The City of Los Angeles and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sponsor an annual emergency preparedness fair as part of the Great Southern California ShakeOut: Are You Prepared? The fair seeks to educate Angelenos on the importance of being prepared for disasters, natural or manmade, such as earthquakes and riots. Activities will include live safety demonstrations, disaster preparedness exhibits and interactive programming for children. Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, 5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. Also, Sept. 20 and Sept. 27 (different locations). (213) 978-2222. http://www.lacity.org/emd.
Who wouldn't be moved to throw money after chocolate? Gourmet tasting tables will tempt chocolate-lovers tonight at the American Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's fifth annual A Chocolate Affair, which supports student scholarships in Israel. The evening also features a lavish silent auction, sumptuous food, icy cocktails and dancing under the stars. Sat. 7 p.m. $250. Private home, 661 Stone Canyon Road, Bel Air. (310) 843-3100. http://www.afhu.org.
Jonathan Kirsch is many things: book columnist for the Los Angeles Times, commentator for KPCC and KCRW, adjunct professor at NYU and an attorney who specializes in publishing law and intellectual property. But there is perhaps nothing he enjoys more than writing about religion. Today, Kirsch will discuss his latest book, "The Grand Inquisitor's Manual: A History of Terror in the Name of God," which explores persecution and violence in the name of righteousness. Sat. 2 p.m. Free. Barnes & Noble, 1201 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica. (310) 260-9110. http://www.jonathankirsch.com.
"Music Begins" by Lynn Roth will kick off the fall season of celebrity staged readings at the Westside Jewish Community Center. Emmy-winning actor Edward Asner will star in the play about the twists and turns that come when an elderly couple hires a reluctant young lawyer to prepare their estate. Sat. 7:30 p.m. $12-$16. Valley Cities Jewish Community Center, 14701 Friar St., Van Nuys. (818) 786-6310. http://www.valleycitiesjcc.org.
We live in a city where summer continues well into December and so do the pool parties, picnics and barbecues that the rest of the country bid farewell to after Labor Day. Taking advantage of our unique environs, Jewish Singles Meeting Place, for singles in their 40s and 50s, is inviting you to a Gourmet Western BBQ Party at a home in Sylmar. Be sure to R.S.V.P. before noon on the day of the event. Sat. 8 p.m. $12. Sylmar. (818) 750-0095.
SUN | SEPTEMBER 14
In addition to facing paralyzing fear, families of children with cancer have to deal with financial hardships, emotional and mental strain and the difficulty of keeping a family intact. Larger Than Life offers aid to families in Israel who are struggling through just such a crisis. Larger Than Life's annual gala in Los Angeles helps raise money for these programs and for the West Coast dream trip that they offer 20 to 30 children with cancer every summer. The gala will be hosted by Mike Burstyn and Noa Tishbi and will include a performance by Israeli sensation Ilanit, music by DJ Eyal, dinner and other surprises. Sat. 6:30 p.m. $250. Marriott, 333 S. Figueroa St., downtown Los Angeles. (877) 952-7437. http://www.largerthanlifela.org.
Learn about klezmer and Ladino music, enjoy brunch and receive a free pass to the Autry National Center, all at the "Klezmer-Ladino Convergence." Flor de Serena , which was founded by singer, scholar and Jewish Journal contributor Vanessa Paloma (photo, right) and guitarist Jordan Charnofsky, will play classical Ladino music with a contemporary flair; Klezmerjuice, headed by Argentine Gustavo Bulgach, will play its own brand of klezmer; and Mark Kligman, an ethnomusicologist, will be lead a discussion on both bands. Sun. Noon-2 p.m. $20-$55 (includes brunch). R.S.V.P. by Sept. 11. Autry National Center, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles. (323) 667-2000, ext. 300. http://www.autrynationalcenter.org.
The Von der Ahe Library at Loyola Marimount University is hosting a five-part reading and discussion series. In "Let's Talk About It: Jewish Literature, Identity and Imagination," theology professor Saba Soomekh, who has written several essays about California's Persian Jewish community, will lead the book-based discussions on the theme "Neighbors: The World Next Door." Books discussed will include "Journey to the Millennium" by A.B. Yehoshua, "Red Cavalry" by Isaac Babel and "Mona in the Promised Land" by Jen Gish. Sun. 2 p.m. Through Dec. 7. Free. Collins Faculty Center at Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles. (310) 338-4584. http://libguides.lmu.edu/JewishLiterature.
Three decades after chaos and violence swept through the streets of Tehran during the Islamic Revolution, Iranian Jews have created new lives in America. 30 Years After: The Iranian-American Jewish Community at a Crossroads unites the L.A. Iranian Jewish community for a conference addressing the civic, political and Jewish issues facing the U.S. and Israel. Speakers will include: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) and Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) and Rabbis Marvin Hier and David Wolpe, who will discuss Jewish concerns in light of the 2008 presidential election. Sun. 8 a.m.-10 p.m. $45 (students), $135-$350 (general-VIP). The Beverly Hilton, 9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 274-7777. http://www.thirtyyearsafter.org.
The man known as the "Yiddish Indiana Jones," Yale Strom, and his band Hot Pstromi, will ensure that "Angels & Dybbuks: The First L.A. Klez Fest" is an event to remember. Strom delves into all that is Yiddish, whether it's music, books, film, theater or photography. Strom will also offer workshops on klezmer instruments and history. Sun. Events begin at noon. $20-$80. McCabe's Guitar Shop, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 828-4497. http://www.mccabes.com.
Do you delight in finding a treasure among the heaps of discarded items at second-hand stores? Do you love antique furniture and gently used clothing? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Temple Beth Am is throwing a multifamily parking lot sale. The community bazaar, organized by the Temple's Sisterhood, will raise money for the synagogue. So bring plenty of cash (no checks or credit cards will be accepted) and prepare to rummage. Sun. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. Temple Beth Am, 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 493-0456. firstname.lastname@example.org.
MON | SEPTEMBER 15
A pudgy toddler whose cheeks are delightfully doughy may be cute, but a plump preteen could turn into an obese adult with myriad health problems. Educate yourself about the dangers of pediatric obesity at the Children's Health Forum, which is sponsored by the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center. Professor Ronald Nagel, associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and professor Francis Mimouni, chair of the department of pediatrics, will speak. Kosher lunch will be served. Mon. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $50 (requested donation). Luxe Hotel, 11461 Sunset Blvd., Brentwood. (310) 229-0915. email@example.com.
TUE | SEPTEMBER 16
Everyone is invited to Los Angeles' first cross-denominational public Torah study. With the High Holy Days coming up, The Journal decided to get everybody together for a "Torah Slam," a knock-your-socks-off Torah study with five great rabbis: Elazar Muskin (Orthodox), Ed Feinstein (Conservative), Mordecai Finley (Reform/Chasidic), Haim Ovadia (Sephardic/Traditional) and Naomi Levy (Conservative-ordained, postdenominational), and they will rock your world with one drash debate after another. Live in the Hood columnist David Suissa will keep the juices flowing with lots of audience participation and challenging questions. This is Torah, L.A. celebrity rabbi-style. Tues. 7:30 p.m. $5 donation. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (213) 368-1661, ext. 201. R.S.V.P. to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WED | SEPTEMBER 17
Jordan Elgrably's resume reveals that he's had a prolific career as a Sephardic writer and activist. Tonight he speaks about his personal journey as an American with roots in multicultural Morocco in "The Loquat Tree, or the Art of Being an Arab Jew." His audiovisual presentation is sure to be moving, funny and insightful. Wed. 6 p.m. Free. Los Angeles Public Library, Robertson Branch, 1719 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 657-5511. http://jordanelgrably.com or http://levantinecenter.org.
THU | SEPTEMBER 18
Good cause. Unlimited alcohol. Cold, hard cash prizes. So, come get some chips at the fifth annual No-Limit Texas Hold-'Em Poker Event benefiting Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles' mentoring programs, which help children reach for their dreams. Thu. 6:30 p.m. (lessons), 7:30 p.m. (tournament). $200 (advance), $230 (door). Hollywood Park Casino, 3883 West Century Blvd., Second Floor, Inglewood. (323) 456-1159. http://www.jbbbsla.org.
Just in time for Rosh Hashanah, Jewish cook and author Faye Levy offers a Rosh Hashanah cooking class for those eager to learn Ashkenazic and Sephardic cooking that is "wholesome as well as delicious." Trade in old recipes for exciting new dishes, such as Sephardic Rosh Hashanah Rice with Cashews and Pomegranate Seeds, and Almond Applesauce Cake with Chocolate Chips. Thu. 6:30 p.m. $65. Gelsons Cooking Connection, 2277 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas. (818) 906-5711. http://www.gelsons.com/services/CC/index.asp.
Tikkun olam is a monumental Jewish value. Jewish teens can get involved with the Friendship Circle, an organization that supports children and young adults with special needs. The Friendship Circle Teen Volunteer Open House offers a chance to learn about the organization's many volunteer opportunities. Thu. 8 p.m. Free. Friendship Circle, 9581 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 277-3252. http://www.fcla.org.
-- Lilly Fowler contributed to this article