tantalizingly close to touching each other. They both shudder and smile secretly as they part from the exercise, an erotic fillip in their claustrophobic world.

Krawitz, 38, was born in South Africa but grew up in Bondi Beach, a neighborhood of Sydney with a large Chasidic presence. He remembers a high school classmate who told him that he would not be able to touch a woman until he got married. Although Krawitz considers himself a secular Jew, this early exposure to the Orthodox world led to a lifelong fascination with that community.

As a university student, Krawitz drove cabs and on occasion was called “Jewboy” by his fares. Yuri, too, becomes a cab driver, which leads him into Sydney’s demimonde of sleaze, a scaled-down version of the Times Square in “Taxi Driver.”

Ewen Leslie, who gives Yuri’s character a tremendous inner life, bears a physical resemblance to Travis Bickle. Both dark-haired ghosts of the city, Leslie, when he takes off his shirt, reveals a sinewy, bony physique that is very similar to De Niro’s in that film. And Yuri’s small, nondescript one-room apartment calls to mind Bickle’s lodgings.

Yuri’s awkwardness with women and his conflicted feelings about sex are yet another echo.

Tortured as he is by his religion’s restrictions, Yuri goes to extremes to honor them: carrying a drunk, cleavage-displaying rider out of a cab by wrapping her with his jacket; touching the window of a peep show gallery as the topless dancer performs for him; and finally reaches the precipice, holding back his arms as a sexy prostitute presses her breasts against his chest and then fellates him.

After this encounter, Yuri rushes through the neon underworld with what Krawitz terms a “strobe-light effect,” the increased speed and then slow-motion of the camera, evocative of the turmoil in the streets in “Chungking Express,” a film that Krawitz says did influence him. In this case, “messing with speed” mirrors the inner confusion Yuri is undergoing.

At the end of the film, he holds his grandmother’s hand as she, a concentration camp survivor, watches a tennis match and roots for Australia’s Mark Philippoussis.

“I have faith in him,” she says.

“Jewboy,” which was entered into Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival, is Krawitz’s first film at Sundance. Although slightly less than an hour long, it will compete in the feature category.

Also competing at Sundance, in the documentary category, is “KZ,” perhaps “the first postmodern Holocaust movie,” says its director Rex Bloomstein. “It explores the subject in a different way.”

Certainly, there is more than an element of postmodern irony about a bunch of present-day, lederhosen-clad Austrian youth, singing roistering tunes about the concentration camp in Mauthausen and hoisting mugs at the very place where SS officers once clinked glasses of Schnapps after massacring their victims.

But that’s just one example of irony. Bloomstein interviews present residents of Mauthausen, including a young, dark-skinned teenage girl, presumably of mixed ethnicity, who wears a T-shirt with the words “New York” running across it and says that living in Mauthausen “is a perfect dream.” In the background, her surly, silent boyfriend, arms folded, leans against a car, impatient for the interview to end.

Bloomstein also interviews older residents of the town who lived there during World War II, one of whom beams with pride over having been married to an SS officer.

“KZ,” an abbreviation for the Austrian name for concentration camp, “Konzentrationslager,” depicts not only the town’s residents, but also the tour guides and the tourists.

One tour guide, an intense young Austrian with a shaved head, speaks to the visitors in staccato tones. He has a defiance about him, so consumed is he with anger at his country and the town’s legacy. Another guide is an older middle-aged man, who admits that he has become an alcoholic after years of working at the camp.

For the first 15 minutes of the film, neither guide mentions the word Jews, because Mauthausen was not exclusively a Jewish concentration camp. It began as a labor camp and later admitted large numbers of Russians and Poles as well as Jews, who were not brought to the camp until 1944, according to the film.

Bloomstein, a 64-year-old resident of England, has made numerous television documentaries with Jewish themes, including the three-part series, “The Longest Hatred.” But “KZ” marks his first time at the helm of a documentary film.

He was making a TV documentary called “Liberation” when he noticed the beer drinking and singing taking place within yards of the former concentration camp. He was “haunted by the disjunction, the reality of people enjoying themselves, and then the reality over there” at the camp, and decided to make a film that would show “the interface of memory and history and the present.”

Using a hand-held camera, Bloomstein finds one man, standing next to a crematorium, who straightens out his trousers after his girlfriend tells him they’re rumpled; then, camera in hand, she takes a picture of him. Bloomstein finds another man visiting the camp, a swarthy fellow, who writes in a book of visitors’ comments that Israel should be ashamed at how it has treated the Palestinians and the Kurds. His daughter simply writes, “Peace.”

Unlike most Holocaust documentaries, this one, as its press materials proclaim, contains no archival footage, no survivor testimonials, no voice-over. Bloomstein points out that there is also “No music.”

He doesn’t want an artificial stimulus for people to feel sad. He wants the filmgoer to be one of the tourists and take in everything as if he were there — the gas chambers, the ovens, and the “Wailing Wall,” the wall in front of which Jews, left to die, stood naked for days in the snow and in the burning heat. For postmodern irony, this is about as gruesome as it gets.

For more information on the Sundance, visit

7 Days in The Arts


Saturday, November 19

Keshet Chaim Dancers and the Idan Raichel Project come together tonight to raise funds for some 20,000 Ethiopian Jews awaiting immigration to Israel. Raichel hasn’t made it to L.A. since last February, so this one-night-only concert might be your only chance for a while to see the ensemble voted “Group of the Year 2005” in Israel. Keshet Chaim will open with colorful dance numbers, including one that combines traditional Yemenite dance with hip-hop.

8 p.m. $45-$150. Kodak Theatre, Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. (213) 480-3232.

Sunday, November 20

Celebrate L.A. Jewish authors today at Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center. Jewish Federation of San Gabriel Valley presents a special multiauthor day as part of its Jewish Book Festival, which begins with a bagel breakfast with Rabbi Abner Weiss, author of “Connecting to God: Ancient Kabbalah and Modern Psychology,” and continuing with a “Mystery Mavens” mystery writers panel and box lunch program featuring authors Rochelle Krich, Jerrilyn Farmer and Robert Levinson. The day concludes with an afternoon appearance by Peter Lefcourt, author of “The Manhattan Beach Project.” Attend one event or all three.

9:45 a.m. $18 (all-day). Individual tickets available. 1434 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena. R.S.V.P., (626) 332-0700.

Monday, November 21

Now’s your chance to respond in person to Maureen Dowd’s doomsday New York Times column on the state of women today. The Writers Bloc presents Dowd, author of “Are Men Necessary?,” in conversation with her former boyfriend, “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin.

Temple Emanuel, 300 N. Clark Drive, Beverly Hills. R.S.V.P., (310) 335-0917. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Tuesday, November 22

American Jewish Committee and Temple Beth Sholom join with various Christian, Catholic, Muslim and Sikh organizations for a special Orange County-wide interfaith Thanksgiving service, celebrating the diversity of America’s cultures and faiths. The themes of hunger and homelessness will also be addressed, and participants are encouraged to donate to Orange County’s Second Harvest.

7 p.m. Free. Wallace All Faiths Chapel, Chapman University Campus, University Drive, Orange. (949) 660-8525.

Wednesday, November 23

Now at the Jewish Artist Network (JAN) Gallery is the group show, “Chance,” an exhibition of abstract paintings “for peace and the future.” The seven exhibitors will donate 20 percent of sales to the purchase of art supplies for underprivileged children.

Through Nov. 28. 8 p.m.-midnight (Tues., Thurs. and Sat.) or by appointment. 661 N. Spaulding Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 230-8193.

Thursday, November 24

What’s with Jewish guys wanting to be rappers? One more group for your, um, listening pleasure is Chutzpah, which recently released an eponymous CD. That is, if you can get over the hip-hop posturing and the disturbing image of the hairiest white guy we’ve seen in a basketball jersey.

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Friday, November 25

Opening this week is the Hammer Museum’s “Masters of 20th Century American Comics” exhibition. The extensive show features in depth views of works by 15 of the most celebrated American comic strip and comic book creators, including Harvey Kurtzman (Mad Magazine), R. Crumb (Zap Comix contributor) and Art Spiegleman (“Maus”).

10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 443-7041.

The Real World: Warlord


Imagine an Uzbek warlord who takes time between mortar attacks to remove his clothes and display his manhood in the bunker. Now, imagine that he willingly does this for a camera operator, who films the chieftain and his family for an “Osbournes”-meets-“Sopranos” reality-TV show.

It sounds almost plausible in the age of “The Apprentice” and “Survivor.” But, in fact, this is the setup for a fictional reality-TV show at the heart of Peter Lefcourt’s new novel, “The Manhattan Beach Project” (Simon & Schuster, $24).

Lefcourt, who quips that he is “a card-carrying Jew,” will discuss his latest social satire at the Jewish Book Festival, which will run from Oct. 30 through Dec. 11. The event is organized by the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys and will feature a wide range of writers.

It will kick off with Bruce Bauman discussing “And the Word Was,” his debut novel about the aftermath of a Columbine-type tragedy on the life of a doctor. Also appearing will be Ursula Bacon, author of “Shanghai Diary,” a memoir about a young girl’s journey from Europe to Shanghai at the time of the Holocaust.

Bookended by scenes at a Debtors Anonymous meeting, “The Manhattan Beach Project” takes off when a bankrupt CIA agent convinces a down-on-his-luck producer — a fellow debtor — to pitch a reality-TV series about the daily activities of a warlord in the former Soviet Central Asian republic of Uzbekistan. The warlord has the typical dysfunctional family: a mistress, an angry wife who never leaves her room, a lesbian daughter, one teenage son who is an onanist and another who joins the Taliban. Unbeknownst to the producer, the rogue agent has turned the warlord’s basement into a safe house for pirated videos, the ultimate no-no in Hollywood.

With or without a Jewish theme, “The Manhattan Beach Project” skewers Hollywood the way Tom Wolfe lampooned Wall Street in “Bonfire of the Vanities.” Lefcourt shows the callowness of these show biz Masters of the Universe.

Over the past 30 years, Lefcourt has written and produced television dramas like “Cagney & Lacey” and miniseries like “The Women of Windsor,” but it’s his novels that most closely reflect his comic sensibility. His best-known prior book, “The Dreyfus Affair,” depicts with dark humor a gay romance set in homophobia-ridden big league baseball.

“The Dreyfus Affair” has been optioned several times by movie studios but never produced, so Lefcourt is intimately familiar with the reptilian nature of Hollywood executives in the mold of Sammy Glick, and the difficulties in getting a project green-lighted.

Lefcourt cites no particular inspiration for “The Manhattan Beach Project,” but says that he was “so attached to” producer Charlie Berns, hero of his first sardonic novel on Hollywood, “The Deal,” that he wanted to bring him back. Berns, an erstwhile Oscar-winning film honcho, resurrects his career in “The Manhattan Beach Project” by entering the world of reality TV, which Lefcourt calls “the crack cocaine of the TV business. It’s addictive, debilitating and noninformative…. It seems to have peaked, but it will be with us, in one form or another, for a long time, like a flu epidemic.”

“The Manhattan Beach Project’s” overarching metaphor, show biz as a top-secret, clandestine society, where anyone can be whacked, has always been apt, particularly in recent times. He’s no fan of Michael Eisner and his ilk, and concludes his acknowledgments by sarcastically thanking Eisner for “going down with the ship.”

Would Mikey have green-lighted “Warlord”? According to Lefcourt, Eisner would have “yellow-lit it” — keeping it at arm’s length “in case it blew up in his face.”

Peter Lefcourt will read and discuss his book on Sunday, Nov. 20, at 2:30 p.m. at Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center, 1434 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena.

Also at the festival: The Jewish Journal will co-sponsor a Nov. 30 event with author Ruth Andrew Ellenson, editor of “The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt.” For festival information call (626) 967-3656.

Book Month Sparks Literary Landslide


Last year, when Leonard Lawrence learned that the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) had to cancel its annual book fair as a result of restructuring within the organization, he vowed to not let it happen again.

"We saw it as a challenge that Mount Sinai could rise up to," said Lawrence, general manager of Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries.

This year, Lawrence’s call to duty has placed the book festival back on the map with a bit of a twist. Unlike the traditional book fairs of previous years, this year’s book festival, co-sponsored by Mount Sinai and JCCGLA, will cater to children.

"We really wanted to create a niche that doesn’t currently exist," said Nina Lieberman Giladi, JCCGLA executive vice president. "There’s so much focus on literacy and the value of reading for children lately. All the feedback that I’m getting from all of our early childhood education directors is that literacy is the number one issue for parents when they’re choosing where to put their children in school."

The joint effort will take place on Sunday, Nov. 16, at Mount Sinai’s Simi Valley Memorial Park with the first ever Children’s Bookfest, which will donate $1 for every attendee to local firefighters and police officers in appreciation for their efforts during the recent wildfires. The event will feature performances by Parachute Express, the Los Angeles Children’s Museum Theatre Project and Jewish puppeteer Len Levitt. In addition there will be mezuzah and book-binding workshops and a story writing contest.

The Children’s Bookfest is one of many events scheduled in and around Los Angeles as part of the nationwide Jewish Book Month, which has been celebrated in November for more than 50 years. Recent years have seen a renaissance of Jewish book festivals, typically sponsored by a city’s Jewish community center. Larger cities like Los Angeles often have smaller festivals and book signings, rather than one large fair, said Carolyn Hessel, director of the Jewish Book Council for the national JCC Association.

"Jewish book month is growing bigger and bigger, and the enthusiasm and the amount of time and effort has grown tremendously and it shows," Hessel said.

This year, with five different programs scheduled for Jewish Book Month in the Los Angeles area, organizations from Simi Valley to the San Gabriel Valley are working to ensure that there is something available for Jews of all ages and denominations.

The most extensive book festival is being hosted by the Jewish Federation of San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. The festival, which runs through Dec. 3, is taking place at various bookstores, synagogues and private homes from Whittier to Pasadena. It will feature 14 authors, including Jane Levy ("Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legend"), Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis ("In God’s Mirror"), Sylvia Rouss ("Sammy Spider") and Leslie Epstein ("San Remo Drive: A Novel from Memory").

"We’re a large geographic area, and you have people living in Jewish pockets," said Marilyn Weintraub, Federation assistant director. "This gives us the chance to mingle with others in the Jewish community."

Elsewhere, the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles (JCLLA) will kick off its Jewish Book Month programming on Nov. 10, with rabbi and author Adin Steinsaltz (see story, page 36), who will talk about his new book, "Opening the Tanya." Programming continues throughout the month with other authors, such as Robert A. Rosenstone (see story, page 38), and creative programming, including a music and story extravaganza at The Grove, with storyteller David Steinberg, musician Shep Rosenman and entertainer Ditza Zakai.

Library Director Abigail Yasgur said that one of the main audiences that JCLLA considered in its programming this year was young adults and teens.

"The young adult audience in libraries is sometimes a hard match," Yasgur said. "But I know that our teens read…. They’re checking things out. The teen audience is a great audience. You just have to find a way in."

Programs include young adult author Gloria Miklowitz ("The Enemy Has a Face"), Holocaust survivor and author Sonia Levitin ("Faith and Generosity") and a performance by Jewish rapper Etan G.

Promoting literacy among an even younger audience, KOREH L.A., a program that pairs volunteer "reading partners" with students in the first through third grades at public schools throughout Los Angeles, will offer three training sessions during the month (see story, page 24).

In addition to the Children’s Bookfest, Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries will stage the first Association of Jewish Libraries’ Western Regional Jewish Children’s Literature Conference in partnership with Sinai Temple. The Nov. 9 event will offer educators, librarians and aspiring authors of Jewish literature an opportunity to learn from leading writers, publishers and illustrators in the field.

The conference opens with a keynote address by Caldecott Medal recipient Eric Kimmel. Other presenters include author Jane Breskin Zalben, who will speak on "Common Threads … Writing and Illustrating Picture Books to Young Adult Fiction in the Era of 2003," and Adaire Klein, director of the library and archives at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance, who will moderate a panel on "Portraying the Holocaust in Children’s Literature."

Lawrence hopes that other community institutions will follow Mount Sinai’s lead.

"I think it’s incumbent upon every community institution to share the burden of maintaining cultural events for the community," Lawrence said. "We are the people of the book, and it’s important for the Jewish community to support their authors, publishers and book sellers … specifically those that write on topics that affect the Jewish world and America in general."

True Tales of the Tribe’s Rockers


For young American males of a certain generation, catching a Van Halen concert was a coming-of-age experience. So imagine Scott Benarde’s surprise when he learned firsthand that the band’s iconic lead singer shared his rite of passage — in the cultural sense.

Backstage at a 1986 show, Benarde, with his cousin Russell in tow, told David Lee Roth that attending the concert was his bar mitzvah gift to his young relative.

"That’s when I started learning to sing," Roth responded. "When I was studying for my bar mitzvah."

"Roth had said, in effect, that being Jewish mattered," Benarde realized.

Now, nearly two decades later, Benarde has written "Stars of David: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Jewish Stories" (Brandeis University Press, $29.95), which he will sign at this year’s music-minded Los Angeles Jewish Festival in Woodland Hills on Sept. 7 (see sidebar).

"Every book that exists out there on Jewish celebrities talks about their accomplishments, but not their Jewishness," Benarde, 50, told The Journal from his Florida home, where he resides with his wife and two children. "I became very frustrated and I wanted to take it a step farther: How did being Jewish make that accomplishment happen or influence them in that profession?"

With chapters organized by decades, "Stars" devotes chapters to some shopworn but necessary rock pioneers — Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Bob Dylan, Roth — as well as more eclectic entries: late T-Rex frontman Marc Bolan, Lee Oskar of WAR and Phish bassist Mike Gordon, suddenly topical after he was arrested Aug. 16 and charged with endangering the welfare of a minor.

"Stars" is rife with insights on the Orthodox Jewish upbringing of Bon Jovi’s keyboardist; the assimilation of Randy Newman’s family, which included movie composers Lionel, Emil and Alfred Newman; the hanukkiah one of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers packs when he hits the road; how Bruce Springsteen’s drummer loved attending Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in South Orange, N.J., as a youth; and observing Shabbat while on tour with members of The Wallflowers, including Fairfax High alum Rami Jaffee.

Brushes with anti-Semitism and ignorance of the Jewish culture abound in many of the rockers’ pasts, whether it was Roth’s childhood years in Brookline, Mass., and Pasadena, or the Florida upbringing of former Heartbreaker Stan Lynch.

"Jews were a big mystery in Gainesville," said Lynch, who in Benarde’s book recalls knowing of only two other Jewish kids in high school.

"When people found out I was Jewish, they stood back in horror and delight," he says. "One guy wanted to shake my hand because he had never shaken a Jew’s hand before."

Roth — who devoted a chapter of his own autobiography to Jewish pride — felt that the social alienation that came with being Jewish made him work twice as hard to succeed.

"The funniest person I interviewed was Phoebe Snow," Benarde said. "If she wanted to retire tomorrow and do stand-up, she could do it."

Benarde was also alternately entertained and fascinated by Wendy Waldman, Kinky Friedman and Carol Kaye, who converted for marriage but, post-divorce, could not return to her original faith. Keith Reid of Procol Harum proved the most tense interview, as Benarde uncovered a man scarred by his parents’ Holocaust experience and his own brushes with anti-Semitism.

"The most surprising thing I learned," Benarde said, "was how many prominent Jewish musicians and songwriters have a connection to the Holocaust. I didn’t expect that."

In the Raphael chapter, it is revealed that the uncle of Willie Nelson’s harmonica player was imprisoned by Nazis for saying, "We Jews got through the Red Sea, we’ll get through the Brown[shirts]."

As with most laundry list books of this ilk, glaring omissions abound. The Beastie Boys (mentioned in passing) and producer Rick Rubin — architect of rap’s commercialization — are absent. MIAs also include KISS’ Israeli-born Gene Simmons; punk architects Jerry Hyman, a.k.a. Joey Ramone of The Ramones; Mick Jones of The Clash (outed as Jewish in Guy Oseary’s 2000 tome "Jews Who Rock"); and late Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Hillel Slovak.

If certain subjects are missing, Benarde explained that it was not from a lack of trying.

"[Jane’s Addiction frontman] Perry Farrell and I were supposed to do an interview, but it never happened," Benarde said. "I tried to get Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley [of KISS], but I got nowhere. Mick Jones’ people said he really liked this idea, but he declined to do the interview."

Neil Diamond, Paul Simon and Rush singer Geddy Lee also proved elusive. Billy Joel would not give an interview, but did fact-check the material after Benarde wrote it.

"The only feedback I got was that I misspelled his mother’s maiden name," Benarde said.

He makes a few odd choices in his otherwise insightful book. A chapter on producer Don Was evolves into a de facto bio of Israeli singer Ofra Haza, whom Was worked with before her 2000 death. Younger readers might be let down by how incomplete the "Nineties and Beyond" section — the book’s skimpiest — feels.

And while Blood of Abraham never enjoyed a Beasties-level popularity, the militant Jewish rap outfit, discovered by NWA’s Eazy-E, is more revered by rap fans than like-minded, quasi-Wu-Tang Clan affiliate Remedy, which gets an entire chapter.

Nevertheless, books such as "Stars" continue to illuminate Jewish contributions to the pop culture.

"Non-Jewish readers and Jewish readers alike will get insight into what influences great songwriters and musicians," Benarde said. "Behind much of the music, there is a spirituality and morality and a lot of these musicians get it from their Judaism. Even if you don’t know it, behind the rock ‘n’ rolling, Judaism is at play."

Scott Benarde will sign copies of "Stars of David: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Jewish Stories" at the Young Adult’s Cabana at 2 p.m.

7 Days In Arts


Saturday

A documentary about an old-age home. Sound like asnoozefest? Au contraire! More like the IFP’s L.A. Film Fest. By showing thelives of Lucille Alpert, 95, and Irja Lloyd, 81, two spitfire old ladies livingin a politically progressive L.A. retirement home, today’s film screeningchallenges those preconceived notions — about both documentaries and theelderly. Alpert and Lloyd’s incredible friendship and dependence on one anotherin the face of failing mental and physical health becomes the inspirationalfocus of “Sunset Story.” 2:15 p.m. (June 14), 7:30 p.m. (June 20). $10. LaemmleSunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (866) 345-6337. www.lafilmfest.com

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Sunday

Is klezmer sexy? Probably depends who you ask. But it hasbeen proven, according to a study by University of Chicago’s National OpinionResearch Center, that the annual sexual activity of people who listen to jazzmusic is higher than the national average. Thus accounting for this weekend’spairing of a certain men’s magazine with the popular centerfold and really greatjazz music. The Playboy Jazz Festival offers an impressive lineup today,including Al Jarreau, The Dave Brubeck Quartet and, yes, The New Orleans KlezmerAllstars. You can test out the theory for yourself. We’re sure Hef wouldapprove. 2 p.m.-10:30 p.m. (Sunday), 2:30-11 p.m. (Saturday). $15-$100.Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. (310) 449-4070. www.ticketmaster.com

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Monday

Gregg Marx, grandson of Marx Brother Gummo, follows in his famous forefathers’ footsteps by taking the stage. But don’t expect to be rolling on the floor. His chosen media are straight acting — he was a regular on popular soaps “Days of Our Lives” and “As the World Turns — and singing. His new cabaret show, titled “Wet Night … Dry Martini — Love: Shakin’ … Stirred … and on the Rocks,” is more Gershwin than Gummo.8:30 p.m. Mondays, through June 30. $20 (cover, plus $15 food or drink minimum). Feinstein’s at the Cinegrill, Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. R.S.V.P., (323) 769-7269.

Tuesday

Got $1,250 to drop? Spend “An Evening with Carl Reiner” courtesy of the Anti-Defamation League. The Emmy and Grammy Award-winning actor, director, writer and producer presents stories from his new book, “My Anecdotal Life,” followed by a book signing and dessert reception tonight. The aforementioned price tag is the minimum donation required to attend said event. But the upshot: It’s a darn worthy cause, and Reiner will have you laughing all the way from the bank.7:30 p.m. R.S.V.P. for location,(310) 446-8000, ext. 263.

Wednesday

Gossipmongers delight this week with a movie Oliver Stone undoubtedly wishes never got made. “Controlled Chaos” is a roman à clef based on Azita Zendel’s experiences as Stone’s personal assistant. Seems scandal coverups don’t just happen in his movies. The film runs this week at Laemmle’s Fairfax 3.June 13-19. $5.50-$8.50. 7907 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 655-4010.

Thursday

Dads not lucky enough to be Mr. Moms can still get some quality time with the kids today. All it’ll take is a little ingenuity (read: “sick day”). For their part, the Skirball has made the theme of their “Toddler Time” class “Father Time” this month. That means the focus is on pops for the 75 minutes of stories, songs, arts and crafts, museum tours and snacks with educator Sharon Tash. Go on, make the call. It is Father’s Day week, after all.10-11:15 a.m. $60-$80 (each monthly series). For ages 2 and 3 with an adult. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (310) 440-4636.

Friday

At turns dreamy, dramatic and oom-pa-pa laden, theEastside Sinfonietta’s new CD, “Don’t Be Afraid: Music From ‘Happy End,’ ‘ThreePenny Opera,’ and ‘The Hollywood Elegies,'” is a trip back to the ’20s, ’30s and’40s. Weba Garretson lends her rich voice to updated versions of songs by KurtWeill, Bertolt Brecht and Hanns Eisler, including “Moritat (Mac the Knife),” aSeven Days personal favorite. $12. www.trueclassicalcds.com

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7 Days In Arts


Saturday

Somehow, USC Hillel and the Casden Institute have tracked down a few Jews in Hollywood. This weekend, the machers gather with Jewish student filmmakers from Los Angeles and New York for USC’s fourth annual Jewish Student Film Festival. Today’s itinerary: An afternoon “Pitch-Off” and “An Evening with Jonathan Kesselman.” From 4-6 p.m., students get to pitch their story ideas to William Morris agent Mark Itkin; creator and writer of “Freaks and Geeks,” Gabe Sachs; and Howard Rodman, chair of the writing department of the USC School of Cinema-Television. At 7:30 p.m., USC alum and writer-director Kesselman (“The Hebrew Hammer”) participates in a Q and A.Feb. 28-March 2. USC, Los Angeles. (213) 747-9135. www.uschillel.org.

Sunday

To coincide with the release of his novel for young readers, “Summerland,” wonder boy Michael Chabon speaks about “childhood, imagination and creativity” at UCLA today. Chabon is best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” (Picador, 2001). A 20-minute Q and A with the audience and book signing will follow the one-hour talk.8 p.m. $15-$35. UCLA Royce Hall, Westwood. (310) 825-2101.

Monday

Those who missed its one-week coming out party this pastOctober can catch “The Trials of Henry Kissinger” on cable this month. TheSundance Channel airs it today (with eight more March screenings) to launch”DOCday” Mondays, a series which will premiere new documentaries every Monday at9 p.m. Finally, the lowliest of weekdays gets some respect. 9 p.m. SundanceChannel. www.sundancechannel.com .

Tuesday

“Fashion and Transgression” is the titillating theme of the USC Fisher Gallery’s current exhibition. American and European women’s fashions from 1900-1950 are examined, exploring “tensions between personal and social identity, as well as the tensions between the liberation and regulation of the body.” Materials on display include photos by Alfred Steiglitz, Man Ray and Edward Steichen, a rare book by Jean Saudé and prints and drawings by Salvador Dali and Otto Dix, taken from various Los Angeles collections.Noon-5 p.m. (Tuesday-Saturday). Runs through April 12. Free. USC Fisher Gallery, Los Angeles. (213) 740-4561.

Wednesday

Lee Miller defied convention as a fashion model-cum-combat photographer. Far from the typical muse, she inspired the likes of Roland Penrose and Man Ray with her beauty, as well as her artistic talent, evident in her paintings, drawings and photographs. Her art, as well as the art inspired by her, is on display in the Getty’s “Surrealist Muse: Lee Miller, Roland Penrose and Man Ray, 1925-1945.” Included are Holocaust images she captured as a photojournalist during World War II.10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Tuesdays-Thursdays, Sundays), 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (Fridays and Saturdays). Runs though June 15. Free. The Getty Museum, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 440-7300.

Thursday

Barbara Cook is only giving us a few days to catch the act that earned her a 2002 Tony nomination for Special Theatrical Event on Broadway. She stars in “Mostly Sondheim” at the Ahmanson with Wally Harper on piano and Jon Burr on bass. As you might have gathered, they’ll be doing songs by Sondheim, as well as others, like Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg and Irving Berlin.8 p.m. (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), 2 p.m. (Sunday). Runs through March 9. $20-$55. The Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (213) 628-2772.

Friday

Titian meets tango in Ruth Weisberg’s latest exhibition, “Ruth Weisberg: Love, Sacred and Profane.” Her work is often inspired by fine art images, like Titian’s “Amor, Sacro e Profano” and William Blake’s engravings for Dante’s “Inferno.” In this exhibition, she uses both of these works as foundations for depicting the confluence of art history and personal history, as in her Titian-inspired piece, where lovers slow dance in the forefront of the painting.10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Tuesdays-Fridays), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Saturdays). Runs through April 30. Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, 357 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 938-5222.

Eat, Read and Meet Gary


The following events are part of The Jewish Federation of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys’ Jewish Book Festival.

Thursday, Nov. 7, 11:30 a.m.: A luncheon with cookbook author Sheilah Kaufman (“Simply Irresistible”). The event will take place at a private home in Claremont. $36; reservations required.

Sunday, Nov. 10, 2 p.m.: Naomi Howland will discuss her new book, “The Matzah Man,” at Borders, 5055 S. Plaza Lane, Montclair. Free.

Tuesday, Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m.: Dora Levy Mossanen will discuss her book, “Harem,” at Borders, 475 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena. Free.

Wednesday, Nov. 13, 8 p.m.: Sharon Boorstin will discuss her memoir, “Let Us Eat Cake — Adventures in Food and Friendship.” The event will take place in a private home in Upland. Free. Reservations are required.

Thursday, Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m.: Memory expert Dr. Gary Small will discuss his book, “The Memory Bible,” at Congregation Shaarei Torah, 550 S. Second Ave., Arcadia. Free.

Sunday, Nov. 17, 10 a.m.: Shimon Camiel will discuss his book, “The Outhouse Wars” at Temple Shalom of Ontario, 963 W. Sixth St., Ontario. Free

Sunday, Nov. 17, 3 p.m.: Jacqueline Bassan will discuss “From Shul to Cool.” The event will take place at a private home in Pasadena. $5. Reservations are required.

Monday, Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m.: Spencer Nadler will discuss his work, “The Language of Cells” at Temple Beth David, 9677 E. Longden, Temple City. Free

Tuesday, Nov. 19, 1 p.m.: Merrill Joan Gerber will discuss her newest novel, “Anna in the Afterlife” at Pasadena Temple and Jewish Center, 1434 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena. $5.

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 7:30 p.m.: Howard Blum will discuss his new book, “The Brigade” at Temple Ami Shalom, 3508 E. Temple Way, West Covina. Free

Thursday, Nov. 21, 8 p.m.: Rabbi Perry Netter will discuss his work, “Divorce Is a Mitzvah,” at a private home in Arcadia. Free. Reservations are required.

Saturday, Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m.: Lee Cohen will discuss “The Children of Willesden Lane” at Temple Ami Shalom, 3508 E. Temple Way, West Covina. The event begins with Havdalah Service. Free.

Sunday, Nov. 24, 10 a.m.: Rochelle Krich will discuss her latest mystery, “Blues in the Night,” at Temple Shalom Whittier, 14564 Hawes St., Whittier. Free.

Literary Library Fun

The following are upcoming events sponsored by The Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles, 6006 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. All events will be held at the library unless noted otherwise. For more information, call (323) 761-8644 or visit www.jclla.org.

Sundays are for Stories

Family Activities:

Sunday, Nov. 10, 3-4 p.m.: “Punch & Judaism: Stories from Torah to Today” with puppeteer and storyteller Marilyn Price.

Sunday, Nov. 17, 3-4 p.m.; Meet Chana Sharfstein, author of “The Little Leaf.”

Sunday, Nov. 24 1-4 p.m. “One People, Many Stories” A special family event at the Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. “One People, Many Stories” is a public radio production of the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles.

Storytime Programs for Families

Mondays-Nov. 11,18,25 from 2:10-2:30 p.m.: Teeny Weeny Stories for babies, newborns-24 months.

Wednesdays-Nov. 13, 20, 27 from 2:10-2:30 p.m.: Toddler Time Tales for kids 3-5 with puppets and songs.

Adult Lecture Series

Nov. 18, 7 p.m.: Lecture and book signing by Jennifer Felicia Abadi author of “A Fistful of Lentils.”

Nov. 19, 9:30 a.m.-noon: Cooking demonstration of Syrian Jewish culinary tradition.

Turning a New Page


When is a city’s Jewish book festival not actually located in that city? When it’s based in Los Angeles. For the first time in five years, Los Angeles’ Jewish Book Festival will not take place in L.A. proper, even as Jewish book fairs in smaller communities nationwide attract thousands of readers each year. So why can’t Los Angeles stage such a festival?

It’s not from a lack of trying. Every November, Los Angeles has hosted some semblance of a festival to commemorate Jewish Book Month — until now. This year’s most comprehensive will be the Jewish Federation of San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys’ fourth annual Jewish book festival, where authors Jonathan Safran Foer (“Everything is Illuminated”), Nicole Krauss (“Man Walks Into a Room”) and Joseph Telushkin (“Golden Land”) will appear in communities such as Pasadena, Ontario, Arcadia, Montclair and Upland. In other words, not the City of Los Angeles.

Until last year, Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) held its annual Jewish Book Festival with lackluster results. The 2000 event featured only 10 authors. In 2001, following Sept. 11 and an organizational restructuring of JCCGLA, which has yet to be resolved, the festival amounted to three visiting authors.

Conversely, the festival hosted annually northeast of Los Angeles by San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys’ federation — no relation to The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, but under the same United Jewish Communities umbrella — has been growing. This month, it will host a 19-event Jewish Book Month celebration that organizers estimate will attract 35-200 people for each lecture, signing and family/children event.

Marilyn Weintraub, who oversees the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys’ book festival, said her organization uses its communities’ assets. In addition to placing ads in area synagogues, libraries and outlets, such as Vroman’s Bookstore, their book festival capitalizes on Pasadena’s wealth of historic homes as backdrops for signings.

“These are unique personal settings that are different than typical venues the authors go to,” said Larry Harris, director of the Jewish Federation of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys.

Unlike in Los Angeles, JCC-sponsored book fairs are thriving nationwide. JCC of Louisville, Ky., will welcome Iddo Netanyahu (“Yoni’s Last Battle”) and Foer. The David Posnack JCC in Davie, Fla., will feature Leonard Nimoy (“Shekhina”) and Anne Roiphe (“Marriage: A Fine Predicament”). The Barshop Jewish Community Center of San Antonio will receive Washington Post sportswriter Jane Leavy (“Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy”).

In 2000, about 650 Angelenos attended JCCGLA’s festival. Compare this with the JCC of Metropolitan Detroit-sponsored, 10-day Jewish Book Festival, which attracts 15,000-20,000 readers annually.

So why can’t Los Angeles draw such numbers? West Valley JCC program director Seville Porush, who in 1997 created what evolved into JCCGLA’s Jewish Book Fair, blamed “a difference in communities,” citing geographical and social distance.

It is unlike Detroit, where Detroit Jewish News Editor Robert Sklar considers the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit’s annual Jewish Book Fair “an integral part of Detroit’s Jewish community.”

“We have a very cohesive Jewish community on a lot of levels,” Sklar said. “The book fair, unlike other affairs in town, is the major event where Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform [Jews] come together and feel very comfortable in a cultural Jewish setting rather than a religious setting. It has been the most successful and sustained example of that.”

Jewish Book Council Director Carolyn Starman Hessel, who works with 70 Jewish book fairs nationwide, stressed that America’s three largest Jewish populations all lack a formidable Jewish book fair.

“People in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago don’t need a Jewish fair,” she said.

Jonathan Fass, last year’s JCCGLA book fair coordinator, told The Journal that “Los Angeles is on the media tour for every major author. They have offices here.”

Hessel said that in Detroit, “people wait a whole year until the Jewish book fair comes to Detroit. So it’s a cultural experience.”

While Harris admitted that the San Gabriel Valley region “is not as an attractive area for authors to travel to as Los Angeles would be,” his festival fills a void and serves as “a public service announcement for the federation.”

The November timing of Jewish Book Month became a logistical liability for JCCGLA.

“The books would come out here a little later than they did back East,” Porush said. “Nobody had heard of them or their books yet.”

Another factor contributing to Los Angeles’ underfed book fair tradition is limited resources. In 2000, JCCGLA amassed a $10,000 book fair budget, culled from community grants, which shrank to less than $3,000 in 2001. Compare that to San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, which averages $15,000 for its festival.

Professionalism, Hessel emphasized, is also crucial — cities such as St. Louis, Houston, Miami and San Diego draw big numbers “because they have the best coordinators and festival committees. That will make or break a book fair.”

In Detroit, Sklar credits the guiding hand of Irwin Shaw, founder of Detroit’s Jewish Book Fair and former executive director of JCC of Metro Detroit, for its success. The nonagenarian just suffered a stroke. However, he has attended all 51 Jewish book fairs.

“He’s an unassuming kind of guy who has had his finger on the pulse of this community all 51 years,” Sklar said, “and he’s the reason it’s been able to overcome all the dips over the years.”

So what would it take to mount a large-scale Jewish book fair here? About $70,000-$100,000, according to Abigail Yasgur, the director of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles-based Jewish Community Library.

With the JCCGLA Jewish Book Fair dissolved, West Valley JCC has gone back to holding individual signings. Hessel believes thinking small is not a bad idea.

“I really don’t think there’s a lack of interest [in Los Angeles],” Hessel said. “Smaller venues might be the answer. In New York, we did them for a few years. They are very labor-intensive, difficult to run. It has to be a cooperative, community effort, not just a JCC effort.”

Such an effort is easier when a community is geographically and demographically tightly knit.

“Detroit is the 11th largest Jewish community nationwide,” Sklar said. “Yet from per-capita spending to Jewish education to Jewish culture, we rank a lot higher. That’s directly correlated with the fact that the community goes back 100 years and there hasn’t been a vast amount of turnover, nor a vast influx of new members. We’ve remained steady. It’s helped maintain a sense of community.”

So even as San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys grow their own festival, is there hope that Los Angeles can cultivate a festival tradition deserving of its 600,000 Jews?

“I’m always looking for funds to operate a Jewish book fair,” Yasgur said.

Gady Levy, dean at the University of Judaism’s (UJ) Department of Continuing Education, also champions the idea. The UJ is currently in the early stages of exploring a book festival. “The challenge is a good thing,” said Levy, who led the wildly successful 2002 Public Lecture Series where speakers included President Bill Clinton and former Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Barak. This year, Levy is undeterred by Los Angeles’ checkered Jewish literature fair history. “There is a need in the community, and as long as it’s done well with reasonable expectations and good marketing, I think there’s a great potential. We have a very large community to sustain it.”

“It would be nice if it could ever get going,” a skeptical Porush said. “I don’t know that it would. But I think that it’s important that nobody abandon books.”

For now, a cohesive Los Angeles Jewish book festival remains a chapter yet to be written.

Back to Basics


Once in a great while, a cookbook comes along so utterly gorgeous it practically springs from my kitchen shelf and hurls itself upon my coffee table.

Marlena Spieler’s latest, "The Jewish Heritage Cookbook" (Lorenz Books, $36), subtitled "a fascinating journey through the rich and diverse history of the Jewish cuisine" is so leap-off-the-page lusciously photographed you can practically taste the food. But lest you think this book is just another pretty face, Spieler, author of over 30 cookbooks, includes informative chapters on the history of Jewish cuisine, the holidays and kashrut as well as general guides to the preparation of all foods Jewish, everything from grilling mamaliga to pounding hawaij and berbere (spice mixtures).

"This is my first Jewish cookbook," said the California native on a recent visit to San Francisco from her home in London. "I’ve done theme books, like Mediterranean and olive oil and mushrooms, but I’ve always had a Jewish touch somewhere, including dishes either from Israel or my travels or my Jewish family and friends."

Spieler fondly remembers Sundays in her grandmother’s kitchen, her early inspiration. "My grandmother ran a law firm and worked until a few days before she died at 93. Well, she had to cut back a little — she only worked from 9 to 5 then. But on Sunday morning, people would start coming, and she would start cooking. I couldn’t say they’d come for breakfast, lunch or dinner, because it was all one meal.

"We would smell the chicken soup as we went off to synagogue school, and by the time we got home she’d have matzah brei and kasha varnishkes and meat patties with onions. This went on until late evening. Bachi really gave me the love of cooking."

Spieler traveled widely as a young adult, even lived in Israel for a year, and was working as an artist in Greece when she started including recipes with her drawings of food. A publisher offered to publish the recipes (minus the drawings) launching her career as a food writer, broadcaster and columnist.

These days, Spieler divides her time between San Francisco and London, where she is a frequent guest on the BBC. Her column "The Roving Feast" is carried by the New York Times Syndicate and the San Francisco Chronicle.

"The Jewish Heritage Cookbook" is a truly international celebration of Spieler’s curiosity about Jewish people and Jewish food. "I love meeting Jews from different cultures, because they have different dishes on the table," she said. "I love to cook and hear their stories and find it really exciting that people with such different cultures share the same heritage and holidays."

The book’s section on the festival of Shavuot (literally "weeks," because it occurs seven weeks after Pesach) is accompanied by a magnificent illustration from a 13th century manuscript of the Book of Ruth, the portion read on this holiday.

Shavuot, which began at sundown on Thursday, May 16, commemorates the giving of the Torah as well as the offering of the first fruits of the season. Spieler notes that although Shavuot meals are based on dairy products, "there are no rules that say this must be done."

Why dairy? Scholars differ, she says. Perhaps the tradition evolved because spring grazing produces more milk at this time. Also, in "Song of Songs," the Torah is associated with milk and honey. Some suggest that while the Israelites were receiving the Ten Commandments, they were gone so long their milk turned to cheese; others contend that upon their return they were too hungry for anything but milk to sustain them.

Whatever the explanation, for Ashkenazim it’s bring on the blintzes, while Sephardim enjoy cheese filled borekas.

A typical Shavuot starter in central Europe is Hungarian cherry soup perfumed with cinnamon and almond flavor. "The nice thing about this soup," Spieler noted, "is at Shavuot the days are beginning to get warm, and it is really refreshing. I eat it as often as a dessert as with a meal."

Summer squash and baby new potatoes in warm dill sour cream is a festive Israeli celebration of spring and perfect for Shavuot with its fragrant dill and sour cream or yogurt topping.

While cheesecake is traditional fare for Shavuot, we opted for cheese-filled Jerusalem kodafa drenched with syrup, an unusual dessert popular throughout the Middle East, where it is commonly made with a shredded wheat-like ingredient called kadaif. Spieler substitutes couscous as it is prepared in Jerusalem.

"In the Old City, when things were good and people were more friendly, they would make it in these big metal trays that they’d carry on their heads," she noted. "I’ve had it in the Lebanese community of London as well, but in Jerusalem, all the little tea and coffee shops serve it."


There’s Purim carnivals and Passover seders and Chanukah parties — and now there’s a Shavuot festival.

Temple Beth Am on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles claims to be the first Los Angeles synagogue to celebrate the harvest holiday with a full-fledged festival. On Sun., May 5, the temple closed off its parking lot and brought in booths and games linked thematically to different aspects of the holiday.

A "Biblical Farmers Market" offered items made from agricultural products found in the Bible. Hundreds of attendees sampled cheesecakes, fresh honey, homemade beer (barley) and a sampling of single malt scotch from Vendome Liquors (again, barley), ice cream, artisan cheeses and breads from Maison Gourmet and La Brea Bakery.

There was also a petting zoo with a Swiss cow and baby llama, an inflated "Mt. Sinai" rock-climbing attraction, a butter-churning booth, storytelling and lessons in Hebrew calligraphy.

Rabbi Perry Netter said he was especially proud that the festival taught about the biblical idea of gleaning, or leaving a portion of ones’ fields for the poor. Festival-goers brought items from their homes to give to charity as they entered.

The festival also offered a cheesecake-baking contest. The grand prize went to Fredya Rembaum, who is married to the temple’s senior rabbi, Joel Rembaum. "We know it looks bad," said a judge at the blind tasting, "but what could we do? Hers was the best." — Staff Report

Calendar & Singles


Calendar

SATURDAY/8

Sinai Temple: 9:30 a.m. Shabbat services. 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 474-1518.

Barnes & Noble: 2 p.m. Author Peter J. Levinson discusses and signs “September in the Rain: The Life of Nelson Riddle,” a book about the famous band leader. 111 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. For reservations or more information, call (626) 683-8551.

Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles: 8 p.m. “One People, Many Stories,” hour-long radio show celebrating Chanukah with celebrities such as Bill Pullman reading works from authors such as Sheldon Oberman to I.B. Singer, on KPCC-FM. Also: Sun., Dec. 9, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Celebrities such as Doris Roberts will read stories at the Skirball Chanukah festival. $8 (adults); $4 (children). 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. For tickets or more information, call (323) 655-8587.

Adat Shalom: 7 p.m.-11 p.m. USY teens meet to babysit children of all ages. Features movies, games and food. $5 (per hour, per child). For reservations or more information, call (310) 390-6549.

The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring: 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Yale Strom and Klazzj, klezmer/jazz musical performance. $12 (members); $15 (nonmembers); 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 552-2007.

Young Israel of Century City: 7:30 p.m. “A Night of Comedy and Song,” featuring Journal contributor Mark Schiff, followed by a dessert reception. $100 (one ticket); $180 (two tickets). Silver Screen Theater, 8687 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. For reservations or more information, call (310) 273-6954.

SUNDAY/9

Temple Emanu El: 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Students ages 5-12 will perform Chanukah songs with the Laurel Canyon Retirement Community. 5527 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village. For more information, call (818) 562-6644.

Beth Jacob Synagogue: 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Chanukah carnival with rides, a moon bounce, petting zoo and more. 910 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 278-1911.

Kol Neshama Performing Arts Conservatory: 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. “Chanukah Scenes,” performance for women and girls only with music and dancing. $10. The Ivar Theater, 1605 Ivar Ave., Hollywood. For more information, call (310) 772-8221.

Chabad of the Marina: 4 p.m.- 6 p.m. Chanukah festival with grand menorah lighting, moon bounce, clowns, balloons, raffles, music, prizes and food. $5 (general admission). 2929 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey. For more information, call (310) 578-6000.

The Beverly Hills Hotel: 5 p.m. The first night of Chanukah is kicked off by 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Jack Glicksman lighting the menorah, and Rabbi Yosef Cunin speaking on the significance of the holiday. Reception and musical entertainment will follow. 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills. For reservations or more information, call (310) 208-5159.

Congregation Kol HaNeshamah: 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Chanukah festivities with food, Israeli dancing and singalongs at the Northwood Community Center in Irvine. $10 (adult nonmembers); $5 (children nonmembers); $8 (adult members); $4 (children members). For more information, call (949) 551-2737.

Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center: 10 a.m.-noon. “The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Early History of the Bible,” lecture and breakfast. $3. 1434 N. Altadena Drive. For more information, call (626) 798-1161.

Temple Beth David: 2:30 p.m. “Three Faiths, Three Holy Seasons, One Common Quest for Peace,” lecture regarding Christianity, Islam and Judaism and their fundamental tenets. 9677 Longden Ave., Temple City. For more information, call

(626) 287-9994.

MONDAY/10

National Council of Jewish Women: 11:30 a.m. Annual Chanukah luncheon and fashion show, benefiting children’s services. $35. The Calabasas Inn, 23500 Park Sorrento Drive, Calabasas Park. For more information, call (818) 986-8365.

Temple Israel of Hollywood: 9:15 a.m. Clinical Psychologist and author Wendy Mogel discusses her book, “The Blessings of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children.” Refreshments served. For more information, call (323) 936-1850.

UCLA Female Sexual Medicine Center: 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. “Let’s Talk About Sexual Health,” free workshop led by a therapist, nurse practitioner and research coordinator, all available for questions. The Westside Pavilion, 10800 W. Pico Blvd., Community Room C, Los Angeles. For reservations or more information, call (310) 208-2222 ext. 229.

Beverly Hills Public Library: 7 p.m.-9 p.m. “The Charming Pimp: Bashevis Singer’s Infatuation With the Underworld,” presentation by author Susan Dworkin. 444 N. Rexford Ave. For more information, call (310) 288-2220.

Committee for Judicial Independence: 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m. “Justice Hangs in the Balance: The Federal Courts and Our Basic Rights at Risk,” lecture by Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way. University Synagogue, 11960 Sunset Blvd., Brentwood. For reservations, call (323) 223-4462 ext. 3157.

TUESDAY/11

The Jewish Federation: 8 a.m. Breakfast reception featuring Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo discussing Sept. 11 and hate crime. Four Seasons Hotel, 300 Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills. For more information, call (323) 761-8077.

WEDNESDAY/12

Fairfax Senior Citizens Center: 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Holiday party with raffle prizes, dancing and refreshments. Also: Dec. 31, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. New Years Eve Party featuring food, entertainment, party favors, food and drinks. $20. 7929 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. For tickets or more information, call (323) 653-1824.

Calabasas Shul: 6:30 p.m. Heroes of Freedom Chanukah Celebration 2001 with latkes, donuts and music at the Calabasas Commons. For more information, call

(818) 591-7485.

B’nai Tikvah Congregation: 7 p.m. Community candlelighting and singalong. 5820 Manchester Ave., Westchester. For more information, call (310) 645-6262.

Temple Beth Shalom: 10 a.m. Pan tournament with prizes ranging from $50 to $100 and a continental breakfast. 3635 Elm Ave., Long Beach. For reservations or more information, call (562) 594-8817.

Jewish Studies Institute: 7 p.m. “Does Yoga Help or Thwart Our Spiritual Focus?” discussion about yoga and its relationship to Judaism and the Torah, as part of the Talkback series. $4 (members); $5 (nonmembers) Museum of Tolerance, 9786 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 552-4595. ext. 21.

Sinai Temple: 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen will speak on the country’s security and economic situation, followed by a dessert reception. 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. For reservations or more information, call (323) 761-8220.

Anti-Defamation League: 7:30 p.m. “The Role of Coalition Building in a Diverse Los Angeles,” panel and reception led by Marjorie B. Green, director of Educational Policy and Programs. $20. Wyndham Bel Age Hotel, 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood. For reservations or more information, call (310) 446-8000 ext. 230.

THURSDAY/13

Temple Sinai of Glendale Seniors: Noon-2 p.m. Chanukah celebration with latkes, dreidel spinning, gifts and songs. 1212 N. Pacific Ave. For more information, call (818) 766-8700.

American Civil Liberties Union: 6 p.m. Annual Bill of Rights Dinner honoring individuals who have preserved civil rights featuring Antonio Villaraigosa, Fred Davis and Jerry Offsay, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. For reservations or more information, call (213) 977-9500.

KCET: 9 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Documentary of seven Palestinian and Israeli children and their intimate and detailed accounts of the war and peace efforts in the Middle East.

Singles

SATURDAY/8

Palos Verdes Singles: 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Party at a private home with live entertainment, dancing, a catered buffet and a complimentary bar. $25. For more information, call (310) 372-6071.

The Wise Years (60+): 7 p.m. Party with live entertainment and food. Toy donations accepted for charity. $5 (members with a gift); $7 (nonmembers with a gift); $17 (all those without gifts). For more information, call (310) 395-1235.

SUNDAY/9

L.A.’s Best Connection: 2 p.m. Chanukah lunch. For location and more information, call

(323) 782-0435.

Jiffy Date (25-39), (49-60): Meet for introductions in the Westside. $20. For more information, call (310) 276-6200.

MONDAY/10

Israeli Dancing: 8 p.m.-12:30 p.m. Open session dancing. For more information, call (800) 750-5432.

TUESDAY/11

Isralight (20-40s): “Nights of Light” class with an emphasis on Chanukah. For more information, call (310) 552-9420.

WEDNESDAY/12

The Learning Annex: 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Party at Lush, benefiting the Sept. 11 Fund. $19 (in advance); $24 (at the door). 2020 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 478-6677.

Shari Mindlen: 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. “How to Meet Someone Over the Holidays,” workshop. $20. The Empty Stage, 2372 Veteran Ave., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 394-2647.

THURSDAY/13

Conversations!: 7:30 p.m. “Would You Marry Yourself?” lecture. $15. For more information, call

(310) 315-1078.

FRIDAY/14

Sinai Temple: 7 p.m. Friday Night Live, service, refreshments and socializing. 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 474-1518.

 

MONDAY/2

Singles Helping Others: 7 p.m. General meeting to plan events and activities. For more information, call (323) 769-1307.

Israeli Folk Dancing: 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Dance session with Israel Yakovee. Also: Lessons every Thursday with Michelle. $6. 2244 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, call (800) 750-5432.

TUESDAY/3

Singles Helping Others: 7:30 p.m. Fourth of July celebration at the Hollywood Bowl, with fireworks. $18. For reservations or more information, call (323) 851-9070.

Bridge for Singles (59+): 7:30 p.m. Intermediate players meet at a private West Los Angeles home. $4. For more information, call (310) 398-9649.

Jewish Association of Single Professionals (25-55): 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Independence dance party with appetizers, dessert and no-host bar. $20. Lush, 2020 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. For more information, call (323) 656-7777.

Social Circle (35-59): 8 p.m. Blue Jeans Bash with a live Oldies band, dancing, food and drinks. $20 (members); $25 (nonmembers). Stephen S. Wise Temple, 15500 Stephen S. Wise Dr., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 476-8561.

Stu & Lew Productions (21-39): 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Fourth annual Summer Blowout dance party. $20 House of Blues, 8430 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. For tickets or more information, call (310) 364-2301.

WEDNESDAY/4

L’Chaim Entertainment (21+): 9:30 p.m. Party with singers and a DJ playing international, salsa, Middle Eastern and hip-hop music. $10. Dinner available with reservations. Beverly Hills Cuisine, 9025 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 289-4435.

Nexus (21-39): 2 p.m. Independence Day potluck picnic, with volleyball, canoeing, barbeque and fireworks at North Lake, Woodbridge, Irvine. For more information, call (714) 974-2279.

Jewish Singles Meeting Place (30’s-40’s): 5 p.m. Barbeque party at a private home in celebration of the 4th of July. For reservations or more information, call (818) 780-4809.

New Age Singles (55+): 2 p.m. Fourth of July potluck pool party. $3 (if accompanied by food); $10 (without food). For members only. For reservations or more information, call (310) 473-1391.

Jewish Single Parents & Singles Association: 3 p.m. Picnic with games and fireworks. Yorba Linda Middle School, 4845 Casa Loma Ave., Yorba Linda. For more information, call (909) 262-1788.

THURSDAY/5

Conversations!: 7:30 p.m. Guest speaker leads discussions with food and drinks, every Thursday. $15. For reservations or more information, call (310) 315-1078.

FRIDAY/6

New Age Singles (55+): 6:30 p.m. No-host dinner, followed by Shabbat services at Adat Shalom Temple. For reservations or more information, call (310) 854-0358.

UPCOMING

Palos Verdes Singles (35+): Sat., July 7, 6:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Dance party with dinner at a private home. $25. For reservations or more information, call (310) 372-6071.

New Start (30-75): Sun., Aug. 5. “A Romantic Evening With the Gatsbys,” event with food and drinks. For more information, call (310) 478-3137.

Alive and Well


Aaron Paley, Los Angeles’ impresario of Yiddish, finds his job is easier these days. He no longer has to work quite so hard to prove that Yiddish is not dead.”Two years ago, it was like pulling teeth to convince people why Yiddish language and culture is important,” says the director of L.A.’s second biennial Yiddish festival, “YK2! The New Face of Yiddish Culture – A Festival for the Next 1000 Years,” which has come to town this week. “Now people know. The Zeitgeist has changed.”

Paley ticks off the evidence. As Yiddish turns 1,000 years old at the dawn of the 21st century, the National Yiddish Book Center is digitally scanning every page of every Yiddish book ever published. KlezKemps and Yiddish-language ulpans are thriving everywhere from Oxford University to the Arbeter Ring (Workmen’s Circle) on Robertson Boulevard. L.A. is the site of dozens of Yiddish classes and clubs. And the Knitting Factory, where klezmer musicians and others on the radical Jewish culture scene play to hipsters on the Lower East Side, is about to open a branch on Hollywood Boulevard.

The Yiddish festival, which drew more than 10,000 Angelenos in October 1998, meanwhile, has nearly doubled in size to become the largest gathering of its kind in the United States. With more than 40 events in some 20 venues in 2000, including lectures, concerts and plays, the goal is simple.”We want to prove that Yiddish and Yiddish culture is not kitschy, moribund, tinged with sugary nostalgia or regret about the Holocaust,” says Paley, who is in his early 40’s and grew up attending the collectively run Yiddish Kindershule and Mittelshule in Van Nuys. “We want to prove that it provides a foundation of ideas and creativity that artists can draw on today.”

A case in point is Sara Felder, San Francisco’s favorite Jewish lesbian juggler-performance artist, who will present her comic monologue, “Shtick!” about a cross-dressing immigrant vaudevillian and a modern performance artist who connect from opposite ends of the 20th century (see sidebar). Acclaimed choreographer John Malashock, once a principal dancer with Twyla Tharp, is the co-creator of “Blessings & Curses,” about a contemporary artist who weaves old and new stories into cloth.

On a more traditional note, Yiddishpiel, Israel’s only professional Yiddish repertory theater, will perform a medley of songs and dialogues. And the West Coast Jewish Theatre will present “Der Onshtel Makher” (“The Make-Believe Maker”), which starts as a stranger knocks at the door of an inn on the outskirts of Bilgoray, Poland, on a foggy, frozen night in 1858.

If Yiddish has a theme tailor-made for multicultural Los Angeles, Paley says, it is how to survive as a minority culture in the larger society. Yiddish is, by nature, multicultural, the living product of Jewish expulsion and migration, always borrowing words from host languages.

“YK2,” therefore, highlights Yiddish in relation to its most significant host culture, that of Eastern Europe, Paley says. Brave Old World, hailed by The Village Voice as a “klezmer supergroup,” for example, will perform with the Canadian-Ukrainian band Paris to Kyiv. Boris Sandler, editor of the 103-year-old Yiddish-language newspaper Forverts (The Forward), will describe how Yiddish survived the Stalinist purges of the former Soviet Union. Performances celebrating Eastern European culture will take place in Plummer Park, the heart of Eastern European L.A. And an exhibition organized by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research will tell of the Jewish Labor Bund from its early days in the old country to the late 1990’s. “One Hundred Years of the Bund” begins with the story of how, late one evening in October 1897, 13 people gathered at a safe house in a secret location in Vilna, bent on establishing a group dedicated to the political liberation of Jews throughout the Russian empire. The exhibit tells the rest of the story through documents ranging from clandestine Bund brochures to present-day photographs.

The Bund, like other aspects of Yiddish culture, defied the odds and survived the 20th century. And that, Paley says, is the point of “YK2.” “We’re still here at the beginning of the new millennium,” Paley explains, “and that is worth celebrating.”

“YK2” runs through May 21. For a schedule and other information, call (323) 692-8151.

Community Briefs


While cities such as Detroit and St. Louis were holding major Jewish book festivals year after year, drawing celebrity authors such as Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, observers here asked, Why isn’t there a Jewish book festival in Los Angeles?

Seville Porush and her colleagues at the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles decided to change all that last year, and proceeded to create a book festival from scratch.

They formed a committee, polled existing festival directors and decided what they didn’t want in a book fair. “Many festivals emphasized selling books, while we wanted to emphasize transmitting Jewish culture,” Porush says. She was rewarded when more than 5,000 participants turned out to last year’s fair.

This year, “People of the Book: The Jewish Book Festival” is back, Nov. 14-22, bigger and better than before. Porush and the JCCs have put together a veritable literary feast.

You can catch Rich Cohen talking about his book, “Tough Jews,” which outlines the personalities and bloody deeds of criminals such as Meyer Lansky.

You can hear Thomas Cahill speaking of his tome, “The Gifts of the Jews”; Rabbi Naomi Levy on “To Begin Again,” her book about faith and loss; and Rochelle Krich on her Orthodox potboiler, “Fertile Ground,” a tale of murder inside a posh Brentwood fertility clinic.

Also among the some 40 speakers will be talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel, co-authors of “The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life.”

There will be a family storytelling day at My Jewish Discovery Place Children’s Museum and even a screening of an “X Files” episode involving a golem, with author Howard Gordon on hand for the Q and A.

One hub of the festival will be the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus in West Hills, where the lobby is being transformed into a bookstore, with hundreds of titles provided by Barnes & Noble. Watercolor landscapes of the Galilee and the Negev, Dorothy Rice’s travelogue of her trip to Israel (the artist will be on hand for a book signing Nov. 15), will be on display in the boardroom. Also on Nov. 15, the West Valley JCC will house CyberFest, featuring a wide range of computer hardware and software and Judaic Internet web sites. A multicultural day will spotlight authors who have been published in Hebrew, Russian, Farsi and Spanish.

“We want people to become aware of the wealth of Jewish literature that is out there, and is coming out every day,” Porush says.

For festival tickets and information, call (818) 464-3353. To volunteer, call (818) 587-3277.

A family storyelling day is part of festival events. Last year’s festival attracted more than 5,000 participants. Painting by Max Liebermann, “Portrait of the Artist’s Wife and Granddaughter,” 1926 from “Jewish Art,” 1995.


Schedule of Events

Saturday, Nov. 14

Reception: 7:00 p.m.

Program: 8:00 p.m.

Dvorah Menashe Telushkin

“Master of Dreams: Anecdotes and Tales of Isaac Bashevis Singer”

West Valley JCC

Sunday, Nov. 15

10:00 a.m.

Shira Schmidt

“Old Wine, New Flasks: Reflections on Science and Jewish Tradition”

(slide show)

Valley Cities JCC

10:00 a.m.-noon

Character Breakfast

Lori Hartz

Live storybook characters & storytelling (ages 3 to 8)

West Valley JCC

11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Cyberfest

Computer hardware, software and Internet demonstrations

West Valley JCC

4:00-6:00 p.m.

Howard Gordon

“The Golem”

Screening and discussion of “X-Files” episode with screenwriter

West Valley JCC

5:00-6:30 p.m.

Pajama party with storyteller Amy Koss

Storytelling (ages 3 to 8)

Hollywood-Los Feliz JCC

6:30-8:00 p.m.

Pajama party and storytelling (ages 3-8)

Bay Cities JCC

7:30 p.m.

Carol Orsborn

“Return From Exile”

Westside JCC

7:30 p.m.

Rich Cohen

“Tough Jews”

Valley Cities JCC

Monday, Nov. 16

1:00 p.m.

Faye Levy

Jewish cooking

North Valley JCC

7:30 p.m.

Joan Nathan

“Jewish Cooking in America”

Stephen S. Wise Temple

Tuesday, Nov. 17

10:00 a.m.-Noon

Jeffrey and Craig Weiss

“I Am My Brother’s Keeper”

West Valley JCC

7:30 p.m.

Rabbis Edward Feinstein, Steven Carr Reuben, Chaim Seidler-Feller, Dr. Elliot Dorff

Moderator: Gladys Sturman

Preserving Judaism in the next millennium

(panel discussion)

Stephen S. Wise Temple

7:30 p.m.

Mystery Night:

Janice Steinberg

“Death in a City of Mystics”

Rochelle Krich

“Fertile Ground”

Temple Emanuel

7:30 p.m.

Jerry Bobrow, Bea Gordon, Bobbi Yanke

Selecting and Preparing for a Career

West Valley JCC

6:30-8:00 p.m.

Phyllis Rose Eisenberg

Bedtime stories for children (ages 6 to 8)

Valley Cities JCC

Wednesday, Nov. 18

1:00 p.m.

Carol Diament

“Jewish Women Living the Challenge”

North Valley JCC

7:30 p.m.

Thomas Cahill

“The Gifts of the Jews”

West Valley JCC

7:45 p.m.

Dr. Paul Krivonos

Are Teens Being Censored by Society?

West Valley JCC

Thursday, Nov. 19

11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Lunch and Learn program

Dr. Ron Wolfson

“First Fruit: A Whizin Anthology of Jewish Family Education”

Kol Tikvah

7:30 p.m.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel

“The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life”

Temple Aliyah&’009;

7:00 p.m.

Janet Bode with Rabbi Edward Feinstein

“Food Fight: A Guide to Eating Disorders for Preteens and Their Families”

West Valley JCC

Friday, Nov. 20

1:00-2:30 p.m.

Rabbi Naomi Levy

“To Begin Again”

West Valley JCC

Saturday, Nov. 21

8:00 p.m.

Jonathan Kirsch

“Moses: A Life”

West Valley JCC

7:00 p.m.

Rabbi Harold Schulweis, Florence Weinberger, Malgert Cohen, Sam Applebaum, Richard Grosslight, Sherman Pearl

Poetry readings on the Jewish life cycle

Westside JCC

Sunday, Nov. 22

1:00-4:00 p.m.

Jewish Family Storytelling Festival

Storytelling and related activities

My Jewish Discovery Place

2:00 p.m.

Stan Mack

“The Story of the Jews”

Valley Cities JCC

2:00 p.m.

Multicultural Programs

Nouri Kharrazi (Farsi)

“Tattooed Arms — Punctured Souls”

Dr. Zvia Ambar (Hebrew)

Stress Management

Dr. Andrea Labinger (Spanish)

Translator of “Musicians and Watchmakers” by Alicia Steimberg

Marina Genchikmakher (Russian)

Poetry

West Valley JCC

2:30-3:30 p.m.

Maralyn Soifer

Creative writing and poetry workshop for children (ages 8-11)

Conejo Valley JCC

7:30 p.m.

Dr. Sam Kunin

“Circumcision: Its Place in Judaism Past and Present”

with Rabbi Brad Artson

“It’s A Mitzvah”

Valley Cities JCC

All events are subject to change. For additional information, contact the festival hot line at (818) 464-3353.

Addresses:

Bay Cities JCC: 2601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica

Conejo Valley JCC: 5004 Lewis Road, Agoura Hills

Hollywood-Los Feliz JCC: 1110 Bates Ave., Los Angeles

Kol Tikvah: 20400 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills

My Jewish Discovery Place: 5870 West Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles

North Valley JCC: 16601 Rinaldi St., Granada Hills

Stephen S. Wise Temple: 15500 Stephen S. Wise Dr., Los Angeles

Temple Aliyah: 6025 Valley Circle Blvd., Woodland Hills

Temple Emanuel: 8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills

Valley Cities JCC: 13164 Burbank Blvd. Sherman Oaks

West Valley JCC: 22622 Vanowen St. West Hills

Westside JCC: 5870 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles



Community Briefs


While cities such as Detroit and St. Louis were holding major Jewish book festivals year after year, drawing celebrity authors such as Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, observers here asked, Why isn’t there a Jewish book festival in Los Angeles?

Seville Porush and her colleagues at the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles decided to change all that last year, and proceeded to create a book festival from scratch.

They formed a committee, polled existing festival directors and decided what they didn’t want in a book fair. “Many festivals emphasized selling books, while we wanted to emphasize transmitting Jewish culture,” Porush says. She was rewarded when more than 5,000 participants turned out to last year’s fair.

This year, “People of the Book: The Jewish Book Festival” is back, Nov. 14-22, bigger and better than before. Porush and the JCCs have put together a veritable literary feast.

You can catch Rich Cohen talking about his book, “Tough Jews,” which outlines the personalities and bloody deeds of criminals such as Meyer Lansky.

You can hear Thomas Cahill speaking of his tome, “The Gifts of the Jews”; Rabbi Naomi Levy on “To Begin Again,” her book about faith and loss; and Rochelle Krich on her Orthodox potboiler, “Fertile Ground,” a tale of murder inside a posh Brentwood fertility clinic.

Also among the some 40 speakers will be talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel, co-authors of “The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life.”

There will be a family storytelling day at My Jewish Discovery Place Children’s Museum and even a screening of an “X Files” episode involving a golem, with author Howard Gordon on hand for the Q and A.

One hub of the festival will be the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus in West Hills, where the lobby is being transformed into a bookstore, with hundreds of titles provided by Barnes & Noble. Watercolor landscapes of the Galilee and the Negev, Dorothy Rice’s travelogue of her trip to Israel (the artist will be on hand for a book signing Nov. 15), will be on display in the boardroom. Also on Nov. 15, the West Valley JCC will house CyberFest, featuring a wide range of computer hardware and software and Judaic Internet web sites. A multicultural day will spotlight authors who have been published in Hebrew, Russian, Farsi and Spanish.

“We want people to become aware of the wealth of Jewish literature that is out there, and is coming out every day,” Porush says.

For festival tickets and information, call (818) 464-3353. To volunteer, call (818) 587-3277.

A family storyelling day is part of festival events. Last year’s festival attracted more than 5,000 participants. Painting by Max Liebermann, “Portrait of the Artist’s Wife and Granddaughter,” 1926 from “Jewish Art,” 1995.


Schedule of Events

Saturday, Nov. 14

Reception: 7:00 p.m.

Program: 8:00 p.m.

Dvorah Menashe Telushkin

“Master of Dreams: Anecdotes and Tales of Isaac Bashevis Singer”

West Valley JCC

Sunday, Nov. 15

10:00 a.m.

Shira Schmidt

“Old Wine, New Flasks: Reflections on Science and Jewish Tradition”

(slide show)

Valley Cities JCC

10:00 a.m.-noon

Character Breakfast

Lori Hartz

Live storybook characters & storytelling (ages 3 to 8)

West Valley JCC

11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Cyberfest

Computer hardware, software and Internet demonstrations

West Valley JCC

4:00-6:00 p.m.

Howard Gordon

“The Golem”

Screening and discussion of “X-Files” episode with screenwriter

West Valley JCC

5:00-6:30 p.m.

Pajama party with storyteller Amy Koss

Storytelling (ages 3 to 8)

Hollywood-Los Feliz JCC

6:30-8:00 p.m.

Pajama party and storytelling (ages 3-8)

Bay Cities JCC

7:30 p.m.

Carol Orsborn

“Return From Exile”

Westside JCC

7:30 p.m.

Rich Cohen

“Tough Jews”

Valley Cities JCC

Monday, Nov. 16

1:00 p.m.

Faye Levy

Jewish cooking

North Valley JCC

7:30 p.m.

Joan Nathan

“Jewish Cooking in America”

Stephen S. Wise Temple

Tuesday, Nov. 17

10:00 a.m.-Noon

Jeffrey and Craig Weiss

“I Am My Brother’s Keeper”

West Valley JCC

7:30 p.m.

Rabbis Edward Feinstein, Steven Carr Reuben, Chaim Seidler-Feller, Dr. Elliot Dorff

Moderator: Gladys Sturman

Preserving Judaism in the next millennium

(panel discussion)

Stephen S. Wise Temple

7:30 p.m.

Mystery Night:

Janice Steinberg

“Death in a City of Mystics”

Rochelle Krich

“Fertile Ground”

Temple Emanuel

7:30 p.m.

Jerry Bobrow, Bea Gordon, Bobbi Yanke

Selecting and Preparing for a Career

West Valley JCC

6:30-8:00 p.m.

Phyllis Rose Eisenberg

Bedtime stories for children (ages 6 to 8)

Valley Cities JCC

Wednesday, Nov. 18

1:00 p.m.

Carol Diament

“Jewish Women Living the Challenge”

North Valley JCC

7:30 p.m.

Thomas Cahill

“The Gifts of the Jews”

West Valley JCC

7:45 p.m.

Dr. Paul Krivonos

Are Teens Being Censored by Society?

West Valley JCC

Thursday, Nov. 19

11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Lunch and Learn program

Dr. Ron Wolfson

“First Fruit: A Whizin Anthology of Jewish Family Education”

Kol Tikvah

7:30 p.m.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel

“The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life”

Temple Aliyah&’009;

7:00 p.m.

Janet Bode with Rabbi Edward Feinstein

“Food Fight: A Guide to Eating Disorders for Preteens and Their Families”

West Valley JCC

Friday, Nov. 20

1:00-2:30 p.m.

Rabbi Naomi Levy

“To Begin Again”

West Valley JCC

Saturday, Nov. 21

8:00 p.m.

Jonathan Kirsch

“Moses: A Life”

West Valley JCC

7:00 p.m.

Rabbi Harold Schulweis, Florence Weinberger, Malgert Cohen, Sam Applebaum, Richard Grosslight, Sherman Pearl

Poetry readings on the Jewish life cycle

Westside JCC

Sunday, Nov. 22

1:00-4:00 p.m.

Jewish Family Storytelling Festival

Storytelling and related activities

My Jewish Discovery Place

2:00 p.m.

Stan Mack

“The Story of the Jews”

Valley Cities JCC

2:00 p.m.

Multicultural Programs

Nouri Kharrazi (Farsi)

“Tattooed Arms — Punctured Souls”

Dr. Zvia Ambar (Hebrew)

Stress Management

Dr. Andrea Labinger (Spanish)

Translator of “Musicians and Watchmakers” by Alicia Steimberg

Marina Genchikmakher (Russian)

Poetry

West Valley JCC

2:30-3:30 p.m.

Maralyn Soifer

Creative writing and poetry workshop for children (ages 8-11)

Conejo Valley JCC

7:30 p.m.

Dr. Sam Kunin

“Circumcision: Its Place in Judaism Past and Present”

with Rabbi Brad Artson

“It’s A Mitzvah”

Valley Cities JCC

All events are subject to change. For additional information, contact the festival hot line at (818) 464-3353.

Addresses:

Bay Cities JCC: 2601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica

Conejo Valley JCC: 5004 Lewis Road, Agoura Hills

Hollywood-Los Feliz JCC: 1110 Bates Ave., Los Angeles

Kol Tikvah: 20400 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills

My Jewish Discovery Place: 5870 West Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles

North Valley JCC: 16601 Rinaldi St., Granada Hills

Stephen S. Wise Temple: 15500 Stephen S. Wise Dr., Los Angeles

Temple Aliyah: 6025 Valley Circle Blvd., Woodland Hills

Temple Emanuel: 8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills

Valley Cities JCC: 13164 Burbank Blvd. Sherman Oaks

West Valley JCC: 22622 Vanowen St. West Hills

Westside JCC: 5870 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles



Local Authors: From Torah to Tinseltown


The tale of an orphan’s search for acceptance. A lawyer’s fantasy of a Holocaust survivor’s revenge. A book that may save your marriage.

These are just a few of the interesting choices made for this year’s People of the Book Festival.

Featuring more than 30 authors, including Nathan Englander, the very hot short story writer; Persian-Jewish novelist Gina Nahai; Alan Dershowitz and best-selling author Janet Fitch, the festival runs Nov. 10-21 at three Jewish Community Centers: West Valley (the Bernard Milken Campus), Westside and Valley Cities.

New for this year is the inclusion of the first women-authors panel discussion, “The Unbreakable Bond: Grandmothers, Mothers and Daughters,” which will showcase Fitch, the author of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club selection “White Oleander” and popular newcomer Hope Edelman.

“It just seems like something that would appeal to several generations of the family,” said Festival Coordinator Seville Porush. “So, we’re encouraging grandmothers to come with their daughters and granddaughters.” The panel, originally scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 17 has been changed to Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the West Valley JCC.

People of the Book is the brainchild of Porush, program director for the West Valley Jewish Community Center. For this, its third year, Porush said the Book Festival committee decided to make a few improvements based on their experiences running the event the past two years, along with suggestions from The Jewish Book Council of New York.

“For example, this year we are holding all of the events in our three largest [Jewish Community] Centers,” she said. “The past two years we did it at a number of synagogues and center locations, too many to manage. We weren’t able to form that bond that makes a JCC festival work. It seems to be jelling this year and we’ve learned a lot; hopefully the festival will continue to grow and expand.”

Porush and her committee strove to make the festival a well-balanced mix of local and national authors. Local luminaries include Rabbis David Wolpe and Steven Leder; psychologist Betty L. Polston (see page 13), Ellen Jaffe-Gill, author of “The Jewish Women’s Book of Wisdom” and Risa Munitz-Gruberger and Rabbi Jeffrey A. Marx, co-authors of “What’s Right, What’s Wrong? A Guide to Talking About Values for Parents and Kids.”

Marx and Munitz-Gruberger will host a parenting program and discussion at all three of the festival’s locations on Family Day, Sunday, Nov. 21. The Family Day programs are all free, although the centers are requesting parents call for reservations for the special Children’s Program on “Mr. Belinsky’s Bagels” which will include crafts and bagel-making, plus a visit from the “Mr. Belinsky” character.

Adults can take their pick of discussions: from the ethereal (“Spirituality for the New Millennium”) to the concrete (“Finance and Investment Options”) to the historical (“Oswego,” a staged musical reading about 1,000 Holocaust survivors brought to safe haven in the United States).

“Our main purpose is to feature books of Jewish content, preferably by Jewish authors, both new books in the field along with some of the old standards people may have not had time to acquire — in other words, something for everyone,” said Fran Shuster, a former librarian and current chair of the Festival’s book selection committee.

For those who love art as well as books, West Valley JCC is hosting two shows in tandem with the festival: the “Beacon of Light” display in the Finegood Gallery with items from the Breed Street Shul in Boyle Heights and “Pages of My Life” in the Art Space on the Center’s first floor. “Pages” is a collection of photographs and watercolors by California artist Gay Wellington which are available for sale; a portion of the purchase price will be donated to the Festival and to the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles.

Costs for the festival range from as little as $2 for certain individual authors to the $18 program and kosher brunch for featured author Dershowitz. Series packages are available starting at $60.

For more information or a schedule of Festival events, call (818) 464-3300.


More Books in Orange County

The Jewish Community Center of Orange County launches its first Jewish Book Fair this year with several thought-provoking programs.

Nov. 7 at 2 p.m: A talk marking Kristallnacht with Marc Carrel, senior advisor to Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, examining the response of the Sacramento community to hate crimes. A portion of ticket sales will help replace books destroyed by the arson fires at Sacramento’s Congregation B’nai Israel.

Nov. 11 at 7 p.m: Israeli mystery novelist Batya Gur.

Nov. 14 at noon: author Nathan Englander.

Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m.: Lionel Okun, “Jews in Places You’ve Never Thought Of.”

Nov. 21: Susan Dworkin, co-author of “The Nazi Officer’s Wife.”

For information and reservations call (714) 755-0340.

Becoming a Best Seller


While cities such as Detroit and St. Louis were holding major Jewish book festivals year after year, drawing celebrity authors such as Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, observers here asked, Why isn’t there a Jewish book festival in Los Angeles?

Seville Porush and her colleagues at the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles decided to change all that last year, and proceeded to create a book festival from scratch.

They formed a committee, polled existing festival directors and decided what they didn’t want in a book fair. “Many festivals emphasized selling books, while we wanted to emphasize transmitting Jewish culture,” Porush says. She was rewarded when more than 5,000 participants turned out to last year’s fair.

This year, “People of the Book: The Jewish Book Festival” is back, Nov. 14-22, bigger and better than before. Porush and the JCCs have put together a veritable literary feast.

You can catch Rich Cohen talking about his book, “Tough Jews,” which outlines the personalities and bloody deeds of criminals such as Meyer Lansky.

You can hear Thomas Cahill speaking of his tome, “The Gifts of the Jews”; Rabbi Naomi Levy on “To Begin Again,” her book about faith and loss; and Rochelle Krich on her Orthodox potboiler, “Fertile Ground,” a tale of murder inside a posh Brentwood fertility clinic.

Also among the some 40 speakers will be talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel, co-authors of “The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life.”

There will be a family storytelling day at My Jewish Discovery Place Children’s Museum and even a screening of an “X Files” episode involving a golem, with author Howard Gordon on hand for the Q and A.

One hub of the festival will be the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus in West Hills, where the lobby is being transformed into a bookstore, with hundreds of titles provided by Barnes & Noble. Watercolor landscapes of the Galilee and the Negev, Dorothy Rice’s travelogue of her trip to Israel (the artist will be on hand for a book signing Nov. 15), will be on display in the boardroom. Also on Nov. 15, the West Valley JCC will house CyberFest, featuring a wide range of computer hardware and software and Judaic Internet web sites. A multicultural day will spotlight authors who have been published in Hebrew, Russian, Farsi and Spanish.

“We want people to become aware of the wealth of Jewish literature that is out there, and is coming out every day,” Porush says.

For festival tickets and information, call (818) 464-3353. To volunteer, call (818) 587-3277.

A family storyelling day is part of festival events. Last year’s festival attracted more than 5,000 participants. Painting by Max Liebermann, “Portrait of the Artist’s Wife and Granddaughter,” 1926 from “Jewish Art,” 1995.


Schedule of Events

Saturday, Nov. 14

Reception: 7:00 p.m.

Program: 8:00 p.m.

Dvorah Menashe Telushkin

“Master of Dreams: Anecdotes and Tales of Isaac Bashevis Singer”

West Valley JCC

Sunday, Nov. 15

10:00 a.m.

Shira Schmidt

“Old Wine, New Flasks: Reflections on Science and Jewish Tradition”

(slide show)

Valley Cities JCC

10:00 a.m.-noon

Character Breakfast

Lori Hartz

Live storybook characters & storytelling (ages 3 to 8)

West Valley JCC

11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Cyberfest

Computer hardware, software and Internet demonstrations

West Valley JCC

4:00-6:00 p.m.

Howard Gordon

“The Golem”

Screening and discussion of “X-Files” episode with screenwriter

West Valley JCC

5:00-6:30 p.m.

Pajama party with storyteller Amy Koss

Storytelling (ages 3 to 8)

Hollywood-Los Feliz JCC

6:30-8:00 p.m.

Pajama party and storytelling (ages 3-8)

Bay Cities JCC

7:30 p.m.

Carol Orsborn

“Return From Exile”

Westside JCC

7:30 p.m.

Rich Cohen

“Tough Jews”

Valley Cities JCC

Monday, Nov. 16

1:00 p.m.

Faye Levy

Jewish cooking

North Valley JCC

7:30 p.m.

Joan Nathan

“Jewish Cooking in America”

Stephen S. Wise Temple

Tuesday, Nov. 17

10:00 a.m.-Noon

Jeffrey and Craig Weiss

“I Am My Brother’s Keeper”

West Valley JCC

7:30 p.m.

Rabbis Edward Feinstein, Steven Carr Reuben, Chaim Seidler-Feller, Dr. Elliot Dorff

Moderator: Gladys Sturman

Preserving Judaism in the next millennium

(panel discussion)

Stephen S. Wise Temple

7:30 p.m.

Mystery Night:

Janice Steinberg

“Death in a City of Mystics”

Rochelle Krich

“Fertile Ground”

Temple Emanuel

7:30 p.m.

Jerry Bobrow, Bea Gordon, Bobbi Yanke

Selecting and Preparing for a Career

West Valley JCC

6:30-8:00 p.m.

Phyllis Rose Eisenberg

Bedtime stories for children (ages 6 to 8)

Valley Cities JCC

Wednesday, Nov. 18

1:00 p.m.

Carol Diament

“Jewish Women Living the Challenge”

North Valley JCC

7:30 p.m.

Thomas Cahill

“The Gifts of the Jews”

West Valley JCC

7:45 p.m.

Dr. Paul Krivonos

Are Teens Being Censored by Society?

West Valley JCC

Thursday, Nov. 19

11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Lunch and Learn program

Dr. Ron Wolfson

“First Fruit: A Whizin Anthology of Jewish Family Education”

Kol Tikvah

7:30 p.m.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel

“The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life”

Temple Aliyah&’009;

7:00 p.m.

Janet Bode with Rabbi Edward Feinstein

“Food Fight: A Guide to Eating Disorders for Preteens and Their Families”

West Valley JCC

Friday, Nov. 20

1:00-2:30 p.m.

Rabbi Naomi Levy

“To Begin Again”

West Valley JCC

Saturday, Nov. 21

8:00 p.m.

Jonathan Kirsch

“Moses: A Life”

West Valley JCC

7:00 p.m.

Rabbi Harold Schulweis, Florence Weinberger, Malgert Cohen, Sam Applebaum, Richard Grosslight, Sherman Pearl

Poetry readings on the Jewish life cycle

Westside JCC

Sunday, Nov. 22

1:00-4:00 p.m.

Jewish Family Storytelling Festival

Storytelling and related activities

My Jewish Discovery Place

2:00 p.m.

Stan Mack

“The Story of the Jews”

Valley Cities JCC

2:00 p.m.

Multicultural Programs

Nouri Kharrazi (Farsi)

“Tattooed Arms — Punctured Souls”

Dr. Zvia Ambar (Hebrew)

Stress Management

Dr. Andrea Labinger (Spanish)

Translator of “Musicians and Watchmakers” by Alicia Steimberg

Marina Genchikmakher (Russian)

Poetry

West Valley JCC

2:30-3:30 p.m.

Maralyn Soifer

Creative writing and poetry workshop for children (ages 8-11)

Conejo Valley JCC

7:30 p.m.

Dr. Sam Kunin

“Circumcision: Its Place in Judaism Past and Present”

with Rabbi Brad Artson

“It’s A Mitzvah”

Valley Cities JCC

All events are subject to change. For additional information, contact the festival hot line at (818) 464-3353.

Addresses:

Bay Cities JCC: 2601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica

Conejo Valley JCC: 5004 Lewis Road, Agoura Hills

Hollywood-Los Feliz JCC: 1110 Bates Ave., Los Angeles

Kol Tikvah: 20400 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills

My Jewish Discovery Place: 5870 West Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles

North Valley JCC: 16601 Rinaldi St., Granada Hills

Stephen S. Wise Temple: 15500 Stephen S. Wise Dr., Los Angeles

Temple Aliyah: 6025 Valley Circle Blvd., Woodland Hills

Temple Emanuel: 8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills

Valley Cities JCC: 13164 Burbank Blvd. Sherman Oaks

West Valley JCC: 22622 Vanowen St. West Hills

Westside JCC: 5870 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles