December 10, 2019

Moving and Shaking: Clippers’ Jewish Heritage Night, challah-baking event and more

The Los Angeles Clippers’ Jewish Heritage Night on Dec. 26 at Staples Center drew local Jewish leaders, students from the Marlton School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and others. 

“The Clippers lost the game that night [to the Denver Nuggets, 106-102], but Marlton students were winners!” said a post on the school’s website. “We had the marvelous opportunity to meet wonderful people, learn about their culture and celebrate their culture with them. It was truly an honor, and with great pride we can say that we have friends in Israel.”

Before the game, Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles Sam Grundwerg lit a chanukiyah to mark the third night of Chanukah. Among those joining him on the court were Rabbi Aharon Wilk, head of school at Gindi Maimonides Academy, and his family; and Marlton School students, who were treated to sufganiyot in honor of the holiday as well as backpacks inscribed “I have a friend in Israel.”

Fifty young professionals and six Holocaust survivors come together at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust for  “L’Dough V’Dough: Light and Miracles.” Photo by Jordanna Gessler

Fifty young professionals and six Holocaust survivors came together Dec. 18 at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust for “L’Dough V’Dough: Light and Miracles,” a challah-baking event.

“This [was a] special program that celebrated intergenerational conversation, Jewish traditions and the miracle of Chanukah,” said the museum’s Director of Education Jordanna Gessler.

The program was part of the Infinite Light series of Chanukah-themed events organized by the NuRoots group that brings together people in their 20s and 30s for events across the city.

During the event, the young professionals shared life stories with the survivors, baked Chanukah cookies and crafted chanukiyot that were then donated to the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles’ Israel Levin Senior Center.

Attendees included Galit Prince, a representative of 3G@LAMOTH, a community for grandchildren of survivors committed to Holocaust remembrance. 

Sarah Klegman, co-founder of Challah Hub, teaches Russian-Jewish children how to bake challah. Photo by Olga Grigoryants

More than 35 Russian Jews and several children gathered on the afternoon of Dec. 18 to braid and bake miniature challahs at an event sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, The Jewish Agency for Israel and Genesis Philanthropy Group.

Jane Tavyev, who moved from Latvia when she was 3 years old, said she enjoyed hosting the party at her Beverly Hills home because it allowed her to connect with other Russian Jews. “When I’m surrounded by members of the Russian Jewish community, it reminds me of my childhood,” said the 39-year-old mother of two. “We share so many commonalities.”

The event also helped Tavyev’s two sons, Jacob and Rafael, learn how to make challah and practice Russian with their friends.

For Katya Stromblad, 40, who moved from Moscow 26 years ago, the event was an opportunity to learn how to bake challah for the first time.

“I love to bake, but I never made challah before,” said Stromblad. “It’s an amazing experience.”

Some called their challahs pierogi — Russian dough pillows filled with potatoes or jam — as guests stuffed their ropelike strands with chocolate and nuts. At the end, each guest left with a bag of freshly made dough so they could make another challah at home.

Olga Tsiroulnik, 37, who moved from Russia when she was 15 years old, said the event is a fun way to connect with other Russian Jews. “It’s important for us to preserve Jewish traditions,” she said.

For some participants, the event provided an opportunity to practice their Russian. Dan Lozovatsky, who moved from Russia, learned about the event through a Facebook group and said he couldn’t resist attending the party. “We want our children to experience the Russian-Jewish community because our children speak only Russian at home,” said Lozovatsky, who came to the event with his wife, Margaret, and their two children.

Elina Tilipman and Sarah Klegman, co-founders of Challah Hub, helped teach the children how to make the traditional bread. “I think it’s important to teach kids how to make challah,” Tilipman said. “It is also a lot of fun.”

Olga Grigoryants, Contributing Writer

From left: Laemmle Theatres’ Robert and Greg Laemmle and Laemmle brand manager Marc Horwitz appear before the annual Laemmle “Fiddler on the Roof” screening on Christmas Eve. Photo by Ryan Torok

Laemmle Theatres held its ninth annual “Fiddler on the Roof” Christmas Eve singalong and screening at six of its theaters across Los Angeles on Dec. 24.

“I love being here with the entire community,” Greg Laemmle, president of the Laemmle Theatres, said in an interview during intermission at the Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills, where more than 400 people watched the 1971 film adaptation of the Broadway musical. “We’re all having a great time. It’s a great audience, enjoying a great movie, and I’m feeling really good about being Jewish.”

The annual event got its start in 2008, when a film distributor decided to change the release of a film from Dec. 23 to Dec. 25, which meant the theater chain would have nothing to show on Dec. 24. Laemmle decided to have a “Fiddler” singalong that night.