Bridging the shores of the Mediterranean and the Pacific, entrepreneurs, investors, executives and tech enthusiasts from around the world converge on this two-day annual gathering at the Luxe Hotel on Sunset to learn about Israeli businesses and discover the next big trend.
America’s largest community service festival, which started in 1999 as Temple Israel of Hollywood Mitzvah Day, attracts nearly 50,000 people from every neighborhood, race, religion, ethnicity and socioeconomic group to hundreds of projects in communities across Southern California. Volunteer projects include such activities as planting gardens at schools, fixing up homeless shelters and sprucing up dog parks. Big Sunday Weekend also features concerts, book fairs and blood drives. Fri. Through May 5. Various times. Free. Various locations. (323) 549-9944.
The 18th annual Festival of Books features more than 100 panels, stage presentations, music and children’s programs. Authors include Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), singer Lisa Loeb, chef Susan Feniger and Journal contributors Jonathan Kirsch and Bill Boyarsky. Historian Jon Wiener moderates a discussion on “Holocaust Lives” with panelists Kirsch, Joe Bialowitz, Lillian Faderman and Marione Ingram. Sat. Through April 21. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Saturday), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sunday). Free (indoor Conversations and Book Prizes require tickets). University of Southern California campus, Los Angeles. events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks.
L.A. young adult groups celebrate Israel’s 65th Independence Day. This blue-and-white party (dress accordingly) at Hollywood club Lure features spinning by DJ Aviel, live performance art and drumming, drinks and kosher catering. 21 and older. Sat. 8:30 p.m. (“Get Back Israel Fair”), 9:30 p.m. (club night). $18 (online), $25 (door). Lure Nightclub, 1439 Ivar Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 761-8138. jewishla.org/unite.
This Arab-Jewish ensemble, composed of three members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and four musicians from Israel’s Arab community, performs a concert for peace in honor of Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s 65th birthday. Sun. 4-6 p.m. Free. Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Irmas Campus, 11661 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. (424) 208-8932.
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), longtime writer for “Saturday Night Live,” discusses “How the Jewish Tradition Has Influenced One Senator” for the University of Southern California’s 12th annual Warschaw Distinguished Lecture.
The popular public-radio series is back with live performances, featuring actors from stage and screen — including Leonard Nimoy, Josh Radnor and Parker Posey — reading classic and new short fiction about the pleasures and travails of everyday activities, from baking to ballroom dancing, card playing to movie watching, and knitting to sex.
Celebrate the Jewish people’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery with Pesach events that begin well before the first seder on March 25.
Explore multiple dimensions of Israel with Arieh Saposnik, director of UCLA’s Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, UCLA political science professor Steven Spiegel, visiting scholars and others during this One-Day University program at UCLA.
One-third of the legendary Peter, Paul & Mary, the folk icon and political activist has reinvented himself by authoring children’s books that draw on egalitarian themes.
From the San Fernando Valley to Hollywood, West Los Angeles to the Eastside, synagogues and organizations celebrate one of the year’s liveliest holidays, which begins Saturday night. Highlights include Nashuva’s megillah rock opera, the Groundlings performing the story of Esther at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, and Sinai Temple poking fun at Taylor Swift and Cee Lo Green during its Purim Grammys. Between family-friendly events, activities for teenagers and risqué fare for ages 21 and older, there is something for everyone.
Becca is a close friend. My daughter, Sydney, saw me hug her hello one day and said, “Becca’s your best friend.” I felt a little pushed into it, but maybe she’s right. We’re BFFs — best friends forever. And Sydney knew before we did.
Elyse, 43, is a freelancer for this magazine — but that doesn’t mean she was coerced into being interviewed for My Single Peeps. At least as far as I know. I’ve never met a single person at the office. I write from home. Maybe it’s a tyrannical organization. All I know is she showed up to meet me, and she seemed interested in genuinely finding love.
Ruth is an attractive, petite woman who’s spent her life working in publishing. She’s from the East Coast and went to college in Syracuse, graduating with a major in advertising and a minor in painting. She worked in New York as an art director for Modern Bride magazine, but moved out to Los Angeles for her then-husband, who was from here.
David, 27, seems to be brimming with confidence. He’s got a good, deep voice, and he’s still when he speaks. I fidget. My fingers or toes are generally wiggling, and I shift my position constantly. It suddenly dawns on me — I’m jealous. Why can’t I be as sure of myself?
Francesca, a British woman I’m pegging to be in her 40s, shows up wearing gloves. She seems flustered. She’s holding a notepad full of notes and a Broadway-style hat. She tells me she just reviewed a “Frank Sinatra show” and was inspired to wear a hat.
Bryan’s a nice guy. And he makes nice films. A spoof he made of Michael Jackson was so well liked that Jackson called Bryan to ask for a copy, sparking a friendship that lasted 20 years.
Writer and actor B.J. Novak (“The Office,” “Inglourious Basterds”) shares original pieces of comedic fiction in advance of an upcoming collection. Co-star, writer and producer of “The Office,” Novak has a sensibility that draws on a range of influences, from “Saturday Night Live” and “Monty Python” to Woody Allen and the notable anthology “The Big Book of Jewish Humor,” which was co-edited by his father. Sat. 10 p.m. $10. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, 5919 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 908-8702. losangeles.ucbtheatre.com.
Tami’s running late to meet me at Starbucks, so I call her to ask what kind of coffee she’d like. “House coffee. Hot.” That’s it. I order my usual froofy drink — any kind of sweetened Frappuccino, usually involving chocolate, caramel or a combination of both.
Set in 1930s Algiers, this animated adaptation of the beloved series by French comic-book artist Joann Sfar tells the story of a widowed rabbi, his beautiful daughter and a cat that swallows the family parrot and gains the ability to speak.
Denise, 46, shows up at our interview dressed to the nines. The woman is put together — from her perfectly coiffed hair down to her Christian Louboutin shoes.
Most Jewish parents don’t name their child Kristina, but Ukraine — when it was still the former Soviet Union — was very secular. “So my parents just gave me what was the cool, European name of the moment, not wanting to give me some very traditional and typical Russian name like Tanya or Svetlana.”
I met Marcos through my friend Michael. Marcos, who is often standing by Michael’s side, is 6 feet tall with the stance and demeanor of an Israeli bodyguard. He’s not Israeli. He’s 37, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and raised in Houston. And he’s not a bodyguard. He’s a filmmaker. A serious one. He smiles, and he’s amiable, but he’s not silly. I am.
One of Ilysa’s favorite jobs was working at a coffee shop while she was in college. So it was fortuitous that I had her meet me at one to talk. Sometimes when I meet with people, it takes a bit of time for me to get a handle on their personality. Not with Ilysa. She’s nice. She’s personable. She’s never had a job she didn’t like. And she currently has two of them. She’s the youth director at Temple Ahavat Shalom, a Reform synagogue in Northridge. And she works with special-needs kids in a middle school in Van Nuys.
The legendary entertainer and eight-time Grammy winner brings Broadway to the Bowl for two nights, concluding a tour of the United States and Canada in support of her new album, “Release Me,” a collection of previously unreleased songs. Streisand performs crowd-pleasing hits that span her entire career, including “The Way We Were,” an homage to the late Marvin Hamlisch, and sings duets with son Jason Gould, half-sister Roslyn Kind and more. Pop-jazz trumpeter Chris Botti and Italian operatic trio ll Volo also appear. Fri. 8 p.m. Nov 11. 7:30 p.m. $70.50-$756.50. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. (323) 850-2000. hollywoodbowl.com.
When Jered, 35, first tells me, “I came from a very indulged upbringing, and it kind of put me at a disadvantage,” I start to laugh, because it sounds like something Mitt Romney would say after getting caught for being obscenely rich during the years when his wife claimed they ate pasta and tuna fish in a basement apartment.
I’ve been close with Ari’s sister for years, and the oddest thing about her is that she always has a smile on her face. Married to a self-confessed pain in the ass, four kids at 30, coupled with all the other life crap that bogs everyone down … she still has that smile on her face. And smiles are catching. Like mono, we have no idea how it’s passed from person to person. Just one of those mysteries.
IKAR’s Rabbi Sharon Brous and Rabbi Ronit Tsadok, American Jewish University’s Rabbi Aryeh Cohen and leaders of social justice organization Bend the Arc discuss the November ballot initiatives through a Jewish lens, addressing what Jewish tradition says about the death penalty, criminal justice and income equality.
It’s no surprise that a woman who produces mainly chick flicks and romantic dramas would say to me regarding love, “I want Harry and Sally. I’ve been corrupted by a lot of movies.” She amends her statement: “I aspire to that idea but know that someone who can hang through the tough and the real is what I want.”
When Israeli documentary filmmaker David Fisher discovers the memoir of his late father, a Holocaust survivor who was interned in Gusen and Gunskirchen, Austria, Fisher decides to retrace his father’s footsteps.
Sari and I were scheduled to meet on Yom Kippur — that is, until I realized what day it was and sent her an e-mail to reschedule. She hadn’t realized, either.
Dedicated to the life and memory of journalist Daniel Pearl, this October music month features concerts across the globe, including today’s performance of “Songs of Salomone Rossi: Harmony for Humanity” by Tesserae at Contrapuntal Recital Hall in Brentwood. Other concerts include Ray Dewey (Oct. 16);
At 48, Rick is a happy guy. He likes life. He likes smiling. He’s also a bit irritating to be around when you’re exhausted and barely have enough strength to open your eyes after a blink because you’ve been up all night with a cranky 5-month-old and a 2-year-old who’s having night terrors that she can’t explain but that have something to do with tap shoes, swimming and some Spanish words she picked up from the nanny.
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem discusses reproductive rights and their importance in the upcoming presidential election. While this free event is open to the public, seating is limited. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sun. 7 p.m. Free. UCLA campus, Broad Art Center, Room 2160E, Los Angeles. (310) 825-4601. history.ucla.edu/events/gloria-steinem-lecture.
A friend of mine told Reuven to contact me. I was told he was a 31-year-old Orthodox Jew who runs Elite Cuisine, a kosher restaurant, with his family. To be frank, I expected someone a little dorky. But he’s not. Reuven’s more reminiscent of Jax from “Sons of Anarchy.” He’s blond, has a bit of a scruffy beard, and has the confidence of a guy who knows he can beat you in a fight. His daily ride is a 1951 Chevy, but there’s no AC so he pulls up in an old convertible — the kind that takes up half the block.
I mentioned to a friend that I interviewed a nice guy today and said, “You might know him. He’s in casting.” When I told her his name, she said, “You’re joking. He dated my mom. I love him.” It turns out that after breaking up, they stayed friends. I can’t think of a better endorsement for the guy.
Marc Maron’s refreshingly honest — not to mention popular — podcast features one-on-one interviews with some of the biggest names in entertainment. Tonight, the stand-up comedian hosts “WTF With Marc Maron” before a live audience as part of Riot: L.A.’s Alternative Comedy Festival. Sat. 8 p.m. $20. Downtown Independent Theater, 251 S. Main St., downtown. (312) 730-4000. riotla.com.
I like Eric right away for the most shallow of reasons — he’s got a New York accent and he dresses like my father did: jeans, tucked-in polo shirt, tassel loafers with colored socks. East Coast preppy. My father died 20 years ago, but sometimes little things can trigger my emotional memory and I find myself missing him out of nowhere. This was one of those times.
As soon as Robert sits down, his gaze continually shifts from the window to me. I make up reasons in my head: He's on the run from the cops. He owes money to a bookie, and they’re coming after him. His partner is outside casing the joint. "I'm looking for parking enforcement." Illegally parked. I’ll buy it for now.
Let this be a lesson to all of you: Michele showed up at our interview with two boxes of noodle kugel — one savory, one sweet. Can I be bought off? Apparently.
I met Laurie through another single peep, Katie. They were eating breakfast at one of my favorite breakfast spots, Hugo’s in West Hollywood. Try the El Desayuno Burrito De La Casa. It’s less complicated than it sounds on paper. So is Laurie. She lives in Brentwood. She has two dogs — Maltese mixes. Her ideal is to meet a man and “live on the Westside forever.”
Lynn has been a widow since 1996 and is doing her best to fall in love again. But she’s finding the world of online dating difficult to navigate. On one date, she told me, “I found out the guy was a bookie.” He was in a bad mood because he had just lost $8,000.
Aviv, 34, shows up to our interview dressed to the nines. He’s wearing khakis, a blue chambray shirt and a plaid blazer. He’s wearing Gant — a label I like a lot. And I appreciate how fastidious he is about clothing.
L.A. performance artist and avant-garde clown April Hava Shenkman channels the comedy queens of Hollywood’s golden age for advice and wisdom. Follow Shenkman’s pursuit of happiness in this one-woman, cabaret-style performance. Sun. Through July 29. 9-10 p.m. $10. Atwater Crossing, The Platform at ATX Kitchen, 3245 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 284-8265. atwatercrossing.com.
Rhoda’s a widow in her 70s. “I was married to a physician — a brilliant ophthalmologist. He passed away two and a half years ago.” Although she still mourns her loss, she’s ready to find companionship. She signed up for Match.com — “My lead [in my profile] is: I really do believe laughter is the best form of healing.”
Randy moved 16 times before he got to high school. He never knew his father—his hippie mom didn’t know, either, and they didn’t care. “She was part of this spiritual group so we all lived communally. We lived in a house with 12 people in San Francisco. It wasn’t until middle school that I really had a father figure and I became very close with him. [Andy] adopted me when they got married. Even though they’re divorced now I’m still very close with him.”
The most embarrassing aspect of Guershon’s life is that he’s 34 and lives with his mom, so of course I’ll lead with that. “I started film school and I [moved in with my mom], and the hardest thing for me was it seemed like [my friends] had all their s--- together. It was really hard for me to really go out a lot and date … and it’s gotten progressively harder. It’s kind of hard to say, ‘Yeah, I live at home.’ It was really embarrassing — especially when I hit 30. Then I started seeing my friends where I lived saying, ‘I got laid off. I can’t believe it, but I have to live with my parents again.’ So I said, ‘OK, this leveled the playing field a little for me.’ ”
Michelle wants to go on 365 dates in a year. She calls her project Michelle365. “I’m really using the term dates loosely as an excuse to get to meet all different types of people.”
L.A. photographer and filmmaker Sharon Lockhart’s new exhibition at LACMA focuses on the late Israeli dance composer and textile artist Noa Eshkol, who co-created the groundbreaking Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation system in the 1950s and developed a dance system based on its use of symbols and numbers to define the movement of any limb around its joint.
Alex wrote to me asking why I didn’t have any gay single peeps on my site. I told him I do — “you should take another look” — and then offered to interview him sight unseen. Because I’m awesome like that. He took me up on it. Because he’s trusting like that.
Celebrating his 50th birthday and 30 years in comedy, the acclaimed actor-comedian (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) appears in person to perform an evening of stand-up. Tribe favorite Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt (“Ratatouille,” “King of Queens”), Bob Odenkirk (“Breaking Bad”), Bill Burr and others join Garlin. Expect irreverent, wacky and Jewy humor. Proceeds benefit The Littlest Tumor Foundation. Fri. 9 p.m. $40 (online only). Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 855-0350.
When Isaac sits down to speak with me, I see the rugged beard with a shot of gray around the chin, the athletic build and the tight-fitting Israeli-style clothes, and I think, “I know exactly who this guy is.” He has an Israeli accent, so when he first says to me, “In Israel I was in the army and then came here and worked as a professional dancer,” I’m not sure I’ve heard correctly. A dancer? I ask him to repeat himself.
Days after the election that brings Hitler to power, a Jewish couple — an acclaimed physicist and his unfaithful wife — contemplate whether to seek an unknown future outside of Germany or stay put in Berlin. Written by playwright Iddo Netanyahu, brother of Israel’s prime minister, directed by Ami Dayan, and featuring award-winning actor Bruce Davison, this staged reading is the play’s West Coast premiere. Part of the California International Theatre Festival. The Museum of Tolerance hosts an additional performance on May 21. Sat. 8 p.m. Free (first come, first served). Founder’s Hall, 100 Civic Center Way, Calabasas. (818) 783-3576. citfestival.org.
Lawrence is a South African Jew who has been in Southern California since he was 10. I met him through his sister, Francine, who briefly dated my eldest brother after they met abroad on a high-school trip. I hadn’t seen Francine in years, so she tagged along for the interview.
Journal president and columnist David Suissa debates Peter Beinart, author of the controversial book, “The Crisis of Zionism,” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Temple Israel of Hollywood’s Rabbi John Rosove moderates the discussion on the lack of progress in peace talks — Beinart acknowledges acts of violence on the Palestinians’ part but faults Israeli policies; Suissa ascribes blame to the Palestinian Authority’s use of incitement against Jews. Wed. 7 p.m. Free. Temple Israel of Hollywood, 7300 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 876-8330. tioh.org
Hike Griffith Park and relax in Amir’s Garden (amirsgarden.org) with the young professionals of Valley Ruach. A barbecue and picnic with kosher and veggie hot dogs and salads follows. Wear sturdy and comfortable shoes, sunscreen and a hat. The easy hike lasts between 90 minutes and two hours. Sun. 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. $4 (members), $6 (general). Meets at: Mineral Wells Picnic Area, Griffith Park Drive (near Harding Golf Course), Los Angeles. (818) 835-2139. valleyruach.org.
If I wrote Natania’s column gender-neutral, there would be very few tip-offs that I was writing about a woman. To be fair, if someone wrote about me the same way, there’d probably be very few tip-offs that I’m a man.