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Back on the Speaking Tour

It is Wednesday afternoon, and I am sitting at a table by the Virgin America terminal in Fort Lauderdale Airport.  This week was the start of a number of book events for me.

The Jewish Book Network has arranged three months of exciting destinations for me to speak at; Florida, San Diego, New Orleans, and San Francisco to name a few.  I left rainy Los Angeles on Tuesday and got in late in the afternoon.  And it was just perfect weather.  Never mind the 3 hour time difference, which means I got up at 4:15 am (LA time). I was ready for my T.V. interview with Barbara Kay for the Mosaic Program at 8:30  (5:30am LA time)

Are you noticing that I keep referring to LA time?  I did the strangest thing this morning.  I got up in the morning and saw the time on my blackberry… said 3:30.  I was so sleepy and paranoid that the hotel won’t remember to give my wake up call that I immediately sprang from my bed! (I somehow had added an extra hour to the time difference and thought it was 7:30am.)  Needless to say, I was scrambling to get my clothes ready.

I called the lobby asking them why they forgot my wake up call.  There was silence on the other end.  The receptionist cleared his throat and said, “But it is only 6:30.” Can you believe it? To my surprise,  I went back to sleep immediately.

Thank goodness I was alert enough to do a good interview.  And the two speaking engagement in West Palm Beach and Boynton Beach with the Women’s Philanthropy division of the Jewish Federation came off well.

A note to myself: next time I should wear a watch and change the time to the new place right away to avoid frenzied mornings in hotel rooms!

From UCLA to Books to the Philharmonic–Los Angeles Events

This week burst forth with a number of incredible events– back to back.  Of course the one I hold most dear to my heart was the celebration for the opening of the UCLA Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies.  Some of you may be familiar with the names; my in-laws have been a great example of philanthropists who put their energy and resources into the projects they care for.  After 5 years of coordination with UCLA and the UC Regents, UCLA now has an official Israel Studies Program–the first such center on the West Coast and one of three in the nation that are named and endowed.  We were so proud to celebrate the opening of the center at Chancellor Gene Block’s residence, with 2 previous chancellors attending.  Three hundred guests came in support!

The following day, on Wednesday, a very elegant book party took place at the famous “Schnabel House” with guest of honor Frank Gehry.  In fact the Schnabel house has been designed by Gehry and is showcased  in Assouline’s ” Living Architecture:Greatest American Houses of the 20th Century”.  It was a real high point to meet and talk to him and to tour this very unique and sculptural house.

I have a link here that shows some pictures of the house:

Speaking of Frank Gehry designed spaces, the following night, David and I went to the opening gala of the Philharmonic at the Frank Gehry designed Disney Hall.  Most Angelenos know that Dudamel is the rock star of the philharmonic and last night was sublime!  Juan Diego Florez, who is known as the tenor of choice in major international theatres joined the orchestra last night. What an astonishing voice! No wonder he is booked through 2015 at most major Opera houses.  What can I tell you….last night was a real treat!