FRI NOV 15
Iranian-born journalist, attorney and activist Karmel Melamed speaks at Congregation Kol Ami. Melamed, who has monitored the status of Iran’s Jews the last two decades, said that a 2018 “PBS NewsHour” report asserting they were safe was a bogus claim. Shabbat services feature Kol Ami’s house band, KOLective Sound, as well as Rabbis Denise Eger and Max Chaiken. 8-9:30 p.m. Free. Congregation Kol Ami, 1200 N. La Brea Ave., West Hollywood. (323) 606-0996.
The N’ranena Shabbat service at Adat Ari El brims with upbeat music, community participation and a spiritual tefilah experience. Purchase a hearty barbecue chicken dinner in advance. The synagogue provides the challah. No picnic dinners, please. 6-8:30 p.m. Service free, $18 dinner for adults, $15 for children. Adat Ari El, 12020 Burbank Blvd., Valley Village. (818) 766-9426.
Cantor Fox and Cantorial Art
Uzbekistan-born Cantor Herschel Fox leads a Friday night Shabbat farbrengen at Valley Beth Shalom (VBS), spotlighting “The Musical Treasure of Our People,” the history of cantorial art. He is joined by the renowned Israel Rand, chief cantor of Ramat Gan. A festive Oneg follows. On Saturday, after Shabbat morning services, Rand talks with Fox and VBS Rabbi Ed Feinstein. Tonight: 5-5:45 p.m. services. 7:30-10 p.m. Fox and Rand on cantorial art. 9:30 a.m. Shabbat morning services. 12:30 p.m. Fox and Rand conversation. Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 788-6000.
SAT NOV 16
AIPAC Shabbat ar Beth Jacob
Tal Becker, a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute and a veteran peace negotiator, speaks twice on this AIPAC Shabbat at Beth Jacob Congregation. After services, he discusses “Exile and Redemption: Reimagining the Relationship Between Israel and World Jewry.” During a lunch to follow, in conversation with AIPAC Regional Director Wayne Klitofsky, he examines “The Deal of the Century? The Past, Present and Future of the Israeli-Palestinian Relationship.” 9 a.m. services. Registration for lunch required. Lunch: $55, $40 for those who attended the 2019 AIPAC conference.
Beth Jacob Congregation, 9030 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 278-1911.
SUN NOV 17
“Stand Up For Her”
The organization Women Creating Change holds an event, “Stand Up for Her,” that celebrates and features performers from the Middle East and North Africa. Aiming to bridge cultural divides, the evening showcases poets, musicians, artists and standup comedians who are Lebanese, Egyptian, Iraqi, Syrian, Iranian, Pakistani, Moroccan, Israeli and Palestinian. 5:30 p.m. red carpet, special cocktails, wine tasting. 6:30 p.m. art exhibits. 7 p.m. performances. $50-$75. Expert Dojo, Third Floor Rooftop, Third Street Promenade, 395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica.
Bringing Rivals Together
Since 2015, photojournalist Saskia Keeley has conducted photo workshops in the West Bank for both Israeli and Palestinian girls and women. At Temple Israel of Hollywood, in a lecture open to the public titled “Beyond the Lens: Photography Bridging Divides,” Keeley explains her purpose of developing her students’ photographic skills and fostering an environment where the two sides are comfortable together. 2 p.m. Free. Temple Israel of Hollywood, 7300 Hollywood Blvd. (323) 876-8330.
Hecht, Holocaust and Trump
Julien Gorbach, author of “The Notorious Ben Hecht: Iconoclastic Writer and Militant Zionist,” sits down this afternoon with USC Casden Institute Director
Steve Ross for a conversation on the state of the world as it relates to the late screenwriter. Their discussion is called “The Ben Hecht Story: Lessons of the Holocaust in the Age of Trump.” 4-5:30 p.m. Free. USC University Park campus, Doheny Memorial Library, Room 240. (213) 740-1744. .
MON NOV 18
Rabbi Laura Geller
One of the earliest women to be ordained in the 1970s, Rabbi Laura Geller introduces her new book, “Getting Good at Getting Older,” at Kehillat Ma’arav with a lecture and book signing. Her late husband, Richard Siegel, was her co-author. When Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills hired Geller in 1994, she became the first woman rabbi to lead a major metropolitan congregation, where she served for 22 years. Light refreshments served. 7 p.m. Free. Kehillat Ma’arav, 1715 21st St., Santa Monica. (310) 829-0566.
TUE NOV 19
Unconditional Support for Israel
Two experts tackle one of the most intriguing questions related to Israel: “Does Unconditional Support for Zionism and Israel Still Matter?” Appearing at Kehillat Israel, Saba Soomekh, assistant director of Interreligious and Intercommunity Affairs at the American Jewish Committee, addresses this and other issues, including political divisiveness in America, a rise in anti-Semitism and a changing demographic in Israel. Rick Entin of the Israel Matters Committee moderates. 7:15 p.m. Free. Kehillat Israel, 16019 W. Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades. (310) 459-2328.
“A Case of Life and Death”
Given the speed of contemporary changes in medical science, Rabbi Shlomo Bistritzky of Chabad of North Ranch in Westlake Village speaks tonight on “The Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Dilemmas: The Complex Subject of Medical Ethics.” His goal is to educate and to show his audience an ethically correct path through life’s most difficult challenges. Health care specialist Jody Sherman provides additional perspectives. 7:30 p.m. cocktails, 8 p.m. program. Free. Chabad of Encino, 4915 Hayvenhurst Ave., Encino. (818) 784-9986.
“Update on the Supreme Court”
Here is a unique opportunity to hear from a legal expert on the most complicated cases of the times. Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson, also a political commentator on KCRW’s “Press Play,” brings her insights on the status of a number of urgent cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Delving into a wide range of cases, she discusses the effects their verdicts will have on us. 7:30 p.m. Free. Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Irmas Campus on the Westside, 11661 W. Olympic Blvd. (213) 388-2401.
“From Baghdad to Brooklyn”
Actress, singer and rebbetzin Michelle Azar brings her one-woman show, “From Baghdad to Brooklyn,” to the Skirball Cultural Center. Tracing her Iraqi roots through story and song, Azar presents a timely account of family love but also dysfunction. A Q&A session with Azar and Aziza Hasan, executive director of NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change, follows the performance. 7:30 p.m. $15 members, $20 general. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. (310) 440-4500.
THU NOV 21
Israel Gap Year Fair
The annual American Israel Gap Year Fair for students seeking a reflective and productive year abroad before starting college is being held at Shalhevet High School. Whether you prefer a coed setting, all-boys or all-girls schools, the only cross-denominational Israel gap year fair in the country has a solution. All attendees must be registered. 6:30-9 p.m. Free. A donation to the American Israel Gap Year Fair Association is appreciated. Shalhevet High School, 910 S. Fairfax Ave. (310) 702-0644. aigya.org.
“Love of Zion”
From Philo of Alexandria to the present day, Nili Alon Amit, a researcher and lecturer of philosophy at Hakibbutzim Academic College in Tel Aviv, explores many of the sources for Jews’ traditional love of Zion through religious, philosophical and poetic sources in a lecture at the Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA Hillel. Amit, a visiting professor at the Nazarian Center this year, shows how ancient and medieval thought turns up in the contemporary Israeli “Love of the Land.” Her lecture is titled “Land and Wisdom: The Love of Zion — From the Hebrew Bible to Contemporary Israeli Poetry.” 2-3:15 p.m. Free. UCLA Bunche Hall, Room 10383. (310) 825-9646.
Yuval Ron Ensemble
Internationally acclaimed world music favorite the Yuval Ron Ensemble performs tonight. Led by award-winning composer and oud player Yuval Ron, the quintet features artists of varying faiths and backgrounds playing sacred Jewish, Christian and Sufi music of the Middle East. The band tries to alleviate national, racial, religious and cultural tensions by melding Middle Eastern music and dance into an inspiring musical celebration. 7:30-10:30 p.m. $30 adults, $20 students. Theatre Raymond Kabbaz, 10361 W. Pico Blvd. (310) 286-0553.
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