Winner of the Camera d'Or prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, "Jellyfish" is another example of the remarkable cinematic explosion of Israeli films garnering critical acclaim at international film festivals. Written by Shira Geffen and directed by famed short-story writer Etgar Keret, the poignant film depicts the lives of three women living in Tel Aviv -- each one lost in her own tragic way and dealing with issues of communication, affection and destiny. The thread running through their endearing stories is the gray, tranquil Mediterranean Sea and the jellyfish that wash up on its shores. The film, in Hebrew with English subtitles, opened in various theaters April 25. Check local listings for theaters and showtimes. http://www.zeitgeistfilms.com.
Saddle up your horses and head to Burbank for a lively Western-themed benefit, Wells Fargo's "Hollywood Charity Horse Show," headed up by one of the most iconic starship captains of our time, William Shatner, a.k.a. Capt. James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise. Let loose your yeehaws and yipees as the knife- and whip-wielding troupe Rancho Indalo Riders wow the crowd with their daring riding tricks. Then croon along with country music superstar Randy Travis as he serenades the crowd during a good ol'-fashioned country dinner party. Don't forget to tip your cowboy hat to Ahead With Horses and the Camp Max Strauss Foundation, two incredible organizations that focus on the needs of children in Los Angeles that will be receiving the proceeds of this event. Sat. 4 p.m. (silent auction), 5:30 p.m. (arena show), 7 p.m. (dinner and concert). $250 (individual tickets), $2,500 (per table). Various sponsorships available. Los Angeles Equestrian Center, 480 Riverside Drive, Burbank. (818) 840-9066. http://www.horseshow.org.
The presidential race, the mortgage crisis, the faltering economy, the growing threat of Iran -- these issues have so consumed our attention in the past few months that the dire situation in Darfur seems to have almost entirely faded from our community discourse. Bringing it back into the spotlight is the Ventura County Temple Reform Youth, or VCTRY, who are hosting a Darfur Benefit Night to raise money for the nonprofit Doctors Without Borders, which provides direct medical aid to Darfur's refugee camps. The high school students behind the event have organized a fun evening, with a fashion show, silent auction, food and drinks, and would appreciate seeing members of their temple, as well as the rest of the community, come out and support this almost forgotten cause. Sat. 7 p.m. Free admission. Temple Beth Torah, Meister Hall, 7620 Foothill Road, Ventura. (805) 647-4181.
Do you ever ask yourself what does being Jewish even mean? Do other people ask you that question? In search of answers to this million-dollar question, eight characters in the comedic play, "Oy, What Is a Jew?" written by members of the Sholem Community, re-discover their Jewishness, and hopefully you will, too. Enthusiastic participants will perform songs, sketches and monologues for your viewing pleasure. Kvell away! Sat. 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. $16 (18 and under), $22 (adults). Los Angeles Valley College, Mainstage Theater, 5800 Fulton Ave., Valley Glen. (818) 760-6625, http://www.sholem.org.
SUN | APRIL 27
Drape yourself and your children in white robes and flowing gowns mimicking the Israelites who fled from Pharoah in ancient Egypt during the "Interactive Family Pesach Adventure" for kids 2 to 15 years old and parents. Haven't you always wanted to act out the dramatic events you've read about in the haggadah for all of these years? Bake a special wilderness matzah and learn about the Passover plate underneath the cool shade of the Moses tent. Make wine from the vine and cross the "Sea of Reeds." Things could get a little messy, so bring a towel and a change of clothes. And don't forget to pack a hearty lunch -- filled with matzot, of course. Sun. 12-3 p.m. $10. Tapia Park, Las Virgenes Road, Malibu. R.S.V.P required, call Tali (818) 445-9606.
Celebrate Pesach green style by reading a "green haggadah" during the Workmen's Circle's "How Green Is Your Seder? Liberation and the Environment" with others who cherish the greenification of our lands as much as you do. Discussions will be facilitated about how Passover stories relate to our modern-day struggle to preserve clean air, healthy eating and water purification. Contemplate how we can help future generations live in a cleaner world, while enjoying performances by Workmen's Circle chorus members, Ruthie Buell and other musicians. This nontraditional seder, catered by Large Marge Sustainables, committed to environmentally sound practices, will offer local, sustainable and organic cuisine. Sun. 1 p.m. $40 (members), $50 (nonmembers). The Workmen's Circle, 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P required, (310) 552-2007 or e-mail email@example.com.
Love, deceit, betrayal and political corruption are all themes coursing through the veins of the heart-racing play, "The Spark of Reason." A sister's revenge can be brutal. Throw in a lover's deception and a teacher's betrayal to the historic 24-year-old Baruch Spinoza's trial for heresy in 1656 -- carried out by the Jewish community in Amsterdam -- and you've got one blisteringly dramatic play. An eclectic cast will rile your deepest emotions in a staged reading written and directed by Michael Halperin, inspired by a true story. Sun. 3 p.m. Through May 18. $10 (suggested donation). Promenade Playhouse, 1404 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica. R.S.V.P to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MON | APRIL 28
Have you ever been curious as to why so many Jews in America have latched on to the ideals of the left? Join historian and professor Tony Michel as he paints a detailed, lively portrait of the Yiddish socialist movement, along with the American Jewish experience, during a conversation about his newly released book, "A Fire in Their Hearts: Yiddish Socialists in New York." Examining the movement through in-depth research, Michel will share insights on Yiddish secular culture and Jewish left-wing activism emerging from social conditions on New York's Lower East Side. Strike up a conversation with Michel as he signs a copy of your book during an event co-sponsored by Yiddishkayt Los Angeles, Reboot and the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies. Mon. 7 p.m. $5 (suggested donation). Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica. (213) 389-8880.
Have you always wished you could jump in and do the hora flawlessly at weddings? Have you wanted to join the merry circle of dancers after Shabbat services but been too embarrassed to try? Has your girlfriend been begging you to come with her to one of Los Angeles' big dance sessions? The new beginner's folk dance class at Temple Kol Tikvah is your chance to learn how to folk dance -- from step one! Learn the basics at your own pace with the charming Cecilia of Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble. Before you know it, you'll be swaying and side-stepping, laughing, making friends and burning some calories, too! Mon. 7-9 p.m. $10. Temple Kol Tikvah, 20400 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills. (818) 784-0344.
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