LA Jewish Film Fest Screening, Mitzvah Day, IKAR Cantor Concert, Mikvah Campaign

On Jan. 29, the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival (LAJFF) held a screening of “Schächten.” 
February 10, 2023
From left: “Schächten” Writer/Director Thomas Roth; actor Jeff Wilbusch; L.A. Jewish Film Festival Director Hilary Helstein; German Consul General Stefan Schneider; and Austrian Consul General Michael Postl. Photo by Noah Baliff, LA Jewish Film Festival

On Jan. 29, the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival (LAJFF) held a screening of “Schächten.” 

It was 182 seats full at the Laemmle Royal Theater for the Los Angeles premiere sneak preview of the 2022 Austrian drama, starring Israeli-German actor Jeff Wilbusch. The program was held just two days after International Holocaust Remembrance Day and was co-organized by LAJFF, the Austrian Consulate General, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany and American Jewish Committee. Dignitaries were present from the Austrian, German and Israeli consulates. 

A post-screening Q&A featured the film’s Austrian writer and director Thomas Roth and lead actor Wilbusch, known for his role as the intimidating cousin in the Netflix miniseries “Unorthodox.”

Based on true events, the film is set in Vienna in the 1960s and follows Victor Dessauer, a young Jewish businessman. When Victor fails to secure just punishment for the Nazi concentration commandment who tortured his parents, he resolves to take the law into his own hands.

Hundreds of volunteers turn out and help at Shomrei Torah Synagogue and Temple Aliyah’s joint mitzvah day. Courtesy of Temple Aliyah

Hundreds of congregants from West Valley synagogues Temple Aliyah and Shomrei Torah Synagogue (STS) came together and took social action into their own hands, while petting some paws in the process.

From left: Shomrei Torah Synagogue Rabbi Richard Camras and Temple Aliyah Rabbi Stewart Vogel. Courtesy of Temple Aliyah

The two synagogues held a joint mitzvah day on Jan. 29 at STS’s West Hills campus. 

During the daylong event, volunteers took part in a variety of projects, including repairing chumashim, the book-bound forms of the Torah; planting vegetables in the STS community garden; making fleece blankets for children living in domestic violence shelters with JFS Project Hope; and prepping sandwiches for people experiencing homelessness. 

“To all who participated in our Mitzvah Day events this past weekend — Mazal tov!” a message from Temple Aliyah said.

IKAR Hazan and musical artist Hillel Tigay performs at his record release party. Courtesy of IKAR

Music fans, congregants of IKAR and others gathered to celebrate IKAR Hazan and Music Director Hillel Tigay’s record release party. 

Marking the release of two albums, “Judeo Volume II,” which came out during the pandemic, and “Stand Together, Fall Apart,” featuring alternative pop music, the Jan. 29 gathering was held at IKAR’s event space of La Cienega and featured Tigay, an accomplished musical artist, performing music from the two albums. He was joined by his band, Palms Station.

Attendees included IKAR Rabbi Sharon Brous. To her longtime collaborator, Tigay, she said, “You have created the spiritual soundtrack to our lives.”

Others called the gathering “a beautiful celebration,” an “absolute blast” and a “fantastic way to celebrate Hillel and his extraordinary music.”

Tigay – who majored in musicology – is just as comfortable on the bimah as he is in a recording studio. In addition to leading IKAR services, he spends his time writing Jewish music that incorporates pop sensibilities. The Journal has previously described him as the “rock cantor,” noting influences as wide ranging as U2 and the Beatles.

From left: Malka Lesches, Sarah Levin, Jordana Topp, Chana Leah Margolis, Deborah Goldenberg, Liz Steinlauf, Vivian Lurie, Malka and Josh Katzin. Courtesy of Sharon Gomperts

Josh and Malka Katzin recently hosted an inspiring evening in support of the Los Angeles Mikvah Esther building campaign.

A campaign to both preserve and enhance the mitzvah, located on Pico Boulevard, is underway. The goal of those behind the effort is building a facility with three pools and 17 preparation rooms.

According to the mikvah’s website, $2.3 million has been raised toward a goal of $6 million. For additional information, visit BuildingLAMikvah.org.

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