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When the sun sets on Friday nights, Jews all over the world light candles, drink wine and break challah bread — ancient rituals honoring Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. Many go to synagogue, or spread out their finest lace tablecloth on the dining room table for an elegant meal. But in Silver Lake, the East Side Jews opt for quirky alternatives: a picnic at Grand Park; beer tasting at Golden Road Brewery; gatherings at Vietnamese restaurants, karaoke joints and comedy clubs. Launched in 2010 and run by the Silver Lake Independent Jewish Community Center, East Side Jews hosts monthly Shabbat dinners (called “the Last Sabbath”) and other celebrations at unlikely venues for “Jews with confused identities,” aiming to bring an irreverent, DIY vibe to generations-old customs. More than 1,000 have participated in ESJ, which welcomes Angelenos of all faiths interested in exploring their spirituality in fun and unconventional ways. —Daina Beth Solomon

1110 Bates Ave., Silver Lake, 90029. (323) 663-2255, eastsidejews.com.

LA Weekly