In a strong statement that the Jewish presence in Westchester has not disappeared, families of B'nai Tikvah's nursery school took to the streets in December for the annual Westchester Holiday Parade. Wearing homemade dreidel and menorah headbands, 30 children marched for one mile along Manchester Boulevard handing out chocolate Chanukah gelt and plastic dreidels.
In September, B'nai Tikvah sold the Westchester building it had occupied since 1959 and moved services to Temple Beth Torah in Mar Vista and to a Westchester church, while keeping the nursery and religious schools in Westchester on Sepulveda Eastway.
The expanding airport and white flight had reduced the once thriving synagogue to a skeletal congregation.
At the parade, Rabbi Jason van Leeuwen joined the kids and parents behind a banner, followed by an SUV with a rooftop speaker playing Chanukah music by Doda Mollie Wine, song leader at the nursery school.
For more information, call (310) 649-4051 or visit www.bnaitikvahcongregation.org.
Back to the Beach
College students are invited to a four-day celebration of the strange mix of irreverence and Jewish pride that have combined to create Jewlicious @ The Beach 2, or JTB2, this President's Day Weekend in Long Beach.
"Other student leadership conferences organize a parade of politicians, funders and scholars to impress participants," says Rabbi Yonah Bookstein, director of Beach Hillel and conference coordinator. "But JTB2 welcomes the involvement of grassroots, down-to-earth people who are as passionate about being Jewish as they are about their creativity."
JTB2 has on its roster artists, writers and performers who will explore fashion, henna tattooing, print and online journalism, improv, activism, wine-making, bronze-casting, podcasting, Indie music, spoken-word, unorganized religion and blogging.
The event is sponsored by Beach Hillel --which serves campuses in Long Beach and Orange County -- along with the blog site Jewlicious and SoCal Jewish Student Services. Jewlicious @ The Beach 2 hopes to attract more than double the hundred students who attended the first conference last year.
Jewlicious @ The Beach takes place Feb. 17-20 at the Alpert Jewish Community Center in Long Beach. Registration before Feb. 3 is $36, including kosher meals and on-site accommodations (bring a sleeping bag). Register at www.JTB2.com, e-mail email@example.com or call (866) 539-5474.
The Milken Family Foundation is looking for graduating high school seniors whose academic performance, community service and triumphs over financial and other obstacles mark their potential to make a difference in the world.
Students will be selected to become Milken Scholars, which entitles them to financial assistance, access to career-related counseling, assistance with internships and opportunities for volunteerism. A scholarship fund also allows recipients to pursue wide-ranging academic and career interests.
All nominations must be made by college advisers in Los Angeles County by Jan. 20.
For specific qualifications and more information, visit www.mff.org/scholars.
Mini Peace Conference
Through art projects, conversation and food, Muslim and Jewish students got to know each other at a daylong program at Temple Israel of Hollywood Day School in November.
The sixth-grade class at Temple Israel hosted fourth- and fifth-graders from the New Horizon Islamic center, after sixth-grade teacher Orley Denman at Temple Israel initiated a connection between the two schools. As the children interacted in the library, they discovered who plays basketball, who loves math and who has pets. They exchanged greeting cards and projects they had made in preparation for the meeting.
Rabbi John Rosove, senior rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood, asked the group which countries their families came from. The answers included Turkey, Afghanistan, Israel, India and South America.
Reflecting afterward, the Temple Israel sixth graders said that, above all, they "had fun." They also were impressed by how much the New Horizon students enjoyed prayer and derived discipline from it. They no longer doubted that the "Muslim kids" were "just like them."
Musical Pajama Party
Stephen Michael Schwartz of the award-winning children's recording group, Parachute Express, will appear in concert on Saturday, Jan. 14, for his ninth annual "Musical Pajama Party" to benefit Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village, where Schwartz and his family are active members.
Children are invited to come dressed in their pajamas to enjoy Schwartz perform favorites including the theme song from "Jay Jay the Jet Plane."
The Musical Pajama Party is Sunday, Jan. 14, at Temple Beth Hillel, 12326 Riverside Drive, Valley Village. 5:15 p.m. (pizza), 6 p.m. (concert). $10 (in advance); $12 (at the door). For information, contact Wendei Spale at (818) 769-4844.
Groups Host Shoah Seminar
Educators are invited to attend a four-session seminar on "The Relevance of Teaching the Holocaust in the 21st Century," presented by the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance and the Center for Excellence on the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, Human Rights and Tolerance. The seminar will introduce Echoes and Reflections, a curriculum that integrates eyewitness testimony collected by the Shoah Foundation.
"Teaching the Holocaust" seminar takes place at ADL headquarters, 10495 Santa Monica Blvd. on Thursdays in February, 4:30-8:30 p.m., with an optional fifth session March 2. To R.S.V.P. or for information, call (310) 446-8000 or visit www.adl.org.