Sunday, May 11, 2014

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.