The Israeli film industry continues to wow world audiences with its increasingly innovative and skillful productions. The buzz this year is about a provocative animated film by Ari Folman that is Israel's official submission for the foreign-language Oscar in 2008. "Waltz With Bashir" is an autobiographical exploration of events that took place during the 1982 Lebanon War, atrocities that Folman managed to erase from his memory and is now desperate to expose. The haunting film, which has stunned festivalgoers around the world -- "We staggered out of the screening in a daze," Xan Brooks wrote in The Guardian -- will be screened at Reel Talk With Stephen Farber, followed by a discussion with writer-director Folman, who is coming from Israel for the screening. Mon. 7 p.m. $17. Wadsworth Theatre, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Brentwood. (213) 365-3500. http://www.ticketmaster.com.
OK, you've probably heard of the "Dog Whisperer," but have you ever heard of the Family Whisperer? Mark L. Brenner, a specialist in early childhood development, adolescence and high-conflict family issues, is presenting "Four Critical Habits to Prepare Your Child for Life." Brenner will also take questions about other concerns, offering practical advice for parents with children in all age groups. Mon. 7:30 p.m. $6-$10. Thousand Oaks Chabad Jewish Center, 2060 E. Avenida de Los Arboles, Suite 1, Thousand Oaks. (805) 493-7776. http://www.jewishto.org.
TUE | DECEMBER 2
For nearly 3,000 years a mostly isolated community of Kurdish Jews lived peacefully in a corner of northern Iraq, until the early 1950s, when 120,000 of them were whisked away to the newly established State of Israel. Ariel Sabar's father, Yona, was one of those Jews. From a mud hut in a tiny village where people still spoke the language of Jesus -- Aramaic -- to the ivy-covered halls of Yale, Yona's tale, chronicled in "My Father's Paradise," is one of a nearly vanished history and a new generation that longs to preserve it. "Sabar's search is part memoir, part history, a bit of cultural critique, some family bonding, and there's even a mystery," wrote one critic. Sabar will be reading excerpts from and signing his book at various SoCal events. Tue. Noon. Free. Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 474-1518. Also, Dec. 3 at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena; Dec. 6 at Temple Menorah in Redondo Beach; and Dec. 6 at Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center in Pasadena.
WED | DECEMBER 3
There's major drama at New Community Jewish High School. No, not the scandalous kind of drama; the educational kind. The West Hills private school is inaugurating its new drama department with a student production of "God's Favorite" by Broadway hit-maker and Jewish American playwright Neil Simon. First published in 1974, this comedy borrows its main plot points from the biblical Book of Job, but transforms the seriousness of the story into a farcical tale about one man's unshakable faith in the face of terrible (and hilarious) misfortunes. Wed. 7 p.m. and Thu. 7 p.m. $10-$12 (advance), $12-$15 (at the door). New JCC at Milken, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills. (818) 348-0048. http://www.ncjhs.org.
Our mischievous craving to rummage through the personal lives of famous people is satiated by L.A. Theatre Works' productions of "Odyssey of Love" and "Beloved Clara," where the passionate and scandalous private letters of composers Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms are read by actors. In "Odyssey of Love," emotional letters Liszt wrote to two women -- one an intellectual princess, the other a high-class radical and the mother of his children -- are read to the sounds of his piano compositions. Excerpts from letters and diaries reveal a torrid love triangle between Robert Schumann, his wife Clara and the young and gifted Johannes Brahms in "Beloved Clara." British actors Rosalind Ayres and Martin Jarvis will read the texts as award-winning pianist Lucy Parham accompanies the love stories with equally poignant music. "Odyssey of Love" will play Dec. 3, 5, and 7. "Beloved Clara" will play Dec. 4 and 6. $20-$48. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 827-0889. http://www.latw.org.
THU | DECEMBER 4
Manfred and Gad Beck are teenagers crazy in love, living in Berlin. But when 19-year-old Manfred dies in the Holocaust, Gad tries to forget the love they once shared. That is, until Manfred's ghost comes to haunt him, pleading with him to remember. "For a Look or a Touch" is a theatrical song cycle that is part of Seattle's "Music of Remembrance" program, which commissions and performs works that remember victims of the Holocaust. Composer Jake Heggie based his work on interviews from the documentary, "Paragraph 175" -- a film that chronicles the lives of homosexual men and women persecuted by the Nazi regime -- and a journal kept by Manfred Lewin. "I'm so proud of this piece," Heggie said. "I feel it has special resonance in light of the recent passage of Proposition 8." Thu. 7:30 p.m. (6:45 p.m., preperformance talk). $29-$75. The Broad Stage at Santa Monica College, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. (310) 434-3200. http://www.broadstage.com.
Have you ever pretended to be someone you're not for a chance at love? Manhattan publicist Aimee Albert knows just how you feel. When Albert's non-Jewish boyfriend breaks up with her on -- of all days -- Christmas, she decides to find love with a member of her own tribe. But there's only one problem: The very nice, cute and eligible Jewish boy (Josh Hirsch) she's met has mistaken her for a shiksa, and Albert feels compelled to keep up the charade. Is giving up a part of who you are simply the price you have to pay for love? Find out when actress, author and dater Laurie Graff reads from her latest novel "The Shiksa Syndrome." Cocktails and dessert will be served. Thu. 7 p.m. $5. Temple Israel of Hollywood, 7300 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 876-8330, or R.S.V.P to firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.tioh.org.
Want to switch your homepage from JDate.com to TheKnot.com? Can't wait to change your Facebook status to "engaged"? ATID hears your cries loud and clear and would like to help you hunt for a mate in the digital age. "From Web to Wed: Finding Love in Los Angeles" will feature Sinai Temple's Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei; the founder of Cupid's Coach Matchmaking, Julie Ferman; and Evan Marc Katz, a dating coach and author of "Why You're Still Single: Things Your Friends Would Tell You If You Promised Not to Get Mad" and "I Can't Believe I'm Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating." These dating experts will share anecdotes and provide insights into the challenging world of profile-surfing. The first step is a great (and accurate) photo, so ATID has also invited a professional photographer to the event to take your picture for all your online needs. Thu. 7 p.m. $10 (members), $15 (guests) by Dec. 1; $20 (at the door). Price includes wine, coffee and dessert. Sinai Temple, Barad Hall, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 481-3244. http://sinaitemple.org/events/atid/web2wed.
FRI | DECEMBER 5
Alan Veingrad is a former offensive lineman with the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers; he is also an Orthodox Jew. Faith and football have much more in common than you might expect, as Veingrad himself can explain. Veingrad will describe "how his retirement from professional football created a void that unwittingly led him to Torah and mitzvot." He will also speak about how his intense physical training helped him prepare for the process of becoming an observant Jew. "In the rough-and-tumble environment of the NFL team, a Jew is an outsider," Veingrad said. "It all has purpose now. I can reach other Jews with my story." Fri. 4:40 p.m. (after Mincha at 4 p.m.) Free. Young Israel of Century City, 9317 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 273-6954. http://www.yicc.org.
The line between Aryan and Jew was not always a definitive one during World War II. Identities were blurred, ancestries concealed and allegiances switched, all in the name of self-preservation. "One Day You'll Understand" explores these Holocaust-era themes through a mixed-religion, middle-class French family whose buried history is being forcefully unearthed by its next generation. French director Amos Gitai has received abundant praise for this film, starring Jeanne Moreau and Hippolyte Girardot; the Toronto International Film Festival called it "masterly...touches the deepest wellsprings of emotion," and Salon writer Andrew O'Hehir wrote "no living filmmaker has Gitai's extraordinary formal command of the medium." Fri. Various showtimes. Laemmle Music Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 274-6869. Laemmle Town Center 5, 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino. (818) 981-9811. http://www.kino.com/onedayyoullunderstand.
Does the Talmudic legal system have relevance in today's legal world? Chabad continues its legal education seminars with the Institute of American and Talmudic Law, featuring some of California's top legal minds in a two-part legal primer. David Nimmer of Irell and Manella will discuss the origins and modern applications of copyright law and James R. Felton, managing partner of Greenberg and Bass LLP, will talk about "Law and Justice -- Mediation and Arbitration." Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, dean of IAT Law, will offer ways in which Judaic law might interpret these pertinent legal issues throughout the program, all in conjunction with the Conejo Jewish Academy. Attorneys can earn continuing legal education credit for the courses -- 1.0 ethics, 1.5 general. Fri. 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. $120 (one session), $200 (both). Hyatt Westlake Plaza Hotel, 880 S. Westlake Blvd., Westlake Village. (818) 991-0991. http://www.iatlaw.org/la-agoura.
American Jewish World Service President Ruth Messinger, who has been named to the Forward 50 list twice, is in town for Leo Baeck Temple's peace-building week to speak about alleviating poverty, hunger and disease worldwide. A former candidate for New York City mayor, Messinger is sure to be an inspiring speaker. Fri. 6-8 p.m. Free. American Jewish University, Familian Campus, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. (310) 476-2861. http://www.leobaecktemple.org.
West Coast NCSY wants to make sure no one is overlooked this holiday season. The Orthodox Union's youth group will be distributing toys throughout the pediatric wings of various hospitals on Chanukah. But first they need your help. NCSY is asking the public to bring all gently used toys and donations to a local drop-off by Nov. 30. For drop-off locations, please call (310) 229-9000, ext. 209. http://www.westcoastncsy.com.
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