Got some time between services and your next Rosh Hashana meal? Unwinding with a book may sound nice, but perhaps that Jackie Collins paperback isn't quite appropriate to the day. Try "Seven Heavens: Inspirational Stories to Elevate Your Soul," instead. Based on his work experiences, the book by Rabbi Levi Meier, Jewish chaplain of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, presents his thoughts on death and dying. He discusses subjects like dying with dignity and mystical concepts like the soul and angels.
Pitspopany Press, $24.95. Available in bookstores and online. For more information, visit www.pitspopany.com .
Day two of the Jewish New Year festivities. By now you've OD'd on mom's famous brisket and small-talk topics - from the AMBER Alerts to Iraq - have deteriorated into dust bunnies behind Grandma's plastic-covered sofa. What to do now that it has ended? Make a break for Café des Artists, where goyishe food and literary salvation await. Strong-jawed beauty Minnie Driver and doe-eyed ex-brat packer Andrew McCarthy take part in "Literary Stages," reading from works by Oscar Wilde and Jewish author Tod Goldberg. Goldberg will also be on hand to sign copies of his novels.
6 p.m. (buffet dinner), 7:30 p.m. (reading). $25 (in advance), $30 (at the door). 1534 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood. For reservations call (323) 465-1010.
No neurotic Jew, she. Siona Benjamin, a Sephardic artist raised in Bombay could've had one heck of an identity crisis. But instead, she's embraced the influences of the many religions and cultures that have surrounded her while growing up. The result is "Finding Home: A Series of Gouache-on-Paper Works by Siona Benjamin." Her vibrant works mix Hindu and Jewish images, as in one self-portrait in which Benjamin, as multiarmed Hindu goddess, becomes a menorah. The exhibition is on display at the USC Hillel Jewish Center, and you can hear Benjamin speak during Hillel's Yom Kippur evening services.
Runs through Oct. 25. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Monday-Friday). Free. 3300 S. Hoover St., Los Angeles. For more information, call (213) 747-9135.
Those of you long-time West Coast transplants yearning for bygone days of Coney Island hot dogs and stickball may find comfort at the Beverly Hills Public Library today. Currently on display is a series of images by street photographer Martin Elkort. The photographs depict scenes from New York's Lower East Side and Coney Island, five years after the end of World War II. Elkort captures the period's general optimism and innocence through these documentary-style pictures. Kind of like a "Time Warp" minus Tim Curry in drag.
444 N. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 288-2220.
It's hard to believe one year has passed since Sept. 11, 2001. And while we'll each find our own ways to personally commemorate the day, there are also public memorials and television specials planned. For those of you planning to stay home with your families, you may want to consider Showtime's "Reflections from Ground Zero." Spike Lee hosts this showcase of nine short student films. They range from Serguei Bassine's animated piece about a woman trapped in the World Trade Center to Rachel Zabar's documentary "One Life," about David Harlow Rice, a man who died in the attacks.
5:45 p.m. Showtime. Also airs Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.sho.com
You've heard all the "Fuhrer Furor" in the pages of this paper. Along the same vein is a panel discussion at the Getty Center about "Biography on Film." Academy Award-winning documentarian Mark Jonathan Harris and artist Péter Forgacs discuss their approaches to documenting the Holocaust. Special guests from various academic institutions are scheduled to attend as well.
7 p.m. Free. Museum Lecture Hall, J. Paul Getty Museum, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 440-7330.
It's low-brow night at the Alex Theatre as the Alex Film Society presents "Vaudeville Returns." World Hula-Hoop champion Mat Pendl astounds and amazes; "Top Banana" Bruce Block yucks it up; and for the main event, the Marx Brothers' "Duck Soup" is also on the, ahem, bill. So don the Groucho glasses proudly. After all, what's Friday the 13th without a touch of the bizarre?
8 p.m. $15 (adults), $12 (children). 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. For more information, call (818) 243-2539.