Neighborhood Roundup

Upcoming Upstairs Downstairs Events

Upstairs Downstairs Home at 69 Charles St. will host its first annual Kentucky Derby event, with ‘old time fun’ and games all day, on Saturday, May 4.

The shop will also hold its first annual Celebrating Moms

Flower Scavenger Hunt on Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and 12. For this two-day event, any item in the store with a flower in it receives a 10-percent discount off that item.

Upstairs Downstairs will then be featured as a ribbon garden on the Beacon Hill Garden Club’s ‘Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill’ tour, which takes place on Thursday, May 16. Stop by to celebrate this milestone with Upstairs Downstairs and “some bubbles.”

The shop will also hold its Memorial Day Event on Monday, May 27. This ‘Sail into Summer Sale’ will offer special, in-store prices.

May at The Vilna

The Vilna Shul at 18 Phillips St.  presents ‘Israel Through the Filmmaker’s Lens’ through May 29,from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

This course will explore questions about Israeli life and identity in a global context. Dr. Shayna Weiss will lead the conversation in examining contemporary Israeli film and what these movies teach about Israel today, covering timely topics including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mizrahi-Ashkenazi relations, ultra-Orthodoxy, Holocaust memory, and more.

Each week, participants will screen one film at home in preparation for class discussion and learning. No knowledge of Hebrew necessary; all films are available with English subtitles.

Admission is $120 for five sessions, including dinner.

Also, The Vilna presents ‘Studio Israel Live: The Multilingual Music of Jaffa’ on Thursday, May 2, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

 Explore the diversity of Israel – the beauty and the challenges – through a funky and beautiful blend of music, dance, and conversation.

Meet Stav Marin and Neta Weiner, co-founders of System Ali, a one-of-a-kind Jaffa, Israel-based hip hop band that uses music to connect across languages, cultures, and beliefs. Now, you can hear their music and stories in conversation with Yuval Evri, Brandeis University Assistant Professor of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.

This event is the first live iteration of the Studio Israel series which began online in 2020 to connect people with Israeli culture through artists during the pandemic. Studio Israel is presented in collaboration with Hadassah Brandeis Institute, the Jewish Arts Collaborative, the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University, and The Vilna Shul, and is made possible with support from CJP. 

Tickets for this event are $18 each.

The Vilna will offer a book talk on Judy Rakowsky’s ‘Jews in the Garden’ on Monday, May 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

‘Jews in the Garden,’ is Renowned local author and investigative journalist Rakowsky’s story of her father’s cousin who was hidden in a Polish village for 18 months and survived the war. Together with an elderly relative, she travels to rural Poland to unravel the mystery of their family’s past. As the number of survivors diminishes with time, telling these stories is the only way to keep their memories alive. This event is co-sponsored by the Jewish Book Council.

Tickets are $18 each.

The Vilna will also offer a hybrid event, ‘Lifesavers: Preventing the End of the World,’ with Jason Weiner and Dr. Nancy Chabot in conversation, on Thursday, May 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Join Dr. Chabot, who led NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), in conversation with Jason Weiner, to learn more about planetary defense. The DART mission successfully demonstrated a method of asteroid deflection by kinetic impact which could help to protect Earth from potential asteroid impacts in the future.

Admission for this event is $10 online or $18 each in person.

The Vilna will offer ‘A Whiskey Tour of Israel’ (Yom HaAtzmaut) on Thursday, May 16, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Join The Vilna for an Israeli whiskey tasting with Josh Mann, an expert from Jews and Booze, a company that embraces community and puts the SIMCHA (happiness) in spirits.

Enjoy pours of nine different exclusive Israeli whiskies along with a fun and interactive tour of the whiskies, with information about each pour, distillery, and master distiller. Kosher charcuterie will accompany the tasting.  Participants will be entered in a raffle to win a bottle of J&B “Kings of Kiddush” straight rye whiskey.

Admission for this event is $50 per person.

For more information on The Vilna Shul’s programming, visit

West End Branch Library’s ‘Mindfulness for Older Adults’ Program Continues

The West End Branch Library at 151 Cambridge St. will offer ‘Mindfulness for Older Adults’ on Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon on Fridays.

The ongoing program includes ‘Mindfulness and Stress Reduction’ on May 3:’Creating Healthy Sleep Habits’ on May 10; ‘Mindfulness Tools for Chronic Pain’ on May 17; ‘Yoga Breathing for Relaxation’ on May 24: and ‘Loving Kindness and Gratitude’ on June 7.

Bob Linscott, MTS, Certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher and Behavioral Health Manager for the city’s Age Strong Commission, will lead the program, which will help paripinnate learn to reduce stress and anxiety; enhance their attention and memory; improve their mood and sleep; and  strengthens their cognition in aging.

To register for the program, contact Wesley Fiorentino at [email protected] or call the West End Branch Library at 617-523-3957.

WECA Meeting Set for May 9 at Amy Lowell Apartments

The West End Civic Association (WECA) will hold its next meeting in person on Thursday, May 9, at 6 p.m. in the Community Room at Amy Lowell Apartments at 65 Martha Road.

Guests for this meeting will be representatives from the West End Museum.

All West End residents are welcome. Masks are encouraged.

WLP’s Annual Fundraiser and Networking Luncheon May 10

Women’s Lunch Place Executive Director Jennifer Hanlon Wigon and M. Lee Pelton, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation, will have a fireside chat at WLP’s annual fundraiser and networking luncheon, eat LUNCH give on Friday, May 10, in the Oriental Ballroom at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston. The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. and concludes at 1:15 p.m.

Hanlon Wigon and Pelton will address the pressing issues of the housing crisis in Boston, including the shortage of affordable units and the critical need for safe, gender-specific housing for women in the community. The event will be held in the Oriental Ballroom at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston.

This luncheon will include a delicious meal, an opportunity to network with Boston’s best and brightest leaders, and an inside look at the context behind Women’s Lunch Place’s life-changing work from two experts in their fields. There will also be a raffle with local prizes.

All proceeds from the fundraising luncheon will be donated to Women’s Lunch Place.

Tickets cost $200 each and are available online at, along with sponsorships, program advertisements, and opportunities to support the raffle.

West End Museum’s Bulfinch Triangle Walking Tour May 11

Join the West End Museum on a walking tour of the Bulfinch Triangle on Saturday, May 11, which beings at 12:30 p.m. at the museum, located at 150 Staniford St., Suite 7 (on Lomasney Way).

This walking tour will explore Boston’s early industry and infrastructure, and how this district evolved from Mill Pond to a transportation hub.

Admission is $10 per person; visit to purchase tickets.

Gibson House Museum to Offer Free Open House on Saturday, May 11

The Gibson House Museum, located at 137 Beacon St., will offer an Open House in celebration of Preservation Month on Saturday, May 11, from 1 to 4:00 p.m.

Select rooms will be open for viewing, and certain items in the collection will be highlighted.

The Open House is free to attend, and no reservations are necessary for guests.

Duckling Day Returns Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12

Join the Friends of the Public Garden on Mother’s Day Sunday, May 12, for the return of Duckling Day – an annual celebration of the children’s classic book ‘Make Way for Ducklings ‘by Robert McCloskey.

Duckling Day is a family-friendly celebration held each year on Boston Common. Duckling Day features activity booths, lawn games, magic, and live music all at Parkman Bandstand. The event ends with a parade retracing Mrs. Mallard’s steps to the Ducklings sculpture in the Public Garden.

Registration for a family of any size is $35 and includes a goody bag for every child and entertaining Duckling activities for the whole family; register online at

Conversation with BPL President David Leonard May 20

Beacon Hill Village will host a Conversation with David Leonard, president of the Boston Public Library, on Monday, May 20, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the first-floor Orientation Room of the McKim Building at the Central the Copley Branch of the BPL at 700 Boylston St. (Light refreshments will be served from 5:30-6 p.m., and the speaker will begin closer to 6 p.m.)

Leonard, whose background spans academia, the non-profit sector, and more than a decade of private IT consulting, was instrumental in helping the West End and Beacon Hill add affordable housing, pairing the Boston Public Library’s new, two-story West End Branch Library with 12 stories above containing 119 new apartments.

This event is free for all to attend, but attendance is capped at 51; register at–leonard,-bpl-president/event_participations/new.

West End Museum’s Boston Trivia Night returns May 30

The West End Museum’s next Boston Trivia Night takes place on Thursday, May 30, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the museum, located at 150 Staniford St. Suite 7 (on Lomasney Way).

Admission is $10 per person; visit to reserve your spot.

Free Lessons in American Mahjong offered at West End Branch Library

The Friends of the West End Library will be offering lessons in American Mahjong to new and experienced players at no cost.

The group meets on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month in the Community Room of the West End Branch Library, 151 Cambridge St.

To sign up or for more information, email Audrey Tedeman ([email protected]) or Julia Forbes ([email protected]).

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