Whether or not you're a firm believer in life after death, screenwriter and playwright Dan Gordon has a message for you: People in heaven might be sending you postcards. In his new book, "Postcards From Heaven: Messages of Love From the Other Side," Gordon explains how a "whisper, a familiar smell in the air, or just the feeling of a presence" can indicate a message from above. This weekend, Gordon is part of Temple Menorah's second annual "Authors, Books, and Conversations" event. Ariel Sabar, author of "My Father's Paradise," will speak about the search for his Kurdish Jewish roots. And on Sunday, children's book author Kathy Kacer, an expert on writing about the Holocaust for children, will be featured. Sat. 5 p.m. $25-$36 (includes dinner). Through Dec. 7. Temple Menorah, 1101 Camino Real, Redondo Beach. (310) 316-8444. http://www.templemenorah.org.
We suggest you get to the Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center's Festival of Lights Holiday Extravaganza right as it opens at 10 a.m. With musical performances by kid favorites The Hollow Trees and Another Big Day, games, arts and crafts, a magic show, an entertaining program from the Chinese Cultural Center, storytelling, a bounce house and a gift bazaar, you'll need every minute of the five-hour fair. But don't forget to pause for lunch -- homemade latkes will be a-sizzlin' -- and once you've cleaned up those happy faces, head to the professional holiday portrait photographer to capture the good times. Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $5; free for children under 5. SIJCC, 1110 Bates Ave., Silverlake. (323) 663-2255. http://www.sijcc.net.
"Fiddler on the Roof." Enough said. You know the story, you know the songs, you know you're going to enjoy the performance. The Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities presents their production of "Fiddler," starring Thomas Fiscella as the endearing Tevye and Richard Israel as Motel. Sat. 8 p.m. Tue.-Sun. Through Dec. 21. $40-$65. Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach. (310) 372-4477. http://www.civiclightopera.com.
With a latke bar as well as a martini bar, it's no wonder the organizers of the Orange County JCC Singles Chanukah Dance are anticipating "the biggest Jewish single event of the year." Jewish daters and shakers from Orange County, San Diego and Los Angeles are expected to arrive in hordes and leave in sets of two, but not before they boogie to favorites from the '60s, '70s and '80s, devour a plateful of latkes topped with sour cream or apple sauce (the latke bar will feature a host of toppings), and down enough martinis to shake off the awkwardness of being at a Jewish singles Chanukah party. Sat. 8 p.m.-until your head stops spinning like a dreidel. $15 (JCC members, in advance), $18 (general, in advance), $25 (at the door). Merage JCC, One Federation Way, Irvine. (949) 435-3400. firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.jccoc.org.
SUN | DECEMBER 7
Get in shape while helping a good cause at the ninth annual Wells Fargo Walk of Ages. The walk is one of the largest events of its kind in the San Fernando Valley, drawing nearly 1,000 participants every year. The 5K walkathon hopes to raise $400,000 for the nonprofit Jewish Home -- the largest single-source provider of senior housing in Los Angeles. But it's not all just physical activity. The fun-filled day comes complete with music, food and clowns! The event is open to all ages and will begin and end at the Jewish Home's Eisenberg Village Campus. Sun. 7 a.m. (registration); 8:30 a.m. (opening ceremony). Eisenberg Village Campus, 18855 Victory Blvd., Reseda. (818) 774-3324. http://www.walkofages.kintera.org.
If you're planning to move to Israel but aren't sure exactly how to go about doing it, Nefesh B'Nefesh is here to help. The organization is offering multimedia informational sessions for both short- and long-term aliyah planning. The workshops offer information on taxes, schools and other crucial facets of life in the Jewish state. One-on-one meetings are also available by appointment through Dec. 14. And on Dec. 13, a Wine, Cheese and Careers in Israel event will be offered for young professionals (8-10 p.m.). Sun. 4-6 p.m. Free. Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1150 S. Beverly Drive, Los Angeles. (866) 425-4924. http://www.nbn.org.il.
Rabbi Mordechai Dubin's upbeat songs have 3-year-olds quoting from Genesis and Maimonides. The fourth-grade teacher at Maimonides Academy received a $10,000 grant from the Milken Family Foundation Jewish Educators Awards for his excellence in teaching and used it to produce a children's CD that has become the buzz of day schools across the country. Bring your tots to see Rabbi Dubin live, singing holy hits from his CD, "I Made This World For You," at the Jewish Community Library. Sun. 3-4 p.m. Free. JCLLA, 6505 Wilshire Blvd. #300, Los Angeles. (323) 761-8648. email@example.com. http://www.jclla.org.
Walter Furman, a social science researcher at UCLA and father of four daughters, has acute myelogenous leukemia, an aggressive type of cancer that can only be cured by a bone marrow transplant. None of the 700,000 Jewish donors currently in the world's bone marrow registries match Furman's profile. Because matches are more likely to be found within a person's ethnic group, the Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center is hosting a blood stem cell match drive on behalf of its congregant and his family. To help, people between the ages of 18 and 61 are encouraged to come, register in the National Bone Marrow Registry, and do a mouth swab. If a match is found, the transfusion will most likely involve giving blood only. Sun. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. PJTC, 1434 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena. (626) 798-1161. http://www.pjtc.net.
MON | DECEMBER 8
Transit prose queen and performance artist Marisela Norte will not only read selections from her poetry collection, "Peeping Tom Tom Girl," at ALOUD, she will perform them with longtime friend and talented collaborator Maria Elena Gaitan. "An Evening of Spoken Word and Cello" features two unique female artists who grew up in East Los Angeles and have been expressing themselves through various forms of art since the '80s. Norte writes much of her poetry on the No. 18 bus she rides to work every day. Recently adopting a new medium, photography, Norte has always been drawn to capture the marginalized world of immigrants, laborers and bus riders like herself. "Norte finds glamour in the gutters of Los Angeles and something to treasure in what others discard," wrote a Los Angeles Times reporter of her recent photography exhibition. Mon. 7 p.m. Free. Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium, 630 W. Fifth St., Los Angeles. Reservations strongly recommended, (213) 228-7025. http://www.libraryfoundationla.org/aloud.
WED | DECEMBER 10
Esther Jungreis once trembled, starving and terrified in Bergen-Belsen. Many years later, she flew over Germany on the president of the United States' plane. The world-renowned spiritual leader and speaker, who comes from a rabbinical dynasty tracing back to King David, has come a long way from the death camps of Germany. Jungreis founded Hineni, an international Jewish outreach movement, in 1973; has written several books, including "The Committed Life" and "The Committed Marriage," and has written a column for The Jewish Press for more than 40 years. Inspirational and sometimes controversial in her passionate advocacy of Judaism, Jungreis will have a conversation with Rabbi David Wolpe in "Life Is a Test," followed by a dessert reception and book signing. Wed. 7:30 p.m. $10 (Sinai members), $15 (nonmembers). Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 481-3243. firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.sinaitemple.org.
Take a break from grandma and grandpa this holiday season (as much as you love them) by celebrating Chanukah with people your own age. Stephen S. Wise Temple's "W" group is hosting its fifth annual Hanukah Party and Fundraiser for folks in their 20s and 30s. The festivities will raise money for Jewish World Watch's Reclamation Project, which helps refugees who have fled Darfur and are now living in the Republic of Chad. Specifically, the money will go to those in the Iridimi Refugee Camp who are struggling to gain access to water. Wed. 8 p.m. $15. LAX Night Club, 1714 N. Las Palmas Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 889-2242. http://www.wisela.org.
Imagine growing up knowing that your father was brutal Nazi leader Amon Goeth. Monika Hertwig learned at a young age of her father's history and his eventual hanging as a war criminal. But Hertwig didn't simply try to forget the past; she went on to search for one of her father's victims and found Helen Jonas, a woman rescued by Oskar Schindler. Directed by Academy Award-winner James Moll, the meeting of the two women captured in the film, "Inheritance," "unearths terrible truths and lingering questions about how the actions of our parents can continue to ripple through generations." Wed. Airs nationally on PBS' series, "Point of View." Check local listings at http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2008/inheritance.
The last time you heard the words "peer pressure" was probably during a D.A.R.E. program in middle school (back when it was called junior high!). But pressure from your peers is still a powerful force in your life, whether you realize it or not, and the consequences of not knowing how to say no can be just as treacherous as for a young kid succumbing to drug use. "The Power of Persuasion: What Do Cults, Tele-Marketers and Terrorists Have in Common" will break down the compelling techniques used by a variety of people whose goal is to manipulate your thinking and hence, your behavior. Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz, an expert in cults and a police crisis counselor, will use interactive demonstrations and true stories to explain why we fall for these techniques over and over again; more importantly, Kravitz will sharpen your street smarts and give you the mental tools to resist peer pressure. This program is sponsored by Jews for Judaism. Wed. 7:30-9 p.m. $18 (tickets available in advance and at the door). American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. To register, (310) 440-1246. http://www.jewsforjudaism.org.
THU | DECEMBER 11
In its brief 60-year history, Israel has undergone enormous changes and even greater threats. What will the Holy Land look like at 100 years? None of us can say for certain. But that doesn't stop Israel experts from pondering the question. Rabbi Daniel Gordis tackled the issue on Nov. 13 in part one of Temple Beth Am's Israel 2048 Master Teacher Series, "Envisioning the State of Israel on the occasion of its 100th Anniversary." Tonight, another brilliant scholar shares his insights on the future of the Jewish state. David Myers, director of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies, has published numerous books and is the co-editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review. Thu. 7:45 p.m. $15 (Temple Beth Am members), $25 (nonmembers). Temple Beth Am, 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P. required, (310) 652-7354, ext. 215. http://www.tbala.org/lehrhaus.
FRI | DECEMBER 12
Get ready, get set, go green! The Eco Gift Festival, dubbed "holiday shopping for the soul," is the largest green shopping event in the world, and it's happening here. For three days, more than 200 vendors will offer guilt-free shopping, along with live, eclectic music, a children's stage, on-site shipping and free gift-wrapping. Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, and Shallom Berkman, Jewish founder of Urth Caffé, will be among the speakers. Presented by the Los Angeles Times. Fri. 11 a.m. (Fri. and Sun.), 10 a.m. (Sat.) $8.50 (one-day pass); $18.50 (three-day pass). Through Dec. 14. Santa Monica Civic Center, 1800 Main St., Santa Monica. (310) 399-3097. http://www.ecogift.com.
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