Worlds away from the violent effects of war, an American citizenry is assumed passive and silent. Through a series of small, monochromatic paintings depicting images of death and violence, artist Liat Yossifor creates a space for the viewer to imagine their own connection and identification with war in a foreign land in "The War Is Over." Sat. 6 -9 p.m. (opening reception). 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (Wed.-Sat.) Free. see line gallery, 1812 Berkeley St., Santa Monica. (310) 829-1727. http://www.seelinegallery.com.
Get up and dance! This edgy, reality-based choreography isn't just for company dancers; "The Reality Series" incorporates the audience as the key ingredient that propels the work. A collaboration between Louise Rachlin & Dancers and Los Angeles Choreographers & Dancers, this interactive/multimedia dance presentation invites the audience to get on their feet and explore the themes "The Shampoo," "Los(t) Angeles" and "Identity." Sat. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. $15-$25. Madrid Theatre, 21622 Sherman Way, Canoga Park. (818) 347-9938. http://www.lachoreographersanddancers.org.
Israel's 60th anniversary is being celebrated in countless ways in our community: concerts, dances, dinners, parties and benefits. University Synagogue is bringing together an Israel at 60 panel discussion in honor of the occasion, including Rabbi Linda Bertenthal, who practiced law for 13 years before becoming associate director of the Pacific Southwest Region of the Union for Reform Judaism. Also included will be Adam Rubin, who teaches Jewish history at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Adding to the discussion will be AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Western States Director Elliot Brandt and keynote speaker Morley T. Feinstein, University Synagogue's senior rabbi. Sat. 10 a.m. (following Shabbat service). $10 (includes luncheon). University Synagogue, 11960 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P., (310) 472-1255 or email@example.com.
SUN | MAY 11
In a rare and exciting David Mamet double bill, "Keep Your Pantheon" and "The hspace = '8' align = 'left'>Duck Variations" showcase the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright's biting wit and caustic commentary. In a world-premiere performance, an acting troupe on the verge of collapse struggles to sustain viability in an ironic farce; and in a new rendition of an older work, two elderly men muse on the meaning of life as they sit on a bench watching ducks. Both stories evince truths about the nature of humanity, ambition, happiness and death -- Mamet's choice themes -- that he explores through the veneer of Americana. Sun. 8 p.m. Through June 8. $20-$50. Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (213) 628-2772. http://www.centertheatregroup.org.
Don't expect anything too saucy from ATID's Kosher Film Festival and Art Show -- after all, it's "kosher." But anyone in attendance last year might remember a certain sexy short by Jason Reitman, which posited a young couple between the sheets, surrounded by their lawyers, who interrupted to negotiate their presex prenup. It's all part of modern Jewish culture, so you may be pleasantly surprised when a group of budding local artists and filmmakers screen their takes on Jewish life during this fun-filled evening of film, art and musical entertainment by rocker Josh Nelson. Sun. 5:30 p.m. Free (members), $8 (online), $12 (door). Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood. (310) 481-3244. http://www.atidla.com.
(MOTHER'S DAY REMEMBRANCE)
To honor the beloved mothers who are no longer with us, Hillside Memorial Park is hosting a "Mother's Day Remembrance Service" led by Rabbi Michelle Missaghieh of Temple Israel of Hollywood. The memorial will include candle lighting, a string quartet and a performance by Cantors Marcelo and Mariana Gindlin. As a special and symbolic gesture, written notes and prayers will be taken on behalf of participants to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Sun. 10:30-11 a.m. (service), 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (park open). Free. Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary, 6001 W. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles. (800) 576-1994. http://www.hillsidememorial.org.
MON | MAY 12
Halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is a tiny village called Oasis of Peace -- Neve Shalom in Hebrew and Wahat al-Salam in Arabic. It's home to 55 families, with a mayor, a school and a community center like any other town. But in this town, unlike any other, Jews and Palestinians live, work and play side by side in peace and harmony. Ahmad Hijazi and Noam Shuster, residents of a town that has been nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize, will share details of their daily lives in "Living With the Conflict: A Palestinian and Jewish Experience From the Oasis of Peace." Hijazi, who came to live in the village as a married man, said of his choice, "I want my children to grow where hope is growing." Shuster, who grew up in the Oasis of Peace and is currently spreading its message in the United States as a Brandeis University student, said, "Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam is not only a project, it is a solution presented to the world, a living proof that peace is possible and already happening." Mon. 7 p.m. Free. Beverly Hills Public Library Auditorium, 444 N. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills. (818) 325-8884. http://www.oasisofpeace.org.
Michele Citrin is Rosh HaShana Girl
Rosh Hashana Girl, a.k.a. Matzah Girl, a.k.a. the "lil grrl with a big sound," will be treating the crowd at Genghis Cohen to a full set of delicious tunes, including sneak peeks of the new album she's currently working on. Dreadlocked, 5-foot-1 Michelle Citrin is taking the city by storm. The Brooklyn-based singer seems to be everywhere at once -- numerous "Let My People Sing" events in Los Angeles, all over YouTube with her clever comedy videos ("20 Things to Do With Matzah" received 1 million hits), on tour with Subliminal and Koolooloosh at the recent Birthright Israelity Tour. Don't miss this chance to see her perform in a chill, intimate setting with drinks like Genghis Cohma and Szechuan Garlic Martini (ew!). Mon. 8 p.m. $7. Genghis Cohen, 740 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 578-5591. http://www.michellecitrin.com.
Shhhhh... "It's a Secret." And it wants to know what you are hiding, how those burdens burn as they course beneath the surface, and how dark demons eventually emerge. These are the questions the play "It's a Secret" asks of its audience. Written by actor, playwright and poet Steve Connell, the world-premiere play was specially commissioned by American Jewish University's communications arts and advocacy department. Students in the theater production class will perform the thought-provoking drama as they probe and ponder the secrets we keep. Mon. 8 p.m. $5. American Jewish University, Gindi Auditorium, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. (310) 476-9777. http://www.ajula.edu.
TUE | MAY 13
Marlene Adler Marks was an award-winning Jewish journalist and a vocal feminist. The former Jewish Journal managing editor and columnist lost her battle with lung cancer six years ago, leaving behind a legacy that spurred the Morningstar Commission's Marlene Adler Marks Woman of Inspiration Award. This year, the prestigious award founded by Hadassah, an organization encouraging positive portrayals of Jewish women in the media, is being bestowed upon the zany and brilliant Joan Rivers. In addition to the awards ceremony, sure to be punctuated by Rivers' bright humor and candid remarks, there will be a screening -- part of the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival -- of the Jewish Women's Archive film, "Making Trouble." Which is exactly what we Jewish women are here to do! Tue. 7:30 p.m. $12 (in advance), $15 (at the door). Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 712-5400. http://www.lajfilmfest.org.
When a young rabbinic student begins to doubt his commitment to Orthodoxy, his yeshiva professor makes an unlikely suggestion: visit a bordello and purge your curiosity. But the professor's reverse psychology has a blistering effect in "The Holy Land," where the young student unleashed into a society on the fringe falls in love with a Russian prostitute and befriends ragtag Arabs, Christians and Jews, who gather together and plot societal change. The provocative Shalom/Salaam Film Salon, co-sponsored by Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, will be followed by a discussion about its implications for peace and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. Tue. 7 p.m. $5. The Workmen's Circle, 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 552-2007. http://www.circlesocal.org.
Don't know how to say no to your child, who is begging for the latest iGadget? Can't decide how many hours of Internet you should allow your tween? Worried that you're putting too much pressure on your high schooler to get into Harvard? Temple Adat Elohim feels your anxiety and has therefore organized a workshop for parents, "How Many Is Too Many? Raising Children in an Affluent Society," to address child-rearing conundrums such as setting appropriate expectations, determining limits, teaching values, short-term fixes vs. long-term goals and how to nurture a child's self-esteem. Facilitating the discussion will be Penni Seller, a doctoral candidate who has more than 26 years of experience counseling families and children. Seller, a mother of two, specializes in child development, classroom management and strategies, and parental concerns. Tue. 7 p.m. Free. Temple Adat Elohim, Social Hall, 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks. (805) 497-7101.
WED | MAY 14
Scene from Ushpin
Partake in the celebration of Israel's 60th Independence Day without leaving the air-conditioned comfort of your living room. The Sundance Channel is marking this anniversary with a full lineup of Israeli programming. Starting at 2 p.m., four films delving into various aspects of Israeli culture will be screened: Yoav Shamir's "5 Days" is about the emotional disengagement from Gaza in 2005; "Ushpizin" is Gidi Dar's warmly received comedy about an Orthodox couple who open their home to some unusual visitors; Tomer Heymann's documentary, "Paper Dolls," takes a sensitive look at Filipino immigrants working as caretakers of elderly Israelis and performing as a transgender drag troupe in their spare time. Rounding out the list is the award-winning documentary, "A Hebrew Lesson," about five immigrants in Tel Aviv whose paths intersect in a Hebrew-language class. Wed. 2 p.m.-7 p.m. Sundance Channel. http://www.sundancechannel.com/schedule.
Passionate percussion and sizzling strings combine the exotic melodies of Spain, Latin America and the Middle East during an "Evening of Ethnic Music and World Rhythms" produced by local musician Jamie Papish. The Ava Nahas Percussion Ensemble will enchant audiences with their Lebanese/Egyptian-infused rhythms, which will roll into the rich repertoire of the Stefani Valdez Ensemble, a soulful blend of ethnic lore complemented by Stefani's sultry voice. The final set, performed by the IST West Ensemble, combines the fieriness of flamenco with the Turkish saz in a booming rhythmic ride that will send you home reeling. Wed. 8:30-11:15 p.m. $10. Temple Bar, 1026 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 393-6611. http://www.myspace.com/jamiepapish and http://www.stefanivaladezmusic.com.
Most people moving to a new country are faced with the challenges of learning a new language, finding a job, adjusting to a different way of life, and so on. Not many, however, have to bridge a 400-year cultural gap. "The Ethiopian-Israeli Experience: 400 Years in 4 1/2 Hours" is a photography exhibit that illuminates the incredible journey -- both physical and psychological -- of thousands of Ethiopian Jews who were rescued from an ancient and oppressive way of life in Africa and brought to the startlingly modern cities of Israel. The photographs and artifacts, from the personal collections of people who have worked closely with Ethiopian immigrants, provide insight into these families' lives, transformed dramatically by a short four-and-a-half-hour flight. Wed. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Gallery is open Sun.-Fri. Through June 8. Free. Jewish Federation/Valley Alliance, Finegood Art Gallery at Bernard Milken Community Campus, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills. (818) 464-3218.
THU | MAY 15
Watching the Israeli band, Esta, perform is like a lesson in international musical instruments: They use a bouzouki (Greek lute), jumbush (Turkish string instrument), darbuka (Middle Eastern drum), bagpipes, electric guitars, oud (Arab lute), ney (Persian cane flute), duduk (Armenian double-reed), Thai mouth organ and -- the most impressive of all -- pots and pans (American). The blending of cultures in musical form is quite ubiquitous nowadays, but Esta has been doing it seamlessly since 1980. Accompanying the rich instrumentals at this concert marking Israel's 60th anniversary is recent addition Yarona Harel with her soulful voice (Israeli). Thu. 8 p.m. $20-$30. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (877) 722-4849. http://www.skirball.org.
At the tender age of 15, young artist Mona Gilardi has created a collection of colorful paintings that speak to both her feminine and Jewish sensibilities. Her significant body of work has been showcased in several California galleries and will grace the walls of Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel beginning tonight at a reception celebrating "The Art of Mona Gilardi." Thu. 7:30 p.m. Free. Through July 25. Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, Levy Family Exhibit Center and Library, 10500 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 475-7311.
This is how you celebrate Israel's birthday college style: invite Jewish revelers in the 18-26 set from all over Los Angeles to the hippest dance club in Hollywood, where all the marvels of college life will be in tow -- able-bodied students, dirty dancing and ample cocktails. Jewish College Night, hosted by UCLA's Bruins for Israel, promises to be the hippest student bash for Israel in SoCal. It kinda makes you wish you had kept your fake ID from college. Thu. 9 p.m. $10-$15 (online), $15-$20 (door). Level 3 Nightclub Hollywood, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 270-6337.
FRI | MAY 16
The romantic image of a heroic soldier coming home from war may work in myths such as The Odyssey, but in real life those soldiers often return broken and traumatized. The Soldier's Project is a group of 100 volunteer psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and social workers who provide free and confidential services to veterans suffering from clinical anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, divorce, homelessness, anger and all the other stressors typical of soldiers who have been through the horrors of war. Their first national conference, "Hidden Wounds of War: Pathways to Healing," will focus on this often overlooked topic and feature Rep. Bob Filner (D-Chula Vista) as the keynote speaker; Dr. Jonathan Shay, recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius award" for his pioneering research on the psychological impact of war, and a theater performance, "The Sand Storm: Stories From the Front," written and performed by Iraq veteran Sean Huze. Fri.-Sun. $75 (students), $200 (general). Scholarships available. Westin Bonaventure Hotel, 404 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles. (818) 761-7438. http://www.thesoldiersproject.org.
"Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?" These lines are some of the most eloquent words ever written by Shakespeare, delivered by the debatably offensive Shylock. Decide for yourself whether the great playwright's intentions were anti-Semitic or not in the Los Angeles City College Theatre Academy's modern version of the classic, "The Merchant of Venice." Directed by Louie Piday and starring Al Rossi as the money-lending, avenging Shylock. Fri. 8 p.m. Wed.-Sun. May 9-17. $6-$10. Los Angeles City College, Camino Theatre at the Theatre Academy, 855 N. Vermont Ave., Hollywood. (323) 953-4000, ext. 2990. http://theatreacademy.lacitycollege.edu.
Celia Soudry contributed to this article