The provocative opinions of Jonathan Rosenblum, a Yale Law School grad, rabbi and an outspoken journalist, have put him at the forefront of Israeli politics. A columnist at the Jerusalem Post and a leading spokesperson representing the Orthodox community in Israel, Rosenblum is scheduled to be the guest of honor at a weekend Los Angeles Intercommunity Kollel (LINK) Shabbaton, where he will address the question: "Can Israel Survive as a Jewish State?" 8:15 p.m. $10 (advance), $15 (door). Westwood Kehilla, 10523 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 441-5289, ext. 22 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrating 60 years of a Jewish homeland means nonstop partying in Jewish communities around the world. The kick-off is well underway here in Los Angeles, where Israeli-born songman Danny Maseng will perform as part of "Israel: 60 Years of Song and Story,"an evening of food, wine and dance. As an added mitzvah, five trees will be planted in Israel for every ticket sold. 6:30 p.m. $150. Temple Beth Hillel, 12326 Riverside Drive, Valley Village. (818) 761-0192. http://www.tbhla.org.
Get your boogie on with classic rock band JussTuss at the "Sweethearts Ball, Dinner and Dance." Put on by Social Circle of Stephen S. Wise Temple, the shindig is open to ages 45-65ish. Dress in your finest attire and flaunt what your mother gave you over dinner, wine, dessert and coffee. 7:30-11:30 p.m. $20 (members), $25 (nonmembers). Stephen S. Wise Temple, Hershenson Hall, 15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive, Los Angeles. (213) 215-4333. email@example.com.
SUN | FEBRUARY 17
Brazil's high buzz Oscar-nominated film, "The Year My Parents Went on Vacation," is opening for a limited run at three Los Angeles theaters. Here's a tantalizing tidbit from a review published in the Forward: "Set in Brazil in the 1970s, during the exuberance of a World Cup victory and the fear-driven torpor of a military dictatorship, the film shows what happens to Mauro after his parents go on a highly euphemistic vacation (they are leftists running from the government). Mauro is dropped off in front of his grandfather's apartment in Bom Retiro, an immigrant enclave in Sao Paulo, only to discover that the old man has died. The boy's livelihood soon becomes the concern of a group of the building's Yiddish-speaking residents, with a surly religious man named Shlomo reluctantly taking the lead. Mauro -- as unimpressed as he is uncircumcised -- shows little interest in the Jewish goings-on around him. Visit http://www.laemmle.com for locations and show times.
If you've ever dreamed of a career in illustration or are just captivated by the drawings in children's books, then the Jewish Literature for Children Conference, hosted by Sinai Temple's Blumenthal Library, will be a fascinating experience for you. The day includes a panel discussion with authors and illustrators such as Amalia Hoffman and Steve Sheinkin, a hands-on art workshop, an autograph and dessert party, a silent art auction and a marketplace book sale. Manuscript consultations will also be available for an extra charge. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $60 (includes buffet lunch). Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 481-3217. http://www.sinaitemple.org.
The Yuval Ron Ensemble is upping the "cultural cool" ante with a multiethnic musical collaboration drawing from Judaism, Islamic mysticism and the Christian Armenian Church. "A Time for Peace" will feature a special appearance by Aziz, a Whirling Dervish of the Mevlevi Order. Arab vocalist Najwa Gibran will round off an evening of spiritual performance that blends Turkish and Pakistani Sufi music and Moroccan and Yemenite Jewish grooves. Audiences are requested to dress for entry into a sacred space. 7:30 p.m. $20. Islamic Center of Southern California, 434 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 415-6747. http://www.yuvalronmusic.com.
MON | FEBRUARY 18
(WINE + FOOD)
You don't have to go all the way to South Beach for a wine and food festival. Herzog Wine Cellars brings you the best of both worlds with the inaugural International Food and Wine Festival. Kosher winemakers from France, Spain, Israel and California invite you to slosh and spit your favorite grapes before chasing them with chef Todd Aarons' Mediterranean-style dishes. 7 p.m. $100 (per person), $80 (two or more people). Herzog Wine Cellars, 3201 Camino Del Sol, Oxnard. (805) 983-1560, ext. 305. http://www.herzogwinecellars.com.
TUE | FEBRUARY 19
Can't tell your Yemenite right from your Yemenite left? Karina Lambert, a peppy young dance teacher with a charming South American accent, can teach you how to box-step, pivot, cherkessia and grapevine at her Tuesday night Israeli Folk Dance Classes. Dancers of all levels are welcome -- not just the newbies -- so put on your sneakers and join the circle. 7-9 p.m. $12 (per class). Temple Menorah, Social Hall, 1101 Camino Real, Redondo Beach. (310) 316-8444. http://www.templemenorah.org.
Award-winning playwright Bruce J. Robinson brings a seat-gripping true story to life with director Alex Craig Mann in "Another Vermeer." Set in postwar Europe, Dutch art dealer Han van Meegeren is in deep after being arrested for selling a Johannes Vermeer masterpiece to Nazi Hermann Goering. To free himself from prison and looming death, Van Meegeren must convince the authorities that the Vermeer is a forgery. Mon.- Sun. Through March 9. $20-$22. Beverly Hills High School, Reuben Cordova Theatre, 241 S. Moreno Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 364-0535. http://www.theatre40.org.
WED | FEBRUARY 20
Stanley Goldstein finds the ordinary exotic. His paintings depict regular folk at work and at play, often in compositions of vigorous color and light. His portraits and landscapes evince the way light links separate objects in a fluid visual. They may be ordinary scenes, but they glow with expression. The San Francisco native's "New Paintings" will be on display through March 26. 7-9 p.m. (opening reception). Gallery open Wed.-Fri. Free. UCLA Hillel, Dortort Center for Creativity in the Arts, 574 Hilgard Ave., Westwood. $8. (310) 208-3081, ext. 108. http://www.uclahillel.org.
Playwright Jon Robin Baitz, creator of the ABC series "Brothers and Sisters," brings another riveting drama to the stage with "The Paris Letter." Set in the early 1960s, a successful New York businessman has an affair with a young male associate, after which he becomes tangled in a tragic game of financial and moral betrayal, sacrificing friends, family and love. Ron Rifkin, John Glover, Neil Patrick Harris, Josh Radnor and Patricia Wettig star in this L.A. Theatre Works production, which will be recorded for the nationally syndicated radio theater series, "The Play's the Thing." Wed.-Sun. Through Feb. 24. $20-$47. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 827-0889. http://www.latw.org.
THU | FEBRUARY 21
Operation Moses in 1984 and 1985 was Israel's first attempt to rescue Jews from war-ravaged Ethiopia. The larger Operation Solomon followed in 1991, and in 2006 the Jewish communities of North America joined efforts to bring the remaining Jewish Ethiopian population to Israel. Operation Promise is the subject of "400 Years and Four and a Half Hours: The Ethiopian-Israeli Experience," a moving photography exhibition at the Jewish Federation's Bell Family Gallery. A public celebration today will provide a glimpse into the daily lives of those who made the life-altering leap from small villages to bustling Westernized cities. 6:30-8:30 p.m. The exhibition will be on display through April 18. Free. 6505 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P. required, (323) 761-8303 or CLevy@jewishla.org.
Long before she stole the show in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" as the endearing mother of the bride, Lainie Kazan was snatching hearts on the New York nightclub circuit with her sultry voice and sensual magnetism. The accomplished television, film and stage actress, whose first love was singing, will perform in Hollywood for the first time in six years. Catch one of her smoldering jazz concerts at The Catalina Bar and Grill, one of the coolest jazz clubs in town. 8 p.m. Also, Fri. at 8 p.m., Sat. at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. $20-$30. Catalina Bar and Grill, 6725 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 466-2210. http://www.lainiekazan.com.
Willkommen and bienvenue to the world famous Kit Kat Club. Tonight Sally Bowles, clad in black tights and lace, sings "Don't Tell Mama" for a Berlin crowd while fascism takes hold outside. An American writer falls in love with an aspiring starlet while a host of scantily dressed entertainers prove that "Life is a Cabaret!" International City Theatre invites you to revisit 1930s Germany with a provocative musical that indulges decadent fantasy in the midst of impending doom. 8 p.m. (Thu.-Sat.), 2 p.m. (Sun.). Through March 9. $35-$45. Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 300 East Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. (562) 436-4610. http://www.ictlongbeach.org.
FRI | FEBRUARY 22
Minyan has never tasted so good, Jewish history never as delectable. The Movable Minyan, a lay-led, nondenominational Jewish community, is featuring a sweetly special Shabbat celebration aptly titled "Chocolate Covered Jewish History." A dairy potluck dinner should whet your appetite for a chocolate tasting world tour followed by a discussion on the history of the Jewish relationship to chocolate -- cultural, economic and biblical. 7 p.m. Free. Institute of Jewish Education, 8339 W. Third St., Los Angeles. (310) 285-3317. http://www.movableminyan.org.
No dance form is as seductive or as exotic as the Middle Eastern belly dance. Infusing it with even more spice, the talented Bellydance Superstars are bringing their art to the mainstream. The acclaimed American troupe pushes the traditional boundaries of belly dancing and introduces new elements, making the old label of "folk dance" inapplicable. 8 p.m. $23-$52. Orange County Performing Arts Center, Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. (714) 556-2787. http://www.ocpac.org.
Craig Taubman, Jewish LA's closest thing to a rock star, will bring his Shabbat musical service to a different venue tonight. "Friday Night Live" at Beth Shalom of Whittier is an opportunity for a new community to sing a little, dance a little and see what all the fuss is about. 7:30 p.m.Free. 14564 East Hawes St., Whittier. (562) 941-8744.