Don't miss an opportunity to match the face with the voice when syndicated radio host Dennis Prager appears as guest speaker at a gala dinner, "An Era for Change -- Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness." Participate in a silent auction with a chance to win tempting vacation packages, such as a stay at an ocean villa at Oahu's Turtle Bay valued at $12,000. You won't be the only one winning -- the money raised will go to Elizabeth House, the only shelter in the San Gabriel Valley for homeless pregnant women and their children. Sat. 6 p.m. $150. The University Club of Pasadena, 175 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena. For tickets, call (626) 577-4434. http://www.elizabethhouse.net.
SUN | MARCH 30
(ISRAEL @ 60)
Moshav Band live in Israel
Israel-loving, culturally enriched Shalhevet High School students have planned an action-packed "Israel at 60 Festival" headlined by the rockin' musical romp of the Moshav Band. More than just a raucous celebration of all things Israel, an anonymous donor has promised to match all funds raised today and donate the proceeds to the families of Sderot. StandWithUs, Bnei David, Beth Jacob, NCSY and Bnei Akiva are all showing their Israel solidarity today, and you can too. Be a mensch and spend your Sunday celebrating Israel by helping the Jewish state. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $5. Shalhevet High School, 910 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 930-9333.
Israeli storyteller Noa Baum has crafted a tender and complex performance exploring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the perspectives of four women at different periods in history and their lives. What she reveals in weaving these disparate stories together is that the complicated, polarizing idea of a "A Land Twice Promised" isn't a story about sides but about people. Sun. 7:30 p.m. $18. American Jewish University, Familian Campus, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. (310) 440-1246. http://www.ajula.edu/.
With many laundry loads and washed dishes under her belt, stay-at-home mom Amy Simon started scribbling down thoughts of frustration on small pieces of paper. Now a writer, producer and performer, Simon's observations have evolved into a hilarious comedy that mothers and anyone with a sense of humor can appreciate. Share the joys and challenges, fears and chaos, noisy toys and the warm cupcakes that she bakes on stage and serves to the audience. Simon jokes about anything from cracked nipples and PMS (Perfect Mother Syndrome) to Barbie and Cinderella. Bring diapers and wipes to donate during the "Moms Who Write" comic essay writing contest and special performance of "Cheerios in My Underwear," which will benefit The Motherhood Foundation and Beyond Shelter. The act will feature essay readings from celebrity moms Brett Paesel, Erika Schickel, Stephanie Blum and Cathy Ladman. Sun. 3:30 p.m. $20. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica. (310) 308-0947. http://www.cheeriosinmyunderwear.com.
Iranian emigrant Reza Asla is a religion scholar, a regular commentator for National Public Radio's "Marketplace" and Middle East analyst for CBS News. KTLK-AM weekend host Bree Walker will moderate a talk with Aslan, whose first book, "No God but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam," traces the history of Islam from the prophet's life and so-called golden age of the first four caliphs through European colonization and independence. 7:30- 9:30 p.m. $35 (includes book) Private home, 939 San Vicente Blvd., Santa Monica. Reservations required. E-mail email@example.com.
(FILM + DINNER)
The documentary that continues to gain momentum after hit runs in Florida, Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Encino, "Yiddish Theater: A Love Story," is coming to Beverly Hills. Enter the enchanted world of Yiddish theater in a documentary film about a woman's struggle to keep the oldest Yiddish theater in America thriving. The America-Israel Cultural Foundation, which supports Israeli arts and cultural institutions, will present a special screening followed by an intimate dinner gathering, where director Dan Katzir and producer Ravit Markus will be in attendance. The film also begins an engagement at Lammle's Music Hall, including post-screening discussions with the filmmakers. Sun. 4 p.m. $75. Beverly Hills Country Club, 3084 Motor Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 475-5397. Screenings are Saturday and Sunday, noon and 5:30 p.m. $7-$10. Laemmle's Music Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 274-6869. http://www.laemmle.com/viewmovie.php, http://www.yiddishtheater.net/.
Yiddish novelist, dramatist and essayist Sholem Asch will be re-discovered and revived during a lively lecture, "The Underworld Dramas of Our Great Writer Sholem Asch," taught by drama teacher Sabell Bender. Emerging from the European shtetl, Asch tirelessly searched for new horizons, starting his career as a poet and liberating Yiddish literature from the small confines of his village; he is often credited with linking the Yiddish world with mainstream European and American culture. Bender will discuss what made Asch both controversial and deeply insightful. Curious intellectuals are challenged to follow along with readings in English and Yiddish. Sun. 2 p.m. Free (members), $4 (general). Los Angeles Yiddish Culture Club, Institute of Jewish Education, 8339 W. Third St., Los Angeles. (310) 275-8455.
In preparation for Passover, Jewish women will gather for a special Passover Seder and Fundraiser conducted by Rabbi Toba August, with musical accompaniment by cantorial soloist Cindy Paley. Using Lev Eisha's unique haggadah, this spirited celebration seeks to connect women with Judaism and embrace the holiday's traditions. Enjoy kosher vegetarian cuisine and purchase haggadot and new Passover cookbooks before the holiday. Sun. 12:30-3:30 p.m. $36-$40. Reservations required. For tickets, call (310) 394-4835. Adat Shalom synagogue, 3030 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles.
TUE | APRIL 1
With growing heat and friction erupting in Israel, it's soothing and even therapeutic to encounter the beauty and art that can emerge from the turmoil. In the exhibition "A Light in the Dark," Israeli artist Rhea Carmi uses oils, sand, water, treated paper, canvas and wood, and layers, smoothes and sculpts to create an intimate landscape that demands a tactile and visual response. In the spirit of Israel @ 60, get acquainted with this talented, on-the-rise artist, whose works were recently acquired by the Museum of Tolerance and exhibited at the Riverside and Torrance art museums. Frank Pictures Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. For gallery hours, call (310) 828-0211. http://rheacarmi.com/.
For more than 90 years, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles have worked to enrich the lives of thousands of children with quality mentoring services. The organization invites current mentors as well as those interested in joining the program to a relaxed Jewish Big Brothers/Big Sisters Social Mixer. Mingle with mentors and newbies during happy hour (21 and older) and learn how your contribution can change a child's life. 7 p.m. Free. Pink Taco, Century City Mall, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 761-8675, ext. 231. http://www.jbbbsla.org/jbbbsla/.
WED | APRIL 2
It's difficult to imagine living under Nazi rule, let alone being a young child growing up during that time. Author Alice Rene travels through the eyes of 6-year-old Ilse as the young girl watches Nazi soldiers march down her street in Vienna. Rene's "Becoming Alice: A Memoir" chronicles the adventures of her Jewish family's harrowing escape, their struggle as immigrants to fit into the American landscape and Ilse's personal problems growing up within a troubled family. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Wed. 7 p.m. Free. JCC at Milken, Rosenkrantz Library, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills. (818) 464-3274. http://alicerene.com/calendar.html.
In 1998, Rabbi Daniel Gordis kissed a shiny life in Los Angeles goodbye. He took his wife and two children on a one-way El-Al flight to Israel and has become a fixture there ever since. The founding dean of American Jewish University's Ziegler Rabbinical School (then University of Judaism) is now senior vice president of the Shalem Center and writes extensively about Israeli society and the challenges faced by the Jewish state. His widely circulated e-mail dispatches have filled the pages of two books, and tonight he'll pose the question, "The Year 2048: Can Israel Survive to the Age of 100?" followed by a discussion with Rabbi David Wolpe. 7:30 p.m. Free. Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 474-1518. http://www.sinaitemple.org.
Looking for a little comic spice? Stephen S. Wise's Social Circle (45-60ish) invites you to spend "An Evening With Bernie Kopell," the versatile actor-comedian who's played so many roles on so many sitcoms that he knows a thing or two about the diversity of human behavior. Mix and mingle during a dinner buffet before satiating your sense of humor with Kopell's cackle-inducing act. Dessert will follow, giving you extra time to cozy up with a new cutie. Wed. 7 p.m. (dinner), 8 p.m. (show). $15-$20. Stephen S. Wise Temple, Hershenson Hall, 15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive, Los Angeles. (213) 215-4333.
THU | APRIL 3
From early modern Europe to the colonization of the United States, the idea of religious tolerance is as much a dream today as it was hundreds of years ago. In a two-day USC International conference, leading scholars from France, the United Kingdom, Brazil and the United States will discuss "Religious Tolerance and Intolerance From the Inquisition to the Present." Encapsulating a large span of history, scholars will discuss topics from the emergence of religious toleration in Europe to the treatment of indigenous Native Americans. Professor Benjamin J. Kaplan of University College London will illuminate the divisiveness of faith during his keynote address, and you'll also have the opportunity to partake in thought-provoking lectures led by accomplished academics throughout the day. Thu. and Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Davidson Conference Center, USC campus, 3415 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles. (213) 740-6724. http://www.college.usc.edu/vhi.
For three days, Ventura will brim with Jewish art and culture at Temple Beth Torah's fifth annual Ventura County Jewish Film Festival. In the uproarious comedy, "Sixty Six," Helena Bonham Carter and Stephen Rea grapple with a tough choice: attend a bar mitzvah or watch the World Cup finals? In a "Sex and the City" style documentary, four Jewish "funny girls" gather at Katz's Deli to eat and gab about their female entertainer icons in "Making Trouble." Pack your popcorn, call your friends and catch four unique films from the United States, United Kingdom and Israel during this fun-filled fest, with a special comedic performance by Wendy Kamenoff scheduled for Sunday. Thu.-Sun. Various times. $10-$12. Regency Buenaventura 6, 1440 Eastman Ave., Ventura. For full schedule of show times, call Sam (805) 647-4181. http://www.vcjff.org.
Once we were slaves and now ... we have to save the Earth. Learn how to give your Passover seder a green facelift when chef Meg Dickler-Taylor demonstrates the connection between Jews' struggle for freedom and the modern struggle to liberate the planet as she explains how to have "The Sustainable Seder." Since all the focus on seder plates might make your tummy growl, you're invited to bring a vegan potluck item for eight to 10 people (whether from your own kitchen or elsewhere) -- just make sure it's earth-healthy, green-friendly and animal free. Thu. 7 p.m. Free. The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring, 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 552-2007. http://www.circlesocal.org.
With so many failed attempts at diplomacy, the film "Encounter Point" demonstrates that grass-roots, nonviolent, interpersonal dialogue can sometimes be the best mechanism for mediating conflict. For two years, the film's crew traveled from Tel Mond to Tulkarem, from Hebron to Haifa, to tell the story of a former Palestinian prisoner, a wounded brother, a bereaved Israeli mother and a fellow settler who came together as ordinary people to embrace the extraordinary act of peace. The documentary won the audience award at the San Francisco International Film Festival and has been shown in more than 35 cities worldwide. A Q-&-A with filmmaker Ronit Avni will follow the screening. Thu. 7-9:45 p.m. $10. Laemmle's Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 274-6869. http://www.encounterpoint.com.
FRI | APRIL 4
Hollywood is largely responsible for the world remembering the atrocities of the Holocaust. Because of its numerous portrayals, people around the world have a sense of what concentration camps looked like, how Jewish families huddled in attics and were crammed into cattle cars. "Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust" explores "how an industry that sells fantasy has dealt with one of the most horrifying episodes in modern world history, and asks hard questions about the responsibility of filmmakers [and] the uneasy relationship between American popular culture and the Holocaust." Narrated by Gene Hackman, the film includes excerpts from more than 40 films, rare newsreels and interviews with survivors and the filmmakers who have told their stories through cinema. $6.50-$8.50. Laemmle's Grande 4-plex, 345 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles. For listings, call (213) 617-0268 or visit http://laemmle.com/.
Remember Blossom? The lanky and precocious teenager of yesteryear who wore leggings and brightly colored hats? If you thought she was lost forever ... she's back! Mayim Bialik is the keynote speaker for HuJews, the teen portion of the upcoming Society for Humanistic Judaism Conference, which will spend three days educating Los Angeles about cultural and identity connections to Judaism through a nontheistic approach. "Connecting to Judaism: I Did It My Way" will be the focus of the conference, co-sponsored by Adat Chaverim. It is programmed for teenagers and adults alike and will feature guest stars, scholars, rabbis and speakers from all over the country who will discuss humanism, Judaism and Islam as well as other issues facing the secular community. Fri.-Sun. $30 (per session), $275-$448 (full-stay conference fee). Marriott Warner Center, 21850 Oxnard St., Woodland Hills. For registration information, call (818) 623-7363 or visit http://www.shj.org.
(SCHOLAR IN RESIDENCE)
Rabbi David Teutsch, a teacher, author, ethics scholar and leading proponent of the Reconstructionist movement, will present a series of lectures about moral and spiritual challenges during a weekend residency. Beginning on Shabbat, Teutsch will explain the philosophy behind the Reconstructionist movement, heating things up with Saturday evening's lecture focusing on Jewish sexual ethics, gender and identity politics and concluding Sunday morning with an examination of family relationships and the obligations inherent in that framework. Fri.-Sun. Free and open to the public. 7 p.m. Congregation Dor Hadash, 4858 Ronson Court, San Diego. For lecture times, call (858) 268-3674. http://www.dorhadash.org.
Cemeteries are usually spooky, unless you're in Paris where many of the world's most famous people are buried. Heddy Honigmann's film, "Forever," brings you to Pere-Lachaise, the famous gravesite in Paris which became the final haunt of Proust, Modigliani, Oscar Wilde, Maria Callas, Chopin, Jim Morrison and countless other important figures. During these visits, the filmmaker introduces us to Parisians, tourists and other zany characters who make pilgrimages to these sites to visit the artists who have inspired their utmost devotion. Limited one-week engagement. $7-$10. Laemmle's Music Hall, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 274-6869. http://laemmle.com/.
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