(HOME + GARDEN)
Venice Beach is showcasing 30 of its unique homes and gardens for the public's viewing pleasure. Benefiting the Neighborhood Youth Association's Las Doradas Children's Center in Venice, the daylong home and garden tour reveals creative spaces that exemplify the tastes of their owners as well as local artists' designs. Spend the day strolling the tree-lined streets in one of L.A.'s most coveted communities and you might just pass through the home of one of The Journal's very own. Shuttles will be provided, bike riding is encouraged and street parking is available -- just don't forget your walking shoes and sunscreen! Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $60-$70. (310) 821-1857. http://www.venicegardentour.org.
The last time we tried to include one of Heidi Duckler's stunning site-specific dance performances, we had to yank it because the show sold out, then put it back in when another performance time was added, and take it out once again because that also sold out before we went to press. This time, the Collage Dance Theatre show, "A Guide to an Exhibitionist," has wisely scheduled not two, but six show times. Set in an art gallery, the innovative work takes each audience member through a guided audio tour of framed live performers, completely reinventing the experience of viewing art. Hurry and get your tickets now, because the 7 p.m. show is sold out already! Sat. 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. $25 (includes wine and cheese reception). Museum of Design, Art and Architecture, 8609 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (818) 784-8669. http://www.collagedancetheatre.org.
Big Sunday has become so huge that it has spilled over into Saturday and grown into "Big Sunday Weekend." The largest community-service weekend in America is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and is expected to engage more than 50,000 volunteers to paint, landscape, rehabilitate, cook, serve, clean, fix, plant, knit and sing (yes, singing can be a mitzvah too!). Two exciting new initiatives have been added to Big Sunday this year: Green Sunday, which is devoted to projects focusing on the environment, and Singles Sunday, which aims to put the socializing back in social action. Inspired by a Jewish Journal singles column, the founder of Big Sunday, David Levinson, decided to designate certain projects as "singles only," so that individuals can give a boost to the community and their love life at the same time. To find a Big Sunday project that appeals to you, visit http://www.bigsunday.org.
SUN | MAY 4
Join L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Lt. Gov. John Garamendi at the state's largest Holocaust Remembrance Day event, featuring guest speaker Rabbi David Wolpe. Garamendi, who has worked tirelessly to grant insurance reparations for Holocaust victims, survivors and their family members, will stand with others in remembrance at an event co-sponsored by The Jewish Federation, Jewish World Watch, the Los Angeles Holocaust Monument, The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust and Second Generation. Sun. 1:45 p.m. Free. Los Angeles Holocaust Monument, Pan Pacific Park, 7600 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 280-5010.
Oh, what a night it will be supporting Jewish education during a benefit concert featuring none other than the musical group that helped define American pop and rock in the '60s -- Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Join Faith and Jonathan Cookler, founding donors of New Community Jewish High School, during this gala event that features a kosher buffet and rockin' concert. Dress in your finest attire and dance the night away to sizzling hits such as "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and "Walk Like a Man." Sun. 5 p.m. (dinner), 6:30 p.m. (program and concert). $100-$300. Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway, Los Angeles. R.S.V.P, (818) 449-8900.
Academic institutions are turning to the expressive power of Israeli dance to promote cross-cultural understanding when politics prove befuddling. Three of Israel's most prolific contemporary choreographers -- Idan Cohen, Niv Sheinfeld and Ronit Ziv -- will highlight their modern interpretations of a traditional dance form as the culmination of a two-week residency at UCLA, the second phase of a performing arts cultural exchange program orchestrated by The Jewish Federation's Tel Aviv-Los Angeles twinning program. "Bridge Choreographic Dialogues: Live from Israel" features a symposium with the artists, a live dance concert and a folk-dancing frolic hosted by popular dance teacher David Dassa. Sun. noon-1:30 p.m. (symposium) 2-4 p.m. (concert) $12-$20 (includes concert and party). UCLA, Kaufman Hall, 120 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles. (310) 825-2101. http://www.tickets.ucla.edu.
Debi Derryberry, whose name is as cute as her act, is best known as the voice of Nickelodeon's Jimmy Neutron. Debi Derryberry Live in Concert showcases her theatrical animation using character voices, mixed-genre musical blends and guest accompaniment in the form of dancing bananas, talking gorillas and singing ducks. She will perform an interactive family concert at her young son's Jewish day school. Sun. 1 p.m. $10. Temple Beth Hillel, Sands-Mallet Hall, 12326 Riverside Drive, Studio City. (818) 298-2656. http://www.debiderryberry.com.
Wilshire Boulevard Temple and State of Israel Bonds invites the community to listen and learn from Stephen M. Berk, a widely respected history professor at Union College in New York and a frequent guest in the media for his Middle East expertise. With an international reputation for his teachings, writings and research, Berk will deliver an engaging presentation addressing the challenges Israel faces on its 60th year of existence, "Israel at the Crossroads: Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and the Jewish State." Sun. 5:30 p.m. Free. Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Audrey and Sydney Irmas Campus, Marcia Israel Chapel-Auditorium, 11661 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P. requested, (213) 388-2401. http://www.wbtla.org/events.
Walk 4 Kids With FD calls upon our community's solidarity to help cure familial dysautonomia, a genetic disease that disables children's autonomic and sensory nervous systems. An array of entertainers will walk for the cure, including emcee Josh Rubenstein of KCAL News, Fancy Feet Dancers and The Complainers, who will headline the musical performances. For those with tired toes, you're still welcome to attend and participate in several of the other activities-for-a-cause, such as a silent auction, bake sale and raffle; or you can be a mensch and send a check whether you walk or not. All donations benefit Fordham University's pioneering research in the field. Sun. 1:30 p.m.-4 p.m. Free (admission) $18 (walking participants). Marquez School Track, 16821 Marquez Ave., Pacific Palisades. (310) 459-1056. http://www.curefd.org.
In a touching symbol of how our individual stories are threaded together to create a larger Jewish narrative, Mount Sinai is dedicating the Shoah Quilt of Memory and Hope at their annual Yom HaShoah Observance. The quilt consists of squares created by survivors, their families and friends who will be telling their stories, along with a keynote address by Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple. Guests from 30 countries will be placing memorial stones in the Grove of Righteous Rescuers in honor of all the kind souls who risked their lives to aid Jews in danger. Sun. 10 a.m. Free. Mount Sinai Memorial Park, 6150 Mount Sinai Drive, Simi Valley. (866) 717-4624.
The Long Beach Jewish community will join with clergy throughout the city at Alpert JCC's Yom HaShoah commemoration, "Remember the Holocaust and Honor the Righteous." A memorial service and candle lighting will pay special tribute to the military veterans who liberated concentration camps as well as the Dutch couple, Hendrikus (Hein) and Martha Snapper, who sheltered a Jewish family during World War II and were posthumously recognized by Israel's Holocaust memorial authority as Righteous Among the Nations. It is the highest honor bestowed upon non-Jewish people, and their son will speak on their behalf, showing footage from the induction ceremony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Sun. 4 p.m. Free. Alpert JCC, 3801 E. Willow St., Long Beach. (562) 426-7601. http://www.alpertjcc.org.
Envision Nazi Germany through the eyes of a child during a moving Holocaust Remembrance Day event sponsored by the city of West Hollywood and Congregation Kol Ami. Enjoy a musical theater and multimedia presentation along with the premiere of "Through Children's Eyes," a film dedicated to children, many of whom died in concentration camps but left behind heart-rending poetry and drawings. In another perspective on those dark times, the film "Through My Mother's Eyes" relays the life of world-renowned artist Alice Lok Cahana, an Auschwitz survivor. Take a moment of silence to remember lost loved ones during a candle lighting ceremony at the Babi Yar Memorial, followed by a reception. Sun. 4 p.m. Free. Plummer Park, Fiesta Hall, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. (323) 606-0996.
WED | MAY 7
Before the Jewish world celebrates the miracle of Israel's 60th birthday, they will pause to commemorate the brave soldiers who lost their lives fighting for Israel's independence. The Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles invites the community to "Remembrance for Israel's Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror," an event that honors the countless people who have given their lives so that we could live the dream of a Jewish homeland. Guests are requested to arrive 45 minutes prior to the ceremony for security reasons. Wed. 5:45 p.m. Free. Stephen S. Wise Temple, Westwood Sanctuary, 15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive, Los Angeles. (323) 852-5588.
Creating a career out of fighting crime -- and writing about it -- author, trial lawyer and former mayor of Beverly Hills, Robert K. Tanenbaum, will discuss the inner workings of his suspenseful new novel, "Escape." In the latest installment of his crime series, New York District Attorney Butch Karp is in the midst of a virulent attempt to convict NYU political science professor Jessica Campbell of murdering her three children, while an Islamic terrorist is plotting a massive attack on Manhattan. Karp must protect his daughter and private eye wife from the looming danger. Discuss this thrilling page-turner with Tanenbaum, who has written more than a dozen crime novels and served as deputy chief counsel to the congressional investigations into the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. Wed. 7 p.m. Free. JCC at Milken, Rosenkrantz Library, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills. (818) 464-3274.
THU | MAY 8
You've heard of CW's "Beauty and the Geek," but this time the beauty is the geek. In the Tony-winning play "Proof," by David Auburn, a young woman discovers she has inherited her recently deceased father's brilliance in mathematics, as well as his insanity. Abigail Rose Solomon and Micah Freedman star. Thu. 8-10 p.m. Through May 25. $20-$25. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 477-2055, http://www.rosalindproductions.com.
Start the festivities early for Yom HaAtzmaut with congregation Or Ami at "Mesibah! Israel's 60th Independence." Ignite your feet with Israeli folk dancing and whet your appetite with delicious Israeli falafel, pita and mouth-watering salads and dips. Celebrate our Jewish homeland's Independence Day while tasting wine with friends and checking out original Israeli-made Judaica and other goods for sale. Mon., May 5. 7-10 p.m. $5. Congregation Or Ami, 26115 Mureau Road Suite B, Calabasas. (818) 880-4880. http://www.orami.org.
The Guinness Book of World Records is typically reserved for world-class athletes and people with freakish abilities, like the New York man who walked 80.96 miles while balancing a milk bottle on his head. You don't have to do anything that bizarre for your shot at a record. All you have to do is sing one little song -- "Hatikva." On the eve of Israel's 60th Independence Day, Jews around the world will gather for "Live Hatikva" to sing Israel's national anthem in an attempt to set the world record of "most people singing an anthem simultaneously." Be a part of this historical moment and let the world hear our song of hope, our anthem of peace and our vision of freedom. Wed., May 7. 12:50 p.m. For official Guinness guidelines and information on how to participate, visit http://www.livehatikva.org.
Dance and sing your heart out while celebrating Israel's 60th birthday at Yom HaAtzmaut Seudah and Celebration. Enjoy a festive Israeli dinner and program featuring the always inspiring and invigorating Dennis Prager during an event sponsored by the Religious Zionists of Los Angeles, an ideological and educational organization that aims to instill in the American Jewish community a commitment to religious Zionism. Thu. May 8. 5:30 p.m. (reception), 6:30 p.m. (dinner and program). $180. Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, 10500 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P to (310) 274-6657. (DINNER + CONCERT)
It's too bad they don't rent rooms, because you could book a full weekend of celebration at Sephardic Temple. A special Israel at 60 Shabbat Dinner will celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut and honor the accomplishments of veteran Israel Defense Forces soldiers with a delicious buffet feast. Fri., May 9. 6:30 p.m. $15-$25. The following evening, Miri Aloni in Concert features the towheaded Israeli singer's sultry voice and sweeping repertoire. Sat., May 10. 8:30 p.m. $5-$18. Both events, $20-$30. Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, 10500 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. R.S.V.P. by May 5 to (310) 475-7311. http://www.sephardictemple.org.
For 60 straight hours from May 4 through May 11, "Let My People Sing" presents 60for60, a series of back-to-back concerts, parties, programs and celebrations honoring Israel's 60th Birthday. A few special highlights are described below, but more festivities are online at http://www.letmypeoplesing.com.
"Hookahs and Hummus!" is being billed as an alternative Israel expo that invites young people in their 20s and 30s to connect to Israel through ideas, travel, study, politics, technology, arts and culture. A wide array of organizations will host interactive learning sessions where you can eat, schmooze and listen to live music. Sun., May 4. Noon-3 p.m. Free. 5008 Bluebell Ave., Valley Village. (323) 653-1804 or email@example.com. http://www.jewishleaders.net.
Faith Jam For Peace brings together nine artists for a multi-religious musical jam concert featuring the COR AME choir, Zimriyah Chorale, Rick Muchow, Craig Taubman and Yuval Ron. Thu., May 8. 7:30 p.m. Free. Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church, 505 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. R.S.V.P. at http://letmypeoplesing.com/faithjam-2008.html
HaDag Nachash (Snake Fish) with their hit music video "The Sticker Song" -- subtitled in English
Friday Night Live hosts a star-studded musical Shabbat with Israeli rappers HaDag Nachash and the Consul General of Los Angeles Jacob Daayan. Afterward, enter the Israel-themed ATID lounge for young professionals 21-39. Fri., May 9. 7:30 p.m. Free. Sinai Temple, 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 474-1518.
Celia Soudry contributed to this article