One of the benefits of being married to a journalist is being invited to accompany her to all kinds of events.  Since Noemie is connected to the French community in LA, she was invited to the opening of a new French cooking school.  The gregarious Chef Josette has opened a top notch culinary academy to complement her Normandie Bakery (unexpectedly located off Jefferson and Cochran).  As part of the ceremony, there was a patisserie demonstration (see photo below).

The gentleman below looks slightly perturbed, but he has been working on this spun sugar statue for many hours.  Earlier this week I was asked to compose a sermon Vayakhel Pekudei, one of the more technical selections of Torah readings.  Part of the text (which was not the focus of the sermon) had to do with Betzalel, the artisan who made the first menorah.  The insert of the Betzalel story highlights the importance of skilled and dedicated artisans.  The Los Angeles community has many of them and they are multiplying due to the hipster interest in local craft.

Hopefully we will see a new pattern of life, with a return to local shops and neighborhood cohesion in Los Angeles.  Large American cities seem to be moving in two directions at once.  On the one hand there is a reclaiming of urban centers like downtown LA to reestablish social link, on the other we are more dependent on Amazon and big-box stores.

In any case, I must express my gratitude to Noemie for an afternoon filled with free pastries, and to this gentleman for his excellent work.

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