Philanthropist Hubert Leven, a French Ashkenazi Jew who recently visited Los Angeles, has ties to the close-knit Iranian Jewish community that go back four generations.
When Michael Margolis was 4, his doctor took his parents aside and told them he had a rare disorder called Type I Gaucher Disease. The disease, which strikes Ashkenazi Jews seven times more often than the general population, is a genetic disorder that robs patients of an enzyme that prevents a buildup of fatty tissues in the body.
Shavuot, which marks the receiving of the Ten Commandments by Moses, was often referred to as the Jewish Thanksgiving or the "Feast of the First Fruits," a time when farm bounty and grains were brought to the ancient Temple. The harvest often included wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.
In modern times, Shavuot inspires the preparation of many delicious and traditional recipes that usually feature a variety of vegetarian and dairy foods. Milk, eggs and cheeses of all kinds are used in abundance.
Catalina is only 22 miles across the sea from Los Angeles, but to many visitors it feels like a distant land. For one particular community of Sephardic Jews, it's that very feeling that has kept them coming back over the past 75 years.