Family Matters Live on Zoom

We love them.  We hate them.  The matters of family, and why family matters, are as old as the Bible.  This show reveals in stories and songs our most personal family stories.
March 6, 7, 11, 15, 2021




Material Adapted, Curated, & Produced by Ronda Spinak
Directed by Susan Morgenstern • Dramaturg Lisa Rosenbaum & Susan Baskin • Literary Manager Suzanna Kaplan • Stage Manager Amanda Horowitz • Assistant Stage Manager Talya Camras  • Assistant Artistic Director Andrew Fromer  • Creative Associate Daphna Shull  • Associate Producers Rose Ziff & Susie Yuré  • Managing Director Sharon Landau

WELCOME — Ronda Spinak, Artistic Director

You’re Not My Mother
Music & lyrics by Mike Himelstein. Performed by Rick Zieff.

The First Time
Written by Susan Wolfe. Performed by Jasmine Curry.

The Appointment Book
Written by Wendy Carson Turk. Performed by Kate Zentall and ensemble.

You Call That A Coat?
Written by Scott S. Hart. Performed by Rick Zieff and Shelly Goldstein.

My Jewish Mother
Written by Mindi Rivin. Performed by Shelly Goldstein.

Necessary Fictions — First appeared in The Forward
Written by Susan Baskin.  Performed by Kate Zentall.

My Father – Hero and Coward — First appeared in The Los Angeles Times
Written by Rabbi Mark S. Miller. Performed by Rick Zieff.

A Millennial Celebrates Mother’s Day
Written by Lynne Himelstein. Performed by Shelly Goldstein.

Why Does Family Matter? — A Short Film
Created by Ronda Spinak and Andrew Fromer. Performed by The Braid’s company of actors.

The Day the World Went White — Adapted from a soon-to-be-published poetry collection: Longing & Be-Longing: Poems, Prayers & Reflections
Written by Paulette Rochelle-Levy. Performed by Kate Zentall.

Surviving Papa
Written by Natasha M. Basley. Performed by Jasmine Curry and Rick Zieff.

Close to My Heart — First appeared in News and Views SCPD
Written by Gladys A. Layne. Performed by Kate Zentall.

The Banquet — A Commission of The Braid
Written and performed by Shelly Goldstein.

Lost in a Place Called Home
Written by Kiren Dosanjh Zucker. Performed by Jasmine Curry.



SUSAN BASKIN (Dramaturg) wrote the Academy Award winning Film, Violet, and has written extensively for television and film. Her essays have been published in The Los Angeles Times Magazine and Los Angeles Magazine. Susan has written a number of pieces for JWT including “I, Citizen,” which was commissioned by Jewish Women’s Theatre. She is currently at work on a novel.

NATASHA M. BASLEY (Writer) is a short-story and creative non-fiction writer who has worked in international affairs for nearly two decades while also pursuing her passion in the arts. Singing in the Peace Child Honor Choir of Los Angeles took her to a Soviet pioneer camp in the 1980s in Yalta, where kids from the U.S. and U.S.S.R. performed a joint musical production. She also performed as an actor in Nancy Keystone’s award-winning The Akhmatova Project and in Bill Viola’s internationally acclaimed series, The Passions, which continues to be showcased in museums all over the world. When living in Nepal, Ms. Basley worked with the Kasthamandap Modern Art Collective to produce a fashion show entitled Wearable Art, which was also performed in Sri Lanka. Her travel stories recently appeared on KCRW’s Press Play with Madeleine Brand.

TALYA CAMRAS (Assistant Stage Manager) graduated from California Lutheran University with a BA in communication and a minor in technical theatre. Stage management credits include She Kills Monsters, Measure for Measure, The Pirate Queen Musical, columbinus (KCACTF), The Merry Wives of Windsor, Richard II, The Abuelas, The Colored Museum, and The Devised Works Project. Zoom productions include You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and A Mysterious Affair at Soldier Island. This is her first time working with The Braid, and she is very excited to be part of this team!

JASMINE CURRY (Performer) trained at New York University, Experimental Theatre Wing, and was a resident actor at Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley, PA. She studied improv and sketch writing with The Groundlings Theatre and iO West. Jasmine has worked in educational theatre with Writers Room Productions, California Weekly Explorer, and The Imagination Machine. She can be seen every Wednesday performing Longform improv online with her improv troupe The Interlocutors. She previously appeared in Braid salons Sex, Love and Addiction in the 21st Century, Living After and last summer’s NEXT Salon, The Way Home. She is grateful to share her 900 square feet house with her spouse and daughter and thanks them for giving her space (both mental and physical) to continue to perform.

ANDREW FROMER (Assistant Artistic Director), a Los Angeles native, grew up as an active member in the Jewish community through Stephen Wise Temple. He attended Windward School in Mar Vista, where his career as an actor began in the school plays and musicals. After completing his BFA in theater at UC Santa Barbara and an exciting year of living in Israel, Andrew returned to LA for acting and producing. His TV credits include Never Have I Ever (Netflix) and Anger Management (FX); feature film credits include Highway to Havasu (Billy/Producer) and The Sweet Life (Mike/Assistant to Production). Andrew also edits and directs and is excited to be coordinating this year’s iteration of NEXT @ The Braid’s Emerging Artists Fellowship. Find out more at nextbraid.

SHELLY GOLDSTEIN (Writer/Performer) is a writer-actress-director-singer-comic who works extensively throughout the US & UK. She appeared in Wait! Wait! Don’t Kill Me with Lily Tomlin, Pete Holmes & Kevin Nealon. Shelly co-starred opposite Sir Derek Jacobi & Vanessa Redgrave in the British film The Riddle & her YouTube music/comedy videos have had over 2.5 million views. She has written songs for the film Lincoln Cried and the European TV series, Cold Courage. She has written for such artists as Steve Martin, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, Larry Wilmore, Barbra Streisand, Carol Burnett, Joe Walsh and Yoko Ono.

SCOTT S. HART (Writer) was born Washington, D. C., and grew up in the Maryland suburbs. He has an education degree from Catholic University of America and served in the U. S. Coast Guard for 10 years. While stationed in New Orleans, he met Linda Rosenbaum and married her eight months later. Since the Coast Guard, he has been teaching in the New Orleans area in various capacities. Dogs are his best friends, and his current pooch is Tashi, a Lhasa Apso who when not resting is full of energy and hungry for treats. Favorite hobbies include photography, writing short stories, reading Eudora Welty and P. G. Wodehouse, and baking bread and cooking. Scott and Linda enjoy doting on their nieces and nephews. Shir Chadash Conservative congregation is their synagogue.

LYNNE HIMELSTEIN (Writer) has dedicated herself to the Jewish community, assuming leadership positions on the board of National Women’s Philanthropy. In great demand as a speaker on Jewish philanthropy, she has traveled around both the United States and Israel, inspiring people to give to Jewish organizations. She is currently the chair of Lion of Judah Endowment for the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, and co-chair of the Braid’s Board of Directors. Lynne is a returning writer for The Braid.

MIKE HIMELSTEIN (Composer) has had more than 500 songs recorded by artists ranging from the Temptations, Al Jarreau, Stray Cats, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Johnny Winter, and Joe Bonamassa to Julie Andrews, Mandy Moore, Dick Van Dyke, Martin Short, and William Shatner, among others. His songs have been featured in TV, films, and onstage in productions including Shrek (the Academy Award-winning movie and Broadway musical), Blades of Glory, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, The Sopranos, Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Special Agent Oso, Sheriff Callie’s Wild West, Jim Henson’s Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, and Splash & Bubbles. He has written several television theme songs and many songs for Disneyland Parks around the world. Mike is a three-time Emmy nominee, an Annie nominee, and the two-time winner of the Cynopsis Imagination Awards. He was a 2007 recipient of the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Award for his hit song “God’s Gift to the World.”

AMANDA HOROWITZ (Stage Manager) wants to spend her life organizing and creating new theater. She recently graduated with bachelor’s degrees in theater and math from the University of Alabama, where she stage managed and assistant stage managed eight shows in the theater department. She most recently directed a thirty-minute play as part of a new- works play festival in North Hollywood. She hopes someday to be able to run her own theater company dedicated to producing emerging theater and providing other young adults with their first paid opportunities in the arts. She is thankful to The Braid for providing her first step toward her professional career.

SUZANNA KAPLAN (Literary Manager) was born in Mexico City and grew up speaking English at home and Spanish everywhere else. Following economic uncertainty, she moved to the US where she partnered with her best friend in a translation service and language school. They did well and, being young, sold it as soon as they could and used the money to travel, eventually winding up in Israel. That trip stretched out to six years, a husband and a baby. Back in the US, Suzanna worked in Hispanic advertising and wrote for Spanish-language TV. Her greatest pleasure these days is writing, producing, and working with the wonderful women of The Braid when not caring for the two most marvelous creatures known as grandchildren.

GLADYS A. LAYNE (Writer) My life’s adventures began when I left my secure family home at the age of 18. I married and drove from the East Coast to California during the summer in an old car without air conditioning. I found a job, and after a few years we started a family. I continued to work. Becoming single again, I started to see my job as a career. I graduated from college in my mid-years and worked up to vice president in one of the largest insurance agencies in the world. I had my ups and downs, like everyone. Meeting the love of my life, David, in midlife brought me back to my secure beginnings. David and I lived in several places, which was another adventure. I am not an author, but I felt compelled to write my story for Valentine’s Day. As I wrote this, I realized my life adventures were fulfilled and continue still.

RABBI MARK S. MILLER (Writer) served as the spiritual leader of Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach for more than 35 years. Among the many world leaders he attracted to address his congregation were Yitzchak Rabin, Henry Kissinger, Elie Wiesel, Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Ehud Barak. He had been selected annually by the Daily Pilot newspaper as one of the most influential leaders in Orange County. Rabbi Miller had a long and illustrious history of contributions to the community and to Israel. In addition, he served as president of the Orange County Board of Rabbis and led numerous leadership missions to Israel, several in association with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. An avid fan of the Chicago Cubs, Rabbi Miller delivered the invocation at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 2003. He has invoked G-d’s blessings in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. Rabbi Miller passed away in April 2018 after a 15-month battle with cancer.

SUSAN MORGENSTERN (Producing 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-authored 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. Susan works as a consultant show director at Disneyland Parks and Resorts, Anaheim, where she has the privilege of working with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and all their pals. She has directed numerous Braid salon shows and is especially proud to be its Producing Director, working closely with a tremendous group of brilliant and passionately creative people.

MINDI RIVIN (Writer) has a private psychology practice in Brentwood, working primarily with individuals and couples who suffer from trauma. She is married and lives in Pacific Palisades and is the proud mother of two remarkable daughters. Mindi is currently writing her memoir.

PAULETTE ROCHELLE-LEVY, MFT (Writer) is a poet, dancer, artist, Jewish spiritual leader, and psychotherapist. Her Wholistic Psychotherapy practice of Spirit/Body/Mind is infused with an emphasis on the creative process. Paulette is a mother and grandmother. She shares her home in Santa Monica near the beach and mountains with her poodle, Shuvi, and her Maine Coon cat, MiCanto. Paulette is the author of Dancing with the Divine: Prayers & Meditation Movement & Stillness; And You Shall Be a Blessing; and Medicine Words, a CD meditation. The Day the World Went White is from her forthcoming book, Longing & Be-Longing: Poems, Prayers & Reflections.

LISA PEARL ROSENBAUM (Writer/Dramaturg) is the author of the novel A Day of Small Beginnings (Little, Brown & Co. 2006) and is currently completing a new novel, Sacrificial Man.  She is a Braid writer and dramaturg and, with a small but mighty team, produces and hosts The Braid’s podcasts and the Sunday with The Braid events. Most recently, Lisa wrote Stories from the Violins of Hope – a dramatic event with live music, presented by The Braid, Temple Isaiah, and the Jewish Symphony of Los Angeles.

DAPHNA SHULL (Creative Associate) is a four-time NEXT Arts Council Fellow, literary manager, writer, artist and photographer born and raised in Tampa, Florida. Daphna has been featured as a writer, songwriter and visual artist in multiple Braid productions and her book, The Quiet Things, is for sale on Amazon. Along with working at The Braid, Daphna is a teaching artist at Cayton Children’s Museum and runs her own photography business, Happy Life Kids Photography.

RONDA SPINAK (Curator, Adapter, & Producer/Artistic Director) created The Braid’s Salon Theatre Series and since has curated and produced more than 62 original Jewish-themed salon shows, as well as adapted many of the pieces performed. Spinak developed and produced Ovation-recommended Not That Jewish at The Braid, which ran for 16 months, garnered an LA Drama Critics Circle nomination, and then moved to off-Broadway. She also produced Rain Pryor’s hit show Fried Chicken & Latkes and Vicki Juditz’s Ovation- recommended Sacred Resistance. 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 180 national and international women rabbis, and in partnership with Jewish Women’s Archive have made many of the interviews available online at She has written for Rugrats, and her plays include Oscar Wilde’s Wife, a favorite at the Ashland New Play Festival. She 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 so many creative people who give their hearts and souls to The Braid.

WENDY CARSON TURK (Writer) is a retired attorney, working in property management for a family-owned business. An active volunteer with various social justice, civic, and political causes, Wendy is honored to serve on The Braid’s Advisory Council. When not volunteering or working, Wendy’s greatest joy is spending time with her family, including husband, Jeff; her grown son, Chandler; and her adorable dog, Sushi. In recent times, Wendy has found a passion for self-discovery through the process of writing and is thrilled to have her piece The Appointment Book performed at The Braid.

SUSAN WOLFE (Writer), an award-winning author and community leader, has written memoirs and published nine books. After a career in print and television news reporting, she worked in various public-affairs capacities for higher educational, philanthropic, and Jewish community organizations. Susan holds a degree from Stanford University and was selected in the first cohort of the Wexner Heritage Foundation program in the Bay Area. A past president of Hillel at Stanford, she also serves on the national advisory board of Moment Magazine as well as on the advisory board of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture. She has held leadership positions at Congregation Beth Am; J. the Jewish News weekly; Keys School; and the Stanford Historical Society. A native of Seattle, Susan makes her home in Palo Alto, California.

SUSIE YURÉ (Associate Producer/Director of Community Engagement) has proudly worked with The Braid for ten years. She has volunteered in nonprofit 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. She holds a BA and MA in elementary education from USC (where she met her husband), along with her California lifetime teaching credential. Her favorite role is as mom to her two children and grammy to two grandsons.

KATE ZENTALL (Performer) is proud to be an Abby Freeman Artist-in-Residence at The Braid, where she has appeared in something like 14 different shows. She has performed in many NYC venues, including the Public Theater, Guggenheim Museum, and Carnegie Hall. In L.A., there’s been lots of Shakespeare, Irish plays, English comedies, and modern dramas, at the Taper and other companies around town, as well as movies and commercials plus a good deal of network TV, from series regular on Studio 5B to a recurring role on Hunter to guest spots on Cheers, Lou Grant, It’s a Living, Becker, LA Law, and many more. In recent years she has been a writer, communications manager, and editor—for magazines, books, blogs, websites, and The Braid. As a new grandmother to baby Gracie, she reflects that all of the above take their place behind this awesome, blessed event.