Latkes and the Lazaroffs

Brothers Lazaroff, shown performing at the Tick Tock Tavern in St. Louis, are planning the sixth annual Hanukkah Hullabaloo on Dec. 10 at Joe’s Café, 6014 Kingsbury Ave. Photo: Annie Martineau

Ellen Futterman, Editor

Latkes and the Lazaroffs 

The holidays are in full swing, which means lots of fun events and celebrations for us to partake. First up: the 6th annual Brothers Lazaroff Hanukkah Hullabaloo at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 at Joe’s Café, 6014 Kingsbury Ave. The annual event will feature Rabbi James Stone Goodman, the Eight Nights Orchestra and DJ Boogieman. 

While the event is free, a $10 (or more) suggested donation will go to the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri.  Food and drink will be supplied by Lu Lu Seafood and Dim Sum Food Truck and Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, with latkes, as is tradition at this bash, fried on-stage. Donations for the beer and latkes are also suggested; attendees are welcome to bring their own drinks and food to the show as well.

According to Lazaroff Brother David, two musical sets will interweave tributes to the recently departed Leonard Cohen and 2016 Nobel Prize Winner Bob Dylan. As is another tradition, the event will include a performance of “Eight Nights,” an original series of poems by Goodman backed by the hullabaloo’s 10-plus member band. Led by the Lazaroff Brothers, the Eight Nights Orchestra will play psychedelic, jazz-influenced klezmer rock. 

The event is sponsored by Brown Smith Wallace with support from STL-Style and Urban Chestnut Brewing Company.

Speaking of the holidays . . .

Let’s not forget that nearly 30 percent of St. Louisans are living below the poverty line and need our help. St. Louis County’s largest food pantry, the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, is calling for donations of food, personal care items, time, or money this holiday season to help the over 7,000 people it serves on a monthly basis.

A wish-list of specific items needed is available on the Jewish Family & Children’s Service website,, including peanut butter, canned vegetables, canned beans, tomato products, cereal, tuna, soup, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and shampoo, feminine hygiene products and diapers for both babies and adults.

Anyone wishing to volunteer his or her time at the food pantry over the holidays can contact volunteer coordinator Chelsey Banaskavich at 314-993-1000. For more information about donations or anything else having to do with the food pantry, contact Judy Berkowitz at 314-542-0400 or [email protected].

Dynamic duo

As childhood friends, Jonny Umansky and Zach Hyatt would get together every week to watch their favorite show, “Legends of the Hidden Temple” at their homes in Chesterfield. Both graduated from Parkway Central High School; they met while attending preschool at United Hebrew Congregation. 

Now, 20 years later, the pair will be back in St. Louis to see the debut of their first movie, “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” which is based on the show. The TV movie airs for the first time at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26 on Nickelodeon. 

Umansky and Hyatt moved to Los Angeles 10 years ago to launch their screenwriting careers. Despite the ups and downs of Hollywood, they have remained best friends and business partners, developing projects for Fox, NBC, ABC Family, VH1, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon. The two are in town for the Thanksgiving holiday and will attend a private screening of the Nickelodeon movie, which follows three siblings who break away from a lackluster tour in a jungle, only to become immersed in a high-stakes adventure comprised of obstacles they must complete to escape alive. The movie features elements from the original game show, including Olmec, a talking head who knows the secrets behind the temple; The Steps of Knowledge, the entrance to the temple and launching pad for the mission; and cameos from a green monkey, red jaguar, and silver snakes, among others.

“This is a show we watched religiously as little boys growing up,” explained Umansky, 32, who is the son of Peggy and Jay Umansky (Hyatt’s parents and Mark and Debbie Hyatt). 

“This was a chance to revisit our own childhood,” added Umansky. “I also have eight nieces and nephews and Zack has five, so we wanted to create something we could watch with them and they could enjoy as well as members of our generation.”

Umansky explained that he and Zach first started writing plays together at Parkway Central Middle School at the urging of their drama teacher. Currently, the two are working on “a crazy disaster movie about what happens when a meteor hits the moon” for the producer of “San Andreas,” said Umansky.

Blast from the past

Former Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols and his wife Deidre visited the new Shalva National Children’s Center in Jerusalem last Sunday (Nov. 20) during the course of their first trip to Israel. Shalva, a $55 million facility, provides state-of-the-art care and community outreach services to thousands of families with special-needs children in Israel, including those with Down syndrome. The Pujols’ eldest child, Isabella, has Down syndrome. 

“I feel blessed that through my own life experience with my daughter, she has taught me to give back to people with disabilities so that they can develop their full potential in life and give back to society,” said Pujols, who now plays for the Los Angeles Angels. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit Shalva and to see what is done in Israel to assist youngsters with disabilities and was impressed with their unique facilities, which don’t exist anywhere else.”

Pujols maintained that this was not a one-time visit to Shalva, but rather the beginning of a long-term relationship to work together to do great things for special needs people of all ages.