Jewish Journal

The Circuit

by Gaby Wenig

Posted on Oct. 23, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Una-Daters Unite

Nearly 1,600 people packed Sinai Temple Oct. 10 for the Westwood synagogue's monthly "Friday Night Live" singles summit, where a Toronto transplant said she was, "looking for modern, chivalrous men."

The temple's hallways were "like a Fellini film," said a bachelor navigating a thoroughfare of short, fat, tall, petite, pink-booted, shy, arrogant, on-the-prowl, starting-over, major-attitude, rail-thin, obese, brunette, red-haired, balding, blonde, dirty-blonde and bottle-blonde Israelis, Persians, Russians plus Commonwealth, American, Westlake Village and Westside Jews.

The evening's highlight was Rabbi David Wolpe's chat with Journal singles columnists Carin Davis, Mark Miller, J.D. Smith and Teresa Strasser.

"I think that alcohol should be involved in all blind dates," Davis said jokingly.

The discussion took a loud turn when a 30-something man in fraying blue jeans, old sneakers and worn sweater rose from a front-row seat where he sat on a thoroughly read newspaper, approached an over-modulated, questions-from-the-audience microphone and said, "I've literally been to 57 Friday Night Lives. I've run personal ads for 10 years. What am I doing wrong?"

"I can't imagine," said Strasser in total deadpan. As he returned to his newspaper-covered lair, Strasser commented, "That's the Una-Dater."

Wolpe's dating advice to the panel's overflowing crowd was simple: "You can go out with someone casually, but you can't treat someone casually." -- David Finnigan, Contributing Writer

Brainy Fun

Art of the Brain, a nonprofit that raises money for the UCLA neuro-oncology program, celebrated the talent and zest for life of brain cancer patients at its fourth annual gala fundraiser, "The Bravery of the Brain," at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall in September. The gala attracted some 500 people, who enjoyed food donated from some of Los Angeles' top restaurants.

The event raised $300,000 for brain cancer research.

A Time to Mourn

The High Holidays are generally a time for reflection and prayer, which is why 2,500 SoCal Jews made their way to the Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries on Oct. 5 for the traditional Kever Avot (grave of our fathers) service.

During the service, the 50-voice Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale sang and Rabbi Sheree Z. Hirsch delivered the memorial address. Cantors Joseph Gole, Ira Bigeleissen and Chayim Frenkel sang the traditional prayers of "El Malei Rachamim" ("God Full of Mercy"), "Adonai Roi" ("The Lord Is My Shepherd") and "B'Yado" ("In His Hand").

A similar service was conducted at Mount Sinai's Simi Valley location where Cantors Rochelle Kruase and Rickie Gole led the prayers and Rabbi Naomi Levy delivered the memorial address.

As part of the service, many of the attendees bought food for the SOVA Food Pantry in Los Angeles.

Hammer Time!

The audience of almost 250 at the University of Judaism's Oct. 9 screening of the action-hero spoof, "The Hebrew Hammer" roared with laughter when "Hammer" star Adam Goldberg -- the Jewish "Shaft" -- guns down neo-Nazis while shouting, "Shabbat Shalom, mother------!"

The tattoo-covered Goldberg sat on a post-screening panel with the "Hammer" team, taking questions via Journal Editor-in-Chief Rob Eshman. As a few audience members left, Goldberg eyeballed them and said mockingly, "maybe we should talk about Christianity."

In a distribution plan unique for a low-budget independent film, "Hammer" will premiere on Comedy Central around Chanukah and then open in art-house theaters. Filmmaker Jonathan Kesselman said that in Israel, "they loved it -- an ass-kicking Jew in a country of ass-kicking Jews."

When Eshman asked why he made a 1970s-style blaxploitation movie about a Jewish superhero, the Van Nuys-bred Kesselman said, "Because I'm proudly Jewish. I wanted to make a lot of money -- sell ["Hammer"] T-shirts to Jews." -- DF

What Do YouTHink?

Styrofoam heads, tzedakah boxes and student-produced public service announcements were all part of the social commentary art on display at the youTHink's Open House Event at the Zimmer Children's Museum on Oct. 1. YouTHink, a statewide education program sponsored by the museum and the Center for American Studies and Culture, uses the power of art to foster critical thinking and serve as a tool for social change. The program, which is directed by Shifra Teitelbaum, services public schools in Los Angeles. Each lesson in the program is divided into three parts. During the first, students view social commentary art on a theme, such as civic and social responsibility or education, and then after discussing it, they create tangible artwork.

Middle school educator Chris Saldivar said the youTHink program motivated his students to "think about the world in which they live and how they can be empowered to make a difference."

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