Calendar: December 21-January 3

MON | DEC 23


Forget the movies — the man is making music. With more than 35 years of bringing New Orleans-inspired music to audiences all over the world, the band has mastered creating the sounds Allen has loved since childhood, including nods to George Lewis, Jimmie Noone and Louis Armstrong. Come because you liked “Manhattan,” and stick around because you’ll love New Orleans. Mon. 8 p.m. $70-$102. Royce Hall at UCLA, 340 Royce Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 825-2101. TUE | DEC 24


Tradition! It’s the fifth annual “Who needs Christmas, anyway?” celebration brought to you by your local Laemmle family. Norman Jewison’s adaptation of the Broadway classic is set in the Ukrainian shtetl of Anatevka, where Tevye the milkman has to balance the challenges of poverty, anti-Semitism and five young, ready-for-love daughters. You’ll get to be another voice in an already impressive cast that stars Topol, Norma Crane, Molly Picon and Leonard Frey. Tue. 7:30 p.m. $18 (general), $15 (seniors, 60 and older; children, 11 and under). Claremont 5, Music Hall 3, NoHo 7, Playhouse 7, Royal and Town Center 5. (310) 478-1041. ” target=”_blank”>


Comedian Elon Gold serves up a very Jewish Christmas with a special lineup of some very special guests. Known for his spot-on impressions of Jeff Goldblum, Jay Leno and Howard Stern, Gold is just as funny at being other people as he is being himself. Having been a judge on ABC’s “The Next Best Thing,” he is sure to deliver an impressive assemblage of L.A.’s finest. Tue. 7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. $17-$30. The Laugh Factory, 8001 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 656-1336. ” target=”_blank”>


A little schmooze and a little palooze can go a long way. Meet your match (maybe — fingers crossed!) at JDate’s favorite holiday party. With 19 successful soirées behind it, this year’s bash is going back to basics. Spice things up with tapas from Rick Bayless, winner of the first “Top Chef Masters” and host of the PBS series “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” a tequila tasting (if you want to splurge), drink specials, thousands of dollars in awesome prizes and dancing to a top L.A. D.J. Tue. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $35 (advance), $45 (door). Red O Restaurant, 8155 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (877) 453-3861. WED | DEC 25


As many of us will be very available, it is an excellent opportunity to give back. Join Temple Israel of Hollywood in partnership with Hollywood United Methodist Church to bring the holiday spirit to those less fortunate. Volunteer to cook, serve or give out gifts of toys and care packages. If you can’t be there day-of, you’re welcome to donate ahead of time so the turkeys, trimmings and toys are all possible. Wed. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Hollywood United Methodist Church, 6817 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 876-8330. FRI | DEC 27


It makes more sense to tell you what Mr. Hamlisch is not responsible for when it comes to defining music — but sense is no fun. A musical prodigy at the age of 6, the conductor and composer was the brain behind “A Chorus Line” and wrote the scores for “Sophie’s Choice,” “Ordinary People” and, more recently “Behind the Candelabra.” In this first film biography, we get an inside portrait of one of the most respected artists of both the 20th and 21st centuries. Fri. 9 p.m. PBS. Check local listings. TUE | DEC 31


Ring in the New Year with one of Hollywood and Broadway’s greatest showmen, portrayed by yet another great showman. Actor Brian Childers pays tribute to the crooning comic with songs like “Tchaikovsky,” “Thumbelina,” “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts,” “Oh, By Jingo,” “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” and more! Guests will receive New Years-y treats like champagne, desserts and noisemakers. Illusionist and comedian Bart Rockett will also be featured. Tue. 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. $55-$95. El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. (818) 508-4200. FRI | JAN 3


Comedian Katie Rubin takes to the stage in her one-woman show as a person trying to find her place among other people. With a Catholic mother and a Jewish father, Rubin stresses the “ish” of her religion while remaining committed to her spirituality. With song, timing and insight, it’s everything the theater should be. Fri. 8 p.m. $20. Through Feb. 27. Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 960-7780. 

Your Letters

Familial Dysautonomia

Ellen Jaffe-Gill’s article (“No News Is Bad News,” Jan. 25) well-defined the symptoms of familial dysautonomia (FD), and it certainly let readers know about efforts made to make genetic testing available in the Los Angeles Jewish community. However, there is so much more information about FD that is good news.

The Dysautonomia Foundation, a New York nonprofit started in the early 1950s by parents of children with FD, has been the springboard for research and discovery of the gene in January 2001, and its efforts and successes have also been focused on a diagnostic treatment and evaluation center at New York University Medical Center. The Foundation also funds a satellite evaluation and treatment center at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.

The Foundation provides counseling to families seeking support for a newly diagnosed child, and also provides information on other closely related Jewish genetic illnesses.

Should you have a family member or friend that displays FD symptoms, please contact Dr. Felicia Axelrod through the Dysautonomia Foundation at (212) 949-6644. If you or a friend are interested in genetic testing information, please contact Elsa Reich at the NYU Hospital Genetic Counseling Center at (212) 263-5746.

Anne Rainer , President Dysautonomia Foundation Southern California Chapter

We thank both Ellen Jaffe-Gill and the editor for helping us inform our extended Jewish family about familial dysautonomia (FD), the carrier tests available and the urgent need for research funding to save the lives of the children with FD.

The FD Hope e-mail address listed has been changed to:

We hope the entire Jewish community will join us in urgently working for a cure, which the scientists believe will be possible within the next five to 10 years.

Mavis Feinberg, Southern California Representative Familial Dysautonomia Hope


Knowing how seriously the editors take The Jewish Journal’s role in fostering Jewish identity and continuity, we were shocked that you would permit a writer to trash the Stu & Lew Productions’ Schmooz-A-Palooza on the basis of first-time jitters and personal bias. Especially, when the goals of the event are in sync with those of your publication. (“Schmoozapalosers,” Dec. 21).

When a day doesn’t go by in December that we’re not inundated with Christmas cheer, Dec. 24 is the perfect night for Jews to gather — if only to connect, have fun and be proud that we’re Jewish. It was clear that many did not agree with Ms. Davis’s sentiments, as the House of Blues was packed for the eighth year in a row. We’re disappointed that Davis did not do her due diligence, and call us to discuss her one experience. We could have put her in touch with some of the thousands who have had an amazing time at our events, made everlasting friendships, as well as met potential mates. And, of course, the dozens upon dozens of couples that have ended up under the chuppah as a result of Stu & Lew Productions. We can’t be all that bad, can we?

Lewis Weinger and Stuart Wax Stu & Lew Productions

Ritual Slaughter

It is likely true that part of the reason behind the drafting of the original Swiss law against shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter), as well as some of the current outcry against its repeal, are due to anti-Semitic sentiment (“Swiss Attack Jewish Ritual,” Jan. 11). However, honest Jews must stop hiding behind the excuse of anti-Semitism to defend a ritual that has been scientifically documented to be less humane than modern slaughter methods.

As a Conservative Jew who sends his children to Jewish schools and has strong ties to the Jewish community, it pains me to see the ignorance with which this subject is approached. I am certain that shechita was the least painful method of slaughter hundreds of years ago. It is undeniably not now.

We are wrong to defend it on any grounds other than pure religious doctrine. It is degrading to all of us to label as anti-Semitic every group with which we disagree.

Alexander Werner, Sunland