Jewlicious Festival 6.0 – Tix On Sale

Jewlicious Festival 6 500

FEB 19-21, 2010 · LONG BEACH, CA


Los Angeles , CA – December 3, 2009 – Jewlicious Festival, and JConnect, in collaboration with Beach Hillel, Alevy Jewish Student Services, and are proud to announce ticket sales for the sixth annual, world-famous, Jewlicious Music Arts and Culture Festival. The three-day festival dedicated to Jewish unity will be held February 19-21, 2010, at the Alpert JCC in Long Beach, California. A list of performers and presenters will be announced in late December. Pre-sale tickets are on sale now at

The three-day festival has grown exponentially since it was founded in 2005. Jewlicious Festival is a right of passage for young Jews and the largest event of its kind, with 1,000 Jewish students & young adults in 2009, from over 60 colleges and universities, 20 states, and 6 countries. “Jewlicious,” writes The Forward, “is the can’t-miss event for Jewish pop stars such as Matisyahu and Jewish students of all denominations.”

“There are many ways to be part of Jewlicious,” says Jewlicious volunteer Eden Banarie, “as a volunteer, presenter or performer.” Team Jewlicious is an active volunteer core that includes work exchange, Street Team, dozens of campus reps, and a creative eco-conscious Green team. Jewlicious also invites the public to submit creative programs, music, art, film, and ideas.

Accommodations for the Festival are on-site camping at the Alpert JCC and at nearby hotels with special Festival Weekend rates. Regular passes start at $75 and up for the three day week

end and include all concerts, programs, Shabbat Meals and Sunday Breakfast, from Friday and Noon, until Sunday at 3pm. Pre-Sale tickets start at $36 for a weekend pass.

Vendor, organizations, and companies that want to be part of the Festival are encouraged to contact soon or call the festival office at 310-277-5544.

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A Bracha For Tarantino

On the set of Basterds, the cast with filmmaker Tarantino

On the set of Basterds, the cast with filmmaker Tarantino

I gave Quentin Tarantino a blessing. Let me explain.

I had never gone to see a Tarantino film. I had only seen clips. But I couldn’t pass up a chance to see Inglourious Basterds at a private screening organized by The Jewish Journal, the Board of Rabbis, and the Israeli Consulate, followed by Q&A with Producer Lawrence Bender and Actor Christoph Waltz.

A good crowd showed up at The Landmark. I bought a large drink I didn’t manage to finish. We started almost a half an hour late – some important folks were stuck in traffic. How Jewish is that, that they started late for some folks? The lights dimmed. Action.

Basterds is brilliant from every angle. It has drama, humor, romance, and suspense. The plot twists are compelling. The story, the photography, the script, the acting, and the drama all are detailed, textured, nuanced, colorful, and captivating.

I must admit I was a little apprehensive. I had no idea what to expect — except I heard a lot of violence. While Inglourious Basterds has some pretty graphic violence, it is a WWII movie after all. The scalping made everyone cringe.

So why the special screening to a bunch of Jews in LA, and a whole lot of Rabbis? The people who made and distributed the move, The Weinstein Company, Lawrence Bender, and Tarantino, feel the movie has Oscar potential. Christoph Waltz received Best Actor at Cannes for his portrayal of the Nazi Jew Hunter. But the film was perhaps not widely known in the community, or the filmmakers wanted to give the film some good PR in the Jewish community, whose opinion on the movie counts for the filmmakers in the run up to Oscar season. Perhaps they felt the film needs a rabbinic seal of approval.

This is a film about WWII, revenge, and the “face of Jewish revenge” portrayed by a band of American Jews scalping Nazi behind enemy lines. Then there is the massive revenge brought on the entire Nazi leadership by a Jewish woman whose family was murdered. The Jews are tough in this film. No sheep to the slaughter. The Nazis are brutal, interesting, grotesque. The leader of the Basterds played by Brad Pitt brands Nazis with Swastikas on their foreheads so they cannot escape into regular life afterward. They cannot escape what they have done.

Tarantino did a ton of research on his subject matter and it shows. He read up on the Nazi film industry, and the war, and real life WWII spy stuff. He digested all the previously exulted WWII movies.

There are too many great moments in the film for a blog piece, but I loved this line uttered by Winston Churchill when hearing of the Germans plans to replace Jewish cinema with Nazi cinema.

“You say [Goebbels] wants to take on the Jews at their own game?”

This film has so many layers.

After the screening, Lawrence Bender the producer and Christof Waltz the main actor answered questions from Rob Eshman. Then the floor was opened to questions.

Christof Waltz, the lead, is a seriously talented European actor based in Berlin. Rather than seek the cover of Us or People, he would rather have deeply philosophical discussions. Acting, art, theater, is an intellectual and serious pursuit. You just don’t get that feeling from most American actors today.

Waltz told the audience the film is about how we perceive reality, it’s not a Holocaust film [I agree]. People attribute films with much too much importance today, he feels. People are so concerned in the audience, what might other people think about the portrayal of this or that, how might Iran use this as propaganda against Israel and the Jews – but how do we personally feel about the film? How do we react?

A woman began a long question about Tarantino films in general, and then this film asking whether people might mistake Basterds for real life events, when they aren’t.

Then from the back of the small theater we hear:

“Ill answer that question.”

It was Tarantino.

And from then on the evening became exciting. Tarantino fielded a few questions and interjected when he felt like it. And he didn’t run away after the show. Two hours after the movie ended he was there in the hallway still speaking with adoring fans and attendees about the film.

“What if people are confused about what is truth or fantasy?”

The film starts off with the line, “Once upon a time in occupied France.” Tarantino replies. “It’s a fairy tale, its based on real people and events. But if people don’t get it, tough….”

I was introduced to Tarantino late in the evening as a Rabbi who had never seen his films. He was gracious, down to earth, appreciative of my compliments that I loved the film, and now understand why everyone is so crazy about his work.

And as is so often the case, I really had no prepared script, and I had handed out all my Jewlicious Festival cards to the Producers, the actors, the organizers. Before I realized it, I had switched into Rabbi At Joyous Event Mode.

I gave Tarantino a bracha, a blessing for continued and even greater success in life and in film making.


Tweeting Tarantino

inglourious-basterds-movie-poster_382x558Tweets in reverse chronological order during Q&A after Jewish community screening of Inglourious Bastards, hosted by The LA Jewish Journal, the Consulate General of Israel, and the Board of Rabbis of Southern California. Q&A With: Lawrence Bender, producer of “Basterds,” producer of all Quentin Tarantino’s films as well as the Academy Award-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Good Will Hunting.” Christoph Waltz received the Best Actor Award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival for his portrayal of Nazi Col. Hans Landa. Rob Eshman, Jewish Journal Editor led the Q&A. Session filmed by Weinstein Company. [Note: I updated the spelling of Inglourious Basterds — which I had spelled Inglorious Bastards in my Tweets.]

Got to see my son killing Hitler — Bear Jew’s Dad at Inglourious Basterds screening

Audience loves Waltz, Tarantino!

Tarantino references tons of classic WWII films. He must have seen then all.

The level of suspense on a 30 minute sequence in German. Not been done before Inglourious Basterds. — Tarantino

Movie is only fantasy when story veers from history. In WWII language was a matter of life or death. — Tarantino

Had my characters existed, it could have happened. — Tarantino

Until they kill Hitler at end, it’s not fantasy. All the WWII films have imagination. — Tarantino

Thought they might not find an actor for lead actor of Lada, the lead Nazi. Without Waltz no Inglourious Basterds. –Bender

Audience loves Tarantino.

Tarantino did a ton of research — powered by his imagination. Would make up stuff, and look it up and find he was right.

Inglourious Basterds has many many parallels to things that happened in real life. — Tarantino

“Once upon a time in occupied France.” It’s a fairy tale. Says Tarantino re Inglourious Basterds

Tarantino attending! Seems the whole cast but Brad Pitt is here.

There is a propaganda movie inside Inglourious Basterds.

Inglourious Basterds will get more people interested in the holocaust. — Bender

What does it say that this is the Holocaust film of our era? And the Blurring of history and fantasy? — Michael Birenbaum

The survivors start taking — Inglourious Basterds would have never happened. Jews didn’t take revenge.

Christof’s son wants to be a Rabbi.

@rabinkos a ton of violence but surreal.

Tarantino and Bender visited Israel, Yad VaShem. Theater went nuts when at end of film we see The Face of Jewish Revenge.

Could a German or Jew have made it? It needed Tarantino — Waltz

Discussing Nazi. How was Inglourious Basterds received in Germany and Israel?

I am having flashbacks to working on the set of The Pianist

How did Inglourious Basterds hit Jews on the gut level?

Is Inglourious Basterds “good for the Jews?” — I guess that is why we are here.

At Q&A w/ Christoph Walz and Lawrence Bender after Inglourious Basterds screening w/ Jewish Journal’s Rob Eshman

Special screening of Inglourious Basterds (@ The Landmark – West LA in LA)