Jewish Journal


May 10, 2001

The Circuit


A Very 'Fly' Party

Increasingly, Los Angeles' club scene has come to resemble opening scenes from "Blade" -- the zombified undead, clad in black and leather, writhing in an epileptic trance to over-amped, palpitating techno heartbeats.

Not so at a recent Israeli Independence Day party held by the Consulate General of Israel at Barfly, where the multiethnic attendees, when not working things out on the dance floor, were engrossed in conversation. Perhaps the familial atmosphere was a reflection of the evening's theme, "One Nation, Many Faces." The occasion: the birth of the State of Israel.

"We would like you to realize that the diversity of faces here this evening is matched by the diversity of ethnic groups, languages and cultures that you will find in Israel. Israelis come from more than 70 different nations," said Consul General Yuval Rotem in his opening remarks.

Barfly owner Franck Fortet, JDate.com and Future Media Productions helped pull off the evening, with co-sponsors including the American Jewish Committee, the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity and the Jewish National Fund. In attendance: the Consulate's Community Affairs Specialist Naomi Rodriguez, and Cultural Attaché Kobi Oshrat; Israeli Ministry of Tourism's Rami Levy and Mina Ganem; Israel Aliyah Center's Larry Tishkoff; former Skirball Cultural Center PR Director Joanna Fisch; and members of Urban League.

Israeli jazz band Esta pumped up the crowd with its genre-blending funk instrumentals, while D.J. Ouri's turntables kept partiers dancing with techno instrumentals (even original D.J. Perry Farrell's no-show couldn't diminish the party's flow). About 500 people turned out for the Sunset Strip soiree, replete with finger foods and apple martinis. And based on the thick attendance, they could've used Wesley Snipes to clear out the place by night's end.

For more information on the Israeli Consulate, visit www.israelemb.org/la/ .

The Pope of Larchmont Village

Thanks to Steve Cohen, anyone aching to hit the Village for a tasty slice of Neapolitan now can. Cohen, 44, runs Village Pizzeria, in the heart of Larchmont Village, which last week celebrated its fourth anniversary with an annual outdoor party featuring live music by the Jazz Renegades. Cohen, a native of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and Flushing, Queens, headed to San Francisco after college with his then-girlfriend/now wife and business partner Nancy. After years in wholesale clothing, Cohen took over the original Village Pizzeria, his favorite pizza joint and hang-out on Frisco's Steiner Street, and the road to opening the Larchmont venue was a rocky one. But now, erstwhile New Yorkers can rejoice knowing that somebody has finally got the Brooklyn-style pizza formula right.

So just what is the secret to creating that slice of heaven that sets New York apart from the rest? We prodded and Cohen finally fessed up.

"It's not the water," Cohen told the Circuit, refuting conventional wisdom. "It's a good recipe that is followed with consistency. It's so underrated and understated, but if you do anything well consistently, it will be well all the time."

Yet upon further investigation, the Circuit unearthed three secret ingredients Cohen had invested all along into perfecting his pie: blood, sweat and tears.

To contact Village Pizzeria, call (323) 465-5566 or go to www.villagepizzeria.net .

My Sharone

Leora Sharone, 18, won first place in a citywide academic contest addressing the history, geography, and topography of Israel, sponsored by Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles. Sharone will apply her $2,500 grand prize toward the Habonim Dror Workshop in Israel, which starts in the fall. She is currently seeking additional scholarships that will enable her to serve as a kibbutz and community center volunteer in Israel. Anyone with information regarding such opportunities can contact her at virtualili@aol.com .

Center of Attention

Neemanim: Friends of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) recently gathered at an Los Angeles hillside estate, where members of Neemanim (in Hebrew, "guardians" or "trustees") were treated to a presentation by Brig. Gen. Israel Relik Shafir, commander of Tel Nof, Israel's largest air force base. The reception was in support of a center now under construction in Herzliya. The center will be comprised of the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Research, which consolidates academic research projects, aiding decision- and policy-making efforts to strengthen Israeli's economy and maintain its security; the Heritage and Legacy Center, which preserves the heritage of the IAF; advanced interactive audio-visual facilities; and a simulator that will recreate famous air battles and missions. The Adelson Institute for Academic Studies is designed to help the meticulously trained Israeli Air and Space Force officers, most of whom retire at age 40, integrate into the Israeli business community. On hand to promote the center was Lou Lenart, who led the first aerial combat mission of the IAF in 1948, preventing Egyptian forces from entering Tel Aviv.

General Shafir will return to Los Angeles May 17-20. Call Cheryl Kane at (310) 271-4159 for more information.

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