Polly Levine is a an AFIPO Board Member and accomplished chef. An active member of AFIPO’s vibrant artistic community, Polly plays an integral part in supporting the IPO’s work around the world.
Hi Polly. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a native Californian; however, I raised my family in Phoenix, Arizona. I studied Art History, but always had a passion for food and cooking. In 2009, I opened a restaurant in Phoenix, featuring farm-to-table food. I loved greeting my customers each day offering beautifully curated food with fresh ingredients from local farmers. I have since sold the restaurant and moved back to Los Angeles. Now that my boys are older, I am involved with a few causes, such as the American Friends of Musee d’Orsay, as well as AFIPO. I hope to make a positive impact with the arts that I love so much. I still can be found almost every day in my kitchen baking a layer cake or making a salad from my garden. I translate this in a blog I have called “Polly Ruth.” I share recipes and also art and cultural highlights throughout the world.
Love that! Can you tell us more about your interest in connecting people through the arts?
I truly believe that as human beings, we all can relate to good food, art and music. There is no language barrier. Actually, we don’t even need to talk while listening to a song or admiring a painting. We communicate simply by the common thread of appreciating the moment. A very wise person once told me that G-d gave us two ears and one mouth on purpose. We need to listen twice as much as we talk. The IPO provides that opportunity.
*We spent every summer with our children in Aspen, which has the most amazing music festival and has contributed to the deep appreciation my family has for music. One can’t help but be inspired by the multitude of organic experiences — whether it was a group of bassoonists playing in front of the local bakery or sitting inside the magnificent tent listening to Chris Botti play his trumpet. I know firsthand how music can make a positive impact on people and their psyche and attitudes. Music transcends race, politics, and religion. The energy and talent of the Israeli philharmonic provides such goodness to the world. We need to share it!
Beautiful. Is that why you are involved with AFIPO?
Everyone knows I am passionate about Israel — the food, the people, the history. My friend Yifat Oren was chairing an event and as soon as she mentioned the symphony, I committed to a table. Being Jewish, I am incredibly proud of my heritage and everything Israel contributes to the world. I remember seeing Itzhak Perlman play at Grady Gammage in Tempe. His talent and warmth brought me to tears. Really, when you think about it, this tiny country has produced such incredible gifts for our universe. It’s wonderful to work with a Board that feels just as strongly as I do about Israel and the IPO.
Looking to the future, what excites you about AFIPO?
I recently met the new music director Lahav Shani, who is not only incredibly talented (and young), but very charismatic. Along with Danielle Spivak, our Executive Director of AFIPO, wonderful things are happening. I see that they are both willing to step outside the box to engage our community and provide extraordinary and diverse experiences.