December 16, 2018

What’s Happening: Skirball Harvest Festival, Anat Hoffman Speaks and more


UK Underdog

“UK Underdog”
A young Jewish boy in London transforms himself from bullied underdog to martial artist, boxer and community leader in Steve Spiro’s autobiographical solo show, “UK Underdog.” The playwright is the president and co-founder of the nonprofit Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team (START Rescue), which focuses on relocating dogs and cats from high-kill shelters in California. All profits from the world premiere engagement will be donated to anti-bullying and animal rescue organizations. See ticket website to choose a charity. 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, through Oct. 28. $25. Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 960-7788.


“A Night in the Catskills”
Whether you’re an alter-kacker who remembers when Jerry Lewis was a tummler at Brown’s or were too young to experience it and want to see what all the tumult was about, “A Night in the Catskills: A Borscht Belt Variety Show” promises a fun-filled evening of music and comedy. Not a re-creation of the shows that  brought Jewish families up and down the East Coast to Grossinger’s, Brown’s and Kutsher’s, “A Night in the Catskills” features new music and variety performers that nod to the classic Borscht Belt traditions. All that’s missing is heartburn from the dinner buffet. For those who want a real up-close-and-personal experience, onstage seating is available, which gets you right in the thick of things, with a table for two and a bucket with Champagne, wine or soda. 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $40-$50, Onstage seating, $55. El Portal Theater, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. (818) 508-4200.


Family Yoga with Doda
If you’ve ever taken a Yoga class, you’re familiar with the “child pose.” With this program at American Jewish University, parents and children can become trees, mountains, cobras and downward dogs. Led by Mollie Wine, a certified Yoga Yeladim instructor who leads AJU’s “Grandma and Me” program, this beginner’s class mixes stretching and meditation techniques — which Doda Mollie says helps calm the “meshugge monkeys” in your brain — with Jewish traditions and stories. Open to parents, grandparents and children ages 7-12. 11 a.m. $20. American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Dr., Bel Air. (310) 440-1572.

Skirball Harvest Festival
The Skirball Center invites you and your family to celebrate Sukkot at its daylong event. The museum’s hillside campus becomes a socially conscious market where you can wander and taste the harvest from Southern California’s artisans, farmers and craft beer brewers. While the food is locally sourced, the music spans the world, from the bluegrass band Big Bad Rooster and Indian bhangra ensemble Blue13 Dance Company to Afro-Cuban folkloric dancer Kati Hernández with the KimBámbula Cuban Ensemble. You also can learn Israeli folk dance from David Dassa and take part in interactive community art activities. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $5 (includes museum admission); members and children under 2, free. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 440-4500.

Fran Lebowitz

Fran Lebowitz
A humorist and social chronicler who has been called (more than once) a modern-day Dorothy Parker, Lebowitz’s work has been must-read since the 1970s, when she wrote a monthly column for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine and published the books of essays “Social Studies” and “Metropolitan Life.” Part kvetch, part Cassandra, Lebowitz — a regular guest on Conan O’Brien’s and Bill Maher’s talk shows — is a keen observer of politics and mores with a unique and trenchant voice. She’ll be in conversation with KCRW’s Matt Holzman, followed by an audience Q&A, kicking off the “Words and Ideas” series for CAP UCLA. 7 p.m. $29-$59. Theatre at the Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, Downtown Los Angeles. (213) 623-3233.

“So Healthy Together”
Suicide is becoming an epidemic in the United States, as the suicide rate has risen nearly 30 percent over the last decade. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans are struggling with some form of mental illness or depression. In response to this crisis, Rabbi Noah Farkas of Valley Beth Shalom has organized “So Healthy Together: A Community Response to Mental Health Issues and Suicide Prevention.” The yearlong program launches with a panel discussion led by Farkas with Dr. Steven Siegel, chair of USC’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Dr. Brigid Mariko Conn of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; and Susan Auerbach, Cal State Northridge professor of education and author of “I’ll Write Your Name on Every Beach: A Mother’s Quest for Comfort, Courage and Clarity After Suicide Loss.” After the discussion, representatives from mental health organizations, including Didi Hirsch, Teen Line and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, will be available to answer questions and provide more information. Farkas hopes the program will lead to “a positive, healthy and resilient” com-munity. 1-3 p.m. Free. Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 788-6000.


Fischmann Family Lecture
Decades after the Holocaust, Loyola Law School professor Stanley Goldman learned his mother may have been rescued from the Ravensbrück concentration camp. This discovery led to years of research and a book, “Left to the Mercy of a Rude Stream: The Bargain That Broke Adolf Hitler and Saved My Mother.” It is the story of how Norbert Masur, a German Jew, returned from the safety of Sweden to barter for the release of the Jewish women imprisoned at Ravensbrück. Goldman discusses the book with Michael Bazyler, professor of law at Chapman University. A kosher dessert reception follows. 7 p.m. Free. Roski Dining Room, University Hall, Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 338-2700.


Fighting for Her Rights
Israeli activist Anat Hoffman speaks at Reconstructionist congregation Kehillat Israel. She has been arrested multiple times for wearing a tallit at the Western Wall and is an opponent of forcing women to change seats on airplanes to accommodate Orthodox men. Born on a kibbutz and a graduate of UCLA, Hoffman has spent much of her professional life campaigning for religious pluralism in Israel. Thirty years ago, she founded Women of the Wall. She is executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center. 7:30-9 p.m. Free. Kehillat Israel, 16019 W. Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades. (310) 459-2328.


“The Silence of Others”
The documentary “The Silence of Others” highlights the 40 years of suffering endured by Spaniards during the dictatorial reign of Gen. Francisco Franco. The film, which screens at the Museum of Tolerance, was six years in the making. Executive produced by Pedro Almodovar, it follows compensation-seeking survivors as they battle the contemporary Spanish government. 7 p.m. $10 members, $12 general. Museum of Tolerance, 9786 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 772-2505.

Miri Mesika

Miri Mesika
Israeli pop singer Miri Mesika performs at American Jewish University. Born 40 years ago in Herzliya to a Tunisian-Jewish father and an Iraqi-Jewish mother, Mesika, known for her romantic and emotional music, gained public attention following the 2005 release of her debut album, “Miri Mesika,” produced and mixed by her husband, Ori Zakh. 8:30-10 p.m. $70-100. American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 476-9777.



Leo Baeck Temple
Visit Leo Baeck Temple for one of the most joyous nights of the year. Celebrate the completion of the annual Torah reading cycle. The entire Torah will be unrolled into a great circle, and visitors will dance with the sacred text. The celebration concludes with ice cream and Israeli dancing. 6-8 p.m. Free. Leo Baeck Temple, 1300 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 476-2861.


How’s your endurance? The IKAR congregation holds six hours of Simchat Torah programming for all ages — “a night of few words, big hearts and lots of fancy footwork.” To mark the end of the annual Torah reading cycle, many synagogue attendees will receive aliyahs and be invited to dance around the sanctuary with the rare honor of holding the Torah. For the first 90 minutes of the evening, children age 5 and under can engage in diverse activities. 5:30-5:45 p.m. arts and crafts; 5:45-6:15 p.m. Simchat Torah service; 6:15-7 p.m. dinner; 7-11:30 p.m. dancing with the Torah. Free. Shalhevet High School, 910 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 634-1870.

Adat Ari El
Bring a vegetarian or dairy picnic to Adat Ari El and participate in an energetic Simchat Torah musical service with the N’ranena Band. Party with the Torah and enjoy ice cream and Israeli dancing. 6 p.m. dinner; 7 p.m. tefilah celebration. Free. Adat Ari El, 12020 Burbank Blvd., Valley Village. (818) 766-9426. RSVP to the link above.