May 21, 2019

What’s Happening: Unity Concert, Gavin Newsom, Bikel Tribute


Jackie Rafii

On Shabbat morning, Shomrei Torah Synagogue cantorial soloist Jackie Rafii leads the inaugural “Koleinu” (“Our Voices Together”) service. The interactive, musical and abbreviated service is being piloted at the Conservative congregation in West Hills. Congregants play an active role in shaping the service and enjoy challenging and deep discussion. The service includes a Torah reading. Open to all. 10:30 a.m.–noon. Free. Shomrei Torah Synagogue, 7353 Valley Circle Blvd., West Hills. (818) 854-7650.

“Life Lessons From The LGBTQ + Jewish Community”
At a panel called “Life Lessons From the LGBTQ+ Jewish Community,” members of the LGBTQ Jewish community discuss how they navigate today’s difficult times, and how they maintain a balance between joy and fear, celebration and grieving. This event is made possible by a Community Engagement Grant from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. 12:45–2:45 p.m. Free, but RSVP required. Temple Beth Am, 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 417-2627.

The Moshav Band

Unity Concert
Snap your fingers and move your feet at the Jewish Unity Concert, which features the Moshav band performing music by the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Organized by the Happy Minyan, the Shabbat Project L.A. and Young Sephardic Community Center, the evening at Beth Jacob Congregation celebrates the legendary Carlebach, who blended his musical talent with rabbinical duties. Additional performers include the Los Angeles band 8th Day, Sam Glaser and the Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy Choir. Jewish Journal Publisher and Editor-in-Chief David Suissa and TV writer and Happy Minyan leader David Sacks deliver remarks. 8–11 p.m. $10 children 2-11, $18 students 12–22, $35 general admission. Beth Jacob Congregation, 9030 W. Olympic Blvd., first-floor social hall, Beverly Hills.

Pre-Halloween Shebang
The Living Room @ Pico Union Project presents a pre-Halloween event. Come for the fellowship, food, drink, Tarot card readings, music and Havdalah. Costumes encouraged. 7–10 p.m. $10. Pico Union Project, 1153 Valencia St., Los Angeles.


Tour De Summer Camps
Bicyclists 16 and over are invited to come to Simi Valley to ride for a good cause — supporting families who cannot afford to send their children to summer camp. The Tour de Summer Camps fundraiser at the Brandeis-Bardin Campus of American Jewish University, organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, offers two ways to participate: Cycle for 18, 36, 62 or 100 miles along scenic pastoral routes, or cycle on the campus for one hour. Breakfast and lunch included. 7 a.m.–5 p.m. Registration fees: $55 for road cycling, $45 for cycling at camp. Participants must raise a minimum of $500; $250 for those younger than 30. Brandeis-Bardin Campus of American Jewish University, 1101 Peppertree Lane, Simi Valley. (323) 761-8013.

Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom
California Lieutenant Governor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom discusses Jewish communal issues at Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) with Rabbi Joel Simonds, founding executive director of the Jewish Center for Justice, and VBS Senior Rabbi Ed Feinstein. Newsom, who is running against Republican businessman John Cox in the Nov. 6 election, also is expected to talk about his agenda for Sacramento, if elected. The program, organized by the Jewish Center for Justice, includes a Q-and-A with the audience. 9 a.m. Free. Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 788-6000.  

Jewish Women’s Theatre Fall Party
Celebrate the beginning of the Jewish Women’s Theatre’s 11th season with a sneak preview of its new show, “Jews in America,” at a private home and garden in Brentwood. 1:30 p.m. schmoozing and a dessert buffet, 2:30 p.m. showtime. General admission $40, VIP $75 (includes reserved seating). Address provided upon ticket purchase. No children younger than 14 will be admitted. If you are unable to purchase a ticket online, the event is sold out. Email to be placed on the waiting list. When purchasing multiple tickets, list the names of all attendees and their emails, if possible, in the “notes” section. (310) 315-1400.

“Giving Up Is Hard To Do”
In her one-woman show, writer-performer Annie Abbott (“The X-Files,” “Californication”) plays a young woman determined to break into and survive in showbiz. The performance raises funds for the Hope Connection, a nonprofit offering bereavement support for those who have lost a spouse or a parent. Director Joel Zwick (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) participates in a post-show Q-and-A with Abbott. A wine and cheese reception opens the event. 2–5 p.m. $55. Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 788-4673.

Gun Control Discussion
Join Adam Winkler, a professor at UCLA’s School of Law, a specialist in American constitutional law and the author of “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America”; and Kelly Drane, the research manager at Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, for “Gun Control in America: What Is the Reality? Legal, Public Health & Legislative Perspectives.” Moderated by Rabbi Emeritus Steven Carr Reuben. 4 p.m. Free, but RSVP suggested. Kehillat Israel, 16019 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades. (310) 459-2328.


Theodore Bikel

Theodore Bikel Tribute
Aimee Ginsburg-Bikel, widow of the late Theodore Bikel, discusses the iconic performer’s life as a man and an artist at a public event hosted by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. In addition to Ginsburg-Bikel’s talk, the event features the screening of the 2014 documentary “In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem,” which combines Bikel’s storytelling with an exploration of his life and work. (He died in the summer of 2015.) The film is to be followed by a Q-and-A with the audience and a reception with refreshments. 6 p.m. registration, 6:30 p.m. program, $10 general, $5 Cedars-Sinai medical staff, employees and volunteers. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Harvey Morse Auditorium, Plaza Level. RSVP to

Capitol Steps

Capitol Steps
Putting the “mock” in democracy, the acclaimed Capitol Steps political satire troupe comprised of former congressional staffers performs at American Jewish University. In the era of Trump and “fake news” and ahead of the midterms, there is no shortage of material. 4 p.m. matinee. From $25. American Jewish University Familian Campus, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. (310) 440-1572.

“Under Swiss Protection”
During the Holocaust, Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz and his team coordinated a massive rescue effort, issuing an estimated 50,000 lifesaving letters of protection and placing persecuted Jews in 76 safe houses. On this evening honoring Lutz, Agnes Hirschi and Charlotte Schallie, editors of “Under Swiss Protection: Jewish Eyewitness Accounts from Wartime Budapest,” discuss Lutz’s story of heroism. Book signing and reception follow. 7:30 p.m. Free. RSVP required. Museum of Tolerance, 9786 Pico Blvd. (310) 553-8403.

“Translation as a Bridge? Literary Encounters Between Israeli and American Jewish Cultures
The Hebrew translation and reception of literary works by Jewish-American writers, and the English translation of works by Israeli authors constitute interesting junctures between the two major Jewish cultures of our time. Each culture was confronted in this way with an often competing concept of Jewish identity. This talk by Omri Asscher, postdoctoral fellow at the Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, will explore competing Jewish identities in Israel and the U.S. through the prism of literary translation. Co-sponsored by the UCLA Department of Comparative Literature, the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. 12:15-1:30 p.m. Free, but RSVP required at UCLA Bunche Hall, Room 10383, 11282 Portola Plaza, Los Angeles. (310) 825-9646.


Yossi Klein Halevi

Halevi On Kristallnacht
Commemorating the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, author and commentator Yossi Klein Halevi revisits the horrors of the Night of Broken Glass in a lecture at Loyola Marymount University. Halevi (“Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor”) examines why nearly 100 Jews were killed beginning on the night of Nov.  9, 1938, when on the pretext of avenging the fatal shooting of a German diplomat by a Jewish student in Paris two days before, coordinated mobs of Nazis roamed across Germany attacking synagogues and personal Jewish property. The shattering windows gave the pogroms their historic name. The program includes a candle-lighting and a kosher dessert. 7 p.m. Free. Seating limited. Roski Dining Hall, Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Drive, Westchester. (310) 338-2700.


Jerusalem Biennale Exhibition
“Watershed Moments,” an exhibition of contemporary artwork from the 2017 Jerusalem Biennale, arrives for a 24-day show at Luz Art Space. The exhibition features artists Lili Almog, Yehudis Barmatz, Marcelle Tehila Bitton, Matan Ben Tolila, Rachel Koskas, Eliad Landau, Tamar Paley, Avner Sher and Arik Weiss. The Jerusalem Biennale provides a stage for professional artists whose contemporary work intersects with the Jewish world and refers to Jewish thought, spirit, tradition or experience. Through Nov. 25. 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Closed Mondays. Free. Luz Art Space, 8373 Melrose Ave. (323) 452-9118.

“Ethiopian-Israelis From Operation Moses to the Present”
The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot, the only institution that photographed the absorption of Ethiopian Jewry from 1984-1991, examined what happened to the community over the past 30 years. Its work inspired “Operation Moses: Thirty Years After,” a film screening at American Jewish University and telling the story of five individuals, their aspirations and achievements. Oshra Friedman, deputy director-general at the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women and the highest-ranking woman of Ethiopian descent in Israel’s government, appears in person. She shares insights into the prospects of the Ethiopian-Israeli community. 7:30 p.m. $10. American Jewish University Familian Campus, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. (310) 440-1572.