Calendar Picks and Clicks: Jan 19–25, 2013



Oscar-winning composer Yuval Ron leads “Mystical Music and Dance of the Middle East.” Uniting Arabic, Jewish and Christian performers, the concert, part of the World City series at downtown’s Music Center, features songs of Sufi origin from Turkey, Jewish prayers from Morocco, Yemen and Israel, and chants from the Christian Armenian Church accompanied by Middle Eastern stringed instruments, a whirling dervish and a belly dancer. Sat. 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. Free. The Music Center, W.M. Keck Children’s Amphitheatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown. (213) 972-4396.



Featuring artwork by Iranian-Jewish artists David Abir, Krista Nassi, Tal Shochat and Marjan Vayghan, the Shulamit Gallery’s second inaugural exhibition, a satellite show of the Fowler Museum’s “Light and Shadows: The Story of Iranian Jews,” explores what it means to be forced into exile while remaining connected to the sights, sounds and scents of a remembered landscape. Sat. 6-9 p.m. Exhibition runs through March 9. Free. Shulamit Gallery, 17 N. Venice Blvd., Venice. RSVP required: (310) 281-0961.




The unlikely friendship between Martin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel is the focus of this new play by American Jewish University Whizin Center instructor Jane Marla Robbins. Asner stars in this staged reading as the Polish-born Heschel, who walked arm-in-arm with King during the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. Sun. 4 p.m. $45. American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. (310) 440-1246.




Schloss, the childhood friend and stepsister of Anne Frank, appears in person to give a firsthand account of the discovery and printing of Frank’s diary as well as provide insights into Frank’s life. Much like Frank, Schloss survived the Holocaust hidden in a Dutch home before being discovered by the Nazis. A Holocaust educator based in London, Schloss is a trustee with the Anne Frank Educational Trust, U.K., and has shared her experience in the books “Eva’s Story” and “The Promise.” Tue. 6:30 p.m. Free. USC University Park Campus, Bovard Auditorium, Los Angeles. (213) 748-5884.



Drawing comparisons to sophisti-pop chanteuse Sade, this soulful British-Jewish singer-songwriter is on the rise with a Mercury Music Prize nomination for her debut album, “Devotion.” Ware performs a free show at Amoeba Music and signs copies of her latest EP, “If You’re Never Gonna Move.” The South Londoner’s Wednesday show at the El Rey Theatre is already sold out, so don’t miss your chance to see her gratis. Tue. 6 p.m. Free. Amoeba Music, 6400 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 245-6400.




Kaplan, a Journal columnist and the Norman Lear Professor of Entertainment, Media and Society at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, discusses choices made, difficulties encountered and commitments solidified as part of USC’s “What Matters to Me and Why” series, which features speakers who helped shape the university. Kaplan draws on his broad career, which has spanned academia, government, politics, the entertainment industry and journalism. Wed. Noon-12:50 p.m. Free. USC University Park Campus, Ground Zero Performance Café main hall, Los Angeles. (213) 740-6110.




The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Bet Tzedek Legal Services gather top-notch legal experts to take on challenging topics. Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law, discusses “The Federal Courts and Civil Rights Today.” ADL legal affairs director Steven Freeman moderates a panel discussion on “Civil Rights Topics Facing Minority Communities” with civil rights attorneys Jon Davidson (Lambda Legal), Constance Rice (Advancement Project), Thomas Saenz (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) and Karin Wang (Asian Pacific American Legal Center). Grant Specht, directing attorney at Bet Tzedek, addresses “Working With Challenging Clients: Ethics & Practical Solutions for Pro Bono Attorneys.” Fri. 8 a.m. (breakfast and registration), 8:30-noon (program). $36. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 446-4244.



The best-selling author discusses “The Fifth Assassin,” the second entry in his Culper Ring trilogy. On the trail of a killer in Washington, D.C., who is re-creating the crimes of the four men who successfully assassinated U.S. presidents, archivist Beecher White discovers a shocking truth: All four assassins, from John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald, were secretly working together. Fri. 7 p.m. Free. Barnes & Noble, The Grove at Farmers Market, 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles. (323) 525-0270.

Chabad Telethon raises $4 million

Hollywood stars and dancing rabbis came together for the 32nd annual Chabad “To Life” Telethon on Sept. 9. Held for the first time at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, the high-profile fundraiser raised approximately $4 million for Chabad of California.

“At Chabad, there’s no greater joy than the joy of giving,” declared Larry King, whose hosting duties and interviews were recorded days earlier at KCET in Burbank and shown on screens straddling the stage.

KTLA Morning News’ Sam Rubin, “Good Morning Arizona” anchor Stella Inger and comedian Elon Gold co-hosted the event live, playing to a small studio audience at the Art Deco theater.

The three-hour telethon aired locally on KTLA 5, from 8 to 11 p.m., and was carried nationwide by cable and satellite providers, as well as stations in San Diego, San Francisco, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.   

Actor Jon Voight, one of the evening’s main celebrities, remains an active supporter of Israel and Chabad, having appeared in multiple telethons. 

“I’ve had many major roles in motion pictures, but one of my favorite roles is taking part in Chabad’s” yearly telethon, he said. 

Onstage throughout the evening, Voight was in good spirits, surrounded by a house band, a rotating crew of people working the phone banks and an active tote board. He danced with black-suited Chabadniks young and old. “I’m learning new steps every day,” Voight said. 

Then, catching his breath, he delivered his spiel, asking viewers to call the phone number that appeared on the bottom of their television screens and donate what they could. 

In addition to Voight, speakers included actors Tom Arnold, David Arquette and Howie Mandel, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, L.A. City Councilmen Paul Koretz and Dennis Zine, Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles David Siegel and philanthropist Stanley Black.

Among the featured performers were 11-year-old piano prodigy Ethan Bortnick, Chasidic rock-and-pop duo the 8th Day and Chasidic singer and composer Lipa Schmeltzer. 

The $4.03 million raised on Sunday — last year’s telethon raised $4.2 million — will benefit the international Chasidic movement’s social services and programs, including summer camp scholarships, support for children with special needs, community outreach centers, crisis intervention and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. 

Seated near L.A. Clipper forward Trey Thompkins at the phone bank, actor-comedian Arnold made his pitch for Chabad. Never shy, Arnold highlighted his past as a recovering alcoholic and drug addict when requesting donations in support of Chabad’s drug rehabilitation services.

“They do wonderful work there and they help everybody,” Arnold said.

Highlights from the Chabad “To Life” Telethon: 

7:58 p.m.: Backstage, two minutes until showtime, production assistants scramble to prepare performers, including Voight and dancing rabbis, for their cue. 

8 p.m.: A message from King segues into Bortnick’s piano performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The rabbis follow — young men grab one another’s hands or shoulders, kicking up their feet as they dance in circles. 

8:12 p.m.: Dressed in black sneakers to match his suit, comedian Gold warms up the crowd: “You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy the Chabad Telethon, but it helps,” Gold says.

8:55 p.m.: King interviews Arquette about what it took to get sober. Building “a connection to God” and learning how to manage self-critical thinking both played a role in his road to sobriety, Arquette says. 

9:10 p.m.: Consul General Siegel, City Councilman Koretz, County Supervisor Yaroslavsky and philanthropist Black share the stage with Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, director of West Coast Chabad. Black announces his own pledge for $250,000.

9:35 p.m.: Looking out at the theater’s numerous empty seats, Arnold quips from the phone bank, “How about a hand for all of Clint Eastwood’s chairs out there,” referring to Eastwood’s controversial speech at the Republican National Convention.

9:40 to 10 p.m.: Entertainment attorney and Chabad Telethon co-chairman Marshall Grossman pledges $25,000. Television producer Kevin Bright (“Friends”), who was not in attendance, pledges $180,000 and Ralphs supermarket representative Jose Martinez hands over a jumbo-check for $20,000.

10:10: An interview between King and TRIBE Media Corp./Jewish Journal president David Suissa is screened. “Chabad means ‘love’ more than anything,” Suissa says.

10:55 p.m.: The tote board jumps to more than $4 million for the evening’s final total. The rabbis return for a final dance — until next year.

Chabad Telethon Sunday, ‘Shadow of Doubt’


Only two more weeks until Yom Kippur … are you mentally and emotionally prepared? Tackling the weighty topics of repentance and forgiveness can seem like a mighty task, but with the entertaining inspiration of “The Gates Are Closing” you can start thinking and discussing those issues long before the holy day arrives. The staged reading of the play by Merle Feld will be directed by Temple Emanuel congregant and seasoned professional director Deborah LaVine. Set in a synagogue on Yom Kippur, the play illuminates the struggles of 10 characters of various ages, backgrounds and professions with issues of identity, betrayal and forgiveness.

8 p.m. Selichot Service at 10 p.m. Free. Temple Emanuel, 8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills. (310) 288-3742.


To Life! To Life! L’Chaim! The joyous, dancing-rabbi-filled, celebrity-guest-infused, mitzvah-inspiring Chabad “To Life” Telethon is taking over Channel 9 for six hours of giving today, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Actor and comedian Elon Gold will host the mega celebration and will be joined by stand-up comedian Mark Schiff, broadcaster Larry King, actor Jon Voight, singer/actress Mare Winningham, radio personality Dennis Prager and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Last year’s live broadcast raised more than $6 million for Chabad’s educational and nonsectarian social services, which include summer camps, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, crisis intervention, senior programs and humanitarian services. Tune in to life, tune in to giving, tune in to the telethon (and don’t forget to grab your check book before you settle into the couch)!

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The Geffen Playhouse calls Wendy Wasserstein’s final play, “Third,” “the jewel in their season’s crown.” The acclaimed playwright, who died unexpectedly of cancer at the age of 55, wrote poignant plays with strong intellectual heroines and relevant political discourses. Before the lights of Broadway were dimmed in her honor, Wasserstein completed “Third,” a dramatic piece about a modern, politically correct female professor who reveals her own prejudices when she accuses a “red state” jock student of plagiarizing his brilliant paper on King Lear. Starring Christine Lahti, this West Coast premiere promises to be a real highlight of the Geffen’s repertoire.

Tue.-Sun., through Oct. 28. $40-$115. Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood. (310) 208-5454.

Chasids in the Hood (or Not)

It’s one of the quirks of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. There’s a movement that owns a huge block on Pico Boulevard right in the middle of the hood, runs a preschool,elementary, middle and high school for girls on that same block, has official or unofficial connections with six shuls in the area, has one of the higher-profile brand names in the Jewish world and yet, strangely, you walk around the hood and you don’t really feel their presence.

I’m talking about Chabad-Lubavitch.

They have two shuls on Robertson Boulevard, both south of Pico. The one closest to Pico — commonly called the Yemini shul, after its founder and leader Rabbi Amitai Yemini — has been in the area the longest. The other shul, farther south, is a small minyan called Chabad of Beverlywood.

On Pico, you’ll find one minyan officially connected to Chabad — a tiny weekly minyan in their Bais Rebbe building — and three independents: a Persian Chabad near Cresta Drive; a shul near Beverwil Drive recently opened by Rabbi Eyal Rav-Noy, who used to run a branch of Chabad’s Jewish Learning Institute, and finally, near Robertson is Bais Bezalel, the biggest Lubavitch synagogue on Pico, also known as the Rabbi Lisbon shul.

So with all this presence, how come Chabad is so, er, quiet around here?

In a way, it’s an easy answer: Chabad doesn’t make a lot of noise in areas where people put on tefillin.

They thrive in nonobservant communities, where their unconditional love for every Jew, and their flair for promoting mitzvahs, make them highly visible. For more than 50 years, Chabad has taken this outreach model throughout the world and has lit up thousands of communities with a tireless, single-minded focus on “giving you” a mitzvah.

The problem is that here in the hood, most of the mitzvahs are already taken. The soul of the hood is clearly Modern Orthodox, with the majority of Jews already observant and affiliated with one or more congregations, which cater mostly to their members. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone if there isn’t a market in the hood for Chabad-style outreach.

Of course, I had to meet a rabbi who thinks all this is baloney.

He’s a chabadnik who lives in the hood and who believes that there is, in fact, a market for outreach in this part of town. He doesn’t just believe it, he lives it.

In truth, he does outreach all over Los Angeles — with an emphasis on the Westside — but he has a special place in his heart for the hood, maybe because he lives and hangs out here. He’s like a gold prospector. He loves, for example, those buildings on Bedford and Wooster avenues, where he has discovered plenty of single, unaffiliated Jews who are now on his mailing list and come to his outreach events.

He recognizes that the hood is more of a post-outreach neighborhood, where Jews come to pursue their Judaism after their Jewish spark has been lit, usually elsewhere. But that doesn’t faze him. He thinks there’s a fair amount of unaffiliated Jews in the hood, but they are hidden (I think some of them are hiding). Either way, he says that even if there’s a tiny amount, he wants to reach them all.

His name is Rabbi Mendel Schwartz, and for the past few years he has been running the outreach organization called Chai, started 20 years ago by his father and former Chabad emissary Shlomo Schwartz (I’ve rarely met a Jew in L.A. who hasn’t heard of “Schwartzie”; I go to a lot of events, and he or a look-alike is at all of them). Chai, like the other independents, does not fall under the official Chabad umbrella, and it is neither a shul nor a location.

Rather, it’s a nimble guerrilla outreach operation that uses cool events to bring Jews to Judaism. A Purim party at a comedy club; a haimish Shabbat “dinner for 30 strangers” at Schwartzie and Olivia’s (his wife and partner); High Holiday services at the Writer’s Guild; a Chanukah lighting party in a minimansion. Because they move between venues, they supplement the work of other shuls. Their outreach feeds the shuls for inreach.

But while Chai may be eclectic and independent, their inspiration is classic Lubavitch: using mitzvahs to light Jewish sparks.

This, for me, is the Chabad genius: a knack on the deed, not the talk. They don’t get turned on by grand debates that lead to more grand debates. While the Jewish world agonizes over “profoundly important” issues, Chabad agonizes over getting to Kinko’s on time to get their flyers out for their Chanukah event.

And at Chanukah time, all Chabads make noise. Here in the hood, the Yemini shul had their big outdoor bash at the Wells Fargo parking lot on Saturday night, with the hot band, 8th Day (major sound system). Across the hood, many Lubavitchers have placed large portable menorahs on their cars (they were part of a Chabad citywide parade Monday night) and a giant menorah billboard is on the wall of their Bais Rebbe building, to go along with the actual menorah in front of the building.

There’s no doubt: Hood or no hood, outreach or inreach, Chabad salivates for Chanukah.

It’s the holiday that embodies, through one simple icon, what the Lubavitch movement yearns for all year long: a chance to make observant Judaism shine. With thousands of public menorah lightings around the world, they proudly shine a light on the Jewish faith, on the freedom to practice that faith, and on the value of doing another mitzvah.

They are the Nikes of the Jewish world: They believe that if you just do it, the mystical power of the mitzvah will win you over, and your heart and mind will inevitably follow. And if you live in Los Angeles, where might that lead you?

I’m guessing right back here in the hood, to look for a house.

David Suissa, an advertising executive, is the founder of OLAM magazine and He can be reached at

Class Notes

New Yeshiva Flying SCY High
Founding board members of the new Southern California Yeshiva High School (SCY High) for boys in La Jolla knew that with a history of failed yeshiva high schools in the area, they had to offer the community something new and innovative. So they, along with headmaster Kevin Cloud, developed a school that utilizes high-tech project-based learning to integrate all disciplines — from science to literature to Gemara.

The school, the only Orthodox boys high school in the San Diego area, attracted 17 boys in ninth and 10th grades last year, its first year of existence, and next year between 25 and 30 are expected to be enrolled in the ninth through 11th grades. One Los Angeles boy boarded with relatives, and next year several families are opening up their homes to students who want to board.

As a school starting from scratch, teachers were able to take novel approaches to study.

The ninth graders, for example, read Goethe’s “Faust,” then rewrote it as short film. They created sets — some using “South Park”-style puppets, some using stop-action dolls and action figures — set it to music, and filmed short movies. The 10th graders read Christopher Marlowe’s “Doctor Faustus,” then rewrote a modernized version then studied and debated the moral implications of making Faustus Jewish.

“What you do in project-based learning is you take the ability the students have in one subject and you bring that enthusiasm into another subject,” Cloud said.

The students also get traditional instruction, but even there things tend to blend.

In Rabbi Moshe Adatto’s Gemara class, students had to present talmudic arguments in a PowerPoint flowchart. Each student is given a Dell laptop when they enter, and the school is wired for high-speed wireless Internet access.

To Adatto, who previously was a teacher at the Valley Kollel, it’s all part of making kids love school and love Judaism.

“We’re trying to create lifelong learners, and to me that has two components: They have to know how to learn, and they have to want to learn,” said Adatto, who organized Shabbatons and other events to build school spirit.

All but one student has reenrolled for next year, and an anonymous survey that all of the parents filled out brought back astonishing results for a Jewish school: No one — not one family — reported being anything less than satisfied.

For more information on SCY High School, contact (858) 658-0857 or visit

Follow the Fellows to Israel
Three Southern California teens were among 26 selected nationally to visit Israel on a five-week Bronfman Youth Fellowship this summer. Priscella Frank of Calabasas High School and Benjamin and Mitzi Steiner of Shalhevet were selected following a rigorous application process. They will participate in an intensive program of study and travel in Israel designed to develop leaders committed to Jewish unity.

The fellows participate in seminars and dialogues with diverse rabbinic faculty and spend a week with a group of Israeli peers who have been chosen through Amitei Bronfman, a parallel Israeli program. Bronfman Youth Fellows are asked to complete 40 hours of community service when they return home at the end of the summer.

3 Books = 31 Flavors
Students at Temple Beth Am’s Pressman Academy have another reason to pick up a good book — to satisfy their sweet tooth. As part of the Be a Star Reader program, elementary and middle school kids who read three books this spring were awarded a free ice cream cone at any Baskin-Robbins. Arna Schwartz, the school librarian, has run the Be a Star Reader program for several years, purchasing Baskin-Robbins gift certificates. This year, Robert Schwartz, who owns the Baskin-Robbins on Kinross Avenue in Westwood, offered to sponsor the program. Other Schools or youth organizations interested in participating in the Baskin-Robbins Reading Rewards Program can contact Robert Schwartz at (310) 208-8048.

To Bee or Not to Bee
More than 150 boys from Chabad schools across the world gathered in Los Angeles in April for a battle of wits on Maimonides’ Sefer Hamitzvot. Cheder Menachem in Los Angeles was the host school of the chidon, or bee, which attracted 1,000 spectators to the finals held at Emerson Middle School. The girls’ competition was held the week before in New York. Local winners were Sender Labkowsky, first place, older division; Mendel Mishulovin, third place, older division; and Shmully Lezak, third place, younger division.

ADL Reaches 700,000 Students
As part of LAUSD’s Live Violence-Free Day, 35,000 teachers in the district were urged to use materials and activities they received from the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) A World of Difference Institute, impacting more than 700,000 K-12 students in one day. The activities and lesson plans were designed to assist educators in addressing issues of bias, discrimination, bullying and violence, and focused on empowering students to become agents of change on their campuses. For more information on ADL education programs, contact Jenny Betz at (310) 446-8000, ext. 233.


Community Briefs

After 22 years as head rabbi of Shaarey Zedek Congregation in Valley Village, Rabbi Aron Tendler resigned last weekend.

“It is with mixed emotions that I write you today to let you know of my decision that, after 22 wonderful years, I have decided to step down as rabbi of Shaarey Zedek,” Tendler wrote in a letter to the 400-member families of the Orthodox synagogue.

“This has been a decision I have contemplated for some time, and after great soul searching and deliberation and with the full support of Esther and the family, I decided that it was time to explore other opportunities and embark on a new aspect of my personal and professional life.”

Tendler wrote that he intends to stay in the community but wants to spend more time with his family and pursuing writing, teaching and other projects.

“On occasion, I would like to sleep for more than four hours. Selfishly put, I want more time, and if not now when?” he wrote. Tendler will stay on through the High Holidays and help the search committee in its quest to find a new rabbi.

“Rabbi Tendler turned innumerable lives around, and it will be a great loss for us,” Brad Turell, Shaarey Zedek’s communications director, told The Journal. “He’s very talented and we wish him the best.”

— Amy Klein, Religion Editor

Sharansky Visits Southland

Israeli politician Natan Sharansky spent a quick two days in Los Angeles last weekend, giving four speeches on Jan. 22 calling for more American Jewish involvement in the upcoming World Zionist Congress.

“People have a need to strengthen their bond, somehow feel themselves part of a bigger family,” Sharansky told The Jewish Journal. “It doesn’t matter what origin; it doesn’t matter whether they are right or left; more and more Jews feel the need to become close to Israel. Before you are looking for the new way with your connection with Israel, what about the most traditional way?”

The prominent Likud party member was brought to Los Angeles last weekend by the West Coast chapter of American Friends of Likud. He encouraged Jews here to get more active in the quadrennial congress this summer of the World Zionist Organization (WZO), which controls the multimillion dollar budgets for The Jewish Agency.

Organizers said Sharansky spoke to about 35 Likud supporters at a Sunday breakfast, then to 100 people at the Hillcrest Country Club, plus more than 200 people later Sunday afternoon at Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills and finally another 90 at a private dinner at a television producer’s home.

Since last November, the WZO’s American branch has been selecting delegates for this June’s 35th WZO Congress in Jerusalem. Voting ends in late February with U.S. candidates from Likud, Russian, Green Zionist, Meretz, Harut and other Jewish movements. Sharansky wants more U.S. Jews to sign up with the $7 registration fee on the WZO’s American Zionist Movement Web site and then vote for delegates concerned about WZO spending.

In an interview between two of his speeches, Sharansky criticized the WZO Congress as a, “narrow group of people without broad involvement of Jews [worldwide]. So people simply don’t know, its connection of involvement and distribution of funds. Jews have an opportunity to participate in it, but they’re not using this opportunity. One percent maybe knows about its existence.”

Sharansky quit his minister-without-portfolio post last May in protest to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s pullout last August of Gaza settlers. While Sharon’s former Likud party sponsored Sharansky’s two-day L.A. visit, the onetime Soviet dissident said, “When speaking abroad, I’m trying to speak as little about splits in Israel as possible. When speaking to the Jews of Diaspora, you have to speak about building bridges between Jews of Diaspora and Israel.” — David Finnigan, Contributing Writer

A Dozen Nonprofits Get Foundation Grants

The Jewish Community Foundation recently awarded grants totaling $116,000 to 12 mostly local nonprofit organizations to support a variety of services, ranging from suicide prevention hotlines to dental care for the poor and counseling and tutoring for abused and neglected children.

The Foundation’s grants ranged in size from $5,000 to $20,000 and will help fund valuable services that government money alone cannot underwrite, said Marvin I. Schotland, foundation president and chief executive.

“There are vast pockets of need that cannot possibly be met at this time by the public sector,” he said. “Support by our organization to the greater community is more critical, and immensely gratifying, than ever and remains a vital part of our mandate.”

The foundation, created in 1954, is the largest manager of charitable assets for Greater Los Angeles Jewish philanthropists. With more than $590 million under its management, the Foundation distributed last year $58 million in grants to more than 1,300 organizations.

Among the nonprofits that received grants in January:

  • The Los Angeles Free Clinic received $10,000 for its dental program. This year, the clinic, which provides health and other services to the uninsured and the working poor, expects more than 3,500 children and adults to make more than 9,000 visits for dental services.
  • Trevor Project Inc., based in Beverly Hills, received $10,000 for a suicide prevention hotline and educational programs that promote tolerance for gay teens and those questioning their sexual orientation.
  • New Ways to Work in Sebastopol, Calif., received a $10,000 grant to help prepare children in foster care for independence at age 18. Over the next four years, nearly 4,000 Los Angeles youths currently in foster care are expected to become emancipated and leave the foster care system.
  • Inner-City Arts received $10,000 for a hands-on arts program designed to improve literacy among grade school students enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Marc Ballon, Senior Writer

Chabad in the House

What is “The Rebbe’s Gelt?”

Literally, “the rabbi’s money,” it’s the name of a new Chabad program unveiled last week at the annual West Coast Convention of Chabad/Lubavitch for Shulchim, or emissaries. The new initiative will provide grants and loans to those rabbis who need short-term financial aid.

More than 170 Chabad rabbis and emissaries gathered at the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel and the Hebrew Academy in Huntington Beach, for the Jan. 15-16 convention. Chabad West Coast unveiled Camp Gan Israel Running Springs, a new Jewish overnight camp located on Chabad’s Kiryas Schneerson mountaintop campus. Chabad also announced its plan to organize the first ever Woman’s Convention of Shluchos on the West Coast, tentatively scheduled for May in San Diego. — Amy Klein, Religion Editor

Thousand Oaks Temple Teacher Receives Award

Bobbie Match, who has spent 10 years at Temple Adat Elohim’s Early Childhood Center received the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education presented by the Jewish Education Service of North America, Inc. The award recognizes outstanding classroom-based teachers in formal Jewish educational settings. It includes a $1500 grant for continued professional development. Last year Match received the prestigious Lainer Distinguished Early Childhood Educator Award from the Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Los Angeles (BJE).

Other recent BJE Award winners from Temple Adat Elohim are Michelle Princenthal, winner of the 2005 Smotrich Family Education Award; Tara Farkash, winner of the 2003 Lainer Distinguished Early Childhood Educator Award; and Marcy Goldberg, winner of the 2004 Lainer Distinguished Educator Award. — NZ

Yago Joins Israel Securities Authority Board

Glenn Yago, director of Capital Studies at the Milken Institute in Los Angeles, was appointed to the International Advisory Board of the Israel Securities Authority (ISA), the government body that oversees and regulates the Israeli capital market and serves the same function as the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States.

Yago joined key Israeli economic policy makers, including ISA chairman Moshe Tery, Bank of Israel Gov. Stanley Fischer and Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange chairman Yair Orgler, for the first meeting of the International Advisory Board in New York. Other board members from the U.S. include Leo Melamed, chairman emeritus of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange; Douglas Shulman of the National Association of Securities Dealers; Bill Brodsky, chairman of the Chicago Board Options Exchange; Milton Harris of the University of Chicago School of Business; and David Loglisci, deputy comptroller of the State of New York.

Appointing Yago, Tery said that he wanted the economist’s experience and insight “to help build the legal and economic infrastructure to advance Israel’s capital markets and its standing as a venue for global investment.”

Yago is a leading authority on financial innovations and capital markets and specializes in privatization projects to improve the economic climate in the Middle East. He has experience working with municipal, government, business and academic leaders in the region to promote economic reform. He is a senior Koret Knesset Fellow and teaches at Tel-Aviv University and the Interdisciplinary Center-Herzliya. He is the author of numerous books and studies, including “The Economic Road Map: Beyond the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” (Milken Institute, 2005). —NZ

Bubis Honored for Community Service

Professor Gerald Bubis, founding director of the Irwin Daniels School of Jewish Communal Service (SJCS) at the Los Angeles School of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), was honored recently when the school celebrated its 36th Anniversary at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Two-hundred guests turned out for the event, including colleagues, community leaders, fellow SJCS alumni and old friends, saluting Bubis’ efforts at the school and in the field of Jewish Communal Service.

The (SJCS) was founded in 1968 and is the oldest professional school of its kind. Its inter-disciplinary approach combines study of Jewish tradition and text with tools from the fields of the social sciences and business. Open to students from all areas of religious thought and communal life, the School seeks to be inclusive and pluralistic. Since its inception, 650 people have graduated from the school.

More than 300 SJCS graduates hold dual master’s degrees from USC. Twenty-five rabbis hold degrees from the school and 37 SJCS graduates have received dual degrees in Jewish Education from the HUC-JIR/LA Rhea Hirsch School of Education.

Concurrent with the celebration, alumni and friends of the School of Jewish

Communal Service raised more than $135,000 in scholarships in honor of Bubis. —Norma Zager

Stan’s Customers Go Bananas Over Reopening

Asked about the past three and a half months, shopper Kathy Mannheim said, “I hated it. It has not been a happy time in my life.”

She’s referring to the period of time she endured without her favorite local produce store, Stan’s. A Pico-Robertson neighborhood fixture, Stan’s closed after the High Holidays, when owner Stan Pascal got sick and was unable to carry on his usual six-day-a-week schedule.

Earlier this month, Pascal reopened and was greeted with the kind of enthusiasm normally reserved for rock stars.

“I’m thinking of giving autographs,” he joked.

Feyge Yemini, who patronizes the store twice a week to supply her large family, said she was “extremely happy” about Pascal’s return.

“I never found a comparable high-quality fruit store,” she said. “I had to go to five places to get what I can get here.”

Pascal started in the produce business as an 8-year-old in Windsor, Ontario, where he would help his father out on the weekends. In 1957, he came with his family to Los Angeles, and worked at his father’s three produce stalls at the Grand Central Market downtown. After his father died, Pascal and his wife, Susan, opened their own store on Fairfax Boulevard, where they remained for more than two decades before moving to the current location.

Fairfax resident Miriam Fishman continues to shop at Stan’s despite the distance.

“It’s a haimisch place,” she said. “There’s no other fruit store like it in town.”

In a time of big box markets and megastores, Stan’s has remained a place where retailer and customer maintain a personal relationship. Pascal greets customers by name, allows regulars to purchase with IOUs, and has been known to weigh a customer’s new baby on the produce scale.

During his absence, rumors circulated that he had sold the store, and in fact, he almost did. “At the last minute I changed my mind,” Pascal said. “I missed the people.”

The feeling is mutual. “I went to other places but it wasn’t the same,” said customer Mannheim. “It wasn’t Stan’s.” — Nancy Sokoler Steiner, Contributing Writer


Acts of Faith

Shabbat Shalom, Los Feliz

When Rabbi Leibel Korf came to Los Angeles more than seven years ago, he started up a Chabad center in his Los Feliz home’s dining room. By October 2000, he moved to a 1,200-square-foot storefront on Vermont Avenue, in a strip mall just north of Hollywood Boulevard. For the last five years, Chabad of Greater Los Feliz has thrived so much that Korf felt it was time to move to bigger premises.

“For the past years, we felt there was a lot we could do if we had the space and a presence in the neighborhood,” he said.

Now they will, with the purchase of a 6,750-square-foot lot on Hillhurst Avenue for $1.4 million. The two-building property, located on a trendy restaurant row north of Franklin Avenue, was formerly the famous Vida restaurant. (The Los Angeles Times erroneously reported the property was sold to the Kabbalah Center.)

The new Chabad of Greater Los Feliz is set to open there Feb. 1. Synagogue services will take place in the renovated back building, and Chabad classes, lectures, day school, teen clubs and programs will take place in the main building, which will also undergo renovations once the additional funds — about $1 million — are raised.

Korf, 35, hopes to use the new premises to expand his programs and host more of the community. (Korf boasts a mailing list of 7,000 — “We know of the existence of 2,000, and we have some contact with 1,300-1,500,” he said.) They are kashering the restaurant kitchen so that his wife, Dvonye, who normally prepares large meals in their home, can now have the professional, kosher facilities for Shabbat and holiday meals.

The only cloud on this silver-lined horizon may be that it is located next door to a Scientology center, where young Hollywood types stand outside distributing leaflets and beckoning passersby to enter. But Korf says he will not get involved.

“We are very nonjudgmental in general — no matter who our neighbors are, we are very accommodating,” he said.

Korf hopes the new center will attract more people from the Hollywood Hills, Silver Lake and the surrounding Eastside areas than being “in a strip mall on the edge of the neighborhood,” he said.

“I feel if there’s one more Jew-plus by being here, then, it’s all worth it.”

Chabad of Greater Los Feliz will be located at 1930 N. Hillhurst Ave. For more information, call (323) 660-5177 or visit

Torah, Arts Meet at the Beach

The Pacific Jewish Center (PJC), or “the shul on the beach” as it is known, is one of six synagogues to win a $20,000 grant from the Orthodox Union (OU) programming initiative awards competition. PJC is the only L.A. synagogue to receive one of these first-time grants, which were announced in May for “encouraging initiatives to strengthen local synagogue and communal life.”

PJC won for the Venice Torah Arts Festival project, which will transform the synagogue, gardens and parking lot into a summer arts exhibition. Normally, the structure is closed except for daily prayers and Shabbat and holiday services. During the summer, the festival coordinator and volunteers will greet boardwalkers and entice them to Torah, Judaism and the local synagogue in hopes of inspiring “a vibrant revival of Jewish interest,” according to PJC’s grant application.

The OU awarded grants to programs that could be easily replicated in other synagogues. Stephen Savitsky, OU president, said, “Rabbi Benjamin Geiger, President Judd Magilnick and their colleagues are to be commended for their effort in putting this program together and for the vision and foresight they displayed in evaluating their community’s needs and in devising this program as a response.”

Pacific Jewish Center is located at 505 Ocean Front Walk. For more information call (310) 392-8749 or visit

Separate but Egalitarian

The new monthly minyan, 10 and 10, will hold its next services on Friday, Jan. 20, at the Workmen’s Circle on Robertson Boulevard. The congregation follows traditional Shabbat services with a mehitzah dividing men and women, but also has women leading certain parts of the service, as well as getting aliyot.

10 and 10 is modeled after the shul, Shira Chadasha in Jerusalem, which adheres to traditional Jewish law, but is progressive in searching for egalitarian allowances of Jewish law. For example, 10 and 10 only begins davening when both 10 men and 10 women are present. The group meets at the Workmen’s Circle in the winter and in private homes in the spring and summer. Friday night services are followed by a dairy potluck.

For more information, contact



The Jewish Journal is no longer accepting mailed or

faxed event listing information. Please e-mail event listings at least three

weeks in advance to:

By Keren Engelberg


March 26 /SATURDAY


Temple Beth Emet: 6:30 p.m. Craig Taubman leads “The 25th Hour: A Havdalah Service” with discussion to follow. 1770 W. Cerritos Ave., Anaheim. (714) 772-4720.


Chabad of Miracle Mile Area: March 24-26. “Virtual Purim” Web site includes an online Purim costume contest, games, recipes, prayers and stories relevant to the holiday. For more information call (323) 852-6907.

COLSAC Theater: 8 p.m. This version of “God of Vengeance” is Stephen Fife’s adaptation of Sholem Asch’s play, which was originally written in Yiddish. $20. 6902 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Plays Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m. and Sun. at 3 p.m.
(323) 960-7829.

March 27 /SUNDAY


Temple Beth Torah: 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Purim carnival with dunk tank, Purim games, giant slide and prizes. Please bring canned goods for families in need. Free. 7620 Foothill Road, Ventura. (805) 647-4181.


Jewish Studies Institute: 7 p.m. “Echoes That Remain,” film of archival clips of pre-Holocaust Eastern Europe in honor of the 60th anniversary of liberation. Light refreshments will follow. $5. The Conference Theater at the Museum of Tolerance, 9786 W. Pico Blvd.,
Los Angeles. (310) 772-2467.



American Film Institute: 8 p.m. “Palindromes.” the story of 12-year-old Aviva Victor’s quest to become a mom, takes her far from home and back again. Question and answer session with the director to follow. $10-$11. ArcLight Hollywood,
6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 464-4226.

March 29 /TUESDAY


The Jewish Journal and Jewish Community Library: 7:30 p.m. First event in the “Jewish Screenwriter Speaker Series” for young professionals 21-39 at B’nai-David Judea in Los Angeles. For more information.


New Community Jewish High School: 7 p.m. Prospective students and families can meet the faculty, current students and the head of school, and ask questions.
7353 Valley Circle Blvd., West Hills. R.S.V.P., (818) 348-0048.



Valley Beth Shalom: 7:30 p.m. “A Conversation of the Learned” with Rabbi Harold Kushner in honor of Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis. Also, on Thur., Mar. 31, at the same time with Rabbis David Hartman and Irving “Yitz” Greenberg. $60 (reserved seating), free (open seating). 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 530-4088.

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Jewish Artist Network: 8 p.m. Networking meeting for artists, publishers and other interested parties. Canter’s Deli, 419 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (562) 547-9078.



Nashuva: 6:45 p.m. Rabbi Naomi Levy leads passionate, rocking Kabbalat Shabbat service. Westwood Hills Congregational Church, 1989 Westwood Blvd., Westwood.
Note: This is the correct date. Last week’s Jewish Journal print edition calendar listed the incorrect date.

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April 3-4

Hillel Foundation of Orange County/Israel on Campus Coalition of Orange County/Caravan for Democracy/StandWithUs: 8:30 a.m. Sun.-6 p.m. Mon. “Making the Case for Israel: A Two-Day Conference Presenting an Accurate Picture of Middle East Reality.” $36 (students), $75 (per day, nonstudents). UC Irvine and Merage Jewish Community Center, 1 Federation Way, Suite 200, Irvine. (800) 969-5585 ext. 247.

Tues., April 5

Stanford Jewish Alumni of Los Angeles: 7 p.m. Presentation and book signing by Vincent Brook, author of “Something Ain’t Kosher Here: The Rise of the ‘Jewish’ Sitcom.” Vegetarian appetizers and kosher wines will be served. Beverly Hills residence. R.S.V.P. by April 1, (213) 763-7377.

Sat., April 9

Wilshire Boulevard Temple: “Hope – A Musical Celebration of the Soul” honoring Rabbis Ed Feinstein and Karen Fox, with special guest singing groups and comedy performer. $36-$100. 116611 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. (818) 788-4673.

Sun., April 10

Kadima Hebrew Academy: “35 Years of Moving Forward – A Gala Evening Honoring Shawn and Dorit Evenhaim and Rabbi Elijah and Penina Schochet.” 7011 Shoup Ave., West Hills. (818) 346-0849.



Singles Helping Others: 1-4 p.m. Assist with the Therapeutic Prom for Children’s Special Olympics. Santa Monica. (818) 591-0772.

Conversations at Leon’s: 7:30 p.m. Saturday night mixer. $15. Santa Monica. R.S.V.P., (310) 393-4616.

Jewish Singles, Meet! (30s and 40s):
8 p.m. Screening of the film, “The Chosen” and discussion led by Rabbi Aaron Katz. Temple Ner Maarav, Encino. R.S.V.P., (818) 750-0095.

New Age Singles (55+): 8 p.m. Madrid Theatre party for “A Stoop on Orchard Street.” 21622 Sherman Way, Canoga Park. No-host dinner at Acapulco Restaurant in Woodland Hills preceding. $36-$38. R.S.V.P., (818) 347-8355.


Jewish Outdoor Adventures:
10:10 a.m. Intermediate hike of Leo Carillo State Beach to Nicholas Flat. West Los Angeles and Valley carpools available.

Jewish Singles Volleyball: Noon-
3 p.m. Weekly beach volleyball game. Court 11 or close to it. Playa del Rey, where Culver Boulevard meets the beach. (310) 402-0099.

Harbor Jewish Singles (55+): 3 p.m. Afternoon at the movies. Meet downstairs by the escalator and decide which movie to see. Edwards Cinema Metro Point, South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa. (714) 939-8540.

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Coffee Talk (30s and 40s): 8 p.m. Weekly discussion group. 9760 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles.
(310) 552-4595, ext. 27.


Nexus (20s and 30s): 6:30-9 p.m. Weekly beach volleyball. Liberty Park, 19211 Studebaker Road, Cerritos. R.S.V.P.,

Westwood Jewish Singles (45+):
7:30 p.m. “Fear of Rejection.” $10. West Los Angeles. (310) 444-8986.


Valley Beth Shalom Counseling Center (40s and 50s): 6:30-8 p.m. Singles’ Growth Group. For singles who are divorced or have never been married. R.S.V.P., (818) 784-1414.

AISH (21-31): 8 p.m. User-friendly Judaism. Marc Firestone leads discussion about practical wisdom from ancient sources. Emphasis on male-female relationships. Refreshments. R.S.V.P., (310) 278-8672, ext. 401.


Conversations at Leon’s: 7 p.m. “Find Love, How to Overcome Shyness and Fear of Rejection.” $15-$17. 639 26th St., Santa Monica. (310) 393-4616.

Singles Helping Others: 7 p.m. Usher for “Wonderbread Years” at the El Portal Theater. North Hollywood.
(818) 705-7916.


Nashuva: 6:45 p.m. Rabbi Naomi Levy leads a spiritual passionate, rocking Kabbalat Shabbat Service. Westwood Hills Congregational Church, 1989 Westwood Blvd., Westwood. All are welcome.
Note: This is the correct date. Last week’s Journal print edition calendar listed the incorrect date.

New Age Singles (55+): 6 p.m. No-host dinner at Nibblers, 8383 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles followed by 8 p.m. Creative Arts Shabbat Service at Temple Beth Am. 1039 La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (310) 838-7459.

Ethiopian American Jewish Art Center: 9:30 p.m. Weekly klezmer band performance. $5. 5819 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 857-6661.


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April 2, 3 & 12

Elite Jewish Theatre Singles: April 2, see “The Fantasticks.” A no-host dinner precedes the show. April 3, brunch and parlor magic show at the Magic Castle. April 12, see “The King and I” at the Pantages Theatre. R.S.V.P.,
(310) 203, 1312.

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A Last Purim Hurrah

Just when you thought it was safe to hang up the Esther costume, the Workmen’s Circle sucks you in for one more night of drunken excess. Celebrating Jerusalem-style, they present a Shusan Purim dance party on the second night of Purim only celebrated by Jews in walled cities. Of course, it’s BYOB, and a donation of dry rice or beans for Food Not Bombs is requested. But then again, the PC touch should remove any guilt you might be harboring from a night of too much Manischewitz. Also featured will be electro clash bands and DJs spinning old school, hip-hop, electro and ’80s. Costumes are encouraged.

Mach 26, 7:30 p.m. $7 (plus donation). 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 552-2007.

Your Letters

Federation Pension

Reading the article, “Federation Faces Underfunded Pension,” in your July 30 issue, I found it to be needlessly alarmist and selective in providing facts on a highly complex subject. Most disturbing is the inaccurate lead. The Federation is absolutely not directing funds away from social services to fund its pension.

Pension policy within The Federation system is guided by professional actuarial opinions. The Jewish Federation is fortunate to have a lay retirement committee made up of experienced volunteers, including those who are well-versed in investments, actuarial science and pension plan management.

The article presents a misleading picture by comparing the L.A. experience to the plans at other selected federations. Comparing the financing of defined-benefit plans to defined-contribution plans is like comparing apples to oranges

For example, the Atlanta plan covers 60 employees. Boston has not had a defined-benefit plan since 1992. Even those federations with defined-benefit plans represented in the article and charts cover only direct federation employees and in smaller Jewish communities. On the other hand, the L.A. plan covers almost 1,000 current members, of which less than 20 percent are Federation employees. Many of the non-Federation employees’ salaries are funded by third-party sources, including public funding, not through the United Jewish Fund.

Federation and its affiliated agencies are well aware of the need for cost control. This is reflected in our annual balanced budget. By the same token, we all offer human services. High-quality human service programs are a function of recruiting and maintaining quality personnel. Personnel costs normally reflect 80 percent of the costs at human service agencies.

Using limited community resources allowed the community to avoid further reductions in program staff and to ensure that the best and brightest staff remained during the horrible recession of 1992-1993. No organization was ever forced to close services or avoid expansion of their programs to their participation in The Federation pension plan. It is a major distortion to suggest this.

Obviously, no one disagrees that it is urgent to examine the future philosophy and benefit structure of the pension plan. That is why Federation, on behalf of itself and its agencies, has put a proposal on the table in negotiations with the union to move to a defined-contribution plan for new employees.

I wonder if The Journal did more to confuse the public on a tremendously complex issue through its selective reporting and innuendo in the article.

John Fishel, President The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

Faith and Folly

I am a physician and a clinical professor of pediatrics at Loma Linda University who, like Rob Eshman, maintains a firm belief in the merits of stem cell research (“Faith and Folly,” July 30).

Stem cell research will continue regardless of President Bush’s current position, since the companies involved are multinational and research will be conducted abroad until the issue is sorted out in the United States. Some will move their labs to locations where they can carry out this most-needed research.

The United States is not the only country involved in this area. Validated discoveries, which translate into new cures, will be available to the world.

The research will get done. But even if that was not the case, is this the most pressing issue before us today?

I was also an elected delegate to the 2000 Democratic National Convention, but since Sept. 11, I am relieved that my opinion was not persuasive.

I believe the war on terror is the most important issue facing our country today.

I disagree with Eshman’s statement that, with regard to Israel, “most Jews would be hard-pressed to find a lot of light between the president’s position and John Kerry’s.”

Bush has a proven record of action, denying the so-called “right of return,” supporting the isolation of Yasser Arafat, supporting Israel’s right of self-defense, etc.

Politicians can say anything and not be held accountable for broken promises. Kerry — who feels so strongly about appeasing France, the European Union and the United Nations, who refuse to support Israel and sanction only Israel in a world full of corruption and inhumanity — cannot be relied upon to defend Israel to the degree that the Bush administration has demonstrated.

There was no mention of Israel in Kerry’s speech at the Democratic Convention.

Dr. Charles J. Hyman, Redlands

Contrary to Rob Eshman’s argument, stem cell research will not be the key deciding factor for the Jewish vote in the upcoming election. It would serve the readers well to be informed that stem cell research is still in its infancy.

President Bush is the first president to provide the federal funds for it, while at the same time limiting such funding, pending review of the relevant issues involved.

Dr. Ron Saldra, Founding Member Beverly Hills Jewish Republicans


Our cover story “Rebirth in Russia”(Aug. 6), neglected to state that the writer’s trip was sponsored by Chabad, whose activities were largely the subject of the story as well. The Journal’s policy is to always disclose such relationships. We regret the omission.