Hipster guide to the High Holy Days

3 ways to find High Holy Day meals


Ask your Jewish friends’ parents to adopt you for a couple of weeks.

Call your local synagogue and have them match you with a family.

Check out Sinai Temple’s “Break the Fast” on Yom Kippur, Oct. 4, 8-10:30 p.m. It’s $10 for guests, free for members. Registration at atidla.com.

3 places to get great local honey

Bill’s Bees is located in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. You can find their delicious honey made from bees fed native wildflowers at farmers markets throughout the region, including Glendale, South Pasadena, Burbank and Santa Monica.

Bennett’s Honey Farm is located in Ventura County, “home of the best sage and wildflower fields in California,” they claim. They are certified kosher and organic.

Honey Pacifica has been in the raw honey business since 1978. Pick up a jar at your local Whole Foods or at farmers markets in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica and other locations.



5 websites to help you bring in the new year


Jewels of Elul: Craig Taubman’s gathering of short stories and anecdotes to help us reflect and prepare for the High Holy Days.

Write for Your Life: A useful and accessible guide to writing about your spiritual practice.

My Jewish Learning: A clearinghouse of handy information about Jewish holidays, culture, beliefs, etc. Think of it as an interactive “Jewish Book of Why” —with more pictures.

Ask Moses: Get your pressing moral and spiritual questions from an Orthodox perspective answered from an Orthodox perspective by a rabbi with Chabad of California.

10Q: 10 days, 10 questions. Answer each one and next Rosh Hashanah you’ll have your answers sent back to you, so you can reflect on how much you have (or haven’t) changed.



5 books to read to get you in the mood


1. “This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation,” by Alan Lew. A guide to self-discovery and contemplation, drawn from lessons in Judaism and Buddhism.

2. “The Book of Life,” by Stuart Nadler. In the daring first story, an arrogant businessman begins a forbidden affair during the High Holy Days.

3. “Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar,” by Alan Morinis. A highly practical set of teachings for cultivating personal growth and spiritual fulfillment in everyday life.

4. “A Climbing Journey Towards Yom Kippur: The Thirteen Attributes of the Divine,” by R. Margaret Frisch Klein. A guided journal for climbing the spiritual mountain, with questions to help guide your thinking and writing.

5. “Days of Awe: A Treasury of Jewish Wisdom for Reflection, Repentance, and Renewal on the High Holy Days,” edited by S.Y. Agnon. Compiled by one of the greatest Hebrew writers of the 20th century, this is a one-volume compendium of meditations — from the Bible, the Talmud, midrash and the Zohar — to deepen the spiritual experience of the holiest days of the Jewish year.



5 things to know about the High Holy Days liturgy
(by Sinai Temple’s Rabbi Jason Fruithandler)


1. It’s long for a reason — the liturgy tries to give as many opportunities for connection as possible.

Over the course of the High Holy Days, there are special extra prayers, special extra Torah readings, and even a whole extra book of the Tanakh — Jonah — is read. The length and diversity of the liturgy is an expression of the tension between the need for communal strength and individual reality. Each of us stands before God (however you define God) with our own set of deeds and misdeeds. Each of us needs a different kind of encouragement or support to embrace our broken, imperfect selves and make a plan to try to be better. Our prayer services offer a community of people reflecting on the year, medieval piyutim (liturgical poems) on the core nature of death, uplifting music about the possibility of being better, stories of our patriarchs and matriarchs doing the best they can, and many other entry points into the themes of the High Holy Days. Each year, I try to find one access point, one theme, one idea, one song to connect to and carry with me into the coming year.

2. Most of the High Holy Days liturgy is written by poets trying to understand the themes of the holidays.

The early rabbis laid out an outline of what themes the prayer leader should touch on. There were no siddurs for the community. There were traveling professionals who had beautiful singing voices and were masters of the Hebrew language. They would take the themes of that outline and elaborate. The siddur represents a collection, made over the course of 2,000 years, of the best work of those prayer leaders. Do you have a favorite poem? Is there a scene from a movie or TV show that moves you? Add your own to create your personal siddur.

3. The sound of the shofar counts as its own prayer.

Maimonides writes that an entire prayer is in his mind each time he hears the shofar. The powerful sounds of the shofar are meant to stir our souls. The content of that private prayer is going to be different for each person, yet the strength of the prayer is amplified — for all are sharing that moment together. The contrast between the short and long blasts gives us a chance to be individuals together in community.

4. Kol Nidre was extraordinarily controversial.

The early rabbis tried for centuries to abolish or at least to adjust the Kol Nidre service. In many ways, it seems to undermine the halachic (Jewish legal) system. Kol Nidre as a service either annuls all of the vows (promises that invoke God’s name) from the previous year or the coming year. It is possible to annul vows in Jewish law, but you need a rabbinic court. During the Kol Nidre service, we make a pretend court out of three Torahs held by three individuals. There is no halachic standing for such a thing. In addition, it seems to completely alleviate the responsibility of making promises. However, every synagogue in the world has a Kol Nidre service. The people overruled the rabbis. People love the moment of Kol Nidre — not because of its legal standing, but because it transitions us into Yom Kippur. What better way to start a day of forgiveness than by facing the fact that we don’t live up to the promises we make to ourselves and others? More than that, we forgive ourselves for those failings. That forgiveness becomes the foundation of an entire day of admitting all of our shortcomings.

5. Rosh Hashanah is the more somber of the two holidays.

It is the day God is our jury and we are found guilty. Yom Kippur is the “happy fast” — God serves as our sentencing judge, and our sentence is commuted. We have another year to try again.



7 places to “just do your own thing in, like, nature


1. The top of Point Dume in Malibu: You won’t see whales this time of year, but you’ll see Catalina Island, the far horizon and not a lot of people.

2. Sturtevant Falls in Sierra Madre: A four-mile round-trip hike with well-maintained trails; a perfect place to escape the city.

3. The Cobb Estate in Altadena: It’s home to the Sam Merrill Trail and is referred to as the Haunted Forest, with widespread reports of spooky sightings. Also, it was owned by the Marx Brothers in the 1950s.

4. Eaton Canyon in Pasadena: Don’t go chasing waterfalls — the trail to the upper falls was closed off in August after too many hikers fell to their deaths. But you can still hike to the lower falls for a breathtaking view.

5. Griffith Park in Los Angeles: A well-trod urban oasis, but still a great place to bring visitors and get a nice view of the Hollywood sign.

6. El Matador State Beach in Malibu: Even on weekends you can find this beach, near the Ventura County line, relatively quiet. On weekdays, it’s positively peaceful. Sit down, stare at the surf, and reflect.

7. Temescal Canyon Park in Pacific Palisades: Go on a sunset hike and watch a big ball of fire drop into the ocean. Stunning views of the coastline await.



4 ways to put up a sukkah at the end of Yom Kippur


1. Check out Instructables.com for a guide to building a free-standing DIY sukkah out of PVC pipes. SimplifiedBuilding.com shows you how to make a more heavy-duty one out of steel pipes.

2. Sukkot.com offers wood-frame or steel-tube sukkah kits, along with wall materials, bamboo roofing, decorations, and even a lulav and etrog. SukkahDepot.com and SiegerSukkah.com also offer easy-to-assemble sukkahs, but be prepared to shell out a few hundred dollars.

3. Go to a Home Depot or Loews with a budget in mind and the dimensions of your back porch or yard, and channel your inner Tim Allen.

4. Team up with some fellow Jews and build a communal sukkah. There’s no better way to break the Yom Kippur fast than with a nosh among friends under the stars.



Putting the “high” in High Holy Days – 7 “medical” marijuana strains we’d like to see


– Dread Lox

– Maccabuzz

– Pineapple and Honey Express

– Canniblintz

– Chabud

– Andy Coughman

– Jerusalem Stoned



7 best ideas for karaoke songs for the High Holy Days

“I Ran (Shofar Away)” — A Flock of Seagulls

Pour Some Manischewitz on Me — Def Leppard

Love Sukkah — The B-52’s

Son of a Rabbi Man — Dusty Springfield

The Horah Dance — Digital Underground

The Unforgiven — Metallica

Don’t Stop Believin —  Journey



4 ways to work out with your fellow Jews


Om Shalom Yoga

Vintage Israeli dancing at Anisa’s School of Dance in Sherman Oaks, Sept. 27, 8:15 p.m.-12:15 a.m.

Pre-High Holy Days Yoga Unwind & Detox at Sinai Temple, Sept. 21, 11 a.m.-noon.

– The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles Tour de Summer Camps, Sept. 21



4 places to meet singles


Rosh Hashanah Party, Sept. 27, 10 p.m., at Whiskey Blu, 1714 N Las Palmas, Los Angeles. Including DJ Shay Silver, DJ Amit, DJ Yochai, DJ Final Cut and DJ Primitive. israeliparties.com.

Rosh Hashanah Party, Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m., at The Victorian, 2640 Main St., Santa Monica. There’ll be mingling, music, dancing, appetizers and a festive party spirit.

Apple Meets Honey Young Professionals Lounge at Sinai Temple, a place for folks in their 20s and 30s to stop by during or after services at Sinai for light bites (Rosh Hashanah only) and mingling. The lounge will be open on Rosh Hashanah Day 1 (Sept. 25), 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., and on Yom Kippur (Oct. 4), 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Rosh Hashanah Apple Extravaganza Party, Sept. 18, 8 p.m., at Moishe House LA,110 N. Harper Ave., Los Angeles. There’ll be delicious apple cider, apple pie, caramel apple dipping, and a discussion on what Rosh Hashanah means to young Jews.



6 best places to get round challah


Got Kosher?: 8914 W. Pico Blvd. (get the pretzel challah!)

Diamond Bakery: 335 N. Fairfax Ave.

Bagel Factory: 3004 S. Sepulveda Blvd. and 8986 Cadillac Ave.

Eilat Bakery: 350 N. Fairfax Ave.

Schwartz Bakery: 433 N. Fairfax Ave.

Delice Bakery: 8583 W. Pico Blvd.



How to pray if you’re not sure you believe in God


“Our prayers are poems! Allow them to be experienced as poetry. It is not about believing or not believing — the question is, do they move me? Do they frustrate or challenge me? If so, that is great, and then we can wonder why.”

— Rabbi Susan Goldberg


6 places to do tashlich


Creative Arts Temple, at Mother’s Beach in Marina del Rey, Sept. 26, 10 a.m.

Nashuva, at Venice Beach, Sept. 25, 5:15 p.m.

“Down to the River,” East Side Jews, at Marsh Park on the Los Angeles River, Sept. 27, 6:30-9:30 p.m., $40, includes food, drink and transformation.

Valley Outreach Synagogue, at Zuma Beach, Lifeguard Station 6, Sept. 25, 4 p.m.

IKAR, at Santa Monica Beach, Lifeguard Station 26. Sept. 28, 4:30-7:30 p.m.

Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Tashlich at the Beach, Will Rogers Beach, Sept. 28, 4-6 p.m.



Thoughts on tashlich and humility


“Water is a sign of humility. Our insecurities and weaknesses, which were blocking our growth, can be washed away like water and disappear. Living waters purify, and we seek purification by the mikveh of the sea.”

— Rabbi Yonah Bookstein



6 reasons to go to services


– Meet your bashert (soul mate).

– It’s a mitzvah!

– Make your bubbe and zayde proud.

– Practice your Hebrew reading skills.

– There’s usually free wine involved.

– Get in touch with yourself, get centered, start the New Year fresh and renewed



Where can I learn to blow a shofar?

Michael Chusid, a San Fernando Valley resident and synagogue Makom Ohr Shalom’s ba’al tekiah (shofar master blaster), offers workshops and classes and blogs about the art of blowing shofar at hearingshofar.blogspot.com.

Self-described “jazz comedian” David Zasloff also offers private lessons. Zasloff has staged shofar shows such as “Shofar-palooza,” and on Oct. 18 at the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, he will perform on the shofar all the Christian songs written by Jews. davidzasloff.com.



3 places to see art and get inspired

“Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s,” at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. See the work of Jewish filmmakers such as Fritz Lang, who later immigrated to the United States and gave birth to film noir.

“Minor White: Manifestations of the Spirit,” at the Getty Center. This highly influential American photographer showed how the visual language can be a tool for spiritual transformation.

“Mandala of Compassion,” at the Hammer Museum. Learn the virtue of patience from four Tibetan Buddhist monks as they handcraft a colorful sand mandala before your very eyes. And then, at the end, they’ll sweep it up, for a lesson in impermanence.



5 places to break the fast

– On the floor of your pantry, because, dear God, your blood sugar is low.

– Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes, because it’s all-you-can-eat.

– Swingers Diner, in Hollywood and Santa Monica, because it’s open late, and you can wash down your lox and bagel with a milkshake.

– Art’s Deli in Studio City has a special High Holy Days menu.

– Brent’s Deli in Northridge and Westlake Village.



6 Jewish drinks to break the fast


Ashkenazi Jews: sweetened tea.

Greek Jews: pepitada, made with crushed melon seeds, water, sugar and rosewater.

Iraqi Jews: hariri, sweetened almond milk with cardamom.

Tunisian Jews: black tea with fresh lemon verbena leaves and sugar.

Moroccan Jews: mint tea.

Tripolitan Jews: tea with cinnamon and sugar or honey

Uncomfortable seder table talk

We had just closed our haggadahs to begin the dinner portion of the Passover seder when the conversation abruptly, yet not surprisingly, turned to my singlehood.

There is a curiosity to some about a single, childless woman in her early 40s, and a guest at the table, a married mother of three, couldn’t hold hers in. The Four Questions all single women of a certain age know by heart were about to begin:

“You’ve never been married?” the woman asked as the youngest of her three children tugged on her sleeve and she sat him on her lap.

“No,” I responded, hoping my frank, curt answer would shorten the conversation.

No luck.

“Were you ever engaged?” she continued, as if, at the very least, a broken engagement might validate my ability to commit and marry, or to be loved and desired.

“No,” I said, now with a bitter taste in my mouth.

“But you want kids, right?” she asked pointedly, while cradling her son in her arms, as if I didn’t know that it’s easier to become a mother when you have a potential father for those potential children.

“I’ve always wanted children,” I replied. “Very much.” She had no idea of the amount of salty tears I’ve cried over my childlessness, I thought to myself.

My new friend refastened the yarmulke on her son’s head, reminding me of the expectations of a Jewish woman to bear Jewish children. She looked up at me with the final question:

“So, is it you or is it them?” She wanted to know who was to blame, but I wouldn’t take the bait.

“It just hasn’t happened yet.” I said. “It’s no one’s fault.”

I know this is true. Childlessness at a later age is a growing trend in America, and certainly among Jewish women. Nearly 50 percent of American women are childless, up from 35 percent a generation ago in 1976. Jewish women are more likely than the average American woman to remain single and childless until their mid-30s.

That’s because Jewish women are also more likely to have a college degree, and, like most college-educated American women, we are more likely to marry later. And just like our non-Jewish peers, we are also more likely to become mothers only once married — or at least living with our partner.

I never expected I’d be one of those who wouldn’t marry during my most fertile years. And while I hold no judgment on those who marry outside of Judaism, it was always a deal-breaker for me. Jewish women carry the Jewish babies, and we carry the Jewish guilt of keeping our heritage going.

Those of us, among the most well-educated, most financially independent Jewish women, who remain single and childless as our fertile years wane, are often made to feel like we’ve broken a promise to all Jews. It is our mandate: Get married to a Jewish man and have Jewish children. The unwritten promise of our having children works both ways; we expected it to happen, and others expect it of us.

Back at the seder table, the married mother still wasn’t satisfied; there must be a reason I haven’t lived up to my end of the deal.

“Were you too focused on your career?” she asked.

“I have to work, of course,” I told her, adding that I always found time for meeting men and dating. “Besides, we women are pretty good multitaskers,” I said, nodding toward the seder hostess, a married mom who is also a partner at her law firm.

“Then you must be picky,” the woman insisted. “There is no such thing as Prince Charming, you know.”

“It’s enough, dear,” her husband said, perhaps wondering if his wife thought she hadn’t been very picky in choosing him. I thought it gallant of him to try to save me from his wife’s inquisition.

“I just think that if a woman is smart and attractive, she should be married and have children,” she argued, like I was no longer in the room. Turning back to me, she added: “I’m sure you have lots of dates. I hope you find one you can settle down with soon.”

“I promise,” I said, just happy we were done. But my promise wasn’t for her. It was for me. I promise to never settle to settle down. Love isn’t a gift for those who deserve it, but a reward for those who wait for it. And while the unmarried, childless woman of a certain age waits for the right relationship, she isn’t waiting for life to happen to her. She finds great meaning in her beautiful, gratifying life of other things.

Despite all my good intentions and efforts, I may never make it to the Promised Land of motherhood. And while that promise may be broken, I never will be.

Love and marriage is a promise I will always keep for myself. And as I look out over the future, I see it waiting for me there. 

EVENT: Hot & Holy — A provocative discussion on sex and spirituality

A provocative discussion on sex and spirituality. Whether you are single, married, have a great sex life, or want one — join the conversation as we talk about what sex means to a relationship and how it is reflected in our faith.

Moderated by Ilana Angel, panelists are Rabbi Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom, Sex Therapist Dr. Limor Blockman, Dating Coach David Wygant, and Hollywood Jew Danielle Berrin.  Ticket price includes admission and hors d'oeuvres.  Cash Bar. Special Valet Rate of $7.00.

Click here to buy your ticket online and secure entry. Some tickets will be available at the door. First come, first served.

Calendar Picks and Clicks: Aug. 31-Sept 6, 2013



For Selichot this year, share in a unique experience of drama, prayer, music and meditation. Theatre Dybbuk, a modern theater group devoted to exploring Jewish myth, folklore and wisdom, joins with clergy to ring in the New Year with a dramatic reflection on life and the power of rebirth. There will be a pre-performance dessert reception at 7:30 p.m. Sat. 8 p.m. Free. No reservations needed. Valley Beth Shalom, 16739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 788-6000. “>templealiyah.org


There’s lying, deceit and double-crossing — perfect for the weeks before Yom Kippur! Director Stanley Kramer leads the likes of Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Phil Silvers, Edie Adams, Ethel Merman and more through a madcap cross-country romp to find a hefty amount of stolen bank loot under a “Big W.” The Aero Theatre screens a 70mm print of this epic all-star comedy film celebrating its 50th anniversary. Sat. 7:30 p.m. $11 (general), $9 (seniors and students), $7 (member). Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 260-1528. SUN SEPT 1



If memoirs could move, they might look a little like this. Based on the story of Livia Bitton-Jackson’s experience as a young girl living through the Holocaust, the Stretch Dance Company offers a moving, educational and realistic journey for audiences. With emotionally driven choreography, historically accurate set designs and an original score, we understand that thoughtful creativity is one response to unimaginable sorrow. Not appropriate for ages 12 and under. Sun. 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. $15 (general), $10 (student), free (survivors). Studio A Dance, 2306 Hyperion Ave., Los Angeles. MON SEPT 2


Painting the unseen among us, Stuart Perlman illuminates stories and lives that may otherwise go unnoticed. Capturing more than 100 homeless on location at Venice Beach, Perlman’s exhibition combines the portraits with essays that tell the subjects’ stories, narratives detailing the problem of homelessness in Los Angeles and Jewish texts that speak to the issue. There will also be information letting the public know how they can get involved. Mon. Through Nov. 3. Regular synagogue hours. Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 788-6000. vbs.org. For information on private docent-led tour, e-mail sylviabt@sbcglobal.net.



Who are you, anyway? The Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles (JGSLA) invites you to learn about some of the roots they have unearthed. Garri Regev, president of the Israel Genealogical Research Association, will discuss her group’s activities in Israel and their new free online database, which includes material dating back to the Ottoman period. Also, learn about the newest developments in family history research from the recent International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Conference. Tue. 7:30 p.m. $5 (general), Free (JGSLA members). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. THU SEPT 5


Diavolo Dance Theater’s “Fluid Infinities,” the third and final installment of an L.A. Philharmonic-commissioned dance series, has arrived. Diavolo showcases their inventive physical structures and patterned acrobatics to Glass’ haunting “Symphony No. 3.” With one of the most influential and inspired composers of the late 20th century sourcing the sound for the choreography, this audience can have great expectations. Diavolo also brings its innovative movements to John Adams’ “The Chairman Dances” and Sergei Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet Suite.” Thu. 8 p.m. $11.50-$114.50. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 850-2000.

Calendar Picks and Clicks: Aug. 3-9, 2013




Coffee? Check. Cookies? Check. Concert? Check! The Music Guild presents the California String Quartet as part of its 2013 Summer Festival. Playing since 2002, these four artists hail from Hungary, Bulgaria, the former Soviet Union and Solana Beach. With two violins, a cello and a viola, this award-winning ensemble promises rich sounds, passion for the classics, and a warm and intimate performance. The program includes selections from Haydn, Mendelssohn and Beethoven. Sun. 3 p.m. $50 (general), $45 (seniors), $12 (full-time students), $7 (children, 17 and under). University Synagogue, 11960 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 558-3500. “>museumoftolerance.com.



While it might not be your usual cantorial music resource, the band has had a long relationship with Hebrew and Judaism. Not only are Phish’s drum and bass players Jewish, the band as a whole has spent time covering and repurposing traditional Jewish songs. While we can’t promise you’ll hear “Avinu Malkeinu” or “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav,” we feel pretty confident that the evening will be an eclectic showcase of a veteran band. Mon. 7 p.m. $57-$74. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. (323) 850-2000. THU AUG 8


JazzPOP and Creative Underground LA present Daniel Rosenboom. Trumpeter, improviser, composer and record producer, Rosenboom skillfully fuses genres and collaborates with peers to create sounds that feel both classic and innovative. Having founded the collective Creative Underground LA in 2013, Rosenboom is not just passionate about his music, but the art and expression of creative types throughout the city. Thu. 7:30 p.m. Free. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 443-7000. “>skirball.org.



“Saturday Night Live” is on hiatus for the summer, so we have to get our laughs somewhere else. Spend your evening at the Improv, where stand-up comedian, actor and TV host Ben Gleib performs. A roundtable regular on “Chelsea Lately” and a podcaster for the SModcast Network, Gleib guarantees a funny Friday and a medley of material. Ages 18 and over. Fri. 8 p.m. $15, plus two-item minimum. Hollywood Improv, 8162 Melrose Ave., Hollywood. (323) 651-2583. “>cinema.ucla.edu

Calendar Picks and Clicks: July 27-Aug. 2




The rock ’n’ roll cellist brings something edgy to an outdoor summer evening during “Moving Pictures With Matt Haimovitz,” presented as part of MUSE/IQUE’s Summer of Sound. Israeli born and educated at Harvard and Juilliard, Haimovitz has a wealth of world experience and knowledge to share through his music, which features highlights from acclaimed film scores, classical music, rock and other genres. The program also includes “American Idol” finalist Allison Iraheta and a world-premiere composition by Peter Golub. Sat. 7:30 p.m. $35-$96. Caltech, 332 S. Michigan Ave., Pasadena. (626) 539-7089. “>cinema.ucla.edu.


The world just got a little bit smaller — and louder. The Ipalpiti Orchestra performs the final songs of its festival under the direction of Eduard Schmieder. Musicians from multiple countries, including Israel, Denmark, Romania and Germany, will play pieces by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Anton Webern, Marc-Olivier Dupin and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Let’s send them off with a nice farewell. Sat. 8 p.m. $24-$120. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., downtown. (310) 205-0511. MON JULY 29


The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony is bringing Eastern Europe to you in its second annual klezmer music celebration. It’s all-inclusive, so bring an instrument or some dancing shoes, because the stage belongs to you, too. And if you’re a little nervous about dancing, don’t be. Yiddish dance master Bruce Bierman will lead the way. Mon. 7 p.m. Free (reservations required). Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. E., Los Angeles. (323) 461-3673. THU AUG 1


The acclaimed Israeli composer, producer and performer resets Hebrew prayers and poetry to Indian devotional music. Blending international and personal influences, Ben-Tzur’s West Coast premiere showcases exactly what it means to cross political and religious boundaries. Part of the Skirball Sunset Concert series. Thu. 8 p.m. Free. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. FRI AUG 2


Spice up your Shabbat tradition with an outdoor escape. The Jewish Federation Valley Alliance, Shalom Institute and various Valley synagogues are partnering for a special Shabbat evening. Led by a medley of clergy, you won’t be wanting for a sense of community. The festivities include arts and crafts, a drum circle and social action projects. Bring a picnic dinner and stay for the after-service concert with family-friendly songs. Fri. 5 p.m. (activities), 6:15 p.m. (service). Free. Warner Center Park, 5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills. (818) 668-2336. “>thenohoartscenter.com.


Father and son collaborate to create this poetic exploration of religion, specifically the Baha’i faith, in these contemporary times. Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf and his cinematographer son, Maysam, travel to Israel and follow a gardener from Papua New Guinea who shares who he is and why he has settled where he has. With different opinions and lots of questions, “The Gardner” opens up a dialogue about spirituality and family that will leave you in thoughtful reflection. Fri. Various times. $12-$15. Laemmle Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 478-3836.

Calendar Picks and Clicks: July 20–26




Are you young, Jewish and professional? The Young Jewish Professionals of Los Angeles’ annual Summer White Party is back, and bigger and bolder than ever. Avoid the tired club and lounge scene at this poolside garden party. Enjoy a premium open bar, DJ and the privacy of a home away from your own. White cocktail attire, because that’s the summer way. YJP hasn’t forgotten what day it is, though, and the night will also include Havdalah under the stars. Ages 21 and over. $40 (online), $50 (door). Private residence in Beverly Hills. (310) 692-4190. MON JULY 22


Join the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust for a discussion of faith during hard times. Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, the Goldstine Dean’s Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University, moderates a panel that will try to make sense of the senseless. The evening will include a host of interfaith voices, including the Rev. Scott Colglazier of the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles; Fred Siegel, elder in the Beverly Hills Jehovah’s Witness Congregation; and Imam Jihad Turk, president of Bayan Claremont, an Islamic graduate school at Claremont Lincoln University. Mon. 6:30 p.m. $40 (preferred seating), $20 (general seating), $15 (ages 12 and under). Paramount Studios, 5555 Melrose Ave., Hollywood. (323) 465-5077. “>booksoup.com.



Nothing says party like vegetables and dirt! Join the Young Adults of Los Angeles for the group’s third annual summer soiree. Festivities include planting a vegetable garden to donate to YALA’s program partners, live music, a photo booth, drinks, food and complimentary parking. Leave your green thumb print and take a bit of the L.A. Jewish community back home with you. Wed. 7 p.m. $15 (Ben-Gurion Society and Chai Society members), $20 (community presale), $25 (walk-ins). Tiato, 2700 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica. (323) 761-8247. THU JULY 25


In this new documentary, director Emmanuel Itier celebrates women healing the world. First exploring the ancient goddess cultures, Itier journeys through the history of women and interviews 100 influential visionaries and scholars. Author and futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard and Austrian-born social activist Riane Eisler are just two of the featured interviews that showcase what the Jewish woman’s place has been in bettering our planet. Discussion with director following the screening. Thu. 7:30 p.m. $11 (general), $9 (seniors and students), $7 (members). Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. (323) 466-3456. FRI JULY 26


Leave your inside-museum voices at home. Longtime pianist, composer and arranger George Kahn brings his all-star band to LACMA Jazz. Featuring vocalists Courtney Lemmon and Gina Saputo, Kahn and his cohorts will provide easy listening. Maybe you’ll even hear some of the latest off of his sixth and most recent album, “Cover Up!” Fri. 6 p.m. Free. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 867-3000. “>levittpavilionpasadena.org

Calendar Picks and Clicks: July 6–12, 2013



Join Gustavo Bulgach as he leads his band in a unique exploration of gypsy jazz, old European street songs and Jewish folk music. Representing a new generation of musicians reviving some ancient rhythmic traditions, Klezmer Juice will make noise that the whole family can enjoy. The international group has offered fresh interpretations of classics like “Ot Azoi” and “Zemer Atik,” which promises to be familiar but never dull. All ages. Sun. Noon and 2 p.m. Included with admission. $10 (general), $7 (seniors and students), $5 (ages 2-12), free (ages 2 and under). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. TUE JULY 9


Having an affair with your sister’s husband? There’s something Freudian there, and we should probably talk about it. Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack discuss and sign their new novel about love, loyalty and betrayal. Seamlessly blending fact and fiction, these two award-winning writers, who have previously collaborated on “Literacy and Longing in L.A.” and “A Version of the Truth,” create a compelling portrait of an unforgettable woman and the mythic father of psychoanalysis. Tue. 7 p.m. Free. Diesel, 225 26th St., Brentwood. (310) 576-9960. WED JULY 10


Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright Bruce Norris follows up his monster hit “Clybourne Park” with this mind-scrambling comedy that distorts the audience’s perspective and poses profound questions about the choices we make. Directed by Tony-winning director Anna Shapiro (“August: Osage County”), “A Parallelogram” follows Bee, for whom the past, present and future collide when strange new revelations rock her seemingly normal suburban life and take her down a rabbit hole. Through Aug. 18. Wed. 8 p.m. $35-$50. Mark Taper Forum at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown. (213) 628-2772. THU JULY 11


In Michael Antins’ musical comedy, the beautiful and bright Sophia consults a therapist as she tries to reconcile her unlucky-in-love life. Presented by the Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles, this staged reading, under the direction of Darrel Friedman and featuring much of the original cast, guarantees an evening of laughter, music and maybe even some relating as Sophia deconstructs her romantic past in order to find her romantic present. Contains adult language and content. Thu. 7 p.m. Free. Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 788-6000. “>hollywoodbowl.com.



Born in Brussels, but raised in Boyle Heights, Gad presents a spoken word performance about growing up as a child of Holocaust survivors and entering show biz at the tender age of 4. The veteran assemblage and collage artist and painter has been a part of the L.A. art scene since the 1970s. Her familiarity with Hollywood and her own unique heritage promise a certain kind of poetry at this Armory Show and Tell. Adults only. Fri. 12:45 p.m. Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. (626) 792-5101. “>grandperformances.org.


Celebrate the creative universe of artist, illustrator, animator and toy designer Gary Baseman, whose whimsical exhibition “The Door Is Always Open” is currently on display at the Skirball. The festive “Into the Night” soiree features live bands, DJ sets, gallery explorations, art making, film screenings and a special appearance by the artist himself. Ages 21 and over. Fri. 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $15 (advance), $20 (door). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500.

Calendar Picks and Clicks: June 29 – July 5, 2013



In Lebanese writer-director Ziad Doueiri’s latest drama, Israeli Arab surgeon Amin has his picture-perfect life in Tel Aviv turned upside down when police inform him that his wife was killed in a suicide bombing at a restaurant — and they believe she was responsible. Convinced of her innocence, Amin abandons the relative security of his adopted homeland and enters the Palestinian territories in pursuit of the truth. Palestinian actor Ali Suliman (“Paradise Now”) and Israeli actress Reymonde Amsellem (“Lebanon”) co-star. Sat. Various times. $11 (general), $8 (children 11 and under, seniors). Laemmle Royal, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles. Laemmle Playhouse 7, 673 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. (310) 478-3836. laemmle.com.



He discovered martial arts sensation Bruce Lee, guided the careers of celebrities like Woody Allen, Joan Rivers and Neil Diamond, and championed the making of the Warner Bros. concert film “Woodstock.” Weintraub, a Hollywood legend you’ve probably never heard of, discusses his memoir, “Bruce Lee, Woodstock and Me,” as part of the Autry exhibition “Jews in the Los Angeles Mosaic.” Sun. 2-4 p.m. Museum admission rates apply: $10 (adults), $6 (students, seniors), $4 (children 3-12), free (children under 3). Autry National Center, Griffith Park, Los Angeles. (323) 667-2000, ext. 326. theautry.org.


Organized by JDate, this singles event for likeminded animal lovers features drinks, games and a bit of shmoozing — and dogs are welcome (leashes required). Tamar Geller, an ex-Israeli intelligence officer-turned-celebrity dog coach, hosts the event. Proceeds benefit Operation Heroes & Hounds, which pairs wounded veterans with shelter dogs. You don’t need to be a JDater or own a dog to attend. Ages 21 and over. Sun. 2-5 p.m. $50. Private Topanga Canyon estate (RSVP to receive address). jdate.com/mustlovedogs


“If your world is spinning … put a record on” is the tagline of writer-actor Alex Knox’s solo show in which a Jewish man’s crisis of faith takes him on a journey of self-discovery, which includes stops at untamed beaches on Kauai, sweaty recording studios in Los Angeles and a tiny town in Israel that hides an earthshaking relic. Directed by Becca Wolff. Ages 17 and over. Sun. 2 p.m. $10. The Lounge Theatres, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 469-9988. hollywoodfringe.org.


In Israeli artist Mordechay’s latest exhibition, mixed-media installations encroach on nearly every surface of the project space, with delicate paper sculptures suspended in intricate wire structures. Sun. Through July 28. 4 p.m. (art show opening). Free (donations welcome). Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice. (310) 822-3006. beyondbaroque.org.


Journal columnist Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt, a pair of outspoken and opinionated radio personalities for whom religion is a favorite topic of discussion, appear in conversation. Hewitt interviews Prager about why Jews keep kosher, why Jews don’t believe the messiah has come and more. Q-and-A session with the speakers follows. Sun. 5-7 p.m. $25-$75. First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena, 3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., Pasadena. (847) 840-5535. askajewevent.com.



Kibitz, dance and nosh. Organized by the Chai Center, this eighth annual Fourth of July bash features live spinning by DJ Gary; burgers, hot dogs and veggie options; beer and soft drinks; a Jewish astrology table and more. Co-sponsored by JConnectLA and AMIT. Young professionals (ages 21-39) only. ID required. Thu. 2-6 p.m. $13 (advance), $18 (door). Private residence, 602 N. Whittier Drive, Beverly Hills. (323) 639-3255. chaicenter.org/bbq.



Dust off the picnic baskets and pack up the carrots — Bugs is back. This latest world-premiere concert of Warner Bros. cartoons on the big screen — with their exhilarating scores played live — features composer, conductor and show creator George Daugherty and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Expect old favorites “Duck Amuck,” “What’s Opera, Doc?” “The Rabbit of Seville” and “Baton Bunny,” two new 3D theatrical animated shorts and more. Fri. Through July 6. 8 p.m.  $17-$167 (general), free (ages 2 and under). Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 850-2000. hollywoodbowl.com

Calendar Picks and Clicks: June 15-21



American Jewish University’s inaugural arts festival begins with an evening of contemporary dance with BODYTRAFFIC and the L.A. Dance Project, directed by Benjamin Millepied, a choreographer best known for his work on “Black Swan.” The festival continues with Gideon Raff discussing the similarities and difference between his Israeli series “Hatufim” and its American counterpart, “Homeland”; a performance by internationally renowned Israeli singer Noa and her longtime partner, Gil Dor; as well as a sold-out evening with comedian Joan Rivers. Sun. BODYTRAFFIC/L.A. Dance Project. 7 p.m. $45-$100. June 17. Gideon Raff. 7:30 p.m. $25. June 18. Noa and Gil Dor. 7:30 p.m. $45-$100. June 20. Joan Rivers. 7:30 p.m. American Jewish University, Gindi Auditorium, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 440-1246. wcce.aju.edu.


The Hammer’s fourth annual celebration of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” includes dramatic readings of the book’s “sirens” section by professional actors, live music by Irish band the Sweet Set, a Guinness happy hour and more. Set on the same date as Joyce’s novel, the event takes its name from the book’s protagonist, Leopold Bloom, who was born a Jew. Sun. 2-8 p.m. Free. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 443-7000. hammer.ucla.edu



Maron is on fire. His refreshingly honest — not to mention popular — podcast features one-on-one interviews with some of the biggest names in entertainment, and “Maron,” a new IFC series, offers more confessional, raw, honest and thought-provoking comedy. Tonight, catch the actor-comedian and members of the IFC series cast and creative team, including Bobcat Goldthwait, for an exclusive conversation featuring clips from the series. Tue. 7 p.m. $20. The Paley Center, 465 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 786-1000. paleycenter.org/2013-spring-marc-maron.


Journal book editor and author Jonathan Kirsch appears in conversation with ALOUD curator Louise Steinman to discuss his book “The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat and a Murder in Paris.” Released this month, “A Boy Avenger” examines the historical details and oral dimensions of one of the most enigmatic cases of World War II, concerning a 17-year-old Jewish refugee, Herschel Grynszpan, who walked into the German embassy in Paris on Nov. 7, 1938, and assassinated Ernst vom Rath, a low-level Nazi diplomat. Two days later, the Third Reich exploited the murder to inaugurate its long-planned campaign of terror against Germany’s Jewish citizens — what became known as Kristallnacht. Tue. 7:15 p.m. Free. Mark Taper Auditorium, Central Library, 630 W. Fifth St., downtown. (213) 228-7025. lfla.org


Judy Gold, the 6-foot-3 Jewish mother of two, is bringing her big, critically acclaimed off-Broadway hit to the Geffen. A one-woman show and homage to the classic sitcoms of Gold’s youth, including “The Brady Bunch,” “The Partridge Family” and “Facts of Life,” “The Judy Show” covers life, love, show biz and, ultimately her quest for her very own show. Through July 28. Tue. 8 p.m. $57. The Geffen Playhouse, Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater Season, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 208-2028. geffenplayhouse.com.



Orthodox music superstars Lipa Schmeltzer, an American Chasidic singer and composer who has been called “The Jewish Elvis”; frum rock duo the 8th Day, which combines contemporary popular music with Jewish themes; and vocalist Benny Friedman come together for a concert to raise funds for Bais Chaya Mushka Girls School. Israeli comedian and emcee Modi Rosenfeld brings the funny. Thu. 6:30 p.m. $18-$54. Wilshire Ebell Theatre, 4401 W. Eighth St., Los Angeles. (310) 363-0770. jewishconcertla.com.


The author and Hunter College professor discusses “Laughing all the Way to Freedom: Social Functions of Jewish Humor.” The lecture, which draws on his book, “Taking Penguins to the Movies: Ethnic Humor in Russia,” examines the crucial role of Jewish humor at the time of the modern-day exodus of Jews from Russia. Thu. 6:30 p.m. Free. Los Angeles Public Library, Westwood Branch, 1246 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 474-1739. www.lapl.org/branches/westwood



Alex, a 27-year-old drug dealer, is continuously paying off the debts of his burdensome brother, Isaac, in director Elie Wajeman’s moody Parisian thriller. When their cousin, who returns to France after his military service in Israel, tells Alex he wants to go back to Tel Aviv to open a restaurant, Alex is tempted to join him. Torn between making his aliyah, selling drugs, his complicated love life and a destructive brother, Alex will have to find his own way and make a final decision. Fri. Various times. $11 (general), $8 (children under 11, seniors). Laemmle Music Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 478-3836. laemmle.com

Calendar Picks and Clicks: June 8–14



Fresh from the killing fields of the Vietnam War, American hippie Mike lands in Israel clad in dirty jeans, beads and a crude rabbit-fur vest in writer-director Amos Sefer’s early-’70s cult film. Murderous mimes, bloodthirsty sharks, free-loving debauchery, robots and poignant anti-war monologues ensue as Mike and some Israeli flower children drop out of society and make their way to Eilat to build a utopia. Sat. midnight. $12. The Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 655-2510. cinefamily.org.



Beloved for his Broadway turns in “Evita” and “Sunday in the Park With George” as well as numerous roles on screens big (“The Princess Bride,” “Yentl”) and small (“Homeland,” “Criminal Minds,” “Chicago Hope”), the Tony and Emmy winner performs popular standards and Broadway classics while backed by the Pasadena POPS, conducted for this concert by Eric Stern. Sun. 8 p.m. $81-$153. John Anson Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. E., Hollywood. (323) 461-3673. fordtheatres.org.


The largest annual gathering of the LGBT community in Southern California features performances by Broadway star and recording artist Shoshana Bean (“Wicked”) and Grammy-winning R&B group the Pointer Sisters. Additionally, the fest includes dance venues, exhibitors, food and drink vendors, and thousands of members of the vibrant and active LGBT community. Sun. 11 a.m. (parade), 1:30-11 p.m. (entertainment). $20. City of West Hollywood, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood. (323) 969-8302. lapride.org.


After being greatly moved by “The Diary of Anne Frank,” a Jewish teenager from the San Fernando Valley began writing letters to Anne’s father, Otto Frank. The correspondence between Frank and Cara Weiss Wilson, the Jewish teen, continued over two decades. “Dear Cara,” a printed collection of the letters, chronicles a relationship that evolved from mentoring to a connection between kindred spirits. Today, Weiss Wilson reads passages from her book and participates in a discussion on the topic. Sun. 2-4 p.m. Free. Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, 100 S. The Grove Drive, Los Angeles. (323) 651-3704. lamoth.org.



Hofmann, secretary of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews, discusses the commission’s work and addresses the future of Catholic-Jewish relations under Pope Francis. The Rev. Alexei Smith, director of ecumenical and inter-religious affairs at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, gives remarks, and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, moderates a Q-and-A. Mon. 7:30 p.m. Free. Museum of Tolerance, 9786 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 553-8403. museumoftolerance.com.



An emerging L.A. folk musician who has played extensively within the Jewish community at camps, festivals and retreats, Pauker is revamping traditional Jewish music with his liturgically inspired spiritual repertoire. Join him for a record-release show featuring Elizabeth Joy, Scott Mellis and Brooklyn-based producer and DJ Diwon. 21 and over. Tue. 9 p.m. Hotel Cafe, 1623 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 461-2040. hotelcafe.com.



In this documentary, Moroccan-born filmmaker Kamal Hachkar explores the 2,000-year-old mellah (Jewish quarter) in his family’s village of Tinghir, Morocco, and follows the trail of the town’s once-substantial Jewish population to its émigrés and descendants in Israel. Hachkar will participate in a Q-and-A after the screening, and a sampling of Moroccan wines will be available. Thu. 8 p.m. $6 (general), $5 (members, full-time students). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. skirball.org.



Sinai Temple Rabbis David Wolpe and Nicole Guzik join musician Craig Taubman for their popular Shabbat service at the Ford for the third year running. Additional musical performers include Duvid Swirsky and George Komsky with special guest speaker and spiritual leader Rabbi Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom. Singer-songwriter Ari Herstand, a performance by Yasha Michelson’s MiMoDa Jazzo Gruppa dance ensemble and an art show curated by Laurel Johnson highlight pre-show festivities. Fri. 6 p.m. (picnicking and pre-show), 7:30 p.m. (program). $10 (general), $20 (VIP, includes premium seating). John Anson Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. E., Hollywood. (323) 461-3673. fordtheatres.org.


Direct from Broadway, following a critically acclaimed sold-out run, the pop singer-songwriter brings hits like “Mandy,” “Copacabana,” “Looks Like We Made It,” “I Write the Songs” and “Can’t Smile” to adoring Fanilows during a three-night engagement at the Greek. Fri. 8 p.m. Through June 16. $9.99-$249.99. The Greek Theatre, 2700 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 665-5857. greektheatrela.com

Calendar Picks and Clicks: June 1-7, 2013



More than 20 dramas, documentaries, comedies, foreign language films and shorts will be shown at seven venues from Thousand Oaks to Beverly Hills. Highlights at the eighth annual L.A. Jewish Film Festival include tonight’s star-studded opening-night gala celebration with the premiere of the comedy “Putzel,” starring Susie Essman (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Melanie Lynskey (“Two and a Half Men”); “Neil Diamond: Solitary Man,” a documentary on the music icon; “Becoming Henry/Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir,” with Polanski addressing every aspect of his celebrated and controversial life; “My Father and the Man in Black,” the untold story of Johnny Cash and his talented but troubled manager; and “When Comedy Went to School,” the closing-night film, which presents an entertaining portrait of the country’s greatest generation of comedians. A program of the Jewish Journal. Sat. Through June 6. Various times, locations. $40 (opening-night gala), $7-$12 (films). (213) 368-1661. lajfilmfest.org.


Rabbi Anne Brener, a psychotherapist and director of spiritual development at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California; the Rev. Janet Bregar, a pastor of Westwood’s Village Lutheran Church; and the Rev. Tom Eggebeen, interim pastor at Hawthorne’s Calvary Presbyterian Church, reflect on the passages from the Five Books of Moses that guide their lives. Jeff Bernhardt, editor of “On Sacred Ground,” moderates. Rabbi Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom hosts. Sat. 12:30 p.m. Free. Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 788-6000. vbs.org.


The Industry, Los Angeles’ home for new and experimental opera, presents this showcase of excerpts from six new operatic works-in-progress. Included are Brooklyn composer Aaron Siegel’s “Brother Brother,” an operatic work for percussion, strings, choir, soloists and actors that explores the enigma of brotherhood, and “Pierrot Lunaire,” a new theatrical song cycle by rising star composer Mohammed Fairouz with libretto by cultural critic and poet Wayne Koestenbaum (“The Anatomy of Harpo Marx”). The performances feature the modern music collective wild Up, conducted by Christopher Rountree and The Industry’s music director, Marc Lowenstein. Sat. 2 p.m. Free. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 443-7000. hammer.ucla.edu.



This annual gathering near Pico-Robertson builds bridges among local neighbors, businesses and nonprofits, and celebrates the cultural diversity of the community. This year, the 16th annual SoRo (South Robertson) Festival features a variety of L.A.’s hottest gourmet food trucks, including Kosher Grill on Wheels; more than 60 vendors, with the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles and ORT America among them; a boutique with Jewish artwork for sale; live musical entertainment and dancing. Attractions for children include a rock climbing wall, arts and crafts, and more. Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. South Robertson Boulevard, between Cattaraugus Avenue and Beverlywood Street (just north of the 10 Freeway at the Robertson Boulevard exit). (310) 295-9920. soronc.org.


JTeenLA’s “Telling the Jewish Story” showcases a diverse range of short films from Southland students. Halston Sage of Nickelodeon’s “How to Rock” introduces the festival, and a teen filmmaker panel and reception follow the screenings. A program of the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival, BJE — Builders of Jewish Education and The Righteous Conversations Project. Sun. 3 p.m. $6 (students, seniors), $8 (adults). Laemmle’s Town Center 5, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (213) 368-1661. lajfilmfest.org.


For those who are curious about Superman’s Kryptonian name, Kal-El, which is Hebrew for “vessel of God,” or who have ever wondered why the origin story of the world’s first superhero seems like it’s straight out of the Book of Exodus, today’s discussion explores the Man of Steel’s Jewish roots. Marking 75 years since Superman debuted in the June 1938 issue of Action Comics, Larry Tye, author of “Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero,” the first full-fledged bio of Superman; Geoff Johns, chief creative officer at DC Comics; Jack Larson, television’s original Jimmy Olsen; and “Superman” director Richard Donner appear in conversation. A Q-and-A and book signing follow. Sun. 2 p.m. $8 (general), $6 (members), $5 (full-time students). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. skirball.org.



If you’re interested in learning about Turkey’s Jewish community, which has a long history of self-sufficiency, don’t miss tonight’s shmoozefest, featuring young Jewish voices from Turkey discussing their traditions, triumphs and challenges, which continue to define their community. Organized by Entwine, the young adults outreach movement of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and presented in association with The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Wed. 7-10 p.m. Free. Mama’s Secret Bakery & Cafe, 8314-8316 W. Third St., Los Angeles. jewishturkeyla.eventbrite.com.



Margarethe von Trotta’s biopic stars Barbara Sukowa as the influential German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist Arendt. Using footage from the 1961 Adolf Eichmann trial — during which Arendt introduced her now-famous concept of “the Banality of Evil” in her controversial reporting of the trial for The New Yorker — and weaving a narrative that spans three countries, von Trotta turns the invisible passion for thought into immersive and dramatic cinema. Fri. Various times. $11 (general), $8 (children under 12, seniors). Laemmle Royal, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles. Laemmle Town Center 5, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino. Laemmle Playhouse 7, 673 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. (310) 478-3836. laemmle.com.

Calendar Picks and Clicks: May 25–31



Jewish Women’s Theatre sets the record straight about Jewish mothers in this new salon show featuring stories, poems, memoirs and songs. Performers include Shelly Goldstein, Annie Korzen and Monica Piper. Dessert reception and post-show Q-and-A included. Through May 26. Sat. 7:30-9:30 p.m. $25-$35. NCJW/LA Council House, 543 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. jewishwomenstheater.org.


Rochelle is in the midst of a midlife crisis, feeling lost and alone — until she takes a Flamenco class. Her immersion into Spanish music, song and dance takes her on a journey of sisterhood, faith and discovery in the world premiere of writer Stephen Sachs’ new comedy-drama. Sat. Through July 14. 8 p.m. (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), 2 p.m. (Sunday). $34, $25 (students, seniors – Thursday and Friday only). The Fountain Theatre, 5060 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 663-1525. fountaintheatre.com.



In Magid’s new novel, “Sown in Tears,” Leah Peretz is trying to survive life on the Pale of Settlement in 1905 czarist Russia. She must defend her children following a brutal attack on her village and deal with the advances of a Russian officer who is attracted to her despite his antipathy toward the Jews. Magid, a founding member of the MorningStar Commission, a group of industry women who advocate for a more accurate portrayal of Jewish women in film and TV, discusses her book and signs copies during this Local Authors Day event, which also features Robert Diemer and Barbara Jacobs. Sun. 4 p.m. Free. Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Coloroado Blvd., Pasadena. (626) 449-5320. vromansbookstore.com.



Remembrance services for veterans take place countywide. Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary hosts VA Greater Los Angeles’ Rabbi Barbara Sachs Speyer and Bea Cohen, who at 103 is the state’s oldest living female veteran; Groman Eden Mortuary’s gathering with Jewish War Veterans of the USA-Post 603 features a keynote presentation, reading and special tribute to Jewish-American veterans; and Conejo Mountain Memorial Park’s “Lest We Forget” includes a flag ceremony, live music and a memorial wreath tribute. Mon. Hillside: 10 a.m. Free. Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary, 6001 W. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles. (800) 576-1994. hillsidememorial.org. Groman: 11 a.m. Free. Groman Eden Mortuary, 11500 Sepulveda Blvd., Mission Hills. (800) 522-4875. Conejo Mountain: 11 a.m. Free. Conejo Mountain Funeral Home, 2052 Howard Road, Camarillo. (805) 482-1959. conejomountain.com.



Last winter, UCLA students interviewed Holocaust survivors and documented their experiences through audio narratives and photographs for the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Student Andrew Rosenstein’s photos serve as the basis of UCLA Hillel’s new exhibition, “Light Out of the Darkness: Memories of the Holocaust.” Today’s opening includes a conversation between Rosenstein and Todd Presner, director of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Tue. 3:30-5 p.m. (opening). Free. Hillel at UCLA, 5764 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 208-3081. ucla.hillel.org.



Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, singer Melissa Manchester and Cantor Magda Fishman are the featured performers during Temple Beth Am’s communitywide concert gala. Honoring the philanthropic Ziering clan, the event also features a musical tribute to Marvin Hamlisch. Wed. 7 p.m. $75-$250. Saban Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (323) 655-0111. sabantheatre.org.



Bridging the shores of the Mediterranean and the Pacific, entrepreneurs, investors, executives and tech enthusiasts from around the world converge on this two-day annual gathering at the Luxe Hotel on Sunset to learn about Israeli businesses and discover the next big trend. The conference’s fifth year features more than 70 speakers from Israel-facing companies — Activision, IBM, Paramount Pictures, Qualcomm — discussing their successes, breakthrough technologies, markets, deals and exits. Program includes meals, networking opportunities and entertainment. Thu. 7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Through May 31. $345 (advance), $480 (door). Luxe Hotel, 11461 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 445-5388. theisraelconference.org.



Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent and Dave Franco star in this caper flick written by Ed Solomon (“Men in Black) and filmmaker Boaz Yakin (“Remember the Titans”). The Four Horsemen, a team of the world’s greatest illusionists, stage daring heists against corrupt business leaders during their performances and then reward their audiences with money, all the while staying one step ahead of the law. Fri. Various times, prices and theaters. nowyouseememovie.com


The Soviet refusenik, Israeli politician, author and human rights activist appears as Beth Jacob Congregation’s scholar-in-residence. Highlights of his visit include a community dinner and lecture on Friday as well as a Saturday afternoon community lunch and learn, where Sharansky appears in conversation with Jewish Federation of Los Angeles CEO and President Jay Sanderson. Through June 1. Fri. 7:45 p.m. (Friday night community dinner and lecture). Sat. 2 p.m. (lunch and learn). $28 (Friday night), $25 (adults, Saturday lunch and learn), $25 (children, Saturday lunch and learn). Beth Jacob Congregation, 9030 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills. RSVP required for dinner and lunch (310) 278-1911. bethjacob.org

Calendar Picks and Clicks: May 4-10, 2013



America’s largest community service festival, which started in 1999 as Temple Israel of Hollywood Mitzvah Day, attracts nearly 50,000 people from every neighborhood, race, religion, ethnicity and socioeconomic group to hundreds of projects in communities across Southern California. Volunteer projects include such activities as planting gardens at schools, fixing up homeless shelters and sprucing up dog parks. Big Sunday Weekend also features concerts, book fairs and blood drives. Fri. Through May 5. Various times. Free. Various locations. (323) 549-9944. bigsunday.org.



Fueled by the artistic vision of choreographer-philosopher Boris Eifman, who told the Journal that he creates “Russian ballets with a Jewish soul,” this acclaimed dance company showcases “Rodin,” an expedition set at the crossroads of passion and insanity, based on the turbulent relationship between famed French sculptor Auguste Rodin and fellow artist Camille Claudel, his mistress and muse. Through May 5. Sat. 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m. Sun. 2 p.m. $29-$109. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. (714) 556-2787. scfta.org.


West Coast Jewish Theatre presents the story of a friendship between two elderly men — Nat Moyer (Jack Axelrod), a feisty, eccentric Jewish leftist who weaves good-natured con games in order to get his way; and Midge Carter (Carl Crudup), a cantankerous African-American who is afraid that he is going to be put out to pasture as his age becomes an issue at his workplace. Through June 23. Sat. 8 p.m. $35. Pico Playhouse, 10508 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 860-6620. westcoastjewishtheatre.org.



The Brooklyn-born Jewish composer, violinist and improviser delivers a solo performance during “VLN & VLA,” an epic concert of music for violin and viola. Other guest performers include Andrew Tholl, CalArts violin faculty Lorenz Gamma and CalArts alum Andrew McIntosh. Mon. 7 p.m. $10 (CalArts students/faculty/staff), $16 (students), $20 (general). Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, Walt Disney Concert Hall Complex, 631 W. Second St., downtown. (213) 237-2800. redcat.org.  



Israeli native Javier Orgman, who was raised in Uruguay, received violin training in El Sistema, the same place where Gustavo Dudamel learned to play. He and guitarist Tom Farrell make up this musical duo. Specializing in global post-rock, Duo del Sol performs tonight in Los Feliz. Tue. 8 p.m. $12. Rockwell: Table and Stage, 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 661-6163. rockwell-la.com.



Chef and restaurateur Judy Zeidler teaches the “Italian” way to prepare pastas of all shapes and sizes during her monthly live cooking demonstration, “Cooking ‘Around the World.’ ” Zeidler, a Journal contributor, author of “Italy Cooks” and an instructor at American Jewish University’s Whizin Center for Continuing Education, will be joined by a surprise guest Italian chef. The meal concludes with dessert. Wed. 10 a.m-1 p.m. $64. Location provided upon RSVP (e-mail dstuart@ajula.edu). (310) 440-1246. wcce.ajul.edu.


Pro-Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs presents an evening of comedy at the Hollywood Improv with stand-up comedians Avi Liberman, a regular on E!; Mark Schiff, who has opened for the likes of Jerry Seinfeld; Chris Spencer (“Vibe”); and Michael Loftus, a writer on the FX sitcom “Anger Management.” Proceeds benefit The Koby Mandell Foundation, which provides support to Israeli families affected by terrorism. Wed. 7:30 p.m. $80 (advance purchase), $90 (door), $100 (VIP). Improv, 8162 Melrose Ave., Hollywood. (310) 836-6140. standwithus.com.


A new collection of essays, “On Sacred Ground: Jewish and Christian Clergy Reflect on Transformative Passages From the Five Books of Moses,” features more than 100 clergy sharing the passages from the Torah that have brought meaning to their lives. Tonight, a diverse panel of local contributors — including Rabbi Elliot Dorff, rector and professor of philosophy at American Jewish University; the Rev. Janet Bregar of Village Lutheran Church of Westwood; the Rev. Thomas Eggebeen, interim pastor at Calvary Presbyterian Church; and the Rev. Sylvia Sweeney, dean and president of the Bloy House/Episcopal Theological School of Claremont — read from their reflections, answer questions and engage in an interfaith dialogue. The book’s editor and publisher, Jeff Bernhardt, appears as well. Wed. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Free. Temple Beth Am, 1039. S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 652-7354, ext. 215. jewishla.org.



L.A. Unified School Board member Steve Zimmer; Marqueece Harris-Dawson, president and CEO of Community Coalition; Nancy Ramirez, western regional counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF); and John Rogers, UCLA associate professor and director of the Institute for Democracy, Education and Access, discuss “California Schools in Crisis: Closing the Achievement Gap.” Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry moderates the panel, which is co-sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles; the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, MALDEF, the Los Angeles Urban League and the Anti-Defamation League. Thu. Noon. Free. NCJW/LA Council House, 543 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 852-8503. ncjwla.org

Calendar Picks and Clicks: April 20–26, 2013



The 18th annual Festival of Books features more than 100 panels, stage presentations, music and children’s programs. Authors include Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), singer Lisa Loeb, chef Susan Feniger and Journal contributors Jonathan Kirsch and Bill Boyarsky. Historian Jon Wiener moderates a discussion on “Holocaust Lives” with panelists Kirsch, Joe Bialowitz, Lillian Faderman and Marione Ingram. Sat. Through April 21. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Saturday), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sunday). Free (indoor Conversations and Book Prizes require tickets). University of Southern California campus, Los Angeles. events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks.


Singers and actors perform music from “Fargo,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and “The Big Lebowski.” Songs include “Man of Constant Sorrow,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” “Hotel California,” “Somebody to Love” and more. All ages welcome. Sat. Through May 5 (Thursdays-Sundays). 8 p.m. $20 (partial-view seating), $30 (regular seating), $40 (premier seating). Rockwell: Table & Stage, 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 661-6163. rockwell-la.com.



Explore the connections between faith, health and wellness as Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Kalsman Institute and Cedars-Sinai present a week of interdisciplinary learning. A panel discussion, “From Darkness to Light: Judaism on Hope and Health,” opens the event, featuring Rabbis Ed Feinstein (Valley Beth Shalom), Laura Geller (Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills), Naomi Levy (Nashuva) and Abner Weiss (Westwood Village Synagogue), with Journal Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Rob Eshman moderating. More than 60 events this week include “A Spiritual Guide to Autism,” “Defying Aging, Maintaining Memory,” “Drumming for the Jewish Soul” and “Drink, Eat and Have Sex! Can Jews Practice Moderation?” “Debbie Friedman Remembered” closes the event with an evening of tribute and song celebrating the musical legacy of the beloved composer and teacher. Sun. Through April 27. Various times, locations. Free. For a complete list of events, visit jewishwisdomandwellness.org.


Donate blood to help patients being treated at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Sun. 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Free. Nessah Synagogue, 142 S. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills. bikurcholim.net.


American Jewish University hosts the Ma’aleh School of Television, Film and the Arts, the only film school in the world committed to exploring the Jewish experience through the medium of film. Producer Tom Barad (“Open Window,” “Crazy People,”) moderates a discussion with David Shore, creator of the Fox medical drama “House”; Neta Ariel, director of the Ma’aleh School; and Asi Tzobel, director of “Stand Up,” one of three short films to be screened. Sun. 7 p.m. $20. American Jewish University, Gindi Auditorium, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. (310) 476-9777. wcce.ajula.edu.


Composer Daniel Asia leads an interactive presentation that delves into the mysteries and interrelationships of Judaism and classic music, and performs original music inspired by Jewish texts. Presented by the Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles and Valley Beth Shalom. Sun. 7:30 p.m. $10 (advance), $15 (door). Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 788-6000. jewishmusicla.org.



The legendary actor-writer-director shares stories from his memoir, “I Remember Me,” a collection of colorful tales about love and laughter, highs and lows and mistakes and triumphs. Wed. 7 p.m. Free (wristbanded event). Barnes & Noble, 189 The Grove Drive, Suite K 30, Los Angeles. (323) 525-0270. barnesandnoble.com.


Letty Cottin Pogrebin discusses her new book, “How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick,” with actor-director-photographer Leonard Nimoy. Pogebrin takes on the challenging question of how to provide comfort to people close to us and avoid botching the effort. Book sale and signing to follow. Wed. 7:30 p.m. Free. Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 481-3243. sinaitemple.org.



The first major museum exhibition of the artist, illustrator, animator and toy designer’s life and work explores the influences of Baseman’s Jewish family heritage and American popular culture on his art. Born in Los Angeles in 1960 to Polish-born Holocaust survivors, Baseman began his career as a successful illustrator in the 1980s, then transitioned into fine art in 1999, gaining wide recognition for his whimsical work. This exhibition includes an array of his illustrations for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the New Yorker and Rolling Stone; original paintings and sketches; and his artwork for the board game Cranium. What’s more, the works are presented in a setting that recalls his family home in the Fairfax district. Thu. Through Aug. 18. Noon-5 p.m. (Tuesday-Friday), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Saturday-Sunday). $10 (general), $7 (seniors, full-time students), $5 (children, 2-12). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. skirball.org/exhibitions/gary-baseman.



This ensemble of classically trained Israeli and American musicians grew out of pianist Eliran Avni’s desire for simulating the shuffle mode on an iPod player on stage. This later transformed into the concept of letting the audience decide what pieces are performed, and the result is a daring septet of pieces that range from baroque, classical and romantic to jazz, pop and Broadway. Participating musicians include Jessica Pearlman (oboe), Ariadne Greif (soprano), Francisco Fullana (violin), Linor Katz (cello), Moran Katz (clarinet) and Avni (piano). Fri. 8 p.m. $25. Ruth Todd Memorial Concert Hall, G-122, Long Beach City College campus, Long Beach. shuffleconcertlbcc.bpt.me

Calendar Picks and Clicks: April 6-13, 2013 [YOM HASHOAH CALENDAR]



This Arab-Jewish ensemble, composed of three members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and four musicians from Israel’s Arab community, performs a concert for peace in honor of Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s 65th birthday. Sun. 4-6 p.m. Free. Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Irmas Campus, 11661 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. (424) 208-8932. wbtla.org


Pepperdine University’s Judaic Cultural Awareness Club presents an evening of music, discussion and nosherei with Matisyahu. The singer participates in a pre-concert “Convosation,” where he explores his Judaism and its connection to his work, answers questions from the audience and performs a one-hour acoustic show. Kosher-style food trucks. Sun. 5-8 p.m. $5. Pepperdine University, Firestone Fieldhouse, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. (310) 506-4164. matisyahupepperdine.eventbrite.com.



The annual community-wide Holocaust commemoration at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust and Pan Pacific Park features an inter-generational walk with survivors, a musical performance by Theodore Bikel and a keynote lecture by UCI’s Ruth Kluger. Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; 11 a.m. (walk), 2 p.m. (Ceremony of Commemoration). 100 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles. (323) 651-3704. lamoth.org.

Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries leads a memorial service, collects tzedakah for the Six Million Coins project and holds a panel discussion on Raoul Wallenberg. 6150 Mount Sinai Drive, Simi Valley. Sun. 10 a.m. 6150 Mount Sinai Drive, Simi Valley. (800) 600-0076. mountsinaiparks.org

Temple Ramat Zion’s “Remembering the Past, Securing the Future” interfaith program features local religious leaders, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Abraham Cooper, and City Councilman Mitch Englander. Sun. 4 p.m. 17655 Devonshire St., Northridge. (818) 360-1881. trz.org.

“Tomorrow Never Came,” a family-oriented program, remembers the children of Terezin. Co-sponsored by Sinai Akiba Academy, MATI, the Israeli Leadership Council and the Sinai Temple Israel Center. Sun. 4 p.m. Free. Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (818) 456-8527. tinyurl.com/c96695o.

A memorial march starts at the Simon Wiesenthal Center and ends at Beth Jacob Congregation, where a program features guest speaker Peninnah Schram. Simon Wiesenthal Center March: Sun. 6:45 p.m. 9786 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. Program: Sun. 7:30 p.m. 9030 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 278-1911. bethjacob.org.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance hold a commemoration that includes David Siegel, consul general of Israel in Los Angeles; Bernd Fischer, consul general of Germany; Cantor Natan Baram and the Jewish Community Children’s Choir. Mon. 10:30 a.m. 9786 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. RSVP required. (310) 772-2505. museumoftolerance.com.



Relive the singing, dancing and more as the beloved musical returns. The Grammy-winning Broadway revival includes Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s score, featuring such classics as “I Feel Pretty,” “America” and “Tonight.” Tue. 8 p.m. Through April 14. 8 p.m. (Tuesday-Friday), 2 and 8 p.m. (Saturday), 1 and 6:30 p.m. (Sunday). Tickets start at $25. The Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 468-1770. broadwayla.org.



Mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel square off over the local economy, jobs and transportation during a televised debate at American Jewish University (AJU). American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League and AJU co-sponsor with KABC 7. Thu. 6:40-8 p.m. Free (reservations required). American Jewish University, Gindi Auditorium, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 446-4243. lamayoraldebate.eventbrite.com.


Israeli writer Meir Shalev discusses technique, craft and other facets of his art during “Concerning the Process of Writing” for the USC Initiative for Israeli Art and Humanities. Thu. 7-8:30 p.m. Free. University of Southern California, Doheny Library Lecture Hall, Room 240, USC Campus, Los Angeles. (213) 740-2787. roski.usc.edu


Valley Beth Shalom’s second annual Short Play Festival, sponsored by the shul’s Jewish Writers Roundtable, features six stories from Jewish writers across the nation: “Plastic Flowers” by Kennedy Center honoree Deanna Alisa Ableser; “Worst Fear” by playwright and screenwriter Barbara Beery; “Holiday Tree” by Dan Berkowitz, co-chair of the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights; “The Flier” by KPCC correspondent Kitty Felde; “Chestnut Trees” by Universal Television story editor Michael Halperin; and “Audition for a Reality Show” by playwright Michael Solomon. Rabbi Ed Feinstein hosts. Thu. 7:30 p.m. Free. Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 788-6000. vbs.org



In 1942, five Jewish families fled to a cave in southwest Ukraine, where they hid from the Nazis for nearly a year. Documentarian Janet Tobias follows cave explorer Chris Nicola, who, in 1993, discovered unusual objects — buttons, shoes, a grindstone and a rusty key — while mapping cave systems in Ukraine. Over the next nine years, Nicola pieced together the story of the 38 survivors who lived in the cave despite a lack of gear or training. Fri. Various times. $11 (general), $8 (children under 12, seniors). Laemmle’s Town Center 5, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (310) 478-3836. laemmle.com

Calendar Picks and Clicks: March 30-April 5



Former editor of the B’nai B’rith Messenger, Rolfe reads select passages from his new picaresque memoir, “The Misadventures of Ari Mendelsohn: A Mostly True Memoir of California Journalism,” which follows the sexual and political travails of a blacklisted Jewish reporter. Stein, whose Holocaust poetry highlighted her first book, “Under the Ladder to Heaven,” reads from her fifth book of poetry, “What Were They Like?” which looks at the lives — Iraqi, Afghan and American —caught up in the Iraq and Afghan wars. Sat. 5 p.m. Free. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 660-1175. skylightbooks.com.



In “Eyes, Stones,” poet Bell’s debut collection, the writer, performer, Jewish Journal poetry editor and educator considers the question of the Israel-Palestinian conflict through the prism of her heritage as the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. Bell reads selections from her book and discusses “Two Narratives in One Body: The Making of ‘Eyes, Stones.’ ” Sun. 10 a.m. Free. Temple Mishkon Tephilo, 206 Main St., Venice. (310) 392-3029. www.mishkon.org, elanabell.com/event.


Joshua Snyder hosts a seder plate full of stand-up comedians, some Jewish, some not Jewish, including vaudevillian performer Michael Rayner, Los Angeles comic Adam Feuerberg, Upright Citizens Brigade alumnus Steve Halasz and Zara Mizrahi. The full-service bar and restaurant serve an assortment of nosherei. Sun. 7 p.m. $15 (present an afikomen at the door to receive $5 off admission). Flappers Comedy Club, 102 E. Magnolia St., Burbank. (818) 845-9721. flapperscomedy.com.



Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet’s play, enjoying its first major L.A. production in more than a decade, follows a trio of misguided misfits who plot the theft of a rare coin collection. As the time of the heist approaches, tension and anticipation build, revealing loyalties and testing friendships. Tue. 8 p.m. Through May 12 (various times). $35-$55. Geffen Playhouse, Gil Cates Theater, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 208-5454. geffenplayhouse.com



Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), longtime writer for “Saturday Night Live,” discusses “How the Jewish Tradition Has Influenced One Senator” for the University of Southern California’s 12th annual Warschaw Distinguished Lecture. After spending 37 years as a comedy writer, author and radio talk-show host, Franken was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008 and sworn in in July 2009 following a statewide hand recount. During today’s lecture, expect Franken to expound upon his childhood living in Minneapolis, a city that had once been rife with anti-Semitism, his cultural Jewishness and his pro-Israel beliefs. Mon. 4:45 p.m. (reception), 5:30 p.m. (lecture). Free. University of Southern California, University Park Campus, Embassy Room, Los Angeles. RSVP to (213) 740-1744. casdeninstitute.usc.edu.



A writer and producer on “Seinfeld,” Mehlman discusses and signs his recent book, “Mandela Was Late: Odd things & essays from the Seinfeld writer who coined yada, yada, and made spongeworthy a compliment.” Thu. 7 p.m. Free. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 659-3110. booksoup.com.


Attend the U.S. premiere of “Pantry,” a documentary that examines the cultural and social activities of producing and eating food. The film follows MyVillages.org artists Antje Schiffers and Thomas Sprenger, who collaborated with locavore-minded organizations to stock a pantry to feed 8,000 attendees of a Berlin festival. Following the screening, Skirball curator Doris Berger talks with the artists about “Pantry” and their site-specific wall painting, “Let Me Show You Around,” the result of their two-week residency at the Skirball. Thu. 8 p.m. $5 (general), free (Skirball members, full-time students). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. skirball.org.



An evening of music, poetry and prose written by some of the great artists of the Holocaust, features a special guest performance by Noel Paul Stookey of the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. Rabbi Steven Leder conducts services with Cantor Don Gurney, during which Stookey performs “Jean Claude,” a song from his latest album, “One & Many,” telling the story of two French boys separated by the Holocaust. A songwriter committed to raising social consciousness, Stookey also performs a rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind.” An oneg Shabbat follows. Fri. 6 p.m. Free. Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Irmas Campus, 11661 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. (424) 208-8932. wbtla.org.


In a continuing effort to motivate future generations of musicians, Israeli violinist virtuoso Pinchas Zukerman leads the Zukerman Chamber Players, a world-renowned ensemble featuring four of Zukerman’s young protégés. Together they perform the music of Brahms and Mozart. On Saturday, the quintet plays Mozart, Kodaly and Schumann. Performers include Zukerman (violin), Jessica Linnebach (violin), Jethro Marks (viola), Amanda Forsyth (cello) and Angela Cheng (piano). Fri. 7:30 p.m. $62-$99. Sat. $67-$110. The Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. (310) 434-3200. thebroadstage.com

Calendar Picks and Clicks: March 16-22, 2013

Looking for Passover events? Check out our Passover calendar.



Storyteller Karen Golden takes a food-centric journey through the holidays with a buffet of traditional and original stories that highlight how recipes bond generations. A catered nosh — including kugel — follows the performance. Sat. 2-4 p.m. $20. Institute of Musical Arts, 3210 W. 54th St., Los Angeles. (323) 300-6578. lovefromjewishkitchens.eventbrite.com.



Alain Resnais’ “Night and Fog,” one of the most screened films about the Holocaust, is often criticized for its failure to confront the specificity of the genocide. “Concentrationary Cinema” authors Griselda Pollock and Max Silverman, both professors at the University of Leeds, present their argument that the film’s political aesthetics of resistance might better be approached through the prism of the camps as the core instrument of totalitarianism’s assault on the human condition. Sun. 2 p.m. Free. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 443-7000. hammer.ucla.edu.


Michele Paskow, a lecturer in the Jewish studies department at California State University, Northridge, leads a discussion on “Murder on a Kibbutz: A Communal Case,” a murder mystery by late Israeli author Batya Gur. Today’s event is the first meeting of a book discussion group at CSUN featuring the university’s Jewish studies faculty facilitating conversations about interesting reads. Sun. 2-4 p.m. Free. California State University, Northridge, Oviatt Library, Jack & Florence Ferman Presentation Room, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. (818) 677-4724. http://www.csun.edu/~jsprogr.


Fusing klezmer, political cabaret and punk folk, this internationally renowned ensemble, led by Detroit-area native Daniel Kahn plays West Hollywood. The set-list draws on material from the group’s newest album, “Bad Old Songs,” which features polyglot reinventions of Yiddish folk songs and covers of classics from Leonard Cohen and Franz Josef Degenhardt. Notable Russian-Jewish songwriter Psoy Korolenko appears as a special guest. Sun. 7-8:30 p.m. $10. Plummer Park, Fiesta Hall, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. (213) 389-8880. yiddishkayt.org.



Rabbi Mark Borovitz, spiritual leader of rehabilitation center Beit T’Shuvah, and Cambria Gordon, co-author of “The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming,” discuss mindfulness in navigating today’s technologically dense world during an evening of dinner and learning. Gordon, wife of “Homeland” producer Howard Gordon, who lost control of her SUV while reaching for her cell phone and struck an elderly man in 2011, shares her personal story on the dangers and consequences of distracted driving and the faith-based lessons she learned. Mon. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free. Beit T’Shuvah, 8831 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 204-5200. beittshuvah.org.


The singer-songwriter, son of folk-rock icon Paul Simon, moves away from his alt country-flavored debut to explore a modern psychedelic folk-rock sound driven by electric guitars as he plays material from his forthcoming sophomore album, “Division Street.” Willoughby, Henry Wolfe and Heather Porcarro also perform. 21 and older. Mon. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Free. The Satellite, 1717 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 661-4380. thesatellitela.com.



The Women’s International Zionist Organization hosts a special dessert reception and Q-and-A with the acclaimed Israeli writer. A Jewish Journal contributor, Mossanen is author of the historical novels, “The Last Romanov,” “Harem” and “Courtesan.” Tue. 7 p.m. $36. Light in Art Gallery, 8408 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 378-2312. wizola.org.



Set in Los Angeles’ revitalized downtown and a highlight of the 2012 Los Angles Jewish Film Festival, this indie romantic-comedy follows a nebbish-y young Jewish woman named Deb (Sara Rue). Trapped in the role of caretaker of her unappreciative family, Deb suddenly gets her own life when she volunteers to cat-sit at her unrequited love’s downtown loft for a week. Oscar nominee Elliott Gould costars as Burt Dorfman, Deb’s cantankerous widowed father. Fri. Various times. $11 (general), $8 (children younger than 12, seniors). Laemmle’s Noho 7, 5240 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Laemmle’s Music Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Laemmle’s Playhouse 7, 673 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Laemmle’s Town Center 5, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino. laemmle.com



Celebrate the Jewish people’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery with Pesach events that begin well before the first seder on March 25. Highlights include musician Craig Taubman’s interfaith experience, drawing Jewish, Muslim and Christian clergy to downtown’s Pico Union neighborhood; acclaimed restaurant Jar’s kosher-for-Passover menu, which features crispy potato pancakes, Alaskan halibut and horseradish mash potatoes; and the National Council of Jewish Women/Los Angeles’ women’s seder, which aims to inspire and educate about social justice issues. With events for children and their parents, the elderly, young professionals and for all denominations, there is something for everyone.

View more Passover events here.

Calendar Picks and Clicks: March 9-15, 2013



Explore multiple dimensions of Israel with Arieh Saposnik, director of UCLA’s Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, UCLA political science professor Steven Spiegel, visiting scholars and others during this One-Day University program at UCLA. Activities include panel discussions on policy issues, courses on Israeli history, music, economics and art, and a buffet luncheon. Natasha Mozgovaya, former chief U.S. correspondent for Haaretz, delivers the keynote address, “The Israeli Elections: Deepening the Divide or Renewing the Social Contract?” Sun. 9:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Free ($36 for luncheon and keynote address, advance payment required). UCLA Faculty Center, 480 Charles E. Young Drive East, Los Angeles. (310) 825-9646. international.ucla.edu/israel.


The 10th annual Interfaith Symposium of Theology, Art and Music examines the Psalms from multiple viewpoints. A panel discussion, moderated by Valley Beth Shalom’s Rabbi Ed Feinstein, features art historian Jeremy Glatstein, composer, conductor and scholar Nick Strimple and prominent Jewish, Protestant and Catholic clergy. Afterward, Strimple conducts the Beverly Hills Presbyterian Chancel Choir, the Choral Society of Southern California and the Zimriyah Chorale in a performance of music inspired by the Psalms. Sun. 1 p.m. (symposium), 3 p.m. (concert). Free. Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church, 505 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. (818) 907-7194 or (310) 271-5194. jewishmusicla.org or bhpc.org.


Inspired by the critically acclaimed “The Pianist of Willesden Lane,” this Valley Torah High School performance — for women only — combines classical piano, dance and choral numbers to celebrate the power and triumph of the children of the Kindertransport. Sun. 3 p.m., 7 p.m. $25. Salter Family Theater, Beverly Hills High School, 241 Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills. (818) 505-7999. vths.org.



Rabbi Deborah Prinz’s new book, “On the Chocolate Trail,” draws on her many years spent unraveling religious connections in the early chocolate trade. Find out how chocolate outed the Jews in Mexico after the Inquisition, why Israelis are meshuga for chocolate and more during this reading and signing with Prinz at the Skirball. Tue. 8 p.m. $10 (general), free (Skirball and Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles members). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. skirball.org.



The Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Lipstadt directs HDOT.org (Holocaust Denial on Trial) and plays a key role in legal and political cases involving Holocaust denial — most famously in a suit brought against her by Holocaust denier David Irving for alleged libel. Tonight, Lipstadt appears at Whittier College to deliver the 2013 Feinberg Lecture. The annual speaker series features major scholars discussing broad historic, religious and political issues encompassed by Judaism and its role in the changing world. Wed. 7 p.m. Free (reservations recommended). Whittier College, Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts, 13406 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier. (562) 907-4219. whittier.edu.



Join California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones; Paul Song, board member with Physicians for a National Health Program California; and Molly Tavella, education and outreach coordinator with Physicians for a National Health Program California for a discussion on how the Affordable Care Act will impact consumers, employers and insurance companies. Wed. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Free. NCJW/LA Council House, 543 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 852-8503. ncjwla.org.


It should be no surprise that the versatile actor (“The Big Chill,” “Jurassic Park”) is also an accomplished jazz pianist. Goldblum and his Mildred Snitzer Orchestra — who played Coachella 2011 — appear tonight at the Rockwell in Los Feliz. All ages welcome. Wed. 9 p.m., 11 p.m. Free (general admission), $15 -$20 (VIP seating). Rockwell: Table & Stage, 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 661-6163, ext. 20. rockwell-la.inticketing.com.


Set to air on HBO this month, this new biopic reunites Pulitzer-winning writer-director David Mamet and Oscar-winner Al Pacino, who previously collaborated on the film adaptation of “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Pacino portrays legendary music producer Spector, who was convicted in 2009 for the second-degree murder of actress Lana Clarkson. The film centers on Spector’s murder trial and co-stars Helen Mirren as defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden. Mamet, a Jewish Journal contributor, participates in a post-screening Q-and-A. Thu. 7:30 p.m. Free (reservations required). Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 857-6010. lacma.org/event/phil-spector.


Hits like “This Love” and “Makes Me Wonder” as well as Adam Levine’s good looks have helped propel Maroon 5 to the top of the Billboard charts. The Grammy-winning L.A. band stops home on its “Overexposed” tour. Neon Trees and Owl City open. Fri. 8 p.m. $29.50-$89.50. Staples Center, 111. S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles. (800) 745-3000. staplescenter.com.

Calendar Picks and Clicks: Mar. 2-8, 2013



One-third of the legendary Peter, Paul & Mary, the folk icon and political activist has reinvented himself by authoring children’s books that draw on egalitarian themes. His latest book, “I’m in Love With a Big Blue Frog,” celebrates diversity, following a one-of-a-kind couple that proves unconventionality can be a beautiful thing. Yarrow performs music from the book’s accompanying CD at Barnes & Noble and signs copies of the book this afternoon. Tonight, he performs a concert at Pepperdine University. Barnes & Noble: Sun. 1 p.m. Wristbands required (available after 9 a.m. with purchase of the book). Barnes & Noble, The Grove at Farmers Market, 189 The Grove Drive, Suite K 30, Los Angeles. (323) 525-0270. barnesandnoble.com. Pepperdine: Sun. 7 p.m. $20-$40. Pepperdine University, Smothers Theatre, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. (310) 506-4522. arts.pepperdine.edu.


Stand-up comedians Moshe Kasher, Michael Kosta and Jay Larson perform to raise funds for Team USA ahead of this summer’s 19th World Maccabiah Games. Silent auction and raffle prizes include tickets to “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Chelsea Lately” and “Dancing With the Stars”; gifts donated by Nike; and certificates to Santa Monica restaurants. 21 and older. Sun. 7 p.m. $20 (general admission), $25 (includes two raffle tickets), $45 (includes 10 raffle tickets). Westside Comedy Theater, 1323-A Third St., Santa Monica. (310) 451-0850. westsidecomedy.com.




Rabbi Sid Schwarz, a social entrepreneur in various sectors of American-Jewish life and a consultant to synagogues and Jewish organizations, appears in conversation with Rabbi Sharon Brous, spiritual leader of egalitarian congregation IKAR. Their discussion highlights ideas expressed in Schwarz’s book, “Jewish Megatrends: Charting the Course of the American Jewish Future,” a collection of essays, to which Brous contributed, that sets out four guiding principles that can drive a renaissance in Jewish life, with an emphasis on Millennials who are engaged on the margins of the Jewish community. Jumpstart, IKAR and the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program at American Jewish University co-sponsor. Mon. 3-5 p.m. Free (RSVP required). American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 424-3670. ikar-la.org.



Jeffrey Shandler, a professor of Jewish studies at Rutgers University and a senior fellow at the USC Shoah Foundation, discusses how the consideration of form — not just content — allows for an against-the-grain reading of survivor testimony. Exploring issues that impact how Holocaust survivors tell their stories, Shandler examines how the incorporation of live performance and other media shape survivor narratives, the role language choice plays in shaping the interview process and humor’s part in Holocaust remembrance, among other topics. Mon. 6-8 p.m. Free. USC Campus, University Park Campus, Doheny Memorial Library 240, Los Angeles. (213) 740-6001. sfi.usc.edu.


Experts weigh in on the debate over gun control during a discussion at Temple Israel of Hollywood. Panelists include Charlie Beck, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department; Marc Cooper, contributing editor with The Nation magazine; Gene Hoffman, director and chairman of the Calguns Foundation; and Laurie Saffian, a board member of Women Against Gun Violence. Adam Winkler, a professor at the UCLA School of Law and author of “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” moderates. Mon. 7 p.m. Free (RSVP required). Temple Israel of Hollywood, 7300 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 876-8330. tioh.org.




The renowned novelist, screenwriter and journalist appears at Skirball for a reading and discussion of her critically acclaimed memoir, “Loose Diamonds … and Other Things I’ve Lost (and Found) Along the Way.” Ephron reflects upon the many aspects of a woman’s life — from childhood through young adulthood, marriage, divorce (and remarriage), and everything in between. A Q-and-A and book signing follow. Wed. 8 p.m., $8 (general), $6 (members), $5 (full-time students). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. skirball.org




Jewlicious returns to the RMS Queen Mary for a weekend of music, culture and learning for young adults (ages 18-36) of all backgrounds. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach delivers the keynote speech on “Kosher Lust,” and an eclectic mix of bands and DJs perform aboard the art deco cruise ship/hotel. Other highlights include a Q–and-A and discussion with the filmmakers of the documentary “Craigslist Joe”; lectures on topics such as “Jewrotica,” careers in social media, urban animal rights activism and diversity in Israel; yoga classes; a Shabbat dinner and more. Fri., 1 p.m.-Sun., 4 p.m. $50 (full-time student), $85 (young adult, under 36), $149 (festival package, includes four-person hotel room), $169 (festival package, includes two-person hotel room). The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach. jconnectla.com.

My Single Peeps: Becca M.

Becca is a close friend. My daughter, Sydney, saw me hug her hello one day and said, “Becca’s your best friend.” I felt a little pushed into it, but maybe she’s right. We’re BFFs — best friends forever.  And Sydney knew before we did.

Becca’s the kind of girl guys love to hang out with. Her two roommates are both guys. All of them have been friends since at least high school. One of them, Jason L., was also a Single Peep.

My wife and I had our nanny come last Saturday — a rare treat. My sister’s looking to move to Los Angeles, and my wife gave her a tour. I had an audition and had to stay back. Also, being trapped in the car with my sister and wife while they tour houses I can’t afford seems like an awful way to spend a Saturday. So I met up with Becca for lunch. Then we got my car washed. We killed time by going shopping. I bought my wife a dress. I helped Becca pick out an outfit for an upcoming date. We drove to Fat Dog and ordered a beer and oysters. We had a great time. I told my wife.  She said, “Sounds like you had a pretty nice date.” I laughed. Then I realized she might have been right. I did have a great date. Except for the fact that I’m sometimes happily married. And I have kids. And I love my wife. And although I love Becca, I don’t want to make love to Becca. I want someone else to. So I’m putting her on My Single Peeps.

Becca, who’s 27, grew up in Agoura. She works as a nurse — she’s with hospice now, but she’s moving to Children’s Hospital in March. Her father, a Dutch Jew, is an oncologist, so she grew up seeing her father care for the sick, and it rubbed off on her.  She’s caring, but not weak. She’s tough. She’s beautiful. She’s very smart. She worked extremely hard through nursing school and always worried about failing tests that came back almost perfect. She’s funny. She can handle guys being guys. But she likes to be treated like a lady. I can tell by her horrified face every time I push the envelope … which is pretty often. I tend to treat her like my little sister, but not every girl appreciates the delicate comedic nuances of a “noogie.” Especially when she’s trying to flirt with a guy at a bar.

Becca likes good, solid guys. Feet firmly planted on the ground with an eye toward the future. She wants a family and wants him to want one, too. He should be nice. He should be funny. But he should have some edge. Just slightly unpolished and quirky enough to keep him cool and interesting while he reports on a war in the Middle East, separates conjoined twins in a dangerous and rare surgical procedure or finishes Mrs. Goldman’s taxes.  

He also needs to pass my test — much more stringent than hers. Because whomever she marries will be friends with us forever. Because we’re BFFs. And Becca and I take that last F very, very seriously.

After this week, My Single Peeps will be on hiatus for a few weeks while Seth Menachem pursues his acting career. Expect to see more again in March. 

Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.


My Single Peeps: Elyse G.

Elyse, 43, is a freelancer for this magazine — but that doesn’t mean she was coerced into being interviewed for My Single Peeps. At least as far as I know. I’ve never met a single person at the office. I write from home. Maybe it’s a tyrannical organization. All I know is she showed up to meet me, and she seemed interested in genuinely finding love.

“I basically grew up in the Chicago suburb of Evanston,” Elyse begins. “I went to the University of Illinois [at Chicago — UIC] and got my master’s in journalism from Syracuse University. I began my journalism career as a music journalist and interviewed bands while maintaining straight A’s. While an undergrad at UIC, I co-founded the Chicago Flame,” a community newspaper that was around for 20 years. That’s where Elyse honed her chops as a restaurant and travel writer. “I pretty much lived the whole plot of ‘Reality Bites,’ minus the two cute guys fighting over me. It was time for a fresh start, so I moved out to California in October of ’94.” She did temp work for a few months before landing her first real job, at Rogers & Cowan. She moved on to other PR companies, writing press kits and press releases, but, “I discovered I love the work and didn’t care for the politics. After 9/11, it made me realize how fragile and fleeting life is, and I decided to go into business for myself.” She’s a freelancer who writes about food, travel and wellness. 

Elyse describes herself as quirky. “Quirky works if you’re Zooey Deschanel on TV and under 30. I’m told I was quirky, and guys don’t like quirky.” I ask her what makes her quirky. “The way I express myself; my hand gestures; my eyes … I look away. I just have my own way of seeing the world. I see my competition in L.A. — they have the long, straight hair, they come off easygoing, and I come off uptight until I can relax and express myself.”

When she first sits down with me, she’s ready to talk. I slow her down because she’s talking faster than I type. She pauses, and then continues midsentence when I prompt her. I think she’s too serious — that she doesn’t know how to laugh at life. But as she gets out her story, I realize that she just wants to show me that side of herself. We all want to show our best sides right away — and to Elyse, her best side is one of a serious journalist. But it’s when she makes jokes about the horrors of being single that I see her at her best. Later she tells me, “If I seem stiff and uncomfortable, it’s because I like to get to know people. I have this whole other side where I’m fun [and I’m the] life of the party.” And I believe her.

She wants an educated man. “Somebody who likes to actually get out and do things — try new foods, have new life experiences. Somebody with a good job. I want a guy who’s comfortable in his own skin. I like a guy who’s tall and works out. I realize at this stage in my life, I don’t want IKEA. I want Ethan Allen — something I can just take home and enjoy.

“If it’s in the cards for me to have a child of my own, that’s great; but if not, I can adopt. There are certain things I’d like to do in life before I become a parent.” “Like what?” I ask. She thinks for a few moments and realizes she’s done everything she’s wanted to do. “The only thing I haven’t found is a great guy.”

Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.


David Henry G.

David, 27, seems to be brimming with confidence. He’s got a good, deep voice, and he’s still when he speaks. I fidget. My fingers or toes are generally wiggling, and I shift my position constantly. It suddenly dawns on me — I’m jealous. Why can’t I be as sure of myself?

“I’m from Washington, D.C. My mother’s a Jewish cookbook writer, Joan Nathan. My father’s a lawyer. I have two older sisters. I went to Columbia, studied English. I went to England and studied acting [there]. Made a few films. Acted in a few films. I lived in New York for the last eight years, since Columbia. I moved here a few months ago. I’m loving it. My sister lives here. She’s a journalist. I also work as a private chef on the side. I used to want to be a chef for a long time. I started working in restaurants when I was 15. My mother told me I couldn’t be a chef, so I spited her and became an actor.” He laughs.

“I like interesting women who do interesting things — who are really their own people and sort of motivate you. Kindness is important. Not niceness, but kindness. There’s something false about niceness and something authentic about kind[ness]. People I’ve dated in the past have been farmers [and] painters.” He met them summering on Martha’s Vineyard. I’ve never been there, but I picture him hanging out with the Kennedys on a yacht. And jealousy keeps rearing its ugly head.

“Generally, I’ve liked sort of goyishe girls — blond, beautiful … I like brunettes, too. I like small women. I like earthy women. I like women who know how to stick their hands in soil. I’m that way, too. When I was living in Brooklyn, I had my own vegetable garden in the backyard. I can build stuff.”

I need to find this guy’s kryptonite. “What makes you difficult?” I ask. 

“I tend to be reserved sometimes … which can come across as cocky.” He nails exactly what’s been bothering me about him. He seems cocky. “I have this weird balance where I’m super cocky and secure, to just being panicked and [this] nebbishy doubting everything and wondering what I should do. That’s just the worst. You want to stay away from that aspect of yourself as much as possible.” His cockiness is his defense mechanism. But he tells me he often feels insecure. My jealousy quickly dissipates.

“I can also be very demanding — wanting to do it my way. That’s probably my biggest problem in general — wanting to do it your way, which is a good thing, [but] can also set you back in a lot of ways. I’ve done enough where I don’t feel insecure, and then I sit next to Andrew Garfield and I think he’s done so much. That’s what’s so hard is feeling like you have to justify yourself when you haven’t won your Tony or your Oscar yet, when you know [you have the potential]. I think my other big fault is I can just be too uptight. I can take things too seriously. I think I want to take things less seriously. I was grinding my teeth in New York.” Part of the reason he moved to Los Angeles was to get back in touch with what’s important. I think if people in general are in that place where they’re fully themselves, then we’re in a better place. 

“What makes you great?” I ask. 

“I think I have a unique way of looking at the world. And I’m a doer. I like to do and make things happen. I’m always looking for beauty … whether it’s visually, about character [or] about the world … I’m always trying to find beauty.”

Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.


My Single Peeps: Francesca L.

Francesca, a British woman I’m pegging to be in her late 30s, shows up wearing gloves. She seems flustered. She’s holding a notepad full of notes and a Broadway-style hat. She tells me she just reviewed a “Frank Sinatra show” and was inspired to wear a hat. Realizing the hat’s still in her hand, she plops it onto her head. Her gloves stay on for the whole interview until I finally ask her why she’s wearing them. It’s not a particularly cold day. 

“Oh, they’re for driving,” she tells me. 

“I never understood the whole driving-gloves thing,” I say. “But maybe it’s a British thing. I’m more curious why you’re still wearing them.” 

She pulls one off and I see she has writing on her hand. She tells me it’s a note so she wouldn’t forget what she had to say. I ask her to read the note. “It says older guy.” 

I laugh. “I can’t believe you had to write it down to remember that you like older men.” She doesn’t respond. “Older than what?” I ask. 

She says, “I believe everyone should be judged not by their age or their job but by the content of their character.” She says she knows I’ll make fun of her for that statement when I write this. But she doesn’t seem to mind, which I like.

Francesca’s energetic. She gets distracted incessantly and will suddenly stop talking and stare at the street if there’s any action. When she talks to me, she acts out her sentences with her hands, gesticulating to accentuate various words. She refers to her notes often and speaks cryptically. I’m frustrated, and I let her know. She tells me she’s trying to be mysterious. I tell her she’s doing a good job, as I know nothing about her. Information comes in spurts.

She was raised a show-biz kid — but when I ask her if she’s an actor, she scoffs. She’s a dancer, I think. And a roller skater. And a theater reviewer. She just finished shooting an episode of “Bones,” where she played a roller-derby skater. She was a swing dancer on stage at a Brian Setzer Orchestra show at the Hollywood Bowl. Clearly, there’s talent there.

I ask her about wanting older men. “Younger guys don’t know a lot of things. Being well traveled and well read I appreciate the company of an older man who has lived a bit. I've had a lot of life experiences for my age so i'm looking for someone who can compliment me intellectually, socially and spiritually. I’m looking for an archaeologist, because the older I get, the more interested he’s going to be in me.” She laughs hysterically after that joke.

“I love not knowing what’s going to happen every day or week. The unknown is completely fascinating for me, and that’s how I want to live my life. No one can hit my mark in terms of eccentricity. I’m a Gemini, and I have so many different personalities. They’re all positive. I can be a social butterfly one moment and then just be on my own for hours to think.”

There’s a noise outside and she pops her head up like a puppy. And then, as if Francesca could sense the bad luck coming, a gardening truck backs into her car. The driver parks and is about to walk away when I run out to stop him. Francesca follows me. The driver denies it. I get louder and bring him over to look at the chunk he took out of her bumper. Francesca says, “Hey, no worries,” and lets him off the hook. She doesn’t sweat the small stuff. The gardener, knowing she won’t make him pay for the damage, then admits his mistake and apologizes. She thanks me, puts on her other glove and drives off.

Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.


Calendar Picks and Clicks: Jan 5-11, 2013



Writer and actor B.J. Novak (“The Office,” “Inglourious Basterds”) shares original pieces of comedic fiction in advance of an upcoming collection. Co-star, writer and producer of “The Office,” Novak has a sensibility that draws on a range of influences, from “Saturday Night Live” and “Monty Python” to Woody Allen and the notable anthology “The Big Book of Jewish Humor,” which was co-edited by his father. Sat. 10 p.m. $10. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, 5919 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 908-8702. losangeles.ucbtheatre.com.



Winner of the Israeli version of “American Idol,” Ethiopian Jewish vocalist Hagit Yaso joins Grammy- and Emmy-winning composer Charles Fox for a free concert in support of Southern Israel. Organized by the Jewish National Fund, the concert features Yaso and Fox collaborating on “Killing Me Softly” as well as Fox performing his own music. Roy Firestone (“L.A. Tonight,” “Good Day L.A.”) serves as master of ceremonies. Sun. 6:30 p.m. Free. Saban Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (323) 964-1400. jnf.org/laconcert.



A young Israeli couple and their baby set out on a one-way ticket to the Far East to encourage and create a Jewish community in Vietnam. Co-directors Ido and Yael Zand’s documentary follows the challenges facing Chabad emissaries Rabbi Menachem and Racheli Hartman as they encounter an eclectic mix of Israeli expats and Jews from the Diaspora. Tue. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free. UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, 11361 Bunche Hall, Room 135, UCLA, Los Angeles. (310) 825-9646. international.ucla.edu/israel.



The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and 30 Years After hold a discussion with an Islamic affairs analyst from ADL’s Center on Extremism, on “Special Report: What the Iranian Government Is Telling Its Own People About America, Israel and Jews,” an expert breakdown on media within Iran’s borders today. Wed. 7:30 p.m. Free (advance registration required). Anti-Defamation League, 10495 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 446-4229. regions.adl.org/pacific-southwest.


This 90-minute discussion maps out, clarifies and distinguishes between the platforms for the major political parties and players running in Israel’s general election on Jan. 22. Using advance interactive technologies and the most up-to-date information, experts examine how the leaders of Israel envision the future of the Jewish state. Every participant receives “Israel Seminars’ Guide to the Politically Perplexed 2013.” Wed. 7:30 p.m. Free. Temple Beth Am, 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 652-7354, ext. 215. tbala.org/israel.



Jeff Bridges’ portrayal of The Dude, the laid-back protagonist in the Coen brothers’ “The Big Lebowski,” is pop-culture gold. In the new book, “The Dude and the Zen Master,” Bridges and Roshi Bernie Glassman offer a glimpse into conversations between student and teacher, a shared philosophy of life and spirituality and everyday wisdom. The result is a dialogue about life, laughter and the movies as well as a reminder of the importance of doing good in a difficult world. Bridges and Glassman appear in person along with the Rev. Danny Fisher, coordinator of the Buddhist chaplaincy department at University of the West. Thu. 7:30 p.m. $25. Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, The Aratani/Japan America Theatre, 244 S. San Pedro St., downtown. (213) 228-7025. lfla.org.



Starring Tony-, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winner Judd Hirsch (“Taxi”) and Tom Cavanagh (“Ed”), Mark St. Germain’s off-Broadway play imagines a late-in-life meeting between Dr. Sigmund Freud (Hirsch), the Jewish atheist father of psychoanalysis, and the philosophical Christian author-professor C.S. Lewis (Cavanagh). The result is a discourse on life’s big questions just weeks before Freud’s death amid the ominous sounds of World War II. Talkbacks follow performances on Jan. 13 and Jan. 17, featuring Jack Miles, a Pulitzer-winner and professor of English and religious studies at UC Irvine, and Morris Eagle, professor emeritus at the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, respectively. Fri. Through Feb. 10. 7:30 p.m. $42-$67. Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. (310) 434-3200. thebroadstage.com.


Dustin Hoffman makes his screen directorial debut with this comic film starring Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon and Billy Connolly. Set in a home for retired opera singers, an annual charity concert to celebrate composer Verdi’s birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and a resident’s ex-wife. As old grudges re-emerge, it becomes apparent that having four of the finest operatic singers under one roof is no guarantee that the show will go on. Opens Friday. bbc.co.uk/bbcfilms/film/quartet

My Single Peeps: Bryan Michael S.

Bryan’s a nice guy. And he makes nice films. A spoof he made of Michael Jackson was so well liked that Jackson called Bryan to ask for a copy, sparking a friendship that lasted 20 years.

Bryan, 52, hails from eastern Canada, but moved to Los Angeles to attend the American Film Institute. He worked as a temp for a few months, but in his own polite way schmoozed into a job working for Johnny Carson. His career really took off when “TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes” hired him to produce, write and direct a series of short films called “Undershorts.”

“I’ve been an independent filmmaker the last 28 years or so. I’ve been self-sufficient. I work out of my three-level home. I write produce, edit and direct my movies. Even though I’m connected to the industry, I’m an outsider. I don’t go to Hollywood parties. I’m not the see-and-be-seen [type]. I make films, but I’m not being governed by someone else. Someone asked me what’s the definition of success, and I said, ‘The freedom to do what you want when you want.’ So, I guess I’m successful.”

Bryan loves to read and he loves the outdoors. “I especially like to go for walks. I like to go to coffee shops, even though I’m not a big coffee drinker. It’s just nice to get out of the house and talk to people. I like to people watch. I’m a huge dog lover.” His dog actually stars in his latest film — a family friendly movie called “First Dog,” about a foster child who finds a lost dog belonging to the president of the United States. Bryan got the idea after a friend gave him a dog that used to belong to President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy. After Bryan got a call from Nancy Reagan inviting him to their Bel Air home, he got the idea for the movie.

“The movie’s done close to half-a-million rentals on Redbox; it’s had over 50,000 ratings on Netflix, and it’s at all the outlets. Overseas, it sold out 80 percent of the market and so a lot of the buyers are interested in the sequel. I’ve never done a sequel before, but this was so popular … and my dog’s been bothering me to get another job. You know how actors are.” He says it so dryly that it takes me a second to laugh.

When it comes to dating, Bryan is much less confident than with filmmaking. “If I get the date, I’m good at the date, I think. It’s just getting the date. Because I don’t get out much, I don’t meet people. I’ve dated many attractive women, but you can only look at a beautiful painting for so long — there needs to be substance to that painting. Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, so maybe someone doesn’t see them as a 10, but they may be my 10. I like strong women; I like intelligent women; I like successful women. I’m kind of a homebody, which is why I’m still single. I’m kind of shy, too. I’m more the Canadian polite. I saw [Canadian] Martin Short a few weeks ago, and the first thing we said to each other was, ‘Sorry.’

“I think what I miss the most is I’ve had a lot of great adventures in my life, but I have no one to enjoy them with. I believe that you grow from each other so there are things they can teach me and I can teach them. I’ve had a saying for many years — and this goes for relationships and writing partners and business partnerships: If the two of you always agree, one of you is unnecessary.”

Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.


My Single Peeps: Tami M.

Tami’s running late to meet me at Starbucks, so I call her to ask what kind of coffee she’d like. “House coffee. Hot.” That’s it. I order my usual froofy drink — any kind of sweetened Frappuccino, usually involving chocolate, caramel or a combination of both. That Tami’s a lesbian makes me feel all the more emasculated about my order, but I’m not sure why. I think I’m intimidated by lesbians — some ignorant part of me feels like they don’t need me, and therefore won’t like me. 

Tami, 48, keeps her hair short and meets me wearing yoga pants, workout sneakers and a light-blue denim jacket from Walt Disney Studios. The second she sits down and smiles, I feel like a prejudiced idiot. I love this woman. I have no idea why, but on some weird innate level, I connect to her.

“I grew up in Albany, N.Y. — some people consider it being a New Yorker, some people don’t. Depends if you’re from Manhattan. I say we grew up the lox-and-bagel Jew. Not so religious. But now I’m Conservative, and my son’s going to have his bar mitzvah in three years. And he thinks he’s getting a big party — ha!” “Are you throwing him a big party?” I ask. She shrugs. Of course she is.

Tami went to school for environmental studies, but when she realized it required lengthy scientific studies rather than screaming, “The polar caps are melting!” at the top of her lungs, she switched to communications and theater. “I’m kind of more an immediate person than, ‘Let’s do some long-term planning.’ ”

She loved the behind the scenes of filmmaking, and got her first job on the movie “Waterworld.” “I lived in Hawaii, and I had a laptop computer, and that’s why I got hired. They needed somebody who could do a combination of Excel and Word, and I learned CAD [computer-aided design]. It wasn’t a common thing back then. That’s what got me to L.A. I really feel like I had great potential, but it’s a very hard industry, and I don’t think I knew how hard it is.” 

So after she fell in love with a woman, they moved to Las Vegas. When the relationship ended, Tami realized she wanted to have kids and was probably going to have to do it alone. She fostered, and later adopted, a son.

“The economy hit, I lost my house, lost my business, and we came [to L.A.]” She got hired in marketing and advertising and has been doing it since. 

Tami likes art galleries and museums and loves the beach and scuba diving. She’s attracted to women who “look and act like women. Professional women, entrepreneurial. I’m not really good with people who think black or white. I like someone who challenges things. They’ve got to have a really good sense of humor. I want someone who’s fun, outgoing, [and] likes activities. I’m very social. I like partnership. I like waking up with somebody.”

A pretty girl passes by us and sits down at a nearby table. I look. So does Tami. “She’s my type,” Tami says. “You have good taste,” I think. But I don’t say it. Because then I’d end up writing it.

Tami continues, “I want to be able to sit down and feel like I can talk to this person forever. We’ll always have enough to talk about and laugh about. I get bored. I think really fast. I want somebody who’s vibrant and alive and thinks outside of the box. We would love more kids — [my son’s] so good with kids. My biggest regret is I didn’t have more kids when he was young.”

Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.


Calendar Picks and Clicks: Dec. 15-21, 2012


“Voices and Visions” 

Connecting Jewish thought, art and people, this exhibition at the Skirball features artworks that pair contemporary Jewish artists with past and present Jewish thinkers, including Hillel, Maimonides and Susan Sontag. The project aims to inspire reflection, conversation and a deeper connection to Jewish values, as renowned artists and designers Milton Glaser, Arnold Schwartzman, Carin Goldberg and others interpret and graphically transform the words of Jewish luminaries into striking images. Through March 17. Sat. $10 (general), $7 (seniors, full-time students), $5 (children 2-12). Free. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500. skirball.org.



“El Idish”

Celebrate Yiddish culture in Argentina with an afternoon of film, song, dance and food. The festivities include music by the Modern Yiddish Tango Trio and clarinetist Gustavo Bulgach, a tango demonstration by Karen Goodman, Chanukah empanadas and Argentine wine. Miri Koral, CEO at the California Institute for Yiddish Culture and Language (CIYCL), introduces “Sowing Wheat — Reaping Doctors,” a multimedia presentation. The event kicks off the CIYCL’s 2012-2013 series on contemporary Yiddish culture. Sun. 4 p.m. $12 (general), $10 (CIYCL and Santa Monica Synagogue members), $5 (students). Santa Monica Synagogue, 1448 18th St., Santa Monica. (310) 745-1190. yiddishinstitute.org.

Chanukah Music Festival

The City of West Hollywood hosts a Chanukah Music Festival at Plummer Park featuring Kol Sephardic Choir and Flamenco Dancers. Including singers from Los Angeles and Orange counties, Kol Sephardic Choir will perform a repertoire consisting of Sephardic Romanceros sung in Ladino and liturgical/religious songs in Hebrew with Sephardic melodies. Sun. 4-5:30 p.m. Free (guests will receive a CD with $20 donation). Plummer Park, Fiesta Hall, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 557-1096. kolsephardicchoir.com.

“Kosher Lust” 

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, television and radio host and author of the international best-seller “Kosher Sex,” opines on one of his favorite topics: relationships. Appearing at the West Coast Torah Center, he examines the importance of building marriage on covetousness, rather than romance. Rabbi Yonah Bookstein, director of Jewlicious Festivals, moderates. Sun. 7 p.m. $10. West Coast Torah Center, 322 N. Foothill Road, Beverly Hills. (310) 277-5544. jconnectla.com.



“The Rabbi’s Cat”

Set in 1930s Algiers, this animated adaptation of the beloved series by French comic-book artist Joann Sfar tells the story of a widowed rabbi, his beautiful daughter and a cat that swallows the family parrot and gains the ability to speak. Philosophical, skeptical and lustful, the cat insists he wants a bar mitzvah and, joined by the rabbi, embarks on a journey in search of Jerusalem. Sfar co-directs. French animated feature “The Painting” as well as short films “Dripped” and “Tram” also screen. Sun. 8 p.m. $13 (general), $11 (students). Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 260-1528. americancinemathequecalendar.com.



OU West Coast Torah Convention

The Orthodox Union’s (OU) West Coast 22nd annual Torah Convention explores “The Quest for Spirituality.” Tonight, Rabbi Jacob Schacter of Yeshiva University delivers the keynote address, “The Quest for Spirituality — Timeless Challenge: Contemporary Solutions,” followed by a panel discussion featuring Rabbi Meyer May, executive director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and David Suissa, president of TRIBE Media Corp/Jewish Journal. Other events include scholars-in-residence at OU-member synagogues on Shabbat morning, a Shabbat luncheon at Pat’s, and the Dr. Beth Samuels Memorial Lectures on Sunday, featuring Rebbetzin Yael Weil and Rebbetzin Aviva Tessler. Thu. Through Dec. 23. Various times and locations. ou.org/synagogue_services/westcoast



“The Guilt Trip” 

An inventor (Seth Rogen) hits the road with his mother (Barbra Streisand) on a quest to sell his latest invention. “The Guilt Trip” is based on a real trip screenwriter Dan Fogelman took with his mother. Co-stars include Adam Scott, Colin Hanks and Brett Cullen. Fri. Various times, prices and locations. guilttripmovie.com.

My Jerusalem 

Blending nice Jewish boy Jeff Klein’s upbringing with his inclination for bruised rock anthems, Austin, Texas-based quintet My Jerusalem recently released its sophomore album, “Preachers,” which songwriter Klein describes as “post-modern Southern gothic soul.” Appearing at Hollywood venue the Fonda Theatre, My Jerusalem opens tonight for L.A. punk rockers X during the famed group’s “X-mas 2012.” Fri. 9 p.m. $32. Fonda Theatre, 6126 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 464-6269. fondatheatre.com

My Single Peeps: Denise M.

Denise, 46, shows up at our interview dressed to the nines. The woman is put together — from her perfectly coiffed hair down to her Christian Louboutin shoes. A few years back, I was running around Manhattan with a friend and we met a group of tipsy girls on the street. My friend was trying to get one of the girls to join us for a drink, but her night was ending and she was on her way home. I jumped in: “How can I convince you to stay out with him?” She said, “Get me a pair of those red-bottoms and he can take me home.” It was a joke — but only sort of a joke. Women covet those shoes. And Denise knows how to rock a pair.

Denise looks high maintenance and she carries with her a heavy protective wall. So I assume she’s something she’s not when we start talking. But her wall quickly comes down and I realize my first assumption is wrong. She tells me she gets that a lot. “People who know me say, ‘When I first met you, I thought you’d be the biggest bitch — but you’re not.’ ” I think it’s our own intimidation, though. She’s really nice.

“I’ve spent my whole life in Los Angeles. I was a film major, but I ended up in the beauty industry, and I worked in the salon and on film sets for many years.” Denise was always interested in real estate, and for the last decade she made it her career. But, she tells me, “If I ever won the lottery, I would still do hair.” After a “great ride,” she rode out some tough years in real estate. “But it’s a busy time again. There’s an upswing.”

I ask her what she does for fun. “I love going to the beach. I like to travel. I like going on walks.” She clarifies that statement, as one date took her on a hike where there were rattlesnakes — “I like to walk on a path. I like to have fun, but I’m not a daredevil. I love being around friends. I like cooking. I love going to museums. I definitely have a passion for art — theatrical and fine arts. I come from a family of artists.”

She likes men who are warm, caring and ambitious. “But not neurotic. Because some men who are successful in their businesses are a little neurotic and can’t ever take a break from work — even if you go away or go out for the evening. A big turn-off to me is laziness. I can’t be with a lazy man. I like a man who takes care of himself. I’m into physical fitness, and I don’t want some guy to be lying on the couch drinking beer all day long. That’s just not my thing.”

Her marriage didn’t end well, but, Denise says, “I can always make lemonade out of lemons. It’s honestly the only way I function every day. I want to be loved and adored and respected. I want someone to be kind to my children, who are 5 and 8. I want to give that back. I’m not looking to be selfish. I want to love someone, adore them, cherish them. I want to cook for them, hang out, go for walks, watch movies and open up a bottle of wine. I’m looking for my best friend. Someone to share the rest of my life with. I was brought up by a stepfather who was a survivor from the Holocaust, so if I ended up meeting a man who was half as wonderful to his children as he was to my brother and me, I’d be a lucky lady, and they’d be very lucky children.” 

Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.


My Single Peeps: Kristina L.

Most Jewish parents don’t name their child Kristina, but Ukraine — when it was still the former Soviet Union — was very secular. “So my parents just gave me what was the cool, European name of the moment, not wanting to give me some very traditional and typical Russian name like Tanya or Svetlana.” When she was 9, her family went through Jewish immigration. There was a five-month process where they lived in Italy and Austria, before landing in Los Angeles. She didn’t speak a word of English. They lived in a tiny apartment off of Fairfax Avenue, while her mother worked to support her father in medical school. 

Kristina, now 32, went to UC Santa Barbara, where she was pre-law. “Santa Barbara is a very fun place to go to school, a very fun place not to go to class. Then 9/11 happened and I changed my major to political science. I thought I was going to be Christiane Amanpour and hide in the bushes in the Middle East and report on war crimes.” After working for a news station, she realized the road to becoming a reporter would be too difficult, “so I decided to go into PR instead. I started working for a PR agency in Santa Barbara, and then I moved to L.A. and went through the PR agency world.”

She’s a hard worker — and others noticed. She was recruited by a startup, ShoeDazzle, which became very successful. She was then recruited by Match.com to run the company’s PR. After some time, the constant traveling to Dallas grew exhausting. “I decided it wasn’t a fit for me, and with a lot of encouragement from friends, I [started] my own agency. My parents were freaking out that I was giving up a really good salary, job security and working for a big company, in a shaky economy. I had my first client within a month. That was five months ago. Now I have a pretty full roster of clients and flexibility to go to yoga in the middle of the day if I feel like it. I love what I do. It’s a lot of fun. I work with a lot of different clients in a lot of different industries — one of them is a dating Web site called 3 Day Rule founded by two female matchmakers.” As I write that down, I realize she just PR’d her way into my article. Well played, Kristina.

Kristina likes her men well read. “I tend to date people who are entrepreneurs. They have a certain drive that I relate to. Having a good personality is important. Chemistry is the most important. It doesn’t matter what qualities you put down, but it comes down to a spark.” I say, “You haven’t mentioned looks.” She laughs. “I’m 5-foot-7, so definitely tall. I never thought about descriptors. I’ll know it when I see it. When I’m in a relationship with someone, we’re best friends. You can support each other and kick each other’s ass — in a good way. I’m very supportive. I try to make sure the other person feels really good. I’m also really fun. No one’s ever been bored dating me.

 “I do want kids, but I don’t need them tomorrow. Probably in the next five years. If I have to think about things that are most important — it’s not work, even though I enjoy work. It’s not hobbies — those can come or go. It’s relationships with the people around you. The people in your life are the most important. I would move for a relationship to another state. I wouldn’t move for work.”

Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.