Wednesday: Tina Finkelman Berkett
SAT | JANUARY 24
(ISRAELI MUSIC CONCERT)
Sarit Hadad is Israel’s Britney Spears. She’s not as young (31) and not as scandalous (she comes from a traditional Jewish family and does not perform on Shabbat), but the enormously talented singer with 16 albums under her belt did start performing at a young age and is her country’s undisputed reigning pop queen. Born to Mountain Jews from Azerbaijan, Hadad was singled out as a child prodigy and quickly garnered international acclaim and Israeli idol status. In 2007, Madonna declared herself a fan of the Israeli mega-star. Hadad will be performing in a Beverly Hills concert that is, without a doubt, going to sell out quickly. And like her provocative American counterpart, Hadad always puts on a great show. Sat. 8:30 p.m. $50-$100. Wilshire Theatre Beverly Hills, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (323) 655-0111. www.wtbh.org.
SUN | JANUARY 25
(LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE) Calling all aspiring mayors, environmental activists, city planners and school board members who are ready to take responsibility for this city’s future. (Does that make it sound like too heavy of a load to shoulder?) Ambitious young adults are invited to join The Jewish Federation’s New Leaders Project for their 2009 conference, “Return to Passion: Strategies for a Better Tomorrow,” where the current cadre of civic leaders will welcome you into the future-shaping fold, sharing their in-depth knowledge of the current challenges our city faces and previewing what lies ahead for you to tackle. You think traffic is awful now? The daylong symposium will include discussions such as, “Our Resources in Jeopardy — Will the Only BlackBerries We Have Be Electronic Ones?”, “Public Education — It’s Not Just For ‘Those People’ Anymore,” and “Liveable City: Facing the Challenge of Urban Living in the Most Populous City in the West.” Sun. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. $35 (NLP members and students), $75 (general). Charlotte S. and Davre R. Davidson Continuing Education Conference Center, USC University Park Campus, 3415 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles. (323) 761-8165. www.nlp.jewishla.org.
Imagine having to choose between eradicating the memory of your deceased brother or marrying his widow to carry on his name. That is the unusual premise behind “Loving Leah,” a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie being broadcast tonight on CBS. Based on a play by P’Nenah Goldstein and starring Emmy Award-nominee Lauren Ambrose (“Six Feet Under”), the film references Levirate marriage law, which sets the stage for an unlikely love story between a 26-year-old Chasidic widow and a big-city secular cardiologist who has been estranged from his older, religious brother. If the unconventional pseudo-incestuous plot isn’t enough to pique your interest, perhaps watching Ricki Lake play a reform rabbi is. Sun. 9 p.m. www.cbs.com/specials/loving_leah.
Felix Mendelssohn’s father, Abraham, may have vigorously renounced Judaism and baptized his children as Christians, but his gifted son was nevertheless a victim of anti-Semitism, which delayed the recognition of his creative talents and original compositions. One of his most acclaimed works is “Elijah,” based on the life of the prophet, a piece that Mendelssohn wrote to his brother about: “No work of mine went so admirably the first time of execution.” Celebrating its 45th anniversary, the Los Angeles Master Chorale will perform “Elijah,” featuring bass-baritone Eric Owens in the title role and Grant Gershon as conductor. “Listen Up!” a pre-concert conversation with KUSC’s Alan Chapman and Gershon is open to the public free of charge. Sun. 7 p.m. $49-$114. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (800) 787-5262. www.lamc.org.
Tu B’Shevat is known by several names — “The New Year of the Trees,” “Jewish Arbor Day.” But no matter what it’s called, one thing is for sure: It is the perfect holiday for the whole family. With this in mind, the Shalom Institute is throwing its 11th annual “Tu B’Shevat Festival,” featuring live concerts by SoulAviv, Robbo and Rick Recht. A puppet show, including a puppet-making workshop, are also part of the festivities, as are nature crafts, hikes, a climbing wall, animal education with “The Reptile Family,” the “Big Green Scavenger Hunt” and more. The Israeli Division of The Jewish Federation and the Tzofim is planning a special program, though details are under wraps for now. Sun. $5 (Children under 3 free.) 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Shalom Institute, 34342 Mulholland Highway, Malibu. (818) 889-5500. www.shalominstitute.com.
At this unique workshop, “Baby Boomers’ Sage-ing Journey and Ritual,” students will examine “original Jewish women’s ceremonies, which acknowledge, redefine, rededicate, renew and empower a woman” 60 and older. Led by Joy Krauthammer, a medical case worker who leads women’s life-cycle and healing rituals, and guest co-presenter, Ariella Shira Lewis, co-founder of Am Or Olam - Center for Spirit, Healing and the Arts, this spiritual class will help “you transition into the most mature meaningful stage of life where new holy opportunities exist to be revealed.” Those younger than 60 are welcome to accompany a loved one to the workshop, where excerpts from the DVD, “Timbrels and Torahs,” will be included. Sun. $24. 10:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 440-1246. www.ajula.edu.
MON | JANUARY 26
According to recent data published by the Alzheimer’s Association, “10 million U.S. baby boomers will develop Alzheimer’s disease.” But thanks to organizations like the American Technion Society, which supports the work of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, more can be learned about breakthrough treatments scientists are developing. Dr. Moussa Youdim will present “Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases — Technion’s Breakthrough Treatments.” A buffet dinner is part of the program and kosher meals can be requested in advance. Mon. 6 p.m. $50. The Four Seasons Hotel, 300 S. Doheny Drive, Los Angeles. Call (323) 857-5575 to register. www.ats.org.
Elaine Hall, “Coach E,” was profiled in HBO’s Emmy Award-winning documentary, “Autism: The Musical,” a triumphant film that highlights a new philosophy in educating special-needs children. Hall will be applying her “Miracle Minded” principles of creative development in Vista Del Mar’s Vista Inspire Program, a curriculum of classes that includes Jewish education. The Nes Gadol Bar/Bat Mitzvah Class for ages 11 and up and the Post-Bar/Bat Mitzvah Class for ages 13 and up explore Jewish concepts, values and laws and aim to foster a meaningful connection to Judaism and the Jewish community. A team of professionals, including a rabbi, a cantor, rabbinic students and a music therapist, work in tandem to help children develop a greater sense of their Jewish identity. Classes begin Jan. 26. Vista Del Mar, 3200 Motor Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 836-1223, ext. 615. www.vistadelmar.org.
TUE | JANUARY 27
(HOLOCAUST) Just before the outbreak of War World II, England took in close to 10,000 children from Germany and other territories occupied by the Nazi regime. Frieda Stolzberg Korobkin was one of these children. In her new book “Throw Your Feet Over Your Shoulders: Beyond the Kindertransport,” Korobkin tells the story of being “uprooted from her rabbinic family in Vienna and sent on a kindertransport.” “The resilience of the Jewish soul, the indomitable pintele yid, leaps forth from these pages and into the heart,” wrote one reviewer of the memoir. Hear Korobkin for yourself when she speaks with Jewish Journal writer Julie Gruenbaum Fax at a talk, reception and book signing sponsored by the Museum of Tolerance. Tue. 2 p.m. Free. Museum of Tolerance, 9786 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 772-2526. www.museumoftolerance.com.
In 1944, Nazi photographers documented a group of Hungarian Jews as they arrived at Auschwitz. Capturing their lives moments before their death, these black-and-white pictures were collected in an album and eventually found. Israel’s Yad Vashem, The Holocaust’s Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, restored, digitized and published the photographs for the world to see. Now the American Society for Yad Vashem has made an exhibition possible, and Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust is the only West Coast museum exhibiting the Auschwitz Album, in commemoration of the Auschwitz liberation. Tue. 7:30 p.m. Through April 3. Suggested donation of $10. Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, 6435 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 651-3704. www.lamoth.org.
WED | JANUARY 28
Tina Finkelman Berkett has toured the world with Mikhail Baryshnikov. She has performed the works of Martha Graham. But now, through her new Los Angeles nonprofit dance company, BODYTRAFFIC, she has “embarked on a journey to combine dance and Judaism, thereby bringing beautiful art and thoughtful faith together.” Berkett’s first piece created in this vein is “Transfigured Night,” a contemporary dance choreographed to rescued musical masterpieces by Jewish composers. The renowned Israeli choreographic team of Guy Weizman and Roni Haver are behind the project, as is Arnold Schoenberg’s “Verklarte Nacht” (Transfigured Night), a musical masterpiece banned during the Holocaust. The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony Chamber Ensemble will accompany the performance. (Preview on Jan. 27.) Wed. 8 p.m. $18-$100. Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (800) 838-3006. www.sinaitemple.org.
Jewish philosopher Benedict de Spinoza was rejected by the Jewish community of his day for his critiques of both Jewish and Christian ideas. Nancy Levene, a religious studies professor at Indiana University, will discuss the great thinker’s work in “Does Spinoza Think the Bible (or Any Inanimate Thing) is Sacred?” as part of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies’ new program of events. The next day you can hear Shaul Magid, also from Indiana University, give his talk: “Reclaiming Jesus or Defending Judaism? Coming to Terms (once again) With a Jewish Jesus in Post-Polemical and Post-Ecumenical America.” Co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Religion. Advance registration is required. Wed. noon (and Thu. noon). Free. UCLA, 6275 Bunche Hall, Los Angeles. (310) 267-5327. www.cjs.ucla.edu.
THU | JANUARY 29
Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson is dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and vice president of American Jewish University, where he teaches Jewish philosophy. He is the author of seven books, including “Gift of Soul, Gift of Wisdom: Spiritual Resources for Mentoring and Leadership” and “The Everyday Torah: Weekly Reflections and Inspirations.” Artson is now bringing his knowledge of philosophy to the public by moving past the classical theology of Plato and the West and into a “more authentic Jewish view that finds God embodied in the world and life’s vitality.” It’s all part of “The Life of the Universe: A New/Old View of God and Torah.” Thu. 7:45-9:30 p.m. $15 (members) $25 (nonmembers). Temple Beth Am, 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 652-7354, ext. 215. www.tbala.org.
Ever wondered how an Orthodox family can afford nine children when you’re struggling with two? If you’ve ever been curious about the life of observant Jews, Rishe Deitsch’s lecture, “Truth or Myth? Ten Secrets of the Chasidic Lifestyle, Uncovered!” will be a fascinating topic for you. The senior editor of N’shei Chabad, an Orthodox women’s magazine, mother of eight, veteran lecturer and lifelong Chasidic Jew will dispel mysteries about such topics as arranged marriages, large families and reincarnation. A Q-and-A session will follow. Sponsored by the Thousand Oaks Jewish Center. Thu. 6 p.m. $18 (includes a buffet dinner). Goebel Senior Adult Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks. (805) 493-7776. www.jewishto.org.