A recent break-fast meal, held in the courtyard of the Westside Jewish Community Center, began with the blowing of a shofar. The sun hadn’t yet set, so the baskets of pita and dried dates placed on every table remained untouched.
"What happens next Coach Jeff?" Tali asked. She stood in her long skirt and T-shirt in the middle of the basketball court.
"Right now nothing," Jeff Liss answered. "But we'll figure something out just for you, Tali," he added in a cheerful tone.
Tali Hill, 17, has been asking this question for several weeks now, knowing that the weekly basketball practices she looks forward to more than anything else will soon be coming to an end.
In a world of cryptocreative fitness classes like flamenco yoga and aerobic pole-dancing, Ping-Pong seems pretty old school.
Officials Urge Calm, Caution
In the wake of an Al Qaeda threat against Los Angeles and a widespread power outage, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief William Bratton assured the Jewish community last week that a strong and highly visible police presence will provide both security and peace of mind during the upcoming High Holidays.
Ely Pouget had a solid reason for trekking down last week from her home in the Hollywood Hills to the Westside Jewish Community Center (JCC) on Olympic Boulevard. She wanted her twin daughters to take swimming lessons with Olympic gold medalist Lenny Krayzelburg.
When Lenny Krayzelburg immigrated to the United States in 1989, he dreamed of a better future. Krayzelburg, a Ukrainian emigre who would go on to become a four-time Olympic gold medalist, found that future at the Westside Jewish Community Center. Despite his broken English and newness to the country, he said JCC members quickly took him under their wing and immediately made him feel like he had found "a second home."
In a basement aerobics studio in the Westside Jewish Community Center, four girls dance before a wall of mirrors, perfecting the nuances of their twirls and chassés.
Two of them, playing sisters on a train to Auschwitz, sing in Yiddish "Aufin Pripertchik" ("Upon the Hearth"). Two others dance behind them, representing their souls.
Across the street, in a classroom of Shalhevet High School, in a rehearsal just as intense if a little less somber, Robin Saxe Garbose directs another group of girls as they work to maximize the comedic effects of their accents and movements as 80-year-old women.
Officials at Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) have decided to reinstate an after-school care program at the Westside Jewish Community Center -- to the dismay of parents at the Bay Cities Jewish Community Center, who have been pressing for the return of the program there.
The first thing you see when you walk through the rear entrance of the Westside Jewish Community Center (WJCC) is the pool where Lenny Krayzelburg used to swim. It's the evening of Sept. 21, and 50 kids are cheering and shouting as they watch a taped Olympic swimming race on a large-screen TV in an upstairs room, its back wall lined with a Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Krayzelburg is on the screen, and he has won his first gold medal for the 100-meter backstroke.
Since 1954, the Westside Jewish Community Center (WJCC) has served as a destination for neighborhood Jews. Near the intersection of Olympic and San Vicente boulevards with Fairfax Avenue, the venerable institution - a branch of the Jewish Com-munity Centers of Greater Los Angeles (JCCGLA) and the Jewish Community Centers Association of North America, which is a national beneficiary agency of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles - offers an array of educational and recreational outlets, including a preschool, a senior center and physical fitness facilities. Centrally located near the Fairfax district, the WJCC is also central to local Jewish history, the haimish cultural nexus where young and old alike can learn about their heritage and from one another, passing on tradition and deepening community ties.