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April 1, 2015. By Marilyn Hassid--

In a couple of weeks the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC is proudly hosting a remarkable play on our Kaplan Theatre Stage. Bad Jews, by Joshua Harmon, is a coproduction of Stages Repertory Theatre and Black Lab Theatre in cooperation with the J.

The play’s director, Jordan Jaffe, is the Artistic Director of Black Lab Theatre. Jaffe spent many years roaming the halls of the J as a child and was a JCC Maccabi Sports participant. He later discovered a love for theater while attending Rice University, and in 2013 was named to the Houston Press' Top 100 Creatives list of "movers and shakers" in the Houston arts community.

Bad Jews tells the story of three cousins: Daphna who has just returned from Israel, empowered by her journey; Liam who has fallen for an “American Girl” who is anything but Jewish; and Jonah (note the name!) who just doesn’t want to get involved. Their grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, has died, leaving behind his precious Chai necklace. Battle lines are drawn as these self-absorbed cousins clash over possession of this beloved family heirloom.

I had the privilege of sitting through the first read-through of the play and I promise you, it’s riveting, thought-provoking, and yes, disturbing and, at times funny. I just wanted to throttle these age 20-ish cousins!  Don't get me wrong, they could very well be older and still be as self-absorbed. The play is so relatable that you feel a unique emotional connection to the characters. 

In a few days, many of us will be sitting around Passover tables and looking to the youngest to ask the Four Questions. This year, I’m suggesting four more questions to be posed by the adults at the table as a lead up to the play:

  1. What does it mean to be a "Good Jew"?
  2. Do I consider myself a Jewish American or American Jew?
  3. Can interfaith marriages work?
  4. What is the most important Jewish value that you hope to pass on to your children?

Take these four additional questions to your seders and start a conversation. Let us know how the conversation goes by leaving some thoughts in the comments below.

Purchase tickets to Bad Jews online at erjcchouston.org/theatre.

See you at the theatre,
Marilyn

Check out this recent interview with Bad Jews Director, Jordan Jaffe: 

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Category: Arts and Culture

Adult Art Programs at the J - Beginning Ceramics

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Posted by: Alvin

A poorly kept secret is that we have a first class ceramics program and a very high quality, well equipped studio at the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC. This is not a paint-by-number program, but it is one where students of any level can learn to create their works of art from raw clay and bring them to completion. We have wonderful, up-to -date equipment, and we use first class materials. Instruction is led by professional ceramic artists. Our newest additions are new cabinets, new sink, new lighting, a double wedging table, a slab roller and a wall mounted clay extruder. Dozens of glazes and underglazes are available and are constantly replenished. An additional kiln is on the way as well. 

Our dwindling program was kept alive for many years mostly by the untiring efforts of Judy Mellon and Marge Mayer. Now because of enthusiastic students, quality instructors and support and investment from the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC, the program is growing in popularity. The classes run two hours long, and unlike some other ceramic studios there is ample "studio time" for work to be perfected and completed to each student's full satisfaction. At this time we have a class for wheel instruction as well as a class for hand building. Class sizes are optimal now, but if future registration continues to increase, additional classes are possible.

You're welcome to visit and watch the artists at work. The classes are on Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 PM-3:00 PM. In addition to the class instruction the studio is available to students Monday-Friday. To learn more about the ceramic program and other art classes visit erjcchouston.org/art.

Hope to see you soon.

Alvin
Member and Ceramics Student

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Category: Adults