Jews have lived in Poland for more than a thousand years. Once the largest Jewish community in Europe, Polish Jews contributed immensely to the development of that country. Unfortunately, the only thing the world tends to remember about Polish Jews is how they perished in the Holocaust. The Museum of the History of Polish Jews, a $130 million complex currently being built in the heart of the former Warsaw Ghetto, will tell the story of how Jews in Poland lived, thrived and shaped the society around them. This important project needs additional support, and tonight's benefit could provide much of that assistance. Dinner, a concert of Polish Jewish music and an informative presentation by Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland Tad Taube will round out the night, which will also include a commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Sat. 6 p.m. $175. Private Beverly Hills residence. R.S.V.P. required, (310) 271-5739.
Patrick Swayze's recent cancer diagnosis reminds us that even the most idolized actors are subject to grave illnesses. Carla Zilbersmith, a solo artist and singer stricken with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is being celebrated and honored by close friends Jeannine Frank of Parlor Performances and Danna Hyams and Gary Blumsack of the Hayworth Theatre in "Carla-bration: A Special Variety Night." Even during her difficult ordeal, Zilbersmith continues to create insightful, honest works, channeling her feelings into humorous and inspiring essays. All proceeds from the two-night fundraiser, which features cabaret artists and musical humorists Ray Jessel, Betsy Salkind and others, will provide additional assistance and quality of life services not covered by insurance. Sat. 8 p.m. $25 (suggested donation). Steinway Hall, Fields Piano, 12121 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 471-3979. Also April 14, 8 p.m. Hayworth Theatre, 2509 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (800) 838-3006. http://www.quiltmamas.com/dmc/.
Wagner and erotica make strange bedfellows in Terrence McNally's "Prelude and Liebestod." The main character is an egomaniacal conductor who wields his baton to the classic sounds of Wagner, while allowing his thoughts to wander (much to the audience's amusement) from joy at being a conductor to criticizing Wagner to admonishing the soprano. His personal thoughts, woven into his conducting, come to a climactic end with a sensually detailed sexual encounter. Peppered with homoerotic uncensored language, "Prelude and Liebstod" is not for the prim of mind. Sat., 5 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. Through May 18. $15. Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. (818) 700-4878. http://www.lcgrt.com.
Writer Mitch Watson brings the existential comedy, "Klub," to the stage with 10 dysfunctional performers attempting to escape from a play in which they are all trapped. Don't miss out on a revival of The Actors' Gang's 1992 hit show directed by Michael Schlitt. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Through May 11. $15-$25. The Actors' Gang, Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City. For tickets, call (310) 838-4264 or visit http://www.theactorsgang.com.
With a stellar cast and a brilliant comedy writer, "The Sunshine Boys" is a play that will keep you riveted all evening long. In this Neil Simon play, veteran performers Hal Linden and Allan Miller depict two aging ex-vaudeville stars who can't stand one another, to put it mildly. Watch the characters duke it out as they reluctantly team up for a "History of Comedy" network special. Sat. 8 p.m. Through June 1. $25-$30. Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 477-2055. http://www.odysseytheatre.com.
SUN | APRIL 13
Longtime Israel champion and green advocate, the Jewish National Fund, is recycling its annual "Walk for Water" event and putting it in a whole new package. The GoNeutral Walk is greener and greater, focusing on eliminating our carbon footprints and contributing to a healthier future for our planet with renewed fervor. Help support JNF's efforts while enjoying a sunny day in the park with live entertainment, Israeli folk dancing barefoot-on-the-grass style, children's activities and kosher food. Sun. 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Free (under 18), $18 (general). Paramount Ranch, 2813 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills. (818) 704-5454. http://www.walkforwater.org.
Join hundreds of green-savvy young Jews in a day of environmental community service at Project Green Day L.A., organized by J-Serve, which promotes tikkun olam, or repairing the world, through action and service. Learn about pressing environmental issues while gaining hands-on experience made possible by PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values and the Jewish Coalition for Service. Local Jewish organizations will also be participating, including BBYO, USY, NCSY, Jewish Student Union, Jewish National Fund, the Shalom Institute and Sulam: The Center for Jewish Service Learning. Sun. 2-5 p.m. Free. Shalom Institute, 34342 Mulholland Highway, Malibu. (818) 464-3366 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In an early celebration of Earth Day, Sinai Temple's ATID will host an adventurous Earth Day Field Trip, intended to inspire awareness (in case you haven't already jumped on the eco-friendly wagon) and increase appreciation for our natural environment. Join ATID's Green Social Action Team for a bus tour of Malibu that will include a visit to an organic farm and a kosher picnic at Zuma Beach. Get your hands and feet dirty for a cause that will benefit everyone. Sun. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $12 (members), $15 (nonmembers). Meet at Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. For tickets, call (310) 474-1518 or visit http://www.sinaitemple.org.
The Jews of the Balkan Sephardic Diaspora have a fascinating tale to tell. "Centropa -- Witness to a Sephardic Century 1875-2005" is a unique project that brings to life the experiences of this group of people with 35 posters of family photographs and stories in Spanish and English. The exhibition will be accompanied by lectures and symposia discussing the lives of Sephardic Jews in 20th century Europe. 7 p.m. Free. UCLA Hillel, 574 Hilgard Ave., Westwood. (310) 208-3081, ext. 108.
Never is the art and importance of storytelling more visceral than on Passover. Each year, the Exodus story draws us back to the seder table, retelling and recounting a pivotal experience (or metaphor) that brought us not only to the Holy Land but to our Jewish peoplehood. Mesmerize your children with fascinating stories about the Passover holiday at "Children's Jewish Storytime Celebrating Passover." Very few things beat making and eating charoset, but this family-oriented storytelling with a craft-making activity and yummy snacks can be a close second. Sun. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Free. Congregation Am HaYam, 4839 Market St., Unit C, Ventura. (805) 236-7484.
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