Hear Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist
and writer of The Value of One Sonia Nazario on the JWT Podcast


Chutzpah & Salsa

May 15 – 24, 2016

Stories, poems and songs written by Latino Jews, reveal funny, poignant, and pivotal moments in their lives.



Adapted, Curated & Produced by Ronda Spinak
Produced by Suzanna Kaplan
Directed by Susan Morgenstern
Dramaturge Lisa Rosenbaum
South Bay Producer Liz Altman
Associate Producers Barbara Koletsky, Susie Yuré, Rose Ziff

WELCOME – Ronda Spinak, JWT Artistic Director

Musical Summons of Cast
Violin by Marnina Wirtschafter. Performed by ensemble.

Our Table – Adapted from the blog Challa-peño
Written by Susan Schmidt.  Performed by Christopher Callen.

Yes, I Am
Written by Ivonne Saed.  Performed by Rachael Hip-Flores and Chris Triana (or Sean Topps).

Can’t Take the Mexi Out of the Jew – A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Written and performed by Erika Sabel Flores.

Gotlib, Bombero – Adapted from Far from My Mother’s Home (Floricanto Press)
Written by Barbara Mujica.  Performed by Chris Triana (or Sean Topps), Christopher Callen, and Marnina Wirtschafter.

The Value of One
Written by Sonia Nazario.  Performed by Rachael Hip-Flores.

The Ferreteria in Caracas
Written by Deborah Benaim.  Performed by Marnina Wirtschafter.

Hablando el Mismo Idioma (Speaking the Same Language)
Written by Ariel Lipski. Performed by Chris Triana (or Sean Topps) and Marnina Wirtschafter.

Kind of an Orphan
Written by Ana Nogales.  Performed by Christopher Callen and Chris Triana (or Sean Topps).

The Convert
Written by Yosely Tannenbaum.  Performed by Rachael Hip-Flores.

Learning to Howl
Written by Deborah Silberstein Shkurovich. Performed by Erika Sabel Flores and Marnina Wirtschafter.

Written by Maureen Rubin as told by JoLynn Pineda Brock. Performed by Marnina Wirtschafter.

In the Absence of Love – Adapted from The House of Memory (The Feminist Press)
Written by Ruth Behar. Performed by Christopher Callen.


RUTH BEHAR (Writer) is a MacArthur Award-winning writer and cultural anthropologist known for her work about the search for home in our global era. Born in Havana, Cuba, she frequently visits and writes about her native country. She is the author of Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza’s Story, The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology that Breaks Your Heart, An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba, and Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in between Journeys and is editor of the pioneering anthology Bridges to Cuba/Puentes a Cuba, just reissued in a 20th-anniversary edition. Her personal documentary, Adio Kerida/Goodbye Dear Love: A Cuban Sephardic Journey, distributed by Women Make Movies, has been shown in festivals around the world. In Cuba she is known for her poetry, and her work is included in The Whole Island: Six Decades of Cuban Poetry. Her newest writing, Lucky Broken Girl, a coming-of-age novel for young readers, is forthcoming with Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint at Penguin/Random House.
DEBORAH BENAIM (Writer) was born in Caracas, Venezuela, but her background is Spanish, Moroccan, and Israeli. Chef Benaim’s food is as eclectic as her heritage, and together with her culinary training she has developed a unique cooking style. After receiving a BS in hospitality management from the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston, she landed a job at Wolfgang Puck’s flagship restaurant Spago in Beverly Hills and has since worked in many acclaimed kitchens and now owns her own catering and events company. Chef Benaim has made several appearances on top cooking competitions, including NBC’s primetime hit Food Fighters. Due to her extensive travels and family background, she has refined the craft of fusing different cuisines and flavors in what can be called global cuisine—which she demonstrated at this year’s SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, where she debuted the first-ever kosher Latin food truck, showcasing Venezuelan cuisine with Middle Eastern influence. Chef Benaim is now working on several projects, including a cookbook that explores her rich family history. Stay tuned.
CHRISTOPHER CALLEN (Actor) has starred in 12 shows on Broadway, playing Maria (Lend Me A Tenor), Martha (1776), Hodel (Fiddler on the Roof revival w/ Zero), Margot (The Desert Song), and Maggie (Over Here! w/ the Andrews Sisters). Television audiences will recognize her as Dr. Gail Dexter in One Life to Live, Ellie in The Young and the Restless, and in numerous episodic guest-star roles. Christopher has starred in more than 15 award-winning Independent movies in the last two years but is perhaps best known as the mouthy waitress in the classic film Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas opposite Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Torro. She is a recognized visual artist, writer, and member of Citizens Commission on Human Rights and Artists for Human Rights. Her foundation, peaceISpossible, is in formation.  For more go to christophercallen@nowcasting.com.
ERIKA SABEL FLORES (Actor/Writer) was born in Mexico City and trained at the Stella Adler Conservatory in New York. She has appeared in multiple stage productions in London, Miami, New York, and Los Angeles. She has also appeared in more than 30 independent films, worked regularly in Spanish soap operas, and is currently developing her own one-woman show and fine-tuning a feature film screenplay. Erika has traveled all over the world, has business and psychology degrees, and speaks a few languages. She loves writing, reading, cooking, hanging out with her dogs, and kvetching about politics, and she can cook gefilte fish from scratch. She is honored to be working with JWT and grateful to find a tribe within the tribe!
RACHAEL HIP-FLORES (Actor) is a recent NYC transplant. LA credits: Buzzfeed Motion Pictures, DJ Latinidad Workshop with Mark Valdez/Mixed Blood Theater, No Pressure – music video, Little Boots. Selected  NYC Theater: Salvage, Once Upon a Bride There Was a Forest, Sans Merci, Hearts Like Fists, DEINDE (all with Flux Theatre Ensemble), Cymbeline (Imogen, Judith Shakespeare Company), readings at the Public and Cherry Lane Theaters, and with Sandra Oh, Harvey Fierstein, Kristen Johnston, Lee Tergesen, and Reed Birney. Selected webseries: Anyone But Me (Winner, Best Lead Actress: IAWTV, Streamy, Indie Soap Awards), Producing Juliet (Nominated: Best Lead/Supporting Actress – Rome Web Awards, Indie Series Awards, Best Ensemble – Indie Series Awards). Selected film/TV: Gossip Girl, Lucrecia (HBO NY Latino Film Festival, San Diego Latino Film Festival), The Sonnet Project: #112 (New York Shakespeare Exchange/Shakespeare’s Globe). For more information please visit www.rachaelhipflores.com or www.facebook.com/rachaelhipfloresofficial.
SUZANNA KAPLAN (Producer) was born in Mexico City, to an American mother and Mexican father, and grew up speaking English at home and Spanish everywhere else. As an actress and dancer, she performed in some of Mexico’s famous Vaudeville stages,