Stories from the Fringe

September 8 – 18, 2016

This show offers an inspiring look at the women who are changing the face of Judaism. Poignant and magical as women rabbis are known as never before.


Written by Rabbi Lynne Appel & Ronda Spinak
Directed by Eve Brandstein
Assistant Producer: Barbara Koletsky
Associate Producers: Susie Yuré & Rose Ziff

The play is set today, and yesterday, in real time and in memory.

All words have been culled from transcripts of extensive interviews from 18 Los Angeles women rabbis, and are spoken nearly verbatim by professional actors.

The rabbis portrayed tonight have been divided into three groups, Near-Retirement, Mid-Career and Recently-Ordained. Each actress will play the part of several rabbis within each grouping.

Thank you to the eighteen Los Angeles rabbis who shared their lives with us and invited us into their hearts:

Rabbi Toba August, Rabbi Anne Brener, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe, Rabbi Denise Eger, Rabbi Karen Fox, Rabbi Laura Geller, Rabbi Miriyam Glazer, Rabbi Rochelle Kamins, Rabbi Lynne Appel, Rabbi Zoe Klein, Rabbi Susan Laemmle, Rabbi Naomi Levy, Rabbi Sheryl Lewart, Rabbi Michelle Missaghieh, Rabbi Debra Ornstein, Rabbi Cheryl Peretz, and Rabbi Elianna Yolkut. We are blessed.

Stories From the Fringe: Women Rabbis, Revealed!  is a commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre and was first presented in the At-Homes May Salon, 2010.


RABBI LYNNE (KERN) APPEL (Writer) is an award-winning journalist who has written for the Kansas City Star, the Washington Post, the LA Times and the New York Times. Ordained from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2001, she has served as a congregational rabbi for five and a half years, as well as founding Timbrels Through Torah: A Women’s Institute of Jewish Learning. She is a co-writer of Stories From the Fringe and is the co-founder and co-director of the Story Archive of Women Rabbis, the first video-based archive to capture and share the stories of hundreds of women rabbis worldwide. Rabbi Appel is also a member of CLAL’s fourth cohort of Rabbis Without Borders.
EVE BRANDSTEIN (Director) has made contributions to every facet of the entertainment industry—studio executive, producer, director, writer/creator, talent manager, and author. Eve also has a notable career as a casting director, with credits that include the feature This Is Spinal Tap and television shows Diff’rent Strokes, One Day at a Time, Facts of Life, Who’s the Boss, Beastmaster, and Total Recall. She produced and developed TV’s E/R the Comedy Series; produced and directed the series John Waters Presents Movies That Will Corrupt You. She recently reunited with Norman Lear for the New York Times op-doc Not Dead Yet; and is writing two short documentaries for the FIDF.  Recent theater directing credits: the long-running hit Not That Jewish; the NY Off-Broadway two-year hit Shut Up Sit Down & Eat; NY and LA premieres of Revisiting Wildfire; the NY premiere of Voices of Swords; Ronnie Spector’s Beyond the BeehiveWaiting for Jack – A Beat Poetry ReunionClaiming Allen Ginsberg; and Suzanne Wang’s Cracked Open.  Eve has also directed several other programs for Jewish Women’s Theater: Beyond Jacob’s Ladder; Stories from the Fringe; Saffron and Rosewater; Hold Me, Heal Me; He Said, She Said; and Past & Present: Russian Jewish American Stories. She continues to produce the bi-coastal spoken-word event Poetry in Motion, started in 1988.
LISA ROBINS (Actor) stars and tours with The Blessing of a Broken Heart, a one-woman show based on Sherri Mandell’s acclaimed book, directed and adapted by Todd Salovey, which garnished stellar reviews and a warm reception by our JWT community for its LA premier last March. She starred at the Geffen in Nora and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore and was honored to be directed by Paul Mazursky in Michael Elias’ Catskill Sonata. Additional theater credits include Tom Baum’s Shock Therapy and Hal Ackerman’s Testosterone, directed by Michael Arabian; Fallujah (Ovation nomination for best new play); Cornerstone’s Long Bridge Over Deep Waters, directed by Bill Rausch at the Ford; and Center of the Star, by Yehuda Hyman. A lifetime member of the Actors Studio, Lisa recently appeared as the cage-fighting, wise-cracking best friend in Good in Bed, directed by Asaad Kelada, under the supervision of Martin Landau. Film/TV includes The Rum Diary, opposite Johnny Depp; James Dean, directed by Mark Rydell; Henry Jaglom’s Ovation and Hand of God. Lisa is grateful to have appeared in an abundance of JWT salons, and gives thanks to the warm and hard-working Ronda Spinak, and all of her wonderful JWT colleagues. Special thanks to Lisa’s finest work of art, her hardworking, 16-year-old daughter, Renata!
LISA CIRINCIONE (Actor) was recently cast in Francis Ford Coppola’s upcoming project Distant Vision.  She currently stars in and produced the short film Porcupine, which made its World Premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival and has now played at nine film festivals around the globe, including the Napa Valley Film Festival and The San Antonio Film Festival.
Lisa recently shot an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! with NBA Legend, Mr. Ron Artest, and
can be seen in national commercials including a spot for Sky Italia with Sandra Oh, and in the comedy web-series, Mrs. Gary, for which she won Best Supporting Actress at The Los Angeles Web Festival. Lisa received LA WEEKLY and LA Drama Critic’s Circle nominations for the role of Catherine in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge at Pacific Resident Theatre.  Lisa is extremely proud to be an Artist in Residence with JWT and deeply thanks Ronda and the rest of the team for this continued opportunity to tell such powerful stories.
BARBARA KOLETSKY (Assistant Producer/Stage Manager) 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.
RONDA SPINAK (Writer/Producer) created and produces JWT’s At-Homes Salon Theatre Series, now in its ninth season. She has curated more than 26 original Jewish-themed salon shows for JWT, as well as adapted many of the pieces performed. Ronda’s plays include Stories from the Fringe and festival-winner Oscar Wilde’s Wife, a favorite at the Ashland New Play Festival and Dayton’s FutureFest. She has written for the Emmy Award-winning children’s show Rugrats and authored the critically acclaimed nonfiction book ProBodX: Proper Body Exercise (HarperCollins, publisher). Ronda initiated the project and is the co-director of The Story Archive of Women Rabbis, a collection on film of the stories of women rabbis, now exhibited on the Jewish Women’s Archive. She graduated from Stanford University, and holds degrees from UCLA (MBA) and USC (Masters in professional writing). Ronda is on the board of the Association 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.
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 can be seen in the new 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 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 was described by Kirkus as “…hilarious conversations from an actor’s life…his engaging, charming voice creates a story that feels extraordinary.”  Bob is a recipient of a bone marrow transplant 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.
KATE ZENTALL (Actor) is proud to be an artist-in-residence at JWT. She has performed in NYC venues including the Public Theater, Guggenheim Museum, and Carnegie Hall. In LA, 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 and editor for magazines, books, the internet, and JWT. Kate, who considers herself a recovering actress who’s increasingly lax about falling off the wagon, believes she may be the only LA writer not currently working on a screenplay.