Stars of David Comes Full Circle at Houston’s Evelyn Rubenstein JCC
Author Abigail Pogrebin and the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC of Houston have a long-standing relationship; one that comes full circle this month as the new musical revue, Stars of David: Story to Song, takes the stage at the J’s Kaplan Theatre. The musical is based on the best-selling book, Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk about Being Jewish, the publication of which brought Ms. Pogrebin to the J in 2005 for a speaking appearance at the Jewish Book & Arts Fair that year.
Now, over a decade later...
Arts & Culture Program Coordinator Amy Rahmani recently sat down with Arts+Culture Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Nancy Wozny to talk about our upcoming Houston Jewish Film Festival. Arts+Culture is a free periodical for the community with a focus on the contemporary visual and performing arts and how it affects life and lives in Texas. A+C magazine features articles, interviews, and reviews on gallery and museum shows, theater productions, people in the arts, classical music, contemporary dance, opera and books.
Check out the trailer to this year's Houston Jewish Film Festival:
The following is an excerpt from Arts+Culture Magazine's article, written by Editor-in-Chief, Nancy Wozny. For the full article from Arts+Culture, click here.
We’re surrounded by so many stinky things, on a regular day. And now, even more, for some of our unfortunate community members who were affected by the recent flooding and have been cleaning, scrubbing, and throwing stuff for weeks. But as I walked up to the J this morning and caught a whiff of something even before stepping into the building, I realized what we all could use this summer is a little aromatherapy at the J
It’s not what you think. It’s not some spritz the J is squirting outside to welcome its visitors and members. It’s not the sometimes far too heavy use of Norell perfume, a favorite of my late mother and so many other women of a certain age, many of whom are at the J every day to exercise, socialize, or just plain “hang out.” (Yes! Active adults like to just hang out!) And it’s not the enticing smells coming from Laykie’s kitchens, although they are intoxicating...
The creation of an original cabaret performance has been a dream of mine for several years, and I am so happy and proud that on Wednesday, May 6, we previewed our two women show, “29, One More Time.”
“29, One More Time” is an irresistibly engaging cabaret theatre performance filled with songs and stories of youth, love, motherhood and the perils and triumphs of womanhood. I wrote and perform this joyful, original work along with Joanne Bonasso who also stars. It is directed by seasoned theatre veteran, Rebekah Dahl from the Music Box Theatre with musical direction by Mitch Pengra.
We created a cabaret that is filled with unique stories from our lives that are fun, exciting and highly relatable. “29, One More Time” is a play on the social norm of a woman’s need to stay forever young. As women, mothers and actresses, we relate and through our show examine another way to define ourselves, beyond the number of years we have lived on this earth. Audiences will be delighted by the music in the show, ranging from well-known classics like...
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:
- What does it mean to be a "Good Jew"?
- Do I consider myself a Jewish American or American Jew?
- Can interfaith marriages work?
- 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,
Check out this recent interview with Bad Jews Director, Jordan Jaffe:
The Houston Jewish Film Festival closes this weekend.
You do not want to miss this weekend’s films and activities. Saturday and Sunday are jam-packed with six screenings.
Saturday Night: Double Feature + Lounge
Make Saturday evening (March 22) a night out at the ERJCC. We will have two great films, light appetizers, dessert and drinks - all in one place. The first film, Hunting Elephants, will bring a few laughs and the second film will leave you on the edge of your seat. Come for one or both films and then join us in between films in the Lounge located in the Joe Frank Theatre of the Arts.
We will be mixing up cocktails, s’mores and other lite bites. The Lounge will be open from 7:30-8:30 pm and is the perfect place to relax between films, schmooze with friends and continue discussing the festival’s films. Food and beverages are complimentary, and we are offering a discounted price for both films. Where else can you get a complete night out for $12 per person? ($15 for non-members)
6:00 PM Hunting Elephants | 8:30 PM The Attack
Sunday: Something for Everyone
Sunday is closing day, and we have a wide variety of films for your viewing pleasure. So many great films on Sunday, it will be hard to decide…so don’t. Laykie’s Gourmet Café will be open from 11:00 AM to 7:30 PM so you can stay nourished in between films.
11:00 AM An American Tail | 1:00 PM The Jester
4:00 PM Glickman | 7:30 PM The ZigZag Kid
This year's Houston Jewish Film Festival kicked off on Saturday, March 8 complete with a red carpet, popcorn, champagne and a toast to the previous chairs of the festival, and is celebrating its 10 year anniversary. This year’s festival features 28 films shown over 16 days.
The Houston Jewish Film Festival opened to a sell out audience. The Festival opened with Bethlehem, a powerful story about an Israeli secret service agent and his Palestinian teenage informant. The film opened in Los Angeles and New York last week. However, the Houston Jewish Film Festival provided the only currently scheduled showing of the film.
The forty-first year of the Jewish Book & Arts Fair is right around the corner. We have just a fantastic lineup of speakers, authors and performers. Not only do have a spectacular lineup of speakers, but we also have the honor of announcing the new name of the event, The Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Fair.
We kick off this years event with author and host of the popular National Public Radio game show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!,” Peter Sagal. Peter Sagal is heard by more than three million people every week. His show is broadcast on 450 public radio stations nationwide and via a popular podcast. Sagal is also the host of PBS’s new series, Constitution USA with Peter Sagal. The show follows him as he travels across country—on a Harley Davison Road King—to find out where the Constitution lives, how it works, its history and its vital relevance today. Sagal will present his unique perspective on looking at the news of the day when he speaks on Why Satire is the Only Reasonable Response to the Times in Which We Live.