The kreme de la kreme of kosher kooking mix it up


When Michaela Rosenthal threw some leftover gefilte fish into her potato knish recipe, she never imagined it might be worth $20,000.

“I didn’t want to waste the one piece I had left,” said the Woodland Hills housewife and mother of two grown children.

It turned out to be a good move for Rosenthal, whose whitefish and potato knishes in lemon horseradish sauce took one of two first-place spots at the Simply Manischewitz Cook-Off Western semifinal at the Hilton Orange County in Costa Mesa earlier this month.

The veteran of cooking challenges competed against nine other California amateur chefs at the last of three regional contests sponsored by the nation’s largest processed kosher food manufacturer.

She and co-winner Andrea Bloom of Long Beach, who earned accolades from the judges for her savory pea and fennel soup, will fly to New York in February to compete in the finals for a $20,000 grand prize package, including a GE Profile kitchen and cash.

The first-ever national kosher cook-off is intended to demonstrate to consumers the flexibility, speed and convenience of kosher cooking, while showcasing the Manischewitz label.

“When people think of kosher, they think of a slow process, like briskets,” said David Rossi, Manischewitz vice president of marketing. “We wanted to break that mold and give our core Jewish consumers new ideas about how to use our products.”

Thirty recipes were selected from more than 1,000 entries to compete in semifinals in New Jersey, Florida and Costa Mesa this fall. To qualify, recipes had to be original, kosher, limited to eight ingredients, including at least one Manischewitz product, and preparable in one hour or less. A panel of food experts, including Cooking Light magazine’s executive chef, Billy Strynkowski, selected the semifinalists.

Maintaining Manischewitz’s strict standards of kashrut for the multivenue event was no small task for the Secaucus, N.J.-based company.

“A lot goes on behind the scenes in a kosher cook-off,” Rossi said. “We essentially set up 10 kosher kitchens in the ballroom.”

“All stages of preparation for the event and the actual event itself were in accordance with traditional Jewish law,” said Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz, who supervises kashrut for Manischewitz.

Cook-off co-sponsor GE provided 10 stove-top ovens that were kashered and transported cross-country for the semifinals. New utensils and cookware were cleansed in a mikvah and labeled dairy, meat or pareve, and all ingredients were purchased and supervised by local mashgichim. Judges tasted the dairy offerings first and then the pareve and meat ones.

Inventiveness was on the menu, with offerings ranging from modern twists on traditional favorites, like almond milk-infused simcha sweet potato soup served up by Redondo Beach’s Terry Gladstone, to Mexican-influenced dishes, such as Los Angeles resident Ellen Burr’s “zesty Mexi chicken and matzah ball soup.” Organizers and judges got a literal and figurative kick out of the local zest.

“I love the spirit of the contestants and the creativity we’re seeing,” said Jeremy J. Fingerman, CEO of the R.A.B. Food Group, which owns Manischewitz. “We’re seeing different flavors out here than we saw in other parts of the country, more heat, more jalape?os. ‘Zesty Mexi chicken soup,’ you don’t see that in New York.”

Another south-of-the border-inspiration was Lowell Bernstein’s “matzah-males,” a creative take on traditional tamales. The education consultant and only male competitor developed the recipe after mastering Mexican cooking, because he was looking for something “bready” to eat at Passover.

“I substitute matzah meal for corn meal and wrap it in a banana peel, instead of a corn husk. It’s glatt kosher and kosher for Passover. It’s where a matzah ball and a taco meet.”

Bernstein’s creativity was not lost on the judges.

“Tamales made of matzah is close to brilliant,” said OCR Magazines publisher Chris Schulz.

Joining Schulz on the panel was an eclectic group of foodies and nonfoodies, both Jewish and non-Jewish, including cookbook author and Jewish Journal contributor Judy Bart Kancigor. Some, like Cooking Light magazine’s Kyle Crowner, had limited experience with kosher cuisine but were impressed.

“This food is much lighter for the most part,” Crowner said, noting the consumer trend toward flavor without added calories. The contest was further proof that kosher cooking has become mainstream, she added.

While contestants said they had been making their recipes long before they knew of the cook-off, some admitted having tweaked their ingredients to feature more Manischewitz products.

“After I saw the ad for the contest, I added the lemon horseradish sauce,” Rosenthal said. “It went ‘click’ and all fit together. I’ll be serving it with the sauce from now on.”

Simply Manischewitz Cook-Off Western Semifinal Winning Recipes:

Michaela Rosenthal’s Whitefish and Potato Knish

2/3 cup instant mashed potatoes
2/3 cup boiling water
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 can (2.8 ounces) french-fried onions
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
1 jar (24 ounces) Manischewitz whitefish, drained and patted dry
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 box (17.03 ounces) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
2 teaspoons Manischewitz fish seasoning
8 teaspoons Manischewitz creamy horseradish sauce with lemon

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a large, rimless cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease with butter. Place instant potatoes in a medium bowl. Add boiling water and stir to combine.

Measure two teaspoons of the melted butter and set aside. Add remaining butter to potatoes and mix well. Stir in fried onions and parsley.

Mash fish and add to potato mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
Remove both pieces of puff pastry onto a floured board. Unfold and cut along natural folds to form six equal rectangles. Remove two rectangles for another use. With a floured rolling pin, roll remaining four rectangles slightly to flatten.

Spoon one-quarter of potato-fish mixture onto each of the four rectangles and level to within half inch of the edges. Fold edges of dough and roll each piece into a log (like a jellyroll). Pinch seam lightly to seal. Trim unfilled dough ends.

Sinai Dinner Prompts Revamp of Biblical Proportions


In February 2004, chef Ido Shapira of Tel Aviv received an impassioned phone call from the United States.

“I want you to cook for a banquet in Beverly Hills in 2006.” The insistent voice belonged to Irwin S. Field, of Los Angeles’ Sinai Temple, who was planning a lavish dinner-dance to culminate a year of celebrations for the congregation’s centennial celebration.

Although Field, who is also chairman of the board of The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, couldn’t reserve the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton more than a year in advance, he wanted to make sure that his favorite Israeli chef would be available.

Field’s hiring of this master caterer with a reputation for exquisite innovative cuisine set the bar for the elegance of the evening. The goal was to treat the 765 Temple Sinai members who ultimately R.S.V.P.’d to the most spectacular social event in the temple’s long history.

“I wanted the menu to be as meaningful as the event, so I sought out the best kosher chefs I knew,” said Field, who co-chaired last spring’s event with Julie Platt.

Joining Shapira would be chef Katsuo Sugiura, in charge of the kosher kitchen at the Beverly Hilton, and Jeffrey Nathan, New York chef/co-owner of Abigael’s restaurant, all of whom were adept at orchestrating banquet-sized meals.

Nathan was also well-known, both in the United States and Israel, through his PBS television cooking show where he introduced a whole generation of viewers to what he calls New Jewish Cuisine.

Almost simultaneously, Shapira and Nathan have been reinventing kosher cuisine. Challenged by the strict dietary laws but not satisfied with serving, as Nathan puts it, “chicken on a plate,” they have made a point of creating dishes that use not only a variety of herbs, spices and unexpected ingredients, but modern cooking styles from all over the world.

Before they were even introduced to one another, they were, as they say, on the same page of the cookbook.

Nathan traveled to Israel to meet Shapira, and the two got on immediately.
Sitting with Shapira’s family in Hertzliyah, the pair of culinary iconoclasts began conceptualizing an exotic array of flavors from Israel, Iran and Morocco, combined with sophisticated dishes served in classic, five-star kitchens in the United States and Europe.

“We realized the menu should reflect the population of Sinai Temple, so we set about developing a mélange of Ashkenazi, Persian and other Sephardic dishes,” Shapira said. “We wanted to make this symphony of cuisines come together with flavors as diverse as the people who would be eating it.”

Shapira foresaw some challenges: He would have to cook in a country where some of his favorite herbs, such as zatar and sumac, are not readily available and some cuts of meat are not available as kosher. He practiced the adage “necessity begets creativity” and relied on Nathan’s experience.

“When Jeff returned to the U.S., we continued working on the menu in real time, Shapira said, referring to the half-day’s time difference between Israel and the United States
“I would e-mail him in the morning. I’d get my answer back at night,” he said with a laugh.

Most importantly, they wanted the meal to embody the bittersweet spirituality of the complicated Sephardic cuisine, forged by Jews who wandered all over the world after Spain’s order of expulsion in 1492. Making homes outside of their homeland, these ancestors incorporated the exotic flavors and unexpected combinations from their new countries with Jewish, Moorish and Spanish cuisine.

Shapira’s tabbouleh would not simply call for a cup of lemon juice sprayed over curly parsley and bulghur wheat. Instead, bits of cubed lemon would add unexpected piquancy at first bite. For the parsley, delete “curly” and insert “flat-leafed.”

His beef would not be baked at the traditional 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes per pound; instead it would be roasted three times longer at a temperature below 200, so the juices would stay inside the meat instead of escaping to the bottom of the pan. Forget the expected mashed potatoes; the dish would be accessorized with a puree sweetened by parsnips and made pungent with Jerusalem artichokes.

The sauce for Nathan’s Sea Bass Nicoise wouldn’t settle for any old olives; only juicy kalamatas, swimming in a sauce of brandy, orange zest and saffron threads would do.

They decided the menu would feature biblical food quotations, which would be printed underneath the name of each dish on the menu. Instead of traditional passed appetizers, they imagined a palatial table of fruits and nuts in the Persian tradition, which translated into a long winding table of beautiful seasonal offerings accentuated with orchids and champagne.

On the menu was a quote from the Bible: “The Lord is bringing you into a land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey.”

Although this menu was assembled for a beautiful party, these recipes are perfect for a lovely erev Rosh Hashanah feast.

The recipes have been adapted to family-sized servings with the help of chefs Jeffrey Nathan and Ido Shapira.

Sea Bass Nicoise with Saffron Tomato Jus
From Jeffrey Nathan, chef/co-owner Abigael’s On Broadway, New York.

1 bulb fennel, halved directly through the core
12 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
1 pound fingerling potatoes
1 medium red bell pepper

For Sauce:

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
1 15-ounce can whole tomatoes in juice (pureed with immersion blende)
1/2 teaspoon toasted ground fennel seed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For Fish:

48 ounces of sea bass fillets
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped coarsely
2 tablespoons thyme, chopped coarsely
2 teaspoons rosemary, chopped coarsely
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1/4 cup capers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Lightly coat fennel in olive oil and place on a greased baking sheet, with the cut side down. Toss garlic cloves, fingerling potatoes and red peppers in olive oil and place on different sections of baking sheet.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until potato is fork tender and fennel, garlic and pepper are fork tender and lightly caramelized. Remove from oven; allow to cool.

To make sauce: In a medium sauce pan combine broth, brandy, orange zest, saffron, tomatoes and fennel seed. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

Cut baked fennel and red pepper into medium dice, garlic cloves in half, potatoes into 1/2 inch rounds. In a large bowl, combine with olives and capers. Toss with a small amount of olive oil.

To make fish: Place sea bass in a large roasting pan. Dredge one side of fish in fresh herbs. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour prepared vegetables and sauce over fish. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until fish is cooked through.

Makes four servings.

Moroccan Carrot Salad
From chef Ido Shapira, Cutlet Catering Company, Tel Aviv.

2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch cilantro, rough chopped
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat a large soup pot of salted water. Bring to a boil and blanch carrots for one minute. Drain and shock the carrots under cold water.

For dressing: In a small bowl, combine olive oil, cilantro, paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.

Toss dressing with carrots. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Makes eight to 10 servings.

Citrus Pesto
From chef Ido Shapira.
(This is delicious as an accent to vegetables, fish or pasta.)

1 cup flat leaf parsley, stemmed
1/2 cup cilantro, stemmed
3 garlic cloves, peeled
Grated zest from 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon, strained
1/2 cup olive oil

Prior to preparation chill first five ingredients in refrigerator, along with bowl of a food processor. Place mixture in processor; pulse just long enough so ingredients are thoroughly combined but not mushy. Strain through a chinois into a bowl so pesto remains and escaping liquid can be saved for another use. This pesto may be made ahead of time and kept cold in the refrigerator.

Makes eight servings.

Tabbouleh Salad
From chef Ido Shapira.

2 cups coarse bulgur
1 pound flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 pound mint, chopped
1 bunch chives, chopped
2 red onions, chopped
4 lemons, peeled and cubed
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Soak bulgur in plenty of cold water for 10 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.

Rinse in colander and toss with parsley, mint, chives, red onion, lemons, olive oil and salt and pepper.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Makes eight to 10 servings.

Class Notes


Get Packing
It was weeks before camp started, but on Sunday, June 11, Gear Up for Camp Day brought 1,700 people — including 500 campers and their families — to The Federation’s Camp Max Straus, run by Jewish Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Campers filled laundry bags with camp necessities — sunscreen, T-shirts, hats, socks, towels — most donated by local businesses. Federation staff and volunteers, as well as staff from Jewish Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Camp Max Straus, helped distribute the goods.

This was the first time the event was held at the nonsectarian overnight camp in Glendale, giving parents a chance to see where their kids would spend the summer. The day also featured carnival rides, live entertainment and food.

The Federation is helping 1,100 underprivileged kids go to camp this summer, including those who will attend Max Straus — which offers one- and two-week stays to at-risk youth from the L.A. area — and some Jewish children, mostly immigrants from Iran and Russia, who will attend Jewish camps on Federation scholarships.

For more information, call (323) 761-8320.

Arts in L.A. Gets a Push
Arts Education in L.A.-area public schools is getting a boost from the Jewish community, as the Jewish Community Foundation and The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation recently announced support for Los Angeles County’s Arts for All initiative. Adopted by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors in 2002, Arts for All seeks to restore arts education slashed with the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978.

The Jewish Community Foundation, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, launched the Arts in Schools Giving Circle to try to raise $100,000 from individual donors by the end of 2006.

The Giving Circle hopes to provide matching grants to fund more than 150 arts residency programs serving approximately 4,000 K-12th grade students in 14 Los Angeles County public schools.

Seeded by a grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Giving Circle is the first opportunity for individual donors to participate in the Arts for All Pooled Fund, a consortium of foundations and corporations.

The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation announced a $100,000 gift to the Pooled Fund in May. Of this, $50,000 will support the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District’s plan over the next three years to hire an arts coordinator and to develop arts curriculum and arts education training for district teachers. The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation supports initiatives involving healthcare, access to college, Jewish programs in Los Angeles, and established a chair in Israel studies at UCLA.

For further information about the JCF Giving Circle, call program officer Amelia Xann at (323) 761-8714 or axann@jewishfoundationla.org. For information on the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, call (310) 449-4500. For information on Arts for All, visit www.lacountyarts.org.

Birthright Reaches 100,000
This month, the 100,000th 18- to 26-year-old will participate in a free, educational trip to Israel, thanks to Taglit-Birthright, a 6-year-old program supported by United Jewish Communities, the Israeli government and 14 philanthropists.

Internal research has shown that the program is meeting its goals of solidifying participant’s Jewish identity and connection to Israel, and has also generated more than $182 million in revenue for the Israeli economy.

But the program might be a victim of its own success: This summer, 15,000 applicants were turned away, when a record 25,000 youth applied for just 12,000 spots.

For information, call (888) 994-7723 or visit www.birthrightisrael.com.

Teens on the Beltway
Rabbi Morley Feinstein of University Synagogue in Brentwood accompanied the synagogue’s confirmation class to Washington D.C., to participate in the L’Taken Seminar of the Religious Action Center of the Union for Reform Judaism last month.

The study and action program was attended by 250 students, who culminated the conference by meeting with congressional staffers to advocate on behalf of issues such as Darfur, immigration and the death penalty.

Also attending were teens from Temple Beth Torah of Ventura, Temple Beth Sholom of Santa Ana, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills and Temple Israel of Hollywood.

 

Next Year in Cannes


It’s a tough thing trying to arrange a Shabbat dinner at the Cannes Film Festival.

My friend, Scott Einbinder, had gotten the idea two years ago, during my first trip to the festival. At first, I was hesitant. I was focused on business, a filmmaker obsessed with my career. Plus, I was perfectly happy to twiddle my thumbs alone in my hotel room all Shabbat.

Einbinder, who is less observant, had to convince me, a “Young Israel” Jew, that this was a good idea. What better way to escape the madness and deal-making of the festival, he argued, than by joining together with friends for a Shabbat Friday night dinner?

I stayed skeptical. Would people be willing to spend $90 to attend a dinner without music, when they could instead be dancing it up with Paris Hilton at the MTV party?

We sent out e-mails, hired a five-star party planner and lo and behold, 42 people showed up. Einbinder flew in Rabbi Mendel Schwartz and his wife, Esther, of the Chai Center for spiritual leadership, and we invited the local Chabad rabbi to welcome the crowd. Steve Kaplan, our co-host, arranged free use of a magnificent villa, and our inaugural event was a great success.

This year, we wanted to do it bigger and better. Our goal was to double the number of guests. The rabbis joined as hosts, as did Hollywood heavyweights Craig Emanuel and Joan Hyler.

Unfortunately, the villa was not available. Rumor had it that Lenny Kravitz was staying there, and although Jewish, Shabbat dinner was not on his itinerary. Our party planner spent several months trying to find an alternate venue and eventually found a quaint, beachfront restaurant a few minutes walk from the hustle and bustle of the festival. The Chabad rabbi worked his kosher magic, and we hired one of the best chefs in town.

The response was great, everything was set and we were on our way to Cannes — then the bad news came. The restaurant bailed. Seems it wasn’t thrilled with the sweetheart deal we had negotiated and was talking to another party with a fatter wallet. Welcome to Cannes.

Our dream dinner was turning into a disaster. Fortunately, Einbinder was already in Cannes. Along with the Chabad rabbi — who no doubt threatened the wrath of God — they convinced the restaurant owner to honor the negotiated price. We were back in production.

Cannes is hard to describe. Its beauty is unparalleled, its ambiance is magical, full of romance and excitement. Most of all, people who travel there have a sense of jubilation.

We spent Friday recruiting a few more guests to the Shabbat dinner. I bumped into veteran producer Arthur Cohn, who unfortunately couldn’t make the walk to the restaurant but was so excited, he wrote a check for two seats just so he could somehow participate.

On my way to the dinner, I pulled aside two eager, young British paparazzi who were hanging out in front of the Carlton Hotel. I told them that although Tom Hanks and Penelope Cruz would not be attending, our Shabbat dinner was a unique party not to be missed. For a nominal fee and the promise of delicious kosher food and wine, they agreed to shoot the event until sundown.

As the sun started to set, guests trickled into the party. Twilight in Cannes is always beautiful, the calm waters adding to the tranquility of the Shabbat. About 15 guests huddled for a quick prayer service, while others circled the hors d’oéuvres and posed for photos. Shabbat candles were lit and Kiddush recited. Then it was off to the requisite buffet.

More than 80 studio executives, producers, directors, lawyers, agents, distributors and rabbis all enjoyed a Shabbat dinner together in the south of France. For some, Shabbat was a new experience. For others, a weekly ritual. Still for others, it was simply another networking event.

But amid all the business talk, I couldn’t help but notice that this Shabbat experience was transforming business acquaintances into friends, strangers into family — from all over the globe, Jew or non-Jew, Reform or Orthodox, Sephardic or Ashkenazi, it didn’t matter. In a town that evokes images of Bridget Bardot in a bikini and Pamela Anderson in “Barb Wire” leather, we were infusing Cannes with Kiddush, conversation and tranquility — the very essence of Shabbat.

After a few short speeches and probably a few too many l’chaims, the delicious dinner was over. Everyone was happy and vowing to bring more friends next year. One woman came up to me and proclaimed that she would return to Cannes next year “if only to experience such a Shabbat again.”

One guest was so moved that he said he was making plans to throw his son a bar mitzvah party so he can share with him the experience of his Jewish tradition.

The next few days were very gratifying for all of us. We were the talk of Cannes. As we walked the Croisette, familiar Hollywood faces stopped us and promised they’d come next year

I even found myself next to Paris Hilton at a party. She’d heard all about the dinner. “I’ll attend if I have a Jewish boyfriend next year,” she told me.

I’m available!

I got into the movie business because I thought movies could change the world. I’m not sure if my movies will ever change the world, but I know that our Shabbat dinner certainly affected a few people.

There may be a lot of stress and aggravation in planning a Shabbat dinner in Cannes, but I know it was biggest Kiddush Hashem, sanctification of God’s name, I had ever been involved with. Next year, we plan to have an even more spectacular event. Who knows? Maybe Lenny Kravitz will sing with us.

Max Gottlieb is a film producer living in Los Angeles. If you would like to be placed on the invitation list, e-mail snowmax@comcast.net.

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‘Design’-ing Woman Comes to Town


“Kosher by Design,” (ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications, $32.99) “Kosher by Design Entertains” ($34.99) and “Kosher by Design Kids in the Kitchen” ($22.99) by Susie Fishbein.

With the frenzied anticipation generally reserved for the appearance of a rock star — or at the very least, Oprah — the Orthodox community of Los Angeles is abuzz with excitement: Susie is coming!

“Susie” is Susie Fishbein, the effervescent author of the “Kosher by Design” cookbooks, who has turned kosher cooking on its proverbial ear. And no wonder she bubbles over. According to Gedaliah Zlotowitz, Mesorah’s vice-president of sales and marketing, more than 160,000 copies have sold with no end in sight.

Fishbein will be making three exclusive appearances this month in Los Angeles (see box), and those lucky enough to get a reservation will watch, kvell and sample as their idol cooks.

“Susie Fishbein has done for Jewish cooking what [rabbi and author] Aryeh Kaplan did for beginning Judaism,” said Rabbi Shimon Kraft of the 613 Mitzvah Store on Pico Boulevard. “They’re buying her cookbooks en masse. She’s a genius at editing and putting everything all together.”

“Our patrons are meshugah for her books,” echoed Abigail Yasgur, director of the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles. “We have over 30,000 resources here, and the most precious part of our collection is Jewish cookbooks. Hers circulate so robustly. They’re fabulous.”

Just what is this revolution in kosher cooking that Fishbein has spawned? As food columnist, cooking instructor and dinnerware designer Debby Segura explained, “Lots of people used to feel tied to a few kosher cookbooks, but so much has happened in kosher food over the last 20 years that just wasn’t being reflected, and if it was, it was too complicated. Susie gives you food styling, kosher tips, kitchen tips. But the big deal about Susie’s recipes is they work.”

Risa Moskowitz, who chairs the event for Emek, added, “When I booked the event, everyone said, ‘Oh my gosh, I live by her cookbooks!’ There wasn’t one person who said ‘Who?’ People who aren’t kosher don’t realize what’s possible for us now, the variety of foods and the way to prepare them. They think kosher means dried-out, salted meat. Her books have had a tremendous impact.”

Toras Emes chair Sara Leah Beinstock agreed: “These are the ultimate kosher cookbooks. There’s nothing close to them on the market. Her recipes are easy to follow, and the food is appetizing and delicious. It’s very exciting to have gourmet Jewish cookbooks.”

Fishbein, an Orthodox Jew and mother of four children ages 3 to 11, understands that today’s observant Jews want to prepare many of the same exciting dishes found on restaurant menus and serve them with style. Those who grew up on Grandma’s Shabbos brisket now embrace her Rack of Lamb with Fig-Port-Shallot Sauce.

“Kosher food doesn’t have to be simple or bland,” noted Fishbein by phone from her New Jersey home. “Just about every ingredient is available out there kosher.”

The luscious table settings and presentation ideas that party planner Renee Erreich and Fishbein created for these books — and that photographer John Uher shot — fairly leap off the pages. But everything is doable.

“The food looks intimidating, but the recipes are not,” Fishbein said. “It’s not about putting on a show. These are recipes the family will want to eat over and over.” And they do. So popular are these dishes that guests recognize them on each other’s Shabbat tables.

Routinely dubbed the Jewish Martha Stewart, Fishbein squirms at the comparison.

“I’m flattered, but it’s not really accurate,” she said. “Martha Stewart is all about a lifestyle. If you want beautiful flowers, you plant them and this is how you do it. We’re busy. We have kids. We have jobs. We’re in and out of the kitchen trying to make fabulous meals. I take shortcuts she would never take. I’m about cutting to the chase to accomplish our goals.”

Beloria Fink, whose sister will be driving from San Diego to join her for the Emek event, observed, “Susie can take a simple recipe and it looks extravagant and elegant, like you’ve really knocked yourself out. She’s taken the bland, traditional Shabbos meal and turned it into elegant cuisine. She shows you how to set a beautiful table for each holiday so you can create a legacy for your own children.”

“Kosher by Design” marries food to holiday traditions in new ways that resonate with those seeking a deeper Jewish experience for their families.

“When I think back to Passover in my childhood,” Fishbein reflected, “I remember my cousin Jeff scrubbing the maror, my aunt cutting sheets of egg noodles and Grandma Mollie making chremslach, because 10 minutes shouldn’t go by without her feeding us something. These memories are like yesterday. It’s a happy place for me. I want that for my kids.”

To accomplish this Fishbein went way beyond “It’s Rosh Hashanah, let’s have honey.” Case in point: Pomegranate Chicken. “I tell my kids, ‘You know why I made this dish, you guys? Pomegranate has 613 seeds corresponding to the 613 mitzvot in the Torah.’ Maybe it’s not my grandmother’s chicken, but it’s incredibly appropriate.”

Similarly, envelope-shaped Won Ton Wrapped Chicken appetizers for Purim are edible reminders of the lots (purim) Haman drew to select the date for the Jews’ extinction.

For Simchat Torah she incorporates the tradition of eating rolled foods to mimic Torah scrolls.

“I thought stuffed cabbage was overdone,” Fishbein noted, “but I’ve got this awesome Chicken Negemaki. Chicken is rolled around scallion and red pepper strips and tied like a scroll with a blanched scallion. True, God never told us to eat Chicken Negemaki, but he didn’t tell us to eat stuffed cabbage either.”

With “Kosher by Design Entertains,” Fishbein moved on to celebrations — a housewarming, dinner for two, an engagement party — nine in all, with spectacular menus and extravagant serving ideas along with the simple, yet elegant recipes she had become famous for.

Now “Kosher by Design Kids in the Kitchen” offers the dishes kids like to eat — and cook — clearly explained, beautifully photographed and coded for difficulty with one, two or three chefs hats (see story p. 49).

How does Fishbein herself explain the hoopla surrounding her books?

“I think I hit a nerve in the community,” she said. “People clearly have had a creative passion in them that was waiting to be unleashed. I’ve unleashed their inner cook.”

Rack of Lamb with Fig-Port-Shallot Sauce

From “Kosher by Design” by Susie Fishbein.

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried minced thyme
2 shallots
2 racks of baby lamb chops, 8-9 chops per rack; have butcher French the bones
1 cup port wine, divided
8 fresh Mission figs or 6 dried figs, cut into quarters
1/2 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 450 F. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process 2 tablespoons olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and shallots 30-45 seconds or until thick paste forms. Rub herb paste into lamb.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium oven-proof skillet. Add lamb, fat side down, and cook over high heat 5 minutes. Turn lamb and cook an additional minute so that both sides are brown.

Add 1/2 cup port to skillet. Place skillet in the oven and roast 18 minutes.

Remove skillet from oven. Place lamb on a platter; cover with foil to keep warm. Add remaining 1/2 cup port and figs to skillet. Bring to a simmer. Use a spatula to loosen brown bits from pan. Add stock and simmer 3-4 minutes. Sauce will thicken to a nice amber color. Pour sauce over lamb and serve.

Makes four servings.

Additional recipes can be found at ” target=”_blank”>www.cookingjewish.com.

Susie Fishbein will appear in private homes on:

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Food for Thought


The only thing worse than going to most luncheons is having to write about them — blow-by-blows of well-meaning, well-deserved appreciations and thank yous and speeches that go on too long.

So on my way over to the Luxe Summit Hotel in Bel-Air last month I decided I wasn’t going to write more than a brief about this year’s Milken Family Foundation Jewish Educators Awards luncheon.

But here’s the thing: This event really is one of the most inspiring afternoons on the local Jewish calendar.

Maybe it’s because teachers are so notoriously underappreciated. And the event, which focuses solely on teachers and principals in our day schools, makes everyone in the room want to pump their arms and let out a big “Woo-hoo!”

The luncheon is well produced, featuring videos of the surprised recipients learning of the honor during assemblies at their own schools. These films of celebrating, table-banging kids — and shocked and teary-eyed teachers, getting drawn out hugs from colleagues — are the centerpiece of the luncheon.

And then after lunch we got to hear from the five recipients themselves; each received a $10,000 prize. In their allotted two minutes they did what they do so well: teach.

Rabbi Berish Goldenberg, principal of Yeshiva Rav Isaacson-Torath Emeth Academy, told about the troublemaker kid who got called into the principal’s office for the 50 billionth time. But this time, after the same lecture, he came out, changed his ways and within months became a model student.

What did it?

During the principal’s ranting and raving, the secretary buzzed in with a phone call. And the principal told her, “Sorry, I’m meeting with somebody very important now. I’ll have to call back.”

Somebody important. That’s all the kid heard.

Next up was Vivian Levy, who has taught third grade at Sinai Akiba Academy for 30 years. She told of the bearded fellow who approached her recently and said, “Don’t you remember me?”

And then she did. He was the kid who couldn’t sit still, whose hyperactivity had made school unbearable for him.

“You believed in me,” he said to her. “And you helped me to believe in myself. I was a handful in third grade, and you encouraged me and told me I could do it.”

Today, he is an emergency-room physician.

“What a perfect match for his learning style,” Levy said.

Chaya Moldaver, the beloved second-grade teacher at Yavneh Hebrew Academy, analyzed the patriarch Jacob’s trait of wanting blessings for his descendants. That, she said, is what inspires teachers to pass the heritage from one generation to the next.

Robin Solomon is up to her second generation of students at Adat Ari El Day School — and she hopes to retire before the third starts arriving. She said her decades as a kindergarten teacher have taught her that teaching is not magic — it’s simply about loving children, and helping them love Judaism.

And then there’s the educator I will always think of as Dr. Powell. Twenty years ago, Bruce Powell was my principal at Yeshiva University of Los Angeles, the first of three high schools he helped establish in Los Angeles. He also was founding principal of Milken Community High School, and four years ago founded The New Community Jewish High School, which has gone from 40 students to 270.

Back when Dr. Powell was my principal, he taught us that when you give a speech, you always grab the listeners with a good joke or a story. So I was a bit surprised when he opened with a potentially dry episode in which the sages of the Mishnah try to distill Judaism into pithy bullet points. But then came his own distillation: “It’s really all about lunch.”

Which was his way of saying so much more. How Judaism is about community (sharing lunch), tzedakah (providing lunch), nurturing others (making lunch) and standing up for your identity (matzah sandwiches for lunch) — and being willing to ask for a major donation (over lunch) for something other than yourself.

And this event — this lunch — lunch epitomized the common denominator of Jewish community through education.

Where else would you end up with a tableful of black hats right next to a table with a woman rabbi?

They eat the same food. They nod at the same words of Torah. They bentsch (say the blessing after meals) together.

Go find that anywhere else — and I mean anywhere.

And here’s a fitting postscript. One of last year’s recipients, Maimonides Academy Rabbi Mordechai Dubin, who teaches fourth graders and music, used his $10,000 award to produce a CD for kids. Its title is “I Made This World for You”; each of the 14 songs is based on a portion in the book of Genesis. This selection, along with the follow-up song, “I Believe,” based on Maimonides 13 principles of faith, have become hits in day schools across the city, and even the country. As a result, children as young as 3 are now quoting from Genesis and Maimonides.

So great teaching begat recognition, which begat more great teaching. And more recognition. And in the world of teaching, where recognition is not always easy to come by, that’s worth writing about.

 

The Circuit


In the Pink

Lladró, the world-famous Spanish House of Porcelain, joined forces with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation at a private reception at the Rodeo Drive Gallery recently to launch the new Lladró Pink Collection. A portion of the proceeds went to the foundation. Stephanie Medina Rodriguez, director of public affairs for KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV, was honored for her ongoing commitment to the organization. (From left) Lladró USA President Juan Vicente Lladró, Rodriguez and Linda Briskman, mayor of Beverly Hills. Photo by James Louis

Help for the Hungry

MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger provided a total of $305,000 in grants to 15 organizations working to provide relief for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. The grants span Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and support programs that offer food services to the victims of the storm.

Grant recipients include the Greater Baton Rouge Federation of Churches and Synagogues, Baton Rouge, La., $15,000; and Jacob’s Ladder: A Relief Project of the Union for Reform Judaism, Utica, Miss., $10,000.

“MAZON is an expression of the American Jewish community’s belief that all of us, regardless of faith, are part of the same human community,” MAZON President H. Eric Schockman, said. “During this time of great need, MAZON’s 100,000 supporters have responded in great numbers, enabling MAZON to provide critical relief to the region.”

Since 1986, MAZON has granted nearly $36 million in support of anti-hunger programs and advocacy working to end hunger and supply aid to needy families throughout the United States, Israel and other countries.

Donations to MAZON for relief efforts can be made at www.mazon.org. or by calling (310) 442-0020.

Beary Nice

As part of her bat mitzvah community service project, Nicole Sabolic, 12, of Northridge led friends and family members on a teddy bear drive to neighborhood homes and stores to receive donations of money and stuffed animals as a way to brighten the day of Providence Holy Cross patients. Sabolic and 10 of her family members and friends handed out the teddy bears to the patients at the medical center.

Return of the Scrolls

When the Topanga Canyon Fire entered Las Virgenes Canyon on Thursday, Sept. 29, and began moving toward Congregation Or Ami, Rabbi Paul Kipnes acted quickly and removed the synagogue’s three Torah scrolls to his home.

By that evening, the Calabasas congregation on Mureau Road was included in the mandatory evacuation. Once fire crews successfully contained the area the next day, Kipness and Cantor Doug Cotler led a procession of congregants to ceremoniously return the sacred Torah scrolls to the ark before the start of Shabbat services.

Music for Daniel

Each year, a festival of music fills the earth around Oct. 10, Daniel Pearl’s birthday, to celebrate his life and promote tolerance and “harmony for humanity.”

“Music Days is a musical protest against the hatred that took Danny’s life, in which musicians and audience together reaffirm their commitment to sanity and humanity,” said his father, Judea Pearl. “As the music blends with hundreds of voices from all over the world, people are empowered with the awareness of who they are, and what they stand for in a world gone mad.”

Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in 2002 in Pakistan. A classically trained violinist, an avid fiddler and mandolin player, he used his passion for music to form friendships across language barriers and cultural divides. His participation in musical groups in every community in which he lived, left behind a legacy of musician-friends around the globe.

Daniel Pearl Music Days uses the power of music to promote cross-cultural understanding and reaffirm a global commitment to humanity.

“Music Days carry special significance in Jewish communities, for they portray Jews as active seekers of peace and dialogue, in a spirit of a Jewish American journalist who earned respect on both sides of the East/West divide,” Judea Pearl said.

One such event, the American Youth Symphony’s performance of Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 2 in C Minor, Resurrection, was held in Royce Hall UCLA last week.

Over 35 countries are involved and approximately 200 concerts are performed as part of the series.

Pearl said he would like to see more participation in the future from the Arab and Muslim communities. This year Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan and Pakistan were involved.

For more information about Daniel Pearl Music Days, visit www.music-days.org.

 

Rabbis Call for Day of Fasting for Darfur


Because the quintessential Jewish celebration — of life, of survival, of victory — always involves food, it only makes sense that a Jewish response to tragedy involves fasting.

Rabbis from all denominations are calling upon Jews in Los Angeles to participate in a day of fasting, prayer and political activism to raise alarm about the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Roving militias, backed by the Muslim Sudanese government, have killed an estimated 300,000 black Africans and displaced, raped or maimed another 2 million in the last year and a half.

“We are appealing to people’s conscience to invoke traditional responses to calamity, and to think beyond the immediate bodily welfare of the Jewish people as entering our perception of what constitutes a calamity,” said Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky, president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and rabbi of B’nai David-Judea Congregation. The Board of Rabbis responded to a call to action issued by Rabbi Harold Schulweis of Valley Beth Shalom, who founded Jewish World Watch (JWW) in September 2004. The coalition of 14 synagogues works to combat genocide and human rights violations around the world through education and by building political will to confront genocide.

In the last eight months, JWW speakers have addressed students at 40 schools and dozens of clubs and synagogue groups. It advocated for the Darfur Accountability Act currently in Congress, has sent thousands of letters to politicians and raised $150,000 to build wells and medical clinics in Darfur.

The May 26 fast, sponsored by JWW and the Board of Rabbis, brings the Darfur atrocities to a wider swath of the Jewish community.

An almost unprecedented coalition of 17 Orthodox, Reform and Conservative schools and shuls on the Westside joined to sponsor a mincha (afternoon prayer) service and break fast at B’nai David-Judea on Pico Boulevard, one of three venues that evening.

While the Orthodox community has traditionally been more concerned with issues that directly impact Jews, rabbis’ readiness to sponsor this event indicates an acknowledgment that genocide anywhere is a Jewish issue, said Kanefsky, who is Orthodox.

“Our claim that the world stood by while the Holocaust unfolded is now pointed at us, and we have this opportunity to demonstrate that we understand the accusation we have leveled at others over the last 50 years,” Kanefsky said.

All three May 26 events will highlight action items such as fundraising or pressuring politicians.

“It is critical that this not be some sort of guilt-assuaging event, but a touchstone for a pattern of activity,” Kanefsky said.

Stephen S. Wise Temple: Service and break the fast, followed by lecture from John Prendergast, former director of African affairs for the National Security Council and currently director of the International Crisis Group. 6:45 p.m. (service/break the fast), 7:30 p.m. (speech). 15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive, off of Mulholland Drive near Sepulveda Boulevard; (310) 889-2274; e-mail dkabat@sswt.org.

Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center: Interfaith service with the All-Saints Church and musician Craig Taubman with break the fast and a short film on Darfur. 7 p.m. 1434 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena. (626) 798-1161.

B’nai David-Judea: Mincha service, Torah study, short film on Darfur and break fast, 6:45 p.m., 8906 Pico Blvd. west of Robertson Boulevard; (310) 276-9269; e-mail bdj@bnaidavid.com.

For information on Jewish World Watch, visit www.jewishworldwatch.org; e-mail pre-k-koreh@jewishla.org; or call (818) 530-4088.

The 411 on the 818’s Israel Fest


Â

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•What, Where and When: The 17th annual Israel Independence Day Festival celebrating Israel’s 57th anniversary on May 15, from 10 a.m.- 7 p.m., Woodley Park, Van Nuys (between Burbank and Victory boulevards).

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•Price: Admission is $5. Kids under 6 get in free.

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•Parking: Free on the streets near the fenced-in, gated festival area. Satellite parking will be farther away at Lake Balboa, with shuttle buses running from there to the park.

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•Numbers: More than 22,000 people attended the 2004 festival, which was held on Mother’s Day, and up to 45,000 are expected this year. More than 40,000 attended the 2003 festival, which started out in 1988 with about 500 people marking Independence Day at a Wilshire Boulevard hall, said festival executive director Yoram Goodman.

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•Weather Forecast: In the great tradition of the Israel Independence Day festival — expect it to be hot (it is May in the Valley after all). Goodman said areas such as the Tel Aviv Cafe will put up extra shade nets to make things cool. Check www.weather.com for the latest temperatures.

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•Security: Tight. The festival area’s central entrance will have metal detectors. Along with fire marshals, the LAPD’s Van Nuys Division will have at least 80 uniformed officers there.

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•For Eyes & Ears: There will be five stages this time — including a Teen Stage and a Fashion Show Stage — “last year we had four,” Goodman said. Folk dancing will be going on in one area, there will be a large childrens’ play area in what Goodman called a “humongous amusement park” and many musicians will be performing throughout the day, including the Alter Rocker and the corned Beef Rangers, who will be at Tel Aviv Stage at 11 a.m.

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•The Red Carpet: Israeli singer Sarit Haddad will be performing at 5 p.m. Orthodox talk show host Michael Medved will host the main stage’s one-hour Israel tribute at 1:30 p.m., with many local politicians, including both mayoral candidates. Talk show host Larry Elder has hosted the main stage event for the past three festivals, but Goodman said Elder wasn’t available this year.

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•New This Year: The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles will be a festival co-host and is supporting this event instead of holding its own Jewish festival.

“They are pooling together with us, getting out the temples,” Goodman said. “The Jewish community at large knows that this is the place to come now.”

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•Gone This Year: The Miss L.A. Israel Pageant. Last year, one of the pageants bikini-clad contestants became ill and dehydrated backstage. It was the festival’s first and last year for the pageant.

“We are not doing it; it brings too much controversy,” Goodman said. “This is a family event; we want the families to come. We decided to stay away from contests, stay away from beauty pageants.”

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•Vendors: Count on getting brochures, free candy or what-have-you at booths from such organizations as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, Camp Ramah of California, Democrats for Israel, the Republican Jewish Coalition, Downtown L.A. Motors Mercedes Benz, Morgan Stanley, El Al, the Israeli consulate and government tourism offices, Jews for Judaism, the peace initiative 10,000 Kites, the Mount Sinai and Hillside memorial parks, The Jewish Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Shalom LA and other Israeli newspapers, pro-Israel Christian radio station KRLA, the Jewish Free Loan Association, Jewish World Watch, StandWithUs, at least a dozen synagogues, including three Chabads plus the Jewish Defense League (with two booths), the Kaballah Centre, Belly Dancing for Fitness and Psychic to the Stars.

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•Water: Chabad of California will have a booth promoting its popular Jewish-questions Web site, www.askmoses.com and Chabad staffers will distribute an estimated 30,000 free bottles of water.

“We just have a whole truckload,” said Rabbi Simcha Beckman. “The idea is to fulfill people’s spiritual thirst and their actual thirst, with a bracha of course.”

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•Food: For the first time, the Tel Aviv Cafe area will offer coffee and other coffeehouse beverages. Other vendors will be hawking lemonade, Red Bull, knishes, Tunisian cuisine and, of course, falafel for all.

“We can’t have more than four falafel servers,” said Goodman. “You don’t want everybody selling the same kind of food.”

Don’t forget to stop by The Jewish Journal’s booth No. 18 on “Ben Yehuda Street.” Meet your favorite Jewish Journal celebrities, pick up some free goodies and enter to win raffle prizes from Gelson’s. For more information on the festival, visit

Calendar


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:
calendar@jewishjournal.com
.

By Keren Engelberg

Calendar

April 9/SATURDAY

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Friends of Valley Cities JCC and Westside JCC: 7:30 p.m. Celebrity staged play reading of “Driving Miss Daisy”with Charlotte Rae, Charlie Robinson and Alan Blumenfeld. $12-$16. Valley Cities JCC, Sherman Oaks. Also, April 10, 2 p.m. at Westside JCC, Los Angeles. (818) 786-6310.

Yiddishkayt Los Angeles: 8 p.m. “The Kvetching Continues” starring Jackie Hoffman. $25. Renberg Theatre, The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood.
(323) 860-7300.

Wilshire Boulevard Temple: 8 p.m. “Hope: A Musical Celebration of the Soul” with local cantors and guest singers. $36-$100. 1161 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. (818) 591-2706.

April 10 /SUNDAY

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Workmen’s Circle: 11 a.m. West Hollywood Senior Citizens’ Center Chorus performs songs in Yiddish, English, Russian and Hebrew. $5-$8. 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles.
(310) 552-2007.

StandWithUs: 8 p.m. “LaughWithUs.” Proceeds go to Israeli charities. $75 (includes two drinks). The Improv, 8162 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 836-6140.

EVENTS

American Israel Public Affairs Committee: Annual OC AIPAC Dinner: A Community United for Israel. Hyatt Newporter,
1107 Jamboree Road, Newport Beach.
(323) 937-1184.

Jewish Outdoor Adventures: 10 a.m. Easy to intermediate hike to Dawn Mine from Millard Canyon. Carpools available. www.jewishoutdooradventures.com

Jewish National Fund: 10:30 a.m. (registration), 12:30 (3K and 5K walk begins). “Walk for Water” benefits the Hatzeva Reservoir in the Arava Valley, Negev Desert. Community performances, children’s activities, hands-on exhibits and kosher food vendors. $25, $50 (family). Paramount Ranch, 2813 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills.
(818) 704-5454.

Jewish Federation Real Estate and Construction Division: 5:30 p.m. 65th anniversary and annual tribute dinner honoring Steve Sobroff. $150-$225. Beverly Hilton Hotel, 9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (323) 761-8226.

April 11/MONDAY

LECTURES

University of Judaism: 7:30 p.m. Public Lecture Series 2005 featuring Tim Russert, Paul Bremer, Andrea Mitchell, George Tenet and Bob Woodward. Universal Amphitheatre, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 440-1246.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Congregation Kol Ami: 8 p.m. “Torch Song Trilogy” screening. 1200 N. LaBrea Ave., West Hollywood. (323) 606-0996.

Israeli Folk Dancing: 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Classes by Israel Yakove meet Mondays and Thursdays. $7. 2244 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 839-2550.

National Council of Jewish Women:
9:30 a.m. (refreshments), 10 a.m. (meeting). Allan Gruenberg’s one man show, “The Life and Times of Mae West.” Free. Temple Judea, 5429 Lindley Ave., Tarzana.
(818) 758-3800.

EVENTS

The Jewish Learning Exchange: 6:30-7:30 p.m. (international buffet), 7:30 p.m. (program). “An Evening of Music and Song” with speakers Rabbi Michel and Rebbetzin Feige Twerski, musical performance by Shalsheles and the JLE choir. $250. El Rey Theatre,
5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 857-0923.

April 12 /TUESDAY

EVENTS

Valley Beth Shalom: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Annual Spring Boutique with more than 60 vendors supports the nursery school. 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino.
(818) 788-0567.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

California Institute of the Arts:
8:30 p.m. “What Makes a Great Magazine?” panel with Gil Maurer, Eric Nakamura, Steve Wasserman and Martin Wong. $8. 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia. (213) 237-2800.

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APRIL 13/WEDNESDAY

EVENTS

Hadassah Southern California: 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Youth Services Luncheon and boutique with guest speaker and special performance. Beverly Hilton Hotel, 9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 276-0036.

APRIL 14 /THURSDAY

LECTURES

Temple Kol Tikvah: 8:30-10 a.m. Town hall meeting with mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa. 20400 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills. (818) 348-0670.

Temple Beth Am: 7 p.m. Professor Reuven Firestone and attorney Josef Avesar discuss “Israeli-Palestinian: The Road to Peace.” 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 652-7353.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Santa Barbara Hillel/The Forest Foundation/Los Angeles Hillel Council/The Jewish Journal/ Jewstar.com/Platinum Events (18-25):
10 p.m.-2 a.m. Southern California Jewish College Night. Element, 1642 Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood. www.theforestfoundation.net.

PROGRAMS

Valley Yiddish Culture Club: Commemoration of the Six Million with documentary screening of Spielberg’s “Survivors of the Holocaust” followed by candlelighting and Kaddish. Free. Adat Ari El, 12020 Burbank Blvd., Valley Village. (818) 766-9426.

Congregation Or Ami, Jewish Family Service: 7:30-9 p.m. Madraygot 12-Step group. Recovery from addiction in a Jewish setting. Free. 26115 Mureau Road, Calabasas. R.S.V.P., (818) 880-4880.

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APRIL 15 /FRIDAY

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center: 7:30 p.m. “More Bad Jewish Chicks: Lynne Bronstein and Julia Stein.” 681 Venice Blvd., Venice.
(310) 822-3006.


PASSOVER 2005

Temple Adat Elohim Religious School: Sun., April 17, 9-11:30 a.m. “Exodus Experience” workshops for adults and families. Thousand Oaks. (805) 497-0361.

Temple Beth Am: Sun., April 17, 9 a.m.-noon. “Kashering for Pesach.” Kosher all Passover utensils at the temple. Also, April 22 Erev Pesach Shabbat Dinner and April 24 Seder. Los Angeles.
(310) 652-7354, ext. 555.

B’nai Tikvah Religious School: Sun., April 17, 10 a.m.-noon. Open House and Exodus Simulation. Westchester. (310) 645-6414.

Skirball Cultural Center: Sun., April 17, 11 a.m. “Reggae Passover: Songs of Freedom” with Alan Elder and friends. Ages 5+ with an adult. $9. Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (310) 440-4636.

Hadassah, Kochava Group: Sun., April 17, 4 p.m. Women’s Seder. $25. Seventh-day Adventist Church, Santa Clarita. R.S.V.P., (661) 297-2960.

Anti-Defamation League: Mon., April 18, 5:30 p.m. Jewish-Latino Seder. Temple Beth Sholom, Santa Ana. (714) 979-4733.

Temple Kol Tikvah: Wed., April 20, 7 p.m. Women’s Seder. Special songs and dancing. $15-$20. Woodland Hills. R.S.V.P., (818) 348-0670.

Congregation Beth Israel: Fri, April 22,
7 a.m. “Siyum.” Breaking of the fast of the first-born sons. Also, May 1, Yizkor Memorial Service. Los Angeles.
(323) 651-4022.

Merage JCC: Fri., April 22, noon-1:30 p.m. “A Taste of Passover” luncheon seder. Irvine. (949) 435-3400.

The Bistro Garden at Coldwater: Sat., April 23. Passover dinner. Studio City. R.S.V.P., (818) 501-0202.

The Chai Center: Sat., April 23, 6:30 p.m. (singles “Schmooze and Cruise” happy hour), 8 p.m. (seder), 9 p.m. (dinner). Seder also April 24. $39. Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., www.chaicenter.org.

Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging, Eisenberg Village Campus: Sun, April 24, 5 p.m. Seder. $15-$30. Reseda. R.S.V.P., (818) 774-3386.

Jewish Single Parent Network of Jewish Family Service: Sun., April 24, 5:30 p.m. Non-dairy potluck seder. Van Nuys. R.S.V.P., (323) 761-8800, ext. 1251.

Temple Adat Elohim Sisterhood: Sun., April 24, 6 p.m. Community Seder. (818) 375-1164. Also, Thurs., April 28, Women’s Seder. Thousand Oaks. (818) 706-2213.

Jewish Singles, Meet! (30s and 40s): Sun., April 24, 7:30 p.m. Passover dinner at Froman’s Deli. $18.95 (plus tax and tip). Encino. R.S.V.P., (818) 750-0095.

Nexus (20s and 30s): Thurs., April 28, 6:30 p.m. Sixth-night Passover Singles Seder in Long Beach. www.jewishnexus.org.

Workmen’s Circle: Sun., May 1, 1 p.m. May Day Seder celebration of freedom, community and Jewish tradition. $16-$39. Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (310) 552-2007.

Gay and Lesbian Jews of the Desert/JCC of the Desert WOW/Temple Isaiah/Temple Sinai of Palm Springs/Temple Kol Ami/Beth Chayim Chadashim/JPride San Diego: Sun., May 1, 3 p.m. Third annual Gay and Lesbian Seder. $35. Temple Isaiah, Palm Springs. R.S.V.P., (760) 328-1003.

Many synagogues and Chabads also host community seders. Please contact your local synagogues or visit www.chabad.org.
A synagogue directory can be found at ” width=”1″ height=”30″ alt=””>


Singles

APRIL 9 /SATURDAY

Hillel: 9-9:30 a.m. Producer David Sacks leads an ongoing weekend class on “Fundamentals of Judaism.” Free. R.S.V.P. for address, (310) 285-7777.

Nexus: 7 p.m. International dinner night: Brazilian barbecue. Costa Mesa area. www.JewishNexus.org.

Super-Singles (35+): 8 p.m.-midnight. Dance for singles and couples at the Elks Lodge in Canoga Park. $12. 20925 Osborne St., Canoga Park.
(800) 672-6122.

Singles Helping Others: 6-10 p.m. Sell tickets and refreshments and help clean up at “Hope: A Musical Celebration of the Soul.” Wilshire Boulevard Temple, 11661 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. (818) 343-4722.

Jewish Singles, Meet! (30s and 40s): 7:30 p.m. The comedy, “A Flea in Her Ear,” at the West Valley Playhouse. 7242 Owensmouth Ave., Canoga Park. R.S.V.P. (818) 750-0095.

APRIL 10 /SUNDAY

Wilshire Boulevard Temple: 10 a.m.-noon. “Lox, Lattes and Learning” at the home of Rabbi Dennis Eisner. Fourth meeting in a series of five. $50-$65. Mid-Wilshire area. R.S.V.P. to Rabbidennis@aol.com.

Social Circle (40s-60s): 10:30 a.m. Meet in the parking lot of Will Rogers State Park for a walk and no-host brunch at Mort’s Deli, 1035 Swarthmore Ave., Pacific Palisades. $7 (parking). (310) 204-1240.

Harbor Jewish Singles (55+): 2:30 p.m. “The Lion King” at the Orange County Performing Arts Center followed by dinner at the Claim Jumper. $28. 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.
(714) 842-7876.

AISH L.A.(22-33): 6:30 p.m. “Astrology and the Jews” with Chinese buffet. $14, Aries get in free. Aish Center, 9100 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 278-8672, ext. 401.

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APRIL 11/MONDAY

Coffee Talk (30s and 40s): 8 p.m. Weekly discussion group. $7. 9760 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 552-4595, ext. 27.

APRIL 12 /TUESDAY

Westwood Jewish Singles (45+): 7:30 p.m. “Saying ‘No’ and Not Feeling Guilty.” $10. West Los Angeles.
(310) 444-8986.

Elite Jewish Theatre Singles: 8 p.m. “The King and I” starring Stefanie Powers. $39 (prepaid only). 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (310) 203-1312.

APRIL 13/WEDNESDAY

Wilshire Boulevard Temple:
7:30 p.m.-midnight. David Dassa’s weekly Israeli dance lessons. Beginners at 7:30 p.m., regular class at 8 p.m. and open dancing from
9:15 p.m. $7. 2112 S. Barrington Ave., Los Angeles. ddassa@att.net.

APRIL 14/THURSDAY

L.A.’s Fabulous Best Connections: Dinner and cocktails at Morels Bistro at the Grove. 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles. R.S.V.P.,
(323) 782-0435.

Conversations at Leon’s: 7 p.m. “Three Steps to Turn Trauma Into Triumph.” $15-$17. 639 26th St., Santa Monica.
(310) 393-4616.

APRIL 15/FRIDAY

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

UPCOMING

SUNDAY, APRIL 17

Barbara’s Bungalow by the Beach (45+): 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Singles Sunday Champagne Brunch. $15. Venice residence. R.S.V.P. by April 13,
(310) 823-9917.

L.A. East Coast Connections (25-40): 11:30 a.m. Bagel brunch and Einstein exhibit at the Skirball at 1 p.m.
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (310) 358-9930.

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