Jewish Journal

Beverly Levitt

  • Gelato bar scoops Italian flavor onto party scene

    November 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    In the small Italian village of Panicale, L.A. native Gail Silverton said she was drawn to the piazza, the warm, welcoming town center where citizens of all ages gathered at gelaterias to enjoy a dish of stracciatella (vanilla with chocolate shavings), a hazelnut gelato cone, or even...
  • Oy Caramba! Serve a Simcha Fiesta

    September 4, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Your special family simcha (celebration) is just around the corner and you aren't feeling enthusiastic -- the caterer's offerings feel predictable, and the room you've rented seems impersonal.

    Whether you're organizing a bris, congratulating a bar or bat mitzvah, welcoming a new...

  • Add relaxation to Rehearsal Dinner menu

    August 9, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Your child's wedding is quickly approaching but you aren't feeling jubilant.

    Perhaps it's because after running yourself ragged -- shopping, schlepping, making 10,000 arrangements that depend on 100 people acting in total synchronicity -- you'd feel a whole lot better if you could...
  • Versatile lavender makes for a delightful 'big day'

    June 7, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Since our weather is getting warmer and luscious lavender flowers seem to be taking over the city, as well as accessorizing culinary offerings in our favorite restaurants, this classic floral fragrance is a delight at a bridal shower.

    Lavender's fragrant scent has transported many...
  • New Pesach ‘traditions’ might be purr-fect for your family

    March 22, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    "Pesach for the Rest of Us: Making the Passover Seder Your Own" (Schocken Books, $22.95).

    When author Marge Piercy was a little girl, her grandmother set a special place at the Passover seder for Blackie, her grandmother's cat.

    He was a very dignified cat, Piercy recalled in an...

  • A down-home way to treasure that special day

    March 8, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    You're planning your bar mitzvah boy's big day, and all you can think of is filling the grand ballroom with a mind-boggling maze of identical round tables topped with painted blue carnation centerpieces and a breast of rubber chicken on each plate. Oh, and finding a DJ who knows how...
  • B’nai Mitzvah: Celebrate sunrise prayer with breakfast outdoors

    November 16, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    If you were in Jerusalem at the crack of dawn on a Monday or Thursday, you would see dozens of bar mitzvah boys davening by the Western Wall, being taught to lay tefillin for the first time. In Persian families this practice includes a morning prayer service and a breakfast for close...
  • Sinai Dinner Prompts Revamp of Biblical Proportions

    August 31, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    In February 2004, chef Ido Shapira of Tel Aviv received an impassioned phone call from the United States.

    "I want you to cook for a banquet in Beverly Hills in 2006." The insistent voice belonged to Irwin S. Field, of Los Angeles' Sinai Temple, who was planning a lavish...

  • Family Law Center Thanks Its Founding ‘Angel’

    August 3, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    If you meet Grace Quinn sunning herself on the patio of her home at Westwood Horizons Retirement Residence or pushing her bright red walker in Trader Joe's, you wouldn't guess that this nonagenarian is one of the founders of Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center.

    In 1981, a...

  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah - B’nai Mitzvah Menu Dishes Up Bonuses

    May 11, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    With the flurry that surrounds a b'nai mitzvah celebration, we often lose sight that this day -- this passage from childhood to adulthood -- will be one of the most meaningful memories of his or her life.

    The memories will not be of the buffet table that boasted an ice sculpture...

  • A Rehearsal Menu to Tickle Your Nose

    November 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    When Dom Perignon invented the creme de la creme of spirits in the 17th century, little did he know that the drink he discovered while trying to eradicate those "irksome bubbles" from his wine would be considered so romantic that wedding guests wouldn't think of toasting generations...

  • Build Family Meals Into Sukkah Plans

    October 13, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    "Jeff Nathan's Family Suppers: More Than 125 Simple Kosher Recipes" by Jeff Nathan (Clarkson Potter, $32.50).

    For New York chef and restaurateur Jeffrey Nathan, Sukkot is a time to practice what he preaches in his new book, "Jeff Nathan's Family Suppers: More Than 125 Simple Kosher...

  • Recipes Add Spice to New Party Trend

    August 11, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Although today's bar mitzvah parties are often as elaborate as yesterday's weddings, there's a new trend on the horizon -- a, noisy, jubilant oneg Shabbat and lunch directly after the ceremony, and a quiet, intimate dinner at home for a few close friends and family at night.


  • Shabbat - Prepare a Meal,  Preserve a Memory

    June 23, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    In our family, Shabbat is always a potluck. Three generations bustle about very different kitchens, recreating recipes passed down l'dor v'dor, from generation to generation. And while I consider myself a fairly accomplished cook, I find myself regularly calling mom: "How come my...

  • Creative Calm Over Shower Stress

    February 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    Are you the designated bridal shower giver this season? Don't let the happy occasion of your daughter, your best friend's daughter or even your fourth cousin-once-removed's daughter give you the jitters. This is a time to be joyful. A time to be extravagant. A time to spend, to...

  • Give Teen Party a Pizza Makeover

    January 13, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    Unlike the bar and bat mitzvah parties of my youth, which were often like pint-sized weddings, where barely a dozen preteen friends and a smattering of cousins ate grown-up food, mingled, and danced awkwardly among a sea of elders, today's parties honor the bar/bat mitzvah peer...

  • Roll Away Hunger

    September 23, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Yom Kippur's break the fast is the most anticipated meal of the year. Of course, it's because we're starving; we've been fantasizing about that first bite for the last 25 hours.

    As soon as the sun goes down and the shofar is blown for the last time, our thoughts invariably turn to:...

  • Say Hello to a Sane ‘Goodbye’ Brunch

    July 8, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    The wedding was beautiful. Everything went off without a hitch. Now it's time for the farewell finale -- the "Goodbye, it's been great to see you, thanks so much for coming" Sunday brunch.

    Your mishpacha may have traveled from around the world to attend this wedding, and because...

  • Behind Kitchen Door No. 1

    March 25, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Monty Hall spent 27 years making outrageous deals with anxious contestants on his TV game show, "Let's Make a Deal." But the sweetest deal he ever made with his mishpachah was for a plate of pickled herring if they'd join him for Passover seder.

    Such a deal! The odds are all in...

  • Here Comes the Bridal Shower

    February 12, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Something old, something new,

    Something borrowed, something blue,

    And a lucky sixpence in her shoe....

    -- Anonymous

    For years this adage has sent mothers of the bride, maids of honor -- even well-meaning machatanim (in-laws) -- scurrying about town to locate the perfect antique...

  • Seder Helps Poland Jews Reclaim Roots

    April 17, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Three years ago, Los Angeles entrepreneur Severyn Ashkenazy gathered in Warsaw, Poland, a small group of American and Polish Jews, all of whom had fled their native land during the Holocaust, and hosted the first Passover seder in that city since 1945.

    They savored Ashkenazic...

  • Tasty ‘Adventures’

    November 28, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    "Adventures of Jewish Cooking" by Jeffrey Nathan (Clarkson/Potter Publishers, $32.50)

    When Jeffrey Nathan auditioned for his first job cooking for the captain of a Navy destroyer somewhere in the middle of the Pacific and substituted vanilla for Worchester sauce in the meatloaf,...

  • Once Upon a ‘Nail’

    November 21, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    The joyous holiday of Chanukah is replete with miracles and storytelling. Judy Aronson, Jewish educator in New England, loves telling stories at Chanukah. "The best are handed down from generation to generation. And they change in each retelling," she said. "I first heard the...

  • The Liebermans’ Tasty New Year

    August 22, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    This year, 5763, Rosh Hashana falls on Shabbat, the weekly observance that Sen. Joseph Lieberman calls "a sanctuary to put the outside world on hold and concentrate on what's really important -- your faith and your family." And although Lieberman, who was the Democratic candidate...

  • Mother Knows Best

    June 27, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    My mother is 85. But she doesn't look a day over 70. She takes no prescription drugs, no hormones; her memory is razor sharp. And she's never been in the hospital a day since I've known her. But she wasn't born yesterday. In any sense of the word.

    When I was growing up I had no idea...

  • A Family Passover

    March 14, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Of all our family traditions, the Passover seder is the one we look forward to the most. We all fight over who will host it, but no matter, everyone pitches in with the cooking, making sure the seder plate is appropriately filled, the multicourse table properly set. My father and...

  • One People, Two Cuisines

    March 14, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Because my ancestors were from Eastern Europe, specifically Latvia, Lithuania and Vilna, I am Ashkenazi. Just as I thought all Jews spoke Yiddish, a language I delight in because it's so colorful, I grew up thinking Jewish cooking was my mother's brisket and carrot tzimmes, my Granny...

  • Taking the Schmaltz Out of Our Food

    September 13, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    At sundown on Monday we usher in the happiest day of our calendar, Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. For the next 10 days we'll be called upon to reexamine our lives -- to wake up and not only smell the roses, but plant them for other people to enjoy.

    The Days of Awe end at sundown...

  • Tradition, Tradition

    October 5, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    On the one hand, the inimitable image of a skinny, mischievous fiddler, furiously making music while precariously perched on a rooftop, makes us sing and dance with joy. On the other hand, the classic story about a humble Jewish milkman, struggling to preserve his people's traditions...
  • Rosh Hashanah Remembered

    September 7, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    When I was a child, too young to understand the difference between the Days of Awe and the Day of Atonement, my only clue that the High Holidays were coming were the religious smells wafting out of our kitchen.

    My parents were first-generation American, their parents born and raised...

  • A Lifetime of Seders

    April 13, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    For someone whose mother says she had to coax him to eat, Mandy Patinkin certainly has a lot of fond memories about food.

    As Patinkin tells it, he'd wait impatiently at the Passover table for her chocolate sponge cake topped with raspberry sauce, and he'd sneak sugar cookies and...

  • Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?

    April 6, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Although I've been attending Passover dinners from the time I was knee-high to a scrupulously set seder table, there's something I've never really thought about until recently: how does all this storytelling relate to me? Storytelling is the essence of Passover. We gather together to...
  • Granny’s Chanukah

    November 25, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    I can still see my Granny, an apron protecting her good dress, her clunky lace-ups (the original granny shoes) planted firmly on her linoleum floor, grating potatoes, onions and crying. "I'm not crying 'cause I'm sad," she'd sniff, waving the onion fumes from her face. "We're going...
  • Leah’s Restaurant

    September 23, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Leah Adler has a couple of secrets. She leaves the lime out of the guacamole. She adds burnt onions to everything from egg salad to creamed spinach crepes. And she wrote her son Steven "gastro-intestinal notes" when he wanted to play hooky from school.

    "I go my own way," she says...

  • A Rosh Hashanah Story

    September 10, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    When Ziva Naumann's family gathers for her annual Rosh Hashanah dinner, each of her children and grandchildren expects to be called upon.

    Not to burn the eggplant for a half-hour on each side for the babaghanoush. Not to add the olive oil in a slow steady stream to the taramasalata....