Thursday, May 29, 2014

No Shabbat Friday May 30th!

Friday, May 30th - No Shabbat this Friday night at Lenny's Deli.  Cantor Schwartz will be out of town and celebrating her grandson's graduation - ma·zel tov!

Friday, May 23, 2014


CONTACT:                Gail Blair – 818-783-8824


ATTENDEES:           Cantor Estherleon Schwartz -
                                    Leonard F. Delpit, Executive Director of The University of South Central 
                                    Gail Blair, Executive Director for Cantor Schwartz
                                    Ivor Pyres, Creative Director for Cantor Schwartz
                                    Mark Ross, Assistant Principal -

DATE:                        Thursday, May 22, 2014

TIME:                          1:00 p.m.

LOCATION:               Fairfax High School
                                    7850 Melrose Ave
                                    Los Angeles, CA 90036
                                    (323) 370-1200
                                    Principal Carmina Nacorda                       323 370 1202
                                    Assistant Principal   Mark Ross     323 370 1222

DESCRIPTION:        Sharing a Living History combined with Gratitude Circles 
                                    will create unity by:
                                                Building real trust
                                                Developing stronger, more rewarding relationships
                                                Communicating fairly, effectively and positively
                                                Coping with various cultures, backgrounds and faiths
                                                Retention of individuality and enjoying others’ uniqueness



Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Their website banner reads:  “FHS fosters a community of diversity and potential!!!   FHS will lead Los Angeles schools in graduation rate….” – these are the children of today, uniting cultures to help dispel discrimination and bullying for today and tomorrow.

On Thursday, May 22nd Cantor Estherleon Schwartz visited Fairfax High School in Los Angeles where she shared her story as a child Holocaust survivor and showed students how to instill forgiveness, unity and peace through coming together and creating a gratitude circle.

The Gratitude Circles project was created by Cantor Schwartz as a movement to bring a voluntary program to schools that aim to connect children with one another regardless of culture or faith.  Cantor Schwartz believes that by the children holding hands and sharing gratitude with their classmates, bonds will be created and strengthened by their commonalities.  The result could be that by overriding differences – diversity and uniqueness will be celebrated and enjoyed.

Attending the multi-media event at Fairfax High School was Assistant Principal, Mark Ross, who said that he found the presentation, “interesting.”  Also in attendance were Shabbos Buddies, Leonard F. Delpit, Executive Director of The University of South Central; Gail Blair, Executive Director for Cantor Schwartz, and, Ivor Pyros, Creative Director for Cantor Schwartz.

“Cantor Schwartz  provided two presentations to students, the first was for 3 classes and the second was for 2.  Almost all students participated in the holding of the Torah as well as being wrapped in the Shawl of Many Colors (which symbolizes our world’s diversities), and ended with the formation of gratitude circles.”

“The kids were great,” said Cantor Schwartz, “They made me feel welcomed and one of them.”

As a thank you for her efforts, Assistant Principle Ross honored Cantor Schwartz as a graduate and alumni of Fairfax High by presenting her with a class pin.

About Cantor Estherleon Schwartz
Estherleon Schwartz is a French-born cantor who, along with her parents, evaded Nazi capture during World War II.  The Cantor obtained American citizenship in 1948 and currently resides in Southern California.  She is a Los Angeles based and community leader; promoting an agenda which includes unity, peace, and anti-hunger through music and the spoken word. 

Cantor Estherleon Schwartz Website:
Beth Shirah (House of Song) Website:

Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. and worldwide by arrangement and via Skype or telephone.

Media Contact
Gail Blair: (818) 783-8824

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Answer: Gratitude Circles

Cantor Estherleon Schwartz proposes a solution to the recent division between the Supreme Court's justices to allow Christian prayers at city council and other public meetings.

After the L.A. Times ran the article by   David G. Savage (Prayer case divides Supreme Court justices along religious lines), Cantor Schwartz met with her Executive Director, Gail Blair and her Social Media and Marketing Adviser, Rozanne Taucher, for a meeting about the Cantor's Gratitude Circles project - an idea the Cantor has been not so quietly working on for the past year.

Cantor Estherleon Schwartz
"We need to address bullying and discrimination starting in our schools," said Cantor Schwartz, "We can all be messengers of peace and childhood is the best place to start learning about unity and community."

"It began with the saying, Having an Attitude of Gratitude," chimed in Gail Blair.  "Cantor Schwartz thought it would be a vehicle of goodwill to have gratitude circles after the pledge of alliance.  We see circles of children holding hands providing each child the opportunity to state what they are grateful for."

"It's a wonderful way to form positive community and to strengthen self esteem and team building," added Rozanne Taucher, "We see these gratitude circles growing beyond our schools.  We envision them everywhere at any time - even if the circle of gratitude is a solo expression.  Gratitude is gratitude.  We're setting up a website to receive micro videos of gratitude which we hope will encourage people to start gratitude circles in their communities, schools, organizations, and so on."

Be a Shabbos Buddy!

Shabbat Table at Lenny's Deli
Since becoming one of the first female cantors in Los Angeles back in the 80's, Cantor Estherleon Schwartz has been providing outreach to the unaffiliated - welcoming all cultures, religions and backgrounds to her venues.  From concerts to life cycle services, the Cantor has worked tirelessly through her non-profit, Beth Shirah (House of Song), providing an intent of goodwill wherever she goes. Her latest venture happens at Lenny's Deli in Westwood where she provides a haven for social and spiritual advocates she calls, "Shabbos Buddies." 

Shabbos Buddies meet weekly for Friday Night Shabbat, beginning at 6:30.  For many unaffiliated attendees, Friday night Shabbat at Lenny’s Deli with Cantor Schwartz is a gathering with like minded people who celebrate their spirituality and life.  These kindred spirits also enjoy being of service to their community, neighbors and more.

“Shabbos Buddies is the perfect venue for all cultures and faiths.  Everyone is welcome to attend Shabbat," says Gail Blair, Executive Director for Cantor Schwartz.  Blair assists the Cantor by pulling the event together every week from taking reservations to setting up the table.

Shabbos Buddies
Friday Night Shabbat at Lenny's Deli asks for a $7.00 cash donation at the door.  For every 7 dollars collected, one dollar goes to a SOVA food bank.  Every dollar received by SOVA provides 4 meals to the hungry.  Cantor Schwartz has been an unofficial ambassador for the hungry for years either on her own or through her non-profit, Beth Shirah (House of Song).  "I'm a childhood Holocaust survivor, so I know what it's like to be hungry," says Cantor Schwartz. "I feel it's my duty to be a voice for a hungry child, a hungry community and a hungry world."  And at a time when millions are still unemployed and under employed, local food banks are often depleted and in desperate need of restocking - advocates in action like the Shabbos Buddies is exactly what the hungry need.  

According to Blair, Lenny's Deli has been a great venue for Shabbat.  She credits the owner of Lenny's Deli, Leonard  Rosenberg, for providing the Shabbos Buddies an open menu to enjoy with no minimum purchase.  Rosenberg generously supplies the wine and challah for Shabbat, which happens every Friday night except the last Friday of the month.

A Voice for the Hungry

As a childhood Holocaust survivor, hunger is not a stranger to me.  As a human being, as well as a spiritual leader, I feel it is my duty, my obligation, to be a voice for the hungry.  

1 in 6 people go hungry  in the United States. Hunger doesn't discriminate.  Babies, children, teens, adults and our elders are all affected.  Hunger can happen to anyone - your neighbor, your friend, or your relative.  Because the hardest hit with poverty are women and children, hunger strikes these groups the most.

Our food banks are in desperate need of restocking.  If you can give, remember to drop off a can of food to your local food bank in your community.  Just call ahead and find out what your local food bank needs.

If you have the time, volunteer at a local food bank or kitchen, even if it is just for one shift.  They can use the help.

If you want to do more, collaborate with your school, organization or a store and start a collection box so people can easily donate food that can be dropped off at your local food pantry.

If you can donate a dollar or more to your local food bank or kitchen, do that.  At SOVA, 1 dollar provides 4 meals!

If you are hungry or you want to donate or volunteer, here are a few helpful links for you:

SOVA Food Bank Locator:

L.A. Regional Food Bank's Pantry Locator:

California Food Bank Locator: