10th Anniversary Celebration

November 12, 2017

Arise My Friend My Beautiful One and Go Forth

Produced by Ronda Spinak
Directed by Susan Morgenstern
Assistant Producer Barbara Koletsky
Associate Producers Susie Yuré, Rose Ziff & Daphna Shull

Musical Summons – Allie Feder and Cindy Paley

Introduction of Show – Ronda Spinak, JWT Artistic Director & Co-Founder

Noah’s Wife – From Season 3
Written by Eve Brandstein. Performed by Lisa Robins.

My Story of David – From Season 7
Written by Ellen Ancui. Performed by Kate Zentall, Monica Piper, Robert Trebor, and Abbe Meryl Feder.

Cooking Lessons (originally published in The Jewish Journal) – From Season 5 Written by Gina Nahai. Performed by Sohaila Zivari and Abbe Meryl Feder.

True Little Poem – From Season 7
Written by Alison Luterman. Performed by Shelly Goldstein.

Refused No More – From Season 8
Written by Rabbi Leonid Feldman. Performed by Sean Topps.

Jew by Choice – From Season 6
Written by Jill Soloway. Performed by Lauren Aboulafia.

The Value of One – From Season 8
Written by Sonia Nazario. Performed by A.J. Meijer.

Baggage – From Season 2
Written and performed by Monica Piper.

The New Colossus – From Season 4
Written by Emma Lazarus. Performed by the Ensemble and Lisa Grant, Vicki Juditz, Arva Rose, and Cliff Weissman.

Reflections – Lynne and Phil Himelstein.

Closing and Raffle Giveaway – Gail Israel and Elisa Wayne.

Closing Song – T’filat Haderech (Traveler’s Prayer)
Music and Lyrics by Debbie Friedman. Performed by Allie Feder, Cindy Paley, Jesse Macht, Andrew Fromer, and the Ensemble.


LAUREN ABOULAFIA (Actor) is thrilled to be a part of Jewish Women’s Theatre, as her two loves are theatre and Jews. She studied drama at the University of Washington and the British American Drama Academy. She has performed onstage at Interlochen, The Williamstown Theatre Festival, Jewish Women’s Theatre, the Groundlings and UCB. Some of her TV roles include ABC’s Mistresses and Mixology, Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, and NBC’s Superstore.
Film roles include the lead in the highly acclaimed indie comedy $50K and A Call Girl: A Love Story. She wrote and performed as a solo show, Moving On Up, and hosts the political comedy/travel series TRUMPigration, about where to move now that Donald Trump is our national nightmare. She recently created a Web series called Feel Goods, a comedy about the different things that make people feel good.

ELLEN ANCUI (Writer), just completed a feature film script for Independent Media and recently wrote and performed her
piece, I Hope You Have a Daughter Just Like You! for the Listen to Your Mother Festival. A native New Yorker, she landed in Los Angeles 20 years ago to write for the TV sitcom Mal- colm & Eddie. Ellen received several TV writ- ing awards and placed second at the Austin Film Festival (twice!) Ellen’s one-woman shows were presented at the Public The- ater, the Edinburgh Theater Festival, HBO Workspace, and numerous venues in NY and LA. She is the recipient of the Joyce-Mertz Gilmore Foundation Award as well as grants from the Massachusetts State Council of the Arts and the Princeton Arts Council. Her en- semble play, Glory Pie, had a sold-out run in LA at the Coronet Theater and her magazine articles have appeared in print and online in Maxim, American Theater, xoJane, and many others.

EVE BRANDSTEIN (Writer) has been a major studio executive, a producer, a director, writer/creator, and casting director. After writing and directing plays in New York she came out to Los Angeles to direct two of her scripts for AFI’s Directing Women’s Work- shop. She went on to work with Norman Lear on and off for the next 3 decades as a producer, director, writer and casting director. Eve is the director of the recent long running hit shows – Not That Jewish with Monica Piper and Rain Pryor’s Fried Chicken & Latkes. She has directed over 75 theatrical productions on both coasts and Israel. Most recent shows – NY Off Broadway 2 year hit, Shut Up Sit Down & Eat, NY and LA premieres of Revisiting Wildfire, the NY premiere of Voices Of Swords. She has directed many JWT salon theater productions as well as contributed work as a writer and artist. In 2018, she will be directing a new play, Anne Frank’s Diary for Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance, which The Simon Wiesenthal Center hopes to premiere in Jerusalem for the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel.

ABBE MERYL FEDER (Actor) hails from the fabulous city of New York. When not pursuing her craft, Abbe is the proud producer of NEXT @ The Braid, a new program of Jewish Women’s Theatre, which invites the next generation of artists to share their voice. She also shares her love of fashion as a personal stylist, and a stylist for Stella & Dot. She recently became a series regular on Experts (Tru-TV). Other credits: Sex Ed (film), Brahmin Bulls (film), The Internet Date (film), Pushing Daisies (tv), CSI:NY (tv). Twitter and Instagram: @iAMFeder.

ALLIE FEDER (Singer) is a performer and studio singer recording for film, TV, and commercials. Originally from the Bay Area, and trained in theatre and jazz at USC, she can be seen singing onscreen in Pitch Perfect 2, The Voice, The Ellen Show, The Late Late Show, and the Grammy Awards. Her voice can be heard on films and TV shows including Rogue One, Hairspray Live!, The Simpsons, Fuller House, Modern Family and more. She performs regularly at events around Southern California. More information at www.alliefeder.com.

RABBI LEONID FELDMAN (Writer), spiritual leader of Temple Beth El in West Palm Beach, Florida, and CLAL associate, is the first and only Soviet-born Conservative rabbi in America. Rabbi Feldman has lectured in 37 states and 19 countries, has testified before the US Congress and Commission
on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and addressed the California Senate and Florida House of Representatives. He has been the subject of feature articles in the NY Times, Chicago Tribune, Jerusalem Post, Miami Herald, LA Times, Insight Magazine, and Moment, and his biography appears in a host of Who’s Who. He holds graduate degrees in rabbinics from the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, in education from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, in physics and theater arts from Kishinev State Pedagogical Institute in the USSR, and is a Ph.D candidate in international relations at the University of Miami.

SHELLY GOLDSTEIN (Actor) has written for every genre of TV, film and stage. Her one-woman shows have played to sell-out crowds throughout the US and UK. She co-starred with Sir Derek Jacobi and Vanessa Redgrave in the British film, The Riddle and in the Irish film, Assault of Darkness. She has written or punched-up sitcoms, dramas, films, lyrics, award shows, jokes and special material for such artists as Steve Martin, Barbra Streisand, Justin Timberlake, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Yoko Ono. She wrote the disco musical, Last Dance, which work-shopped on Broadway and directed the critically-acclaimed hit comedy The Vic & Paul Show in L.A. and Chicago. Her new musical Lobster Boy was chosen by ASCAP and Stephen Schwartz to showcase at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and she wrote the PBS special Chicago Voices which was nominated for 5 Chicago Emmy Awards. She recently won the New Yorker Caption Contest!

BARBARA KOLETSKY (Stage Manager/Assistant Producer) has most recently worked on the production side of Jewish Women’s Theatre. Prior to that, for three seasons she was responsible for catering.  Now Barbara is thrilled to be moving into stage management for JWT at The Braid.  Barbara is also the owner of RSVP Party Planning, where as an experienced party planner she has produced many events, specializing in charitable organizations but with many corporate and private clients as well. Barbara was born in New York and moved to California for a career in marketing and promotions for Polygram Records and Elektra Atlantic Corp. She regularly volunteers at the Grossman Burn Center with her service dog, Rodney.


EMMA LAZARUS (Writer) was an Amer- ican poet of Sephardic decent best known for her sonnet, The New Colussus, which was written in 1883. Its lines are inscribed on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The last stanza of her sonnet
was set to music by Irving Berlin as the song “Give me Your Tired, Your Poor” for the 1949 musical, Miss Liberty, which was based on the creation of the Statue of Liberty.

ALISON LUTERMAN (Writer) has written books of poems including The Largest Possible Life (Cleveland State University Press), See How We Almost Fly (Pearl Editions), and Desire Zoo (Tia Chucha Press). She has published poems in The Sun Magazine, Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, Rattle, and The Atlanta Review. Two of her poems are included in Billy Collins Poetry 180 project at the Library of Congress. Her personal essays have appeared in Salon, The Sun Magazine, The L.A. Review, and The New York Times’ Modern Love. Five of her essays have been collected in the e-book Feral City, published at www. shebooks.net. She has also written half a dozen plays, including a musical about kidney transplantation. Alison has taught and/or been poet-in-residence at New College in San Francisco, Holy Names College in Oakland, the Writing Salon in Berkeley, Esalen and Omega Institutes, the Great Mother Conference, and at various writing retreats all over the country. www.alisonluterman.net.

JESSE MACHT (Musician) is a singer/ songwriter and actor born and raised in Los Angeles. He attended Temple Emanuel, then Beverly Hills High School and graduated with an acting degree from Washington University in St. Louis. Macht has performed in a myriad of independent films and local theater in recent years while focusing on his songwriting career. His music has been featured in tens of shows including The Voice and Keeping Up with The Kardashians, and he continues to perform around the world as a singer/songwriter. His latest record, Suitcase Heart, helped land him as the #3 Los Angeles Breakout Artist by AXS in 2014. This fall, he will be the face of Airstream’s Endless Caravan series where he toured the country in a vintage trailer in support of his newest record release on September 24.

AJ MEIJER (Actor) is a newly minted artist-in-residence with JWT. He recently appeared as Elias Kattan in the season eight premier of NCIS:LA. Prior to that, he made his New York theater debut in the original cast of the smash hit Heathers: The Musical. Film: Nina (with Common and Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Life Partners (with Adam Brody and Leighton Meester), and Broken Horses (with Vincent D’Onfrio and Anton Yelchin). He co-founded Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble and was seen in their productions of The War Cycle (Ovation Award nomination). Regional: Lennie in Of Mice and Men at TheatreWorks, Silicon Valley; All About Gordon at the Ahmanson; Getty Center with the National Theatre of Greece; Tug of War at the Getty Villa. AJ is a graduate of the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television. He also co-hosts the weekly industry-focused podcast Inside Acting. Learn more at www.insideacting.net.

SUSAN MORGENSTERN (Director) began directing in college by staging musical theatre concert readings while co-teaching American Musical Comedy with Tom Lehrer at UC Santa Cruz. She went on to teach and direct at the renowned Stage Door Manor performing arts camp in upstate New York. In Los Angeles, Susan has directed several shows at Theatre West, including Saturday Night at Grossinger’s, book by Stephen Cole, music by Claibe Richardson; and Barbara Nell Beery’s play, The Socialization of Ruthie Shapiro. At the Falcon/ Garry Marshall Theatre, she directed Leap, by Arnold Margolin, Surviving Sex, by David Landsberg, and the hit comedy, The Psychic, by Sam Bobrick. Susan directed Happy Days, a New Musical, book by Garry Marshall, music/lyrics by Paul Williams, at Cabrillo Music Theatre. She directed an extended-run production of Meryl Cohn’s comedy Reasons to Live at the Skylight Theatre. She co-au- thored and directed I’m Not Famous: A Musical Journey with Barbara Minkus, which had an extended 2017 run at the Santa Monica Playhouse. Susan also works as a consultant show director at Disneyland Parks and Resorts. She has directed numerous JWT salon shows, and most recently, Annie Korzen: Famous Actress, at JWT’s performance and art space, The Braid.

GINA NAHAI (Writer) is a best-selling author, columnist, and professor emeritus of creative writing at USC. Her novels, translated into eighteen languages, have been finalists for the Orange Award, the IMPAC Award, and the Harold J. Ribalow Award. She is the winner of the Los Angeles Arts Council Award, the Persian Heritage Foundation’s Award, the Simon Rockower Award, and the Phi Kappa Phi Award, and her writings have appeared in a number of national and inter- national publications. Nahai writes a monthly column for the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles and is a three-time finalist for an LA Press Club award. She holds a BA and a masters degree in international relations from UCLA and a master of professional writing from USC. Her new novel, The Luminous Heart of Jonah S., was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Council’s Award and has been long-listed for the Dublin International Literary Award.

SONIA NAZARIO (Writer) is an award-winning journalist whose stories have tackled some of this country’s most intractable problems—hunger, drug addiction, and immigration—and have won some of the most prestigious journalism and book awards. She is best known for Enrique’s Journey, her story of a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the U.S. Published as a series in the Los Angeles Times, Enrique’s Journey won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2003 and was turned into a national best-selling book by Random House. Nazario, who grew up in Kansas and Argentina, has written extensively from Latin America and about Latinos in the United States. A graduate of Williams College, she has a master’s degree in Latin American studies from UC Berkeley. She began her career at the Wall Street Journal and later joined the Los Angeles Times. She is now at work on her second book.

CINDY PALEY (Musician) has for more than 35 years delighted Jewish communities across the country with her rich repertoire of Jewish music. As a cantorial soloist, Cindy is the soul of Lev Eisha and the Valley Beth Shalom N’shama Minyan, both creative shabbat women’s services in Los Angeles. She has also served as the High Holiday cantorial soloist at numerous synagogues in California, Arizona, and Washington. As a performer, she invites audiences to experience her renditions of Yiddish folk songs, Ladino love songs, and exuberant melodies of modern Israel, as featured on her Yavo Shalom, Zing Along, and Koleet CDs. Cindy’s Jewish holiday CDs (Chanukah, A Singing Seder, Shabbat, and Celebrate with Cindy) are well known by teachers and families across America. This past summer she toured Poland, performing six concerts of Yiddish love songs with a Polish klezmer band and presenting Yiddish music at the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival.

MONICA PIPER (Actor/Writer) is an Emmy Award-winning comedy writer and stand-up comic. She has written for sit-coms Roseanne, Mad About You and Veronica’s Closet, and was the head writer of the #1 children’s animated series Rugrats. She starred in her own Showtime Network special, No, Monica, Just You and was nominated by the American Comedy Awards as one of the top five female comedians in the country. Monica is proud to be an artist-in-residence with Jewish Women’s Theatre of Los Angeles. Her critically acclaimed one-woman play, Not That Jewish, ran to sell-out crowds in LA, before its hit 7-month run Off Broadway. Monica performs for Jewish organizations around the nation with her biographical blend of stand up and storytelling, Farmisht, Farklempt, and Farblungit!


LISA ROBINS (Actor) has worked with JWT since its inception, appearing in an abundance of salon shows, and most recently, Stories from the Fringe. She stars in The Blessing of a Broken Heart, a one-woman show directed by Todd Salovey, which garnished stellar reviews and a warm reception by our JWT community for its LA premier. Other LA appearances include Love, Loss and What I Wore (Geffen), Catskill Sonata (dir. Paul Mazursky), Cornerstone’s Long Bridge Over Deep Waters (dir. Bill Rausch at the Ford); and Yehuda Hyman’s Center of the Star. A lifetime member of the Actors Studio, Lisa worked with the late Martin Landau, and recently appeared in Good in Bed, (dir. Asaad Kelada). Film/TV includes Rum Diary (opposite Johnny Depp); and James Dean (dir. Mark Rydell). Lisa’s finest work of art is her daughter, Renata, who will go to college soon! Special thanks to Ronda Spinak, and all of her wonderful JWT colleagues.

DAPHNA SHULL (Artistic Associate) is a two-time NEXT Arts Council Fellow, literary manager, and writer, born and raised in Tampa, Florida. She received her bachelor’s degree in Media Production from Florida State University. After graduating in 2014, she headed west to pursue a career in screenwriting and the arts. Today, Daphna works as a museum educator for the Zimmer Children’s Museum and recently joined the JWT staff.

JILL SOLOWAY (Writer) is a writer/director/ community organizer/mother/feminist/lover of slashes. She won the Directing Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival for her first feature, Afternoon Delight. Her short film, Una Hora Por Favor premiered at Sundance 2012. Jill is a three-time Emmy nominee
for her work writing and producing Six Feet Under. She also honed her bossy-boots skills as the showrunner for HBO’s How To Make It In America and Showtime’s United States of Tara. Before that, she authored Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants. Jill started out doing theater with her sister Faith in Chicago, where they created The Real Live Brady Bunch and The Miss Vagina Pageant. She also co-created Sit N’ Spin, a twice-monthly night of comedic monologues that’s been running for over a decade. Jill created and directed the original award-winning TV show Transparent, now in its fourth season on Amazon. She currently lives with her husband, two sons and two wild dogs in Silver Lake.

RONDA SPINAK (Producer/JWT Artistic Director) created and produces JWT’s Salon Theatre Series, now in its tenth season. She has curated more than 35 original Jewish-themed salon shows for JWT, as well as adapted many of the pieces performed. Spinak developed and produced Not That Jewish at JWT’s The Braid, which ran for 16 months, garnered an LA Drama Critics Circle nomination, only stopping to move to Off Broadway, where the show ran for over 200 performances. Spinak co-wrote Stories From the Fringe, putting the stories of women rabbis on stage for the first time. Since then, she and her team have interviewed on videotape, 150 national and international women rabbis, and in partnership with Jewish Women’s Archive have made many of the interviews available online at www. jwa.org. She’s the author of the critically acclaimed exercise book, ProBodX (HarperCollins), wrote for Rugrats, and her plays include Oscar Wilde’s Wife, a favorite at the Ashland New Play Festival. Spinak graduated from Stanford University, completed her MBA at UCLA and her masters in writing at USC. She has served as a grant reviewer for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, is on the board of the Alliance for Jewish Theatres and is a member of the Dramatists Guild. She feels blessed to be working with the many talented and inspiring women who give so generously to Jewish Women’s Theatre. For more: www. jewishwomenstheatre.org

SEAN TOPPS (Actor) was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and classically trained at the University of Windsor Acting program. Sean created and starred in the critically acclaimed solo stage play What Be G*d Is Blessing and most recently locked himself in a cabin in the woods in order to pen two original TV pilots. A frequent performer at JWT, Sean has been seen in Past & Present: Russian Jewish American Stories; My Bad, My Good; Hold Me, Heal Me; and Chutzpah and Salsa.

ROBERT TREBOR (Actor) had major roles in John Frankenheimer’s 52 Pick-Up, Oliver Stone’s Talk Radio, and can be seen in the Coen Brothers film Hail,Caesar! He is best remembered for playing The Son of Sam opposite Martin Sheen in Out of the Darkness, and Salmoneus on the Hercules and Xena TV series. He began his theatre career in 1973 (with Robin Williams) and more recently won awards for his work in the world premieres of Ravensridge, La Ronde de Lunch, and his one-man show The Return of Brother Theodore. Bob is the author of And They Pay You for That?? An Actor’s Unreliable Memoir. This was described by Kirkus as “…hilarious conversations from an actor’s life…his engaging, charming voice creates a story that feels extraordinary.” It also recently won a 2017 award from the Readers’ Favorite Literary Contest. He’s just written a new book, The Haircut Who Would Be King: An American Fable. Bob is proud to be an artist-in-residence with JWT.

PAUL VERSTEN (Writer) is a musician, artist, and actor who lives in Los Angeles. Over the past 20-plus years he has toured the country extensively and recorded numerous songs. He has found strength in his struggles with addiction, is in recovery, and is on his way to achieving his dreams, being creative every day and using music to help people. He has recently begun interning in the creative arts department at Beit T’shuvah.