Excitement is building as this November the Merage Jewish Community Center will present the first OC Jewish Arts Festival. Combining elements from the OC Jewish Book Festival and the Pacific Jewish Film Festival, the month-long event celebrates Jewish authors, entertainers, history and culture with a series of activities, films and programs for all ages.
An important part of the Jewish Arts Festival is the “bookstore” located on Main Street at the JCC. For two weeks from October 31 through November 14, the festival bookstore offers the largest selection of Jewish books in Orange County. The selection includes: mystery, history, fiction, Jewish culture, biography, cookbooks, children’s books, Holocaust and more.
Eran Raven in an Interactive Performance “Almost Strangers”
Saturday, November 5, 8pm, and Sunday, November 6, 4pm
$25 members/$35 public
Audiences will be mesmerized by this highly interactive live show, which has similarities to TV hits “The Mentalist” and “Lie to Me.” By reading body language, analyzing facial expressions and using psychological techniques such as subliminal suggestion and cognitive thinking, Eran Raven will predict thoughts and read people’s minds to illicit a wide variety of intriguing and entertaining responses. Skeptics are welcome, and Raven noted, “My work will leave you astounded, asking questions and wanting more.”
Eran Raven’s new show, “Almost Strangers,” live on stage, uses no hidden cameras or “stooges,” and nothing is preset. As Raven said, “This is the real deal, and in this highly interactive show, you can even be part of the excitement and action.”
Raven was born in Israel, grew up in New Jersey and began performing at the age of seven, amazing his parents, family and friends with his mentalist techniques and his ability to read people. “As a kid, I did magic, and then as a teenager – at University High School in Irvine – I got interested in body language and vocal intonations,” he explained. “I learned to understand the psychological skills people use to influence people. Now I can look a person in the eye and know if he’s being honest with me.”
Over the years he followed his passion and continued to refine and perfect his talents along the way. Raven now performs around the world, astounding and entertaining millions, in countries as far away as Japan, Korea, France, England and Israel. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and on CNN and FOX. Recently, Raven starred in the hit NBC television show “Phenomenon.” Every week for the entire season, Raven would put his skills to the test by demonstrating life-threatening feats of mentalism on live TV in front of 8 million viewers, ranging from avoiding lethal scorpions with Kim Kardashian to playing Russian roulette with Carmen Electra. He described his shows as “organic and not scripted,” and he donates the proceeds to charity.
Raven has complimented his performing talents with a solid education and career: he holds an electrical and computer engineering degree from the University of California and an MBA from Pepperdine, making him one of the world’s leading security experts. Merging his technical knowledge, education, skills and his unique and special talent, he has found an explosive form of entertainment. Raven currently lives in California and
Florida. He said he is “based on airplanes; have laptop, will travel.”
Raven is a security expert for Google Enterprises by day and a mentalist by night. “I lead two different lives that complement each other,” he said. “It allows me to use similar skills but different tools. As a mentalist, my tools are people.”
Raven concluded, “I’ve learned well how to weave my two lives. It’s the best trick I know.”
Tuesday November 8, 7 p.m.
Author of The Secret Lives of Wives – Women Share What It Really Takes to Stay Married
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the closed doors of a successful marriage? How those happy couples make it look so easy? In The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What it Really Takes to Stay Married, bestselling author Iris Krasnow pulls back the curtain and reveals shocking and uncensored real-life confessions of women who have stayed married for the long haul. Krasnow, a wife of 23 years, and the more than 200 women she interviewed – married anywhere from 15 to 70 years – challenge the traditional way of thinking about what it takes to achieve “happily-ever-after” and invite women to define for themselves what constitutes a satisfying relationship.
$20 members /$25 public – includes desserts and wine.
Sunday, November 13, 10:30 a.m.
From Guttenberg to Google by New York Times best-selling author Michael Levin
Gutenberg to Google explains the coming collapse of the traditional book publishing model and what it means for book lovers and society at large. It also explains the truth about publishers, bookstores, how books are chosen, why literary agents fail authors, what books will sell in the future and how they’ll be sold, and the future of fiction writing.
$12 members/$18 public.
Sunday, November 13, 3:30 p.m. Author of the Smurfs Movie Novelization
Based on the ever popular cartoon, The Smurfs movie follows the Smurfs from their animated medieval European forest village to the live-action present day, hustle and bustle of New York/New Jersey. Pursued by the ever evil wizard, Gargamel, the Smurfs have to navigate this unfamiliar world and try to find a way back home. Along the way they meet the Winslow family, and the friendship they form turns out not only to be valuable to the Smurfs but to the Winslows as well. The Smurfs’ tremendous sense of community, loyalty and their simple approach toward life is a stark contrast to the everyday distractions and technology that fill the Winslows’ lives. In the end, in typical Smurf fashion, the lovable blue creatures will prevail while helping to bring this fractured family closer together. This BIG adventure, will be the most action-packed, funniest and Smurfiest adventure yet.
$7 members / $9 public / $3 child.
Price includes book reading and a Smurf inspired art craft project!
Thursday, November 17, 7 p.m.
The Way of Baseball- Finding Stillness at 95 mph
Two-time All-Star Shawn Green’s memorable Major League Baseball career spanned fourteen years and four teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Mets. He’s one of the best-loved players in recent decades, known for signing autographs with a smile and tossing balls with kids in the stands. But his accolades (Gold Glove, Silver Slugger) and statistics (328 home runs, 1,071 RBIs, .282 career batting average) are only half the story. In The Way Of Baseball: Finding Stillness at 95 mph, Shawn Green shares the lessons the game taught him about being present and attaining inner stillness, no matter what life throws at you.
$15 members / $20 public.
Saturday, November 12, 7 p.m.
Hebrew with English subtitles
Year of Release: 2010
Running Time: 102 minutes
Ilan Ben Natan, a 58-year-old astrophysics professor, is obsessively in love with his young wife, Naomi. When Ilan discovers that his deepest fears have come true – Naomi has a lover – he is unable to control himself. He confronts the lover and commits a horrible act, the consequences of which will weigh heavily on his conscience.
$10 members, $12 for non members, all tickets $12 at the door.
Tuesday, November 15, 7 p.m.
Language: French, German and Yiddish with English subtitles
Year of Release: 2011
Running Time: 124 minutes
In picturesque Montmarte, three children wearing a yellow star play in the streets, oblivious to the darkness spreading over Nazi-occupied France. Their parents do not seem too concerned either, somehow putting their trust in the Vichy Government. But beyond this view, much is going on. Hitler demands that the French government round up its Jews and put them on trains for the extermination camps in the East. The collaborators start to put the plan into effect and within a short time, 13,000 of Paris’s Jews, among them 4,000 children, will be rounded up and sent on a road with no return. The fateful date: July 16, 1942.
$10 members, $12 non members, all tickets $12 at the door. Free for students (with student ID).
Saturday, November 19, 7 p.m.
Year of Release: 2009
Running Time: 115 minutes
Free popcorn and Crackerjacks; hot dogs available.
$12 members, $14 public
A washed-up former pro player, Charlie Jones (Brian Wimmer), is sentenced to mandatory community service for a drunk driving conviction. Attempting to rebuild his reputation by volunteering to coach baseball, he soon discovers that the only people willing to give him a second chance are equally desperate yeshiva students on a quest to start their own team. While striving to lead the Yankles to the league championships, Charlie works to mend fences with those he has wronged in the past. In the process he finds redemption.
Mixing shtick with a surprisingly sensitive portrayal of Orthodox customs, The Yankles is a feel-good comedy about overcoming bigotry and self-doubt. The movie co-stars Bart Johnson (High School Musical) and Don Most (Happy Days), and featuring a cameo by Jewish gospel sensation, Joshua Nelson. There will be a special guest appearance by writer/director and executive producers Dan and Zev Brooks.
The Yankles messages are universal: making mistakes and moving on, living by principles and not passions. It has played all across the United States and internationally – in 21 states, 51 cities and seven countries. It has won eight festival awards and has won praise from Jews, non-Jews, men, women and children, reaching out to a very broad demographic.
According to the producers, who got their inspiration from the first scene of Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, “The Yankles is an uplifting portrayal of Jewish culture and values centered on the all-American pastime of baseball. We want the Jewish audience that sees The Yankles to come away with a sense of pride and joy and the non-Jewish audience to have both an educational and entertaining film experience, knowing they have just seen something completely unique. Ultimately, we hope The Yankles can lift a veil off the orthodox community and promote understanding by drawing on universal themes that resonate not only with Jews, but with a mainstream audience.”
All events will be held at the Merage JCC, 1 Federation Way, Irvine. Tickets are available by calling the JCC at (949) 435-3400 or by visiting the website at www.jccoc.org.