It’s Sunday night, Erev Rosh Hashanah, and Hebrew chatter fills the air of a Masonic center on Westwood Boulevard. Approximately a dozen round tables covered in white cloths fill the large room.
Hollywood stars and dancing rabbis came together for the 32nd annual Chabad “To Life” Telethon on Sept. 9. Held for the first time at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, the high-profile fundraiser raised approximately $4 million for Chabad of California.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" and "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" appears in person to read passages from his new novel "Telegraph Avenue." Set in Berkeley at the end of the summer of 2004, record store co-owners Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe and their midwife wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffee, face personal and professional problems that test the strength of their relationships and businesses. Writer Mona Simpson ("My Hollywood") leads a post-reading discussion and Q-and-A with Chabon and his wife, author Ayelet Waldman ("Red Hook Road"). Thu. 7:30 p.m. Free. Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 443-7000.
The latest production from Moriah Films, the Oscar-winning film division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, explores of the life and times of Theodor Herzl, the father of modern political Zionism. Co-written and produced by Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and directed by Richard Trank, the film features narration by Ben Kingsley and stars Christoph Waltz as the voice of Herzl.
The Skirball screens four documentaries that address the richness, complexity and inherent contradictions of the Jewish experience in the modern age.
While hundreds of American athletes are eagerly anticipating the beginning of the Olympics in London this month, another Team USA is preparing for a different international competition.
One of the biggest and most obvious challenges in raising Jewish awareness and building Jewish connection is finding ways of getting your point across. Every week, across Los Angeles, there are hundreds of classes and sermons that aim specifically to do that: get a Jewish point across. This could be a Shabbat sermon on the parasha of the week, or weekday classes on raising Jewish children, improving your marriage, refining your character, connecting to Jewish peoplehood and so on.
Hardly a day goes by where Renee Firestone isn't asked by some school, museum, reporter or filmmaker to talk about the Holocaust. "Somebody has to tell the story," she said. "I am fortunate enough, at my age, to still be able to walk and talk. So I have to do it." Firestone is 88, with pale blue eyes and a warm, Cheshire cat smile. She manages a 24-unit apartment building in Beverly Hills, where she lives with her daughter, Klaire.
Naomi Western, who works with the Jewish Agency for Israel, worries that her two young children may lose the connection to their Israeli heritage once they start attending local public schools. Joining more than 2,000 other families nationwide, Western has enrolled her family in Sifriyat Pijama B'America to keep her children connected to the Hebrew-speaking culture she grew up with.