Hear Evolution Without Me from our very special 2018 Mother’s Day episode of the JWT podcast


Oh, Mother!

May 19 – 26, 2013

Jewish women have a thing or two to say about being Jewish moms and having Jewish moms. And what they have to say is anything but cliche!


Produced By Ronda Spinak
Directed By Ellyn Gersh Lerner
Dramaturge Lisa Rosenbaum

Associate Producers: Susie Yure´ and Abby Freeman

Welcome ~ Ronda Spinak, JWT Artistic Director
Janis Nelson, JWT Board Chair

Oh Mother
Written by Lisa Rosenbaum. Performed by Sohaila Zivari & Lisa Cirincione.

The Bad Rap
Written by Beverly Gray. Performed by Judith Scarpone & Ensemble.

A Real Yankee
Written by Ethel Bluefield Golub. Performed by Shelly Goldstein & Judith Scarpone.

Kicking High and Hard
Written by Esther Amini. Performed by Sohaila Zivari.

Family Valued
Written and Performed by Shelly Goldstein.

A Midlife Crisis
Written by Nadine Levyfield (at age 17). Performed by Lisa Cirincione & Judith Scarpone.

Written by Rabbi Denise Eger. Performed by Judith Scarpone.

Cooking Lessons (originally published in the Jewish Journal)
Written by Gina Nahai. Performed by Lisa Cirincione & Sohaila Zivari.

Her Words on My Lips
Written by Caryn Huberman Yacowitz. Performed by Shelly Goldstein.

When I Was in Your Belly I Heard You Sing
Written by Leah Kornfeld Friedman. Performed by Judith Scarpone & Ensemble.

I Know Exactly What I Want
Written by Jennifer Maisel. Performed by Lisa Cirincione.

The Story Goes On
Music & Lyrics by David Shire/Richard Maltby, Jr. Performed by Lisa Cirincione.

Evolution Without Me
Written and Performed by Carol Schlanger.

The Jewish Wedding
Written and Performed by Annie Korzen.

Promises To Keep — A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Written and Performed by Monica Piper.

Cold Solace
Written by Anna Belle Kaufman. Performed by Judith Scarpone.


ESTHER AMINI (Writer) is an author and a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Her writings have appeared in The Jewish Week, Barnard Magazine, Inscape Literary Magazine and Zan Magazine. Two of her stories, Barnard College and Saffron Rice and Cranberry Sauce, were recently performed by the Jewish Women’s Theatre in their show entitled Saffron & Rosewater, which will soon be coming to The 92nd Street -Y in Manhattan. Ms. Amini lives in Manhattan and is on the faculty of The New York School for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. Presently she is working on a novel containing interlinked stories about her experiences growing up as a first generation American in a Persian/Jewish home in Queens. For more information, follow Esther Amini on Facebook.
LISA CIRINCIONE (Actor/Vocalist) can most recently be seen as Laura Croft Tomb Raider in the trailer for the newly released video games as well as in the indie film Duet For One. Theatre Credits: Loyalties and Sweet Thursday at Pacific Resident Theatre, where she is a company member. Doublets and Hose (The Blank Theatre directed by April Webster), Lobby Hero and Great Falls (Pacific Stages) and the award winning Star Wars Trilogy in Thirty Minutes (Edinburgh Fringe Festival). Lisa is also a singer and is currently moonlighting with a Jazz and Blues band. She holds a BFA in Acting from USC and is a founding member of The Florence International Theatre Company, Italy. Lisa is the founder of English Language Universal – an institute which teaches Accent Reduction and English to artists, actors and diplomats from around the globe.
RABBI DENISE L. EGER (Writer) is the founding rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami, West Hollywood’s Reform Synagogue. Rabbi Eger is the President-Elect of the largest rabbinic organization in the world, The Central Conference of American Rabbis of Reform Judaism and will assume the presidency as the third woman and first openly gay or lesbian in the position in 2015. Rabbi Eger is Immediate Past President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, the first female rabbi to serve in the post. In 2011 she was named by The Huffington Post as the Most Inspirational GLBT Clergy Person in America. In 2010 she was named by the Jewish Daily Forward as one of the top 50 women rabbis in North America. She is the author of numerous articles and has contributed frequently to several anthologies. Her most recent contribution is a chapter in the book Text Messages published by Jewish Lights. She posts daily on her blog: Walking Humbly, Seeking Justice, Living with Hope at www.rabbieger.wordpress.com.
ABBY FREEMAN (Associate Producer) received her BFA from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She was the captain of the hit off-Broadway show De La Guarda and has performed at NYC venues including BAM, The Daryl Roth, MOCA, NYSF, La Mama and Playwright’s Horizons. She was a co-founder of AiRealistic, an aerial theatre company, where she created original work for clients including The LA Philharmonic, Toyota, Johnson & Johnson and Red Bull. She performed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2009 LA Philharmonic Gala, the opera Andre Chenier at the Bregenz Festival in Austria in 2011 and 2012, and for JWT at The Museum of Tolerance and The Fowler Museum at UCLA.
LEAH KORNFELD FRIEDMAN (Writer) received her MFA from Brooklyn College and has been a lecturer at Smith College, SUNY Albany, and Brooklyn College. In addition to three Yaddo Fellowships, Leah was a playwright-in-residence at the University of Pittsburgh, and has won numerous awards, including The New York Foundation for the Arts Playwrights Fellowship and the National Foundation For Jewish Culture Playwrights Award. Her plays have been produced at The American Jewish Theatre, Theatre for the New City, National Jewish Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, and The Gaslamp Quarter Theatre among others. Her screenplay, Should’ve Been Romeo, features Ed Asner, Carol Kane, Paul Ben-Victor and Michael Rappaport. She is currently working on a book of monologues called Essie Finkelstein, Monologues for an Actress.
SHELLY GOLDSTEIN (Writer/Performer) is a writer-performer who 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 Jacoby and Vanessa Redgrave in the British film, The Riddle and with Vinnie Jones in the Irish film, Assault of Darkness. She has written or punched-up sitcoms, dramas, films, lyrics, documentaries, animation, award shows, jokes and special material for such artists as Steve Martin, Barbra Streisand, Sharon Stone, Justin Timberlake, Anne Hathaway, LL Cool J, Jane Fonda, Garry Marshall, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Yoko Ono. She wrote the book for the disco musical, Last Dance, which work-shopped on Broadway and she directed the critically-acclaimed hit comedy The Vic & Paul Show in L.A. and Chicago.
ETHEL BLUEFIELD GOLUB (Writer) was born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. Since the age of 16 she worked as a secretary for several companies and then in real estate until she moved to Los Angeles, where she opened a toy store and ran it for 25 years. After taking a writing class at Beverly Hills High, Ethel fell in love with writing and feels blessed to have found this calling in her senior years. She has presented her writing at The Coffee Fix in Studio City, with Wendy Hammers at the Santa Monica Playhouse, and at the Women’s Club in Santa Monica for their 100th Birthday Celebration. Her talents as a writer and actress were appreciated in the first salon of the JWT 2013 Season, The Art Of Forgiveness.
BEVERLY GRAY (Writer) holds a Ph.D. in English from UCLA. While on the USC faculty she wrote The Changing Image of the American Jewish Mother as part of a scholarly examination of the American family published by Yale University Press. Later she developed 170 low-budget features for B-movie maven Roger Corman. Her best-selling Corman biography, Roger Corman: Blood-Sucking Vampires, Flesh-Eating Cockroaches, and Driller Killers, is now an ebook and will soon be available in an updated paperback edition. She blogs at Beverly in Movieland, covering movies, moviemaking, and growing up Hollywood-adjacent.
DANIEL GREENBERG (Technical Director) is currently in pursuit of his BFA in Design and Production at the California Institute of the Arts. His emphasis is on technical direction for theater, as well as other live entertainment and themed entertainment. He recently interned for NBCUniversal in their physical production department. In addition, he works part time as a programmer and electrician for the Valley Performing Arts Center, working with talent such as the NYC Ballet, Jackson Browne, and many others. Daniel aims to always create a collaborative and creative atmosphere in every production he is involved in.
ANNA BELLE KAUFMAN (Writer) is an artist and art psychotherapist, now retired to the countryside in Northern California with her husband and two goats, Yankl and Yosl. Her writing has appeared in The Sun, Utne Reader, Calyx and other publications. More of her poems and prose are to be found on: http://objectsofmyaffections.wordpress.com/
ANNIE KORZEN (Writer/Performer) was the recurring Doris Klompus on Seinfeld. She played John Turturro’s mother in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Jason Alexander’s sister in Neil Simon’s Prisoner of 2nd Avenue. She has performed her solo showsYenta Unplugged and The Yenta Cometh on three continents. Annie is the author of Bargain Junkie: Living the Good Life on the Cheap. She has done humorous essays for NPR’s Morning Edition, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and many more. Roger Ebert suggested on Twitter that you watch Annie on OldJewsTellingJokes.com. Annie has created a full evening of her stories called Tales from the Mouth: Mishaps, Fiascos, and Other Triumphs.
ELLYN GERSH LERNER (Director) is a native Angeleno. She is a frequent respondent for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and has guided many plays through the development process. As a faculty member for the last ten years at California State University Northridge, Ellyn has taught theatre, humanities, freshman seminar and other interdisciplinary courses including “The Idea of Story.” Ellyn is a graduate of Occidental College, Ball State University and UCLA, where she earned her Ph.D. in Theatre. Among the many plays she has directed are the off-Broadway premiere of The Pretender, William Inge’s Bus Stop at the University of Michigan, Sophocles’ Electra at the University of North Texas, and Lanford Wilson’s Book of Days at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.
NADINE LEVYFIELD (Writer) majored in Media Studies at UC Berkeley, and has worked doing public relations at Jewish communal organizations in Washington, D.C. and New York. After a few winters on the East Coast, she recently moved back to her hometown of LA. Her mother couldn’t be happier.
JENNIFER MAISEL (Writer) wrote theThe Last Seder, which recently premiered Off-Broadway after productions in Chicago, D.C. and Los Angeles. Her plays include Goody Fucking Two Shoes (ATL’s Humana Festival), birds (RorschachTheatre), Eden (Theatre of NOTE) and There or Here (PlayPenn, NYC’s Hypothetical Theatre). Awards: Kennedy Center’s Fund for New American Plays Award, Charlotte Woolard and Roger L. Stevens Awards; SCR’s California Playwrights Competition; two time PEN West Literary Award finalist; five time Heideman Award finalist. Her #Sandy recently ran in Moving Arts’ The Car Plays at the Segestrom Performing Arts Center and will open at LiveGirls! in Seattle in June. She received an Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan foundation commission for Out of Orbit, developed at the 2010 Sundance Theatre Lab. Her most recent play, MATCH, was workshopped at the Inaugural University of the Arts Playwrights Festival and the Great Plains Theatre Conference. Jennifer’s RAND is part of the Gun Control Theatre Action, being performed all over the country this spring.
GINA NAHAI (Writer) is a best-selling author and a professor of Creative Writing at USC. Her novels have been translated into 18 languages, and have been selected as “One of the Best Books of the Year” by the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. 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. Her writings have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Magazine, and Huffington Post. She writes a monthly column for the The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, is a frequent lecturer on the contemporary politics of the Middle East, has been a guest on PBS, CNBC and the NPR affiliate KCRW (The Politics of Culture). Nahai holds a B.A. and an M.A. in International Relations from UCLA, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from USC.
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 the 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.
LISA PEARL ROSENBAUM (Dramaturge/Writer) is the author of the novel, A Day of Small Beginnings (Little, Brown & Co. 2006). When not engaged with All Things JWT she works on her new novel about the destruction of ancient Indian mounds at Cahokia, Illinois, the Blacklist, America’s interstate highways and oh yes, love. Lisa lives in Pacific Palisades with her husband, Walt Lipsman. They have two daughters, Ariana and Maya.
JUDITH SCARPONE (Actor) has performed in over 100 productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, regionally and internationally. Judith is very active in the LA Theatre scene as a company member of The Open Fist, The Road and sits on the Board of The Global Theatre Project. On television, she has co-starred in many movies and guest starred in several TV series as well as being a regular on Showtimes’ critically acclaimed Bedtime. She has been recently seen in the Films Everybody Wants to be Italian, Jesus, Mary & Joey, Welcome Back Miss Mary, Five Hour Friends, and Clandestine.
CAROL SCHLANGER (Writer/Performer) is a working film and television actress, storyteller, performer and author. She is a WGA Humanitas award nominee and a 1st place winner in the Los Angeles Playwrights Monologue Slam. Her one woman show Mouth To Mouth was the recipient of three Dramalogue Critics Awards. As a writer, she has worked in both television and film, and her plays Baba Yaga, Will You Still Feed Me? Night Garbage, Valley of the Shadow of Beth, Last Dance have received concert readings and highly successful productions in both NY and Los Angeles. She lives both in Los Angeles and Deadwood, Oregon, where she has been farming organically for over 35 years. She looks forward to the publication of her memoir Don’t Think Twice, chronicling her five years on a wilderness Commune, sections of which were first read for the JWT. She has been married for 39 years and is the proud mother of two adult children. www.carolschlanger.com
RONDA SPINAK (Artistic Director/Producer) created the At-Homes Salon Theatre Series, now in its fifth season, and has developed and produced 16 original Jewish themed Salon shows. 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 Oscar Wilde’s Wife. She is currently producing the documentary film about women rabbis, On the Fringe, and has recently co-authored the play, Stories From the Fringe, the personal stories of women rabbis culled from the transcripts of the documentary film. Ronda is grateful for the many blessings she’s received from her work with Jewish Women’s Theatre. She is also thankful to her family for their support, especially Alan Ross and Curren and Aiden Krasnoff.
CARYN HUBERMAN YACOWITZ (Writer) is an award-winning children’s book author and playwright. Bashert, a play based on real-life how-we-met stories, and JEANS! An Historic Folk Musical, have enjoyed acclaim in the SF Bay Area and beyond. She has also written, directed and acted as a member of Suburban Squirrels sketch comedy group. At Stanford University she portrays the historic character of Jane Lathrop Stanford. I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Menorah, her first Jewish children’s book, will be published by Arthur A. Levine, Scholastic in 2014.
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, cabaret performances, and has been intensely involved in the world of theatre for over 20 years. She holds a BA and MA in Elementary Education from USC, along with her California Lifetime Teaching Credential. She is immediate-past president of Lev Eisha, a woman’s non-profit religious organization and spiritual community. Her favorite role is as mom to her two talented (grown) children, who are both professional (and working) musicians.
SOHAILA ZIVARI (Actor) received her B.A. in Iranian history and Persian literature from the University of Tehran. She then immigrated to the U.S. with her husband and young daughter. After working in the health and nutrition fields, Sohaila decided to follow her childhood dream of writing and finished a satirical play in Farsi and a historical novel based on the life of the famous Sufi poet Rumi in English, published in July 2011. Now a mother of 3, she is currently at work on her second book, and lives with her husband and son in Encino.


Writer and Honorary Board Chair, Cami Gordon and friend checking-in with Associate Producer, Susie Yure, and JWT Treasurer, Patti Linden.