7 Seasons of Creation
Fall Party 2014

ARTIST BIOS

ESTHER AMINI (Writer) is an author and a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Her writings have appeared in Elle Magazine, Tablet, The Jewish Week, Barnard Magazine, Inscape Literary Magazine, and Lilith. Four of her stories are being performed in Los Angeles by the Jewish Women’s Theatre. Two were recently staged at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan in a show entitled Saffron and Rosewater, and the Bowery Art and Science Center in Manhattan has just showcased two others. Ms. Amini lives in Manhattan and is on the faculty of the New York School for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She is currently writing a memoir about growing up first-generation American in a Persian/Jewish home in Queens. To stay updated, follow Esther Amini on Facebook.
MIRIAI BOOTH-ONG (Actor) has appeared in numerous television and film projects, including ABC’s Scandal and CBS’s Extant. She had supporting roles in the award-winning indie films Hard Sun and No One Will Know. In addition, Mirai has appeared in theatrical productions of Nunsense (as Sister Amnesia) and The Sound of Music (as Maria) and has been involved in new-media projects such as immerverse.com, an experimental platform that produces live interactive narrative events. Mirai was born in Tokyo to a Malaysian mother and English father, moved to Singapore at age 10, and graduated from the United World College in South East Asia in Singapore, where she won awards for dramatist of the year and vocalist of the year. She attended Elon University in North Carolina, where she received a BFA, graduating cum laude. For more information, visit miraiboothong.com
RABBI ANGELA WARNICK BUCHDAHL (Writer) joined Central Synagogue as senior cantor in 2006. In 2014, she was chosen by the congregation to lead Central Synagogue as senior rabbi. Rabbi Buchdahl was invested as a cantor in 1999 and ordained as a rabbi in 2001 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York, where she was a Wexner Graduate fellow. She earned a BA in religious studies from Yale University. Rabbi Buchdahl has been nationally recognized for her innovations in leading services and has served as faculty for the Wexner Heritage Foundation and for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Kallot programs. Rabbi Buchdahl has been featured in articles in Reform Judaism, Shema, Journal of Jewish Ideas, Newsweek’s 2012 list of “America’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis,” and the PBS documentary 18 Voices Sing Kol Nidrei.
LISA CIRINCIONE (Actor) is an actress and singer whose stage and screen credits include work in the United States, United Kingdom, and Italy. This year, Lisa was honored with the LA WEEKLY and LA Drama Critic’s Circle nominations for her role as Catherine in Arthur Millers A View from the Bridge. She can be seen in national commercials that include a comedy spot for Sky Italia with Sandra Oh and is currently in production for the indie film Porcupine alongside the formidable W. Earl Brown. Lisa received her BFA in acting from USC, speaks Italian and Spanish, and would like to thank her incredible Sicilian-Jewish family for all their love and support.
CANTOR SHIRA FOX (Singer) is carrying on a family tradition in Jewish music performance. As the daughter of two Los Angeles–based cantors, Shira has spent more than ten years officiating as a cantorial soloist for synagogues and at sacred-music events throughout the country. From 2006 to 2012 she held the position of b’nai mitzvah teacher & program coordinator for Kehillat Israel, Pacific Palisades. Along with her cantorial training, Shira received training in pastoral service from Beit T’shuvah, a Jewish residential treatment center and congregation, where she served as assistant cantor alongside her dear friend, colleague, and fellow headliner in Guys and Meidels Cantor Rachel Goldman, from 2011 to 2013. She currently serves as the cantor of Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills. Singing and teaching in the Jewish community is her greatest passion.
CANTOR RACHEL GOLDMAN (Singer) began her vocal training as a coloratura soprano at a young age, spending a majority of her childhood in the highly acclaimed Los Angeles Children’s Chorus. Before reaching college, she had already sung on some of the largest stages in LA, including the Hollywood Bowl and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Rachel studied vocal performance and Italian at the University of California, Santa Barbara and completed her undergraduate studies at American Jewish University in 2010, receiving a BA in classical Jewish studies and graduating summa cum laude. Ordained at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California, in May 2014, she holds a Masters of Jewish Sacred Music from the same institution. She will receive a second ordination as rabbi and a masters of rabbinic studies in May 2015. Rachel is currently the cantor of Beit T’Shuvah, which she considers to be an amazingly unique and open community very dear to her heart.
DEBBIE JAFFE (Actor) is an actor and bar and bat mitzvah tutor. She’s finally started to put her Jewish side and her actor side together by performing original pieces about prayer and Jewish history with Theatre Dybbuk and with the Israeli organization Makom, and, at last, by performing with Jewish Women’s Theatre! She has an MFA in acting from the Actors Studio Drama School and is a member of Theatre of Note in Hollywood. She works in film and TV as well. Please look for her in the upcoming movie Entourage.
BARBARA KOLETSKY (Assistant Producer) has produced many events, specializing in charitable organizations as well as the corporate and private sectors. She is a fundraiser for UCLA Food Closet for Children and Children of the Night. As a co-owner of Crown Car Wash Los Angeles and owner of RSVP Party Planning, she was responsible for all aspects of the businesses. Barbara was born in New York and moved to California in the late sixties. Additionally, she has worked in marketing for Polygram Records in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
JAMIE LEVINSON (Technical Director) graduated from Santa Monica High School in 2010. At Allegheny College he acted in two productions, The Cherry Orchard, where he played Yepikhodov, and Servant of Two Masters, where he played Florindo. During his primary education, he appeared in numerous talent shows.
MONICA PIPER (Writer/Performer) is an Emmy Award-winning comedy writer and stand-up comic. She has written for the sit-coms Roseanne, Mad About You, and Veronica’s Closet and was head writer of the #1 children’s animated series Rugrats. She starred in her own Showtime Network comedy 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 performs for Jewish organizations around the country and is proud to be an artist-in-residence with the acclaimed Jewish Women’s Theatre in Los Angeles. Monica is currently starring in her solo show, Not That Jewish in Los Angeles and around the country.
ROXANA RASTEGAR (Actor) has a BA in Comparative Literature from the American University in Paris and an MA in Theater Arts from Cal State LA. Roxana began working as a professional photographer before joining the Avaz International Dance Company. As a member, she has performed at acclaimed venues such as the Japan American Theater, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and Royce Hall. Roxana has also done voice work in several original radio plays heard on KIRN in Los Angeles and worked for Persian satellite TV. She played lead roles in the plays The 99 Cent Family; Death, a Very Serious Comedy; and currently in Surprise Party, by Houshang Touzie. Roxana works as a producer, and her past productions include film, dance, plays, and concerts.
RABBI DEBORAH SILVER (Writer) is the assistant rabbi at Adat Ari El, Valley Village. She was ordained in 2010 by the Ziegler School, AJU, Los Angeles. Born in London, she worked there as a translator and editor, then as a litigator with Mishcon de Reya and as an assistant professor at BPP Law School, prior to crossing the pond. This is her second piece for JWT.
KIRA SOLTANOVICH (Writer/Performer) began her comedy career in 1998, after her parents confessed, “It’s not like you’re smart enough to be a doctor.” Kira took that as their blessing to pursue her dreams to become a stand-up comedian, and she’s never looked back. Kira has appeared on The Jay Leno Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Last Call with Carson Daly, Hell’s Kitchen, Last Comic Standing, Set List TV, Hello Ross! and The World Stands Up on Comedy Central. She has written for Joan Rivers, Scott Baio, Selena Gomez, and Justin Bieber. Kira’s pilot, Weren’t You Scott Baio? was optioned by New Line Television; her hidden-camera dating show Who’s Got Game? was optioned by MTV, and her feature film What’s Your Sign? was optioned by Terra Firma at Universal. Kira’s three-year-old son inspired her podcast, On the Kira Soltanovich Show, where she interviews fellow comedians who have kids, and they discuss all things comedy and colic related.
RONDA SPINAK (Producer/Director) created and produces JWT’s At-Homes Salon Theatre Series, now in its seventh season. To date, she has curated more than 20 original Jewish-themed salon shows for JWT. Educated at Stanford University, she also holds degrees from UCLA (MBA) and USC (Masters in professional writing). She has written for the Emmy Award-winning children’s show Rugrats, authored the critically acclaimed nonfiction book ProBodX: Proper Body Exercise (HarperCollins, publisher), and written many plays, including Stories from the Fringe and festival-winner Oscar Wilde’s Wife, a favorite at the Ashland New Play Festival and Dayton’s FuturFest. Spinak is currently on the board of the Association for Jewish Theatres. Spinak feels blessed to be working with the many talented and inspiring women who are giving so generously to Jewish Women’s Theatre.
ROBERT TREBOR (Actor) had critically acclaimed major roles in John Frankenheimer’s 52 Pick-Up, Oliver Stone’s Talk Radio, Roland Emmerich’s Universal Soldier, and Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects. 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 Dear Salmoneus: The World ‘s First Guide to Love and Money, and And They Pay You for That?? An Actor’s Unreliable Memoir. This latter tome is looking for a publisher. Bob is a recent recipient of bone marrow from an unrelated donor. If you can, please join the National Bone Marrow Registry; it truly is a mitzvah and a lifesaver. Bob is proud to be an artist-in-residence with JWT.
SUSIE YURÉ (Associate Producer) has volunteered for 30 years in non-profit organizations, in which she has held leadership roles in fundraising, event planning, facilities coordinating, programming, membership, marketing, and administration. Susie has produced musical theatre productions, classical concerts, and cabaret performances and has been intensely involved in the world of theatre for more than 20 years. She holds a BA and MA in elementary education from USC, along with her California lifetime teaching credential. Her favorite role is as mom to her two talented (grown) children, who are both professional (and working) musicians.
ROSE ZIFF (Associate Producer), the most recent member of the JWT team, is new to performing arts. She came out of retirement after working at UCLA Medical Center for 33 years, where she functioned as “den mother” to more than 1000 interns, residents, and clinical fellows at UCLA, the VA, and Olive View-UCLA Medical Centers, providing resources and support. Rose is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Lev Eisha, a Jewish women’s non-profit religious organization and spiritual community. Her hobbies include gardening, dog training and hosting a monthly book club.

THE PROGRAM

Produced & Directed by Ronda Spinak
Assistant Producer: Barbara Koletsky
Associate Producers: Susie Yuré & Rose Ziff

Musical Summons: Cindy Paley & Joy Krauthammer

Welcome: Lynne Himelstein & Gail Israel, Event Chairs

Update on JWT: Ronda Spinak, Artistic Director

Salon Sampler: Kimchi & Cranberries — A Taste of Jewish Diversity

Bei Mir Bist Du Shon (To Me You’re Beautiful) – From JWT Season 2
By Jacob Jacobs & Sholom Secunda. Performed by Shira Fox and Rachel Goldman.

A House Into a Home
Written by Deborah Silver. Performed by Debbie Jaffe.

Kimchi on the Seder Plate
Written by Angela Buchdahl. Performed by Mirai Booth-Ong & ensemble.

Drama For Your Momma
Written and performed by Kira Soltanovich.

Ways to Recognize a Sephardic “Jew-ess”
Adapted by Ronda Spinak. Performed by Lisa Cirincione and Robert Trebor.

Saffron Rice & Cranberry Sauce – From JWT Season 4
Written by Esther Amini. Performed by Roxana Rastegar.

This Land is Your Land
Words & Music by Woody Guthrie. Performed by Shira Fox and Rachel Goldman.

Introducing JWT’s New Performance Space: Ronda Spinak, Artistic Director

Excerpt from “Not That Jewish” – A Commission of JWT
Written and performed by Monica Piper.