HINDU HOLIDAY: Sivaratri, a Hindu holiday celebrating...

HINDU HOLIDAY: Sivaratri, a Hindu holiday celebrating Lord Siva as the destroyer of sin and giver of blessings, will be observed with worship and festivities Sunday evening at the Hindu Temple and Indian Cultural Center in Chatsworth.

Dinesh Lakhanpal, president-founder of the temple, said the actual holiday is March 10, when Siva is said to give his blessing to the entire world. But for the convenience of the 1,500 members of the 2-year-old temple organization and others among the San Fernando Valley’s estimated 10,000 Hindus, the Sivaratri service of chanting, singing and dancing will be held Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m., followed by the serving of Indian food.

Daytime fasting, with only the eating of fruit permitted, is associated with the holiday, Lakhanpal said. “Many people will have fasted Thursday through Sunday,” he said.

For more information, call (818) 772-6020. The temple is at 21213 Devonshire St.


RAMADAN ENDS: Thousands of Muslims are expected to attend a 7 a.m. prayer service Sunday at Cal State Northridge marking the end of Ramadan, the fasting month in Islam.

The Eid prayer, taking its name from the Arabic word for feast, will be said outdoors on the Sierra Quad of the campus, south of the Oviatt Library lawn.

Ahmed El-Gabalawy, the spokesman for the Islamic Center of Northridge, will give a short talk at 7:15 a.m.

The observance ends the lunar month of daytime fasting and the period of religious reflection and charity.

CHILDREN FREE: The opening-night performance March 25 of “The Passion Play,” a musical production at Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, will be free to any elementary school child.

A representative of the congregation said that each three children must be accompanied by an adult. Adult tickets are $5 each. Reservations may be made by phoning the church at (818) 831-9333.

Four other performances of the play, based on the gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection, will be given March 25 and 26 and April 1 and 2 at the Southern Baptist-affiliated church at 19700 Rinaldi St.

INTERFAITH PANEL: “What My Faith Tradition Tells Me About Gender and Spiritual Authority” will be addressed by Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and Lutheran speakers Sunday night as part of a continuing series of discussion panels organized by the San Fernando Valley Interfaith Council.


The 7 p.m. session at First United Methodist Church of Northridge, 9650 Reseda Blvd., is open to the public.

The panelists will be Sister Nancy Clemmons of Santa Monica, co-chair of the Catholic-Jewish Conference; Ahmed El-Gabalawy, director of the Islamic Center of Northridge; Gladys Sturman of Calabasas, a Judaic studies teacher, and the Rev. John Sauer, Van Nuys First Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod). The Rev. Jeff Utter of the Congregational Church of Chatsworth will moderate the discussion.

AIDS QUILT: A section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which bears names of those who have died of the disease, will be on display all day Friday and featured in a 6 p.m. Sabbath program at the Cal State Northridge Hillel House, the Jewish student center at 17729 Plummer St.

A volunteer from Names Project Los Angeles will discuss the history of the quilt, which is estimated to be more than 10 football fields in size. Participants will also tell stories of the loved ones lost to AIDS, said Hillel’s Joshua Epstein.


“I want to get away from statistics and discuss the issue of AIDS on a human level,” Epstein said. For information, call (818) 886-5101.

QUAKE INSURANCE: Questions about earthquake insurance will be answered by Charles Gelfand, a Woodland Hills insurance agent and consultant, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Temple Kol Tikvah, 20400 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, in a program held under the auspices of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles.

For reservations, call the temple at (818) 348-0670.

LOCHER TALK: The Rev. Don Locher, former district superintendent for United Methodist churches in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at North Hollywood First United Methodist Church, 4832 Tujunga Ave.


Locher, now executive director of the Pasadena Ecumenical Council, will speak on “What Are the Faces of Love?” as part of the North Hollywood congregation’s mid-week Lenten services. For information, call (818) 763-8231.

STORYTELLER: Peninnah Schram, professor of speech and drama at Yeshiva University in New York, will recount tales, legends and parables from Jewish lore in an appearance 4 p.m. Sunday at Temple Sinai, 1212 N. Pacific Ave., Glendale.

The program, aimed at both adults and children, costs $10 with discounts for seniors, students and children. Tickets are available at the door or by calling the synagogue at (818) 246-8101.

The event is part of a cultural program co-sponsored by Temple Emanu El in Burbank.


News and announcements for this column may be sent to Religion Desk, Los Angeles Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth 91311.