Ed Pearl, 70, silver-haired and feisty, will forever be associated with the Ash Grove, the folk club he opened 50 years ago with a $5,000 investment, despite the fact that the venue's been closed for a quarter century.
"My life," Pearl said, "has been a series of fortuitous accidents. And," he ruefully adds, "not-so fortuitous."
"I know your relatives all think you're crazy, but we're gladyou're here," our tour guide, Zvi Lev-Ran, said as 36 tired Angelenospiled onto a bus after a 13-hour flight aboard a chartered El Al747-400 from Los Angeles. We were part of the largest mission eversponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. More thanhalf of the 430 participants were first-timers, including myself.Having been born almost exactly one year after the birth of Israel,in 1948, it seemed fitting that I participate in this mission, whichwas timed to coincide with festivities launching the Jewish state'sgolden anniversary celebration.
A mission to Israel that's billed as the largest ever in the history of the Los Angeles Jewish community is scheduled to take place between Nov. 1 and 10 of this year. About 500 Southern Californians are expected to participate in the Golden Anniversary Community Mission, which is being coordinated by the Jewish Federation Council in commemoration of the Jewish state's first 50 years.