Episode #62: A Fromer Family Affair

On this episode, get to know the Fromer siblings! Rabbi Jaclyn (Fromer) Cohen of Temple Isaiah and Andrew Fromer of The Braid both ended up paving artistic, creative and musical career paths in the Jewish world…but how did it happen? Very unexpectedly! Despite growing up under one roof, they have two very different journeys that might surprise you…and they most certainly surprised the parents! Listen and enjoy this fun Fromer family episode as Rabbi Jaclyn and Andrew professionally cross paths this week when Temple Isaiah hosts a performance of The Braid’s latest Salon, Sweet Tea & the Southern Jew. 

Click Here for your tickets to Sweet Tea & the Southern Jew!

Rabbi Jaclyn Cohen is proud to serve Temple Isaiah as Associate Rabbi. Born and raised in West LA, Rabbi Cohen earned her BA in Religious Studies & Music from UC Davis and spent two years working in Bay Area Jewish community organizations before entering Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion’s rabbinic program. Upon ordination from HUC-JIR in 2014, Rabbi Cohen moved to Seattle, Washington to serve on the clergy team of Temple De Hirsch Sinai. Her primary focus was “The Tribe,” Temple’s hub of Jewish life, learning and spirituality for those in their 20s and 30s, as well as “The Village,” a programmatic initiative for Jewish families with young children. Since 2018, Rabbi Cohen has served on Temple Isaiah’s clergy team with a focus on music and ritual. Her background is eclectic and representative of what it means to create a unique kind of 21st century-rabbinate. In addition to overseeing Temple Isaiah’s ritual department – including its choirs & musicians, holiday celebrations and lifecycles – Rabbi Cohen also teaches, counsels and works closely with our K12 and preschool communities. Outside the synagogue she is a writer and advocate for birth justice and maternal & mental health, having contributed written pieces to Kveller, Jewish Daily Forward, Hey Alma and The Chalkboard Mag, among others. Rabbi Cohen is also a certified yoga teacher, fusing her passion for the practice with a deep love of prayer. She and her family live in Culver City.

Andrew Fromer 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). Theater credits include Pledge (Sherman u/s), Bad Jews (Jonah), and The Braid’s Jews in America. Andrew also runs youth engagement at Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas. He is excited to be coordinating this year’s iteration of NEXT, The Braid’s Emerging Artist Program (the-braid.org/next) and hopes you will enjoy his work as Editor on The Braid’s new digital storytelling competition, StoryNosh! (the-braid.org/storynosh).

Episode #62: A Fromer Family Affair2022-01-18T09:28:56-08:00

Episode #61: Prayer and Performance

Join us as we chat with Rabbis Toba August and Nina Feinstein about our history of working together within our special program, “Prayer and Performance.” Not only are our Salon performances and their stories entertainment, they also provide a deep and rich gateway into experiencing prayer. Over the years we have worked with Rabbis like Toba and Nina to bring our stories into special holiday and Shabbat Services so that congregants can go on a new journey of prayer. What is it like? Listen to the epsidoe to find out!

If you’re interested in bringing our stories to your community, contact jodi@the-braid.org.

Click Here to view our upcoming events/performances, like Monica Piper’s class and Annie Korzen’s Sunday Morning with the Braid event.

Click Here to submit your story for an upcoming Salon or StoryNosh!

Episode #61: Prayer and Performance2021-11-01T09:53:58-07:00

Episode #59: “That One Was Really Personal” with Jasmine Curry

Frequent cast member and audience favorite Jasmine Curry shares stories from a life of adapting to unexpected turns. What was it like behind-the-scenes to pivot an in-person Salon show into the uncharted Zoom frontier? How has she made virtual improv comedy work without hearing the laughter of an audience? And at the very moment her own spouse was coming out as transgender, what was it like to perform a writer’s story that tapped into those very same overwhelming emotions?

Jasmine Curry 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 The Braid salons Family Matters, For Goodness Sake, Sex Love and Addiction in the 21st Century, Living After, and The Way Home. She wrote for the salon Persian Sunrise, American Sunset and is an Abby Freeman Artist-in-Residence at The Braid.

Episode #59: “That One Was Really Personal” with Jasmine Curry2021-08-12T08:32:16-07:00

Episode #58: Meet David Chiu, Our New Staff Member!

On this episode, get to know The Braid’s new Marketing & Communications Manager, David Chiu! Who would have thought that on this episode, two male staff members of The Braid (formerly Jewish Women’s Theatre) would be discussing Paul Greengrass films, Sigourney Weaver’s Oscar nomination for Aliens, and 19th century mythical changelings in Ireland. Oh! And our efforts in shifting the way Jewish culture is portrayed across media. Curious? Have a listen!

David Chiu is a West LA-based screenwriter and two-time NEXT at the Braid Emerging Artists Fellow. His television credits include LORE (Amazon Prime). Writing credits for The Braid include True Colors, Inside Our Time, For Goodness Sake (also Director), I Am a Jew, Who’s Hiding Now? and The Rest is History (also Director & Literary). David is represented by The Gersh Agency and Authentic Talent & Literary. Additionally, David is a member of the Board of Trustees at Temple Isaiah of Los Angeles; recipient of its 2019 Emerging Leader Award. He is an environmental activist and volunteer on various electoral campaigns, a Jew of Color, of Litvak and Cantonese heritage.

Episode #58: Meet David Chiu, Our New Staff Member!2021-07-15T17:37:25-07:00

Episode #56: Preview – Stories from the Violins of Hope

Click Here for tickets and more info

The Holocaust had silenced them… until an extraordinary violin-maker brought their voices back to life, and to the world. Seven actors will bring to life the extraordinary story of violins played in ghettos, forests and concentration camps… and of the passionate Israeli violin maker determined to restore them. Now heard in performances all over the world, they are called the Violins of Hope.

On this episode we preview the incredible collaboration coming to you in one performance only on January 31, STORIES FROM THE VIOLINS OF HOPE Click Here for tickets and more info.

You’ll hear about…
-The power of playing one of these violins from virtuoso violinist Niv Ashkenazi, the only violinist in the US with one of the Violin of Hope instruments from the collection
-The writing of the script from The Braid’s Writer, Event Producer and Dramaturg Lisa Rosenbaum
-The directing of the performance from The Braid’s Producing Director Susan Morgenstern
-The curation of the music from LA Jewish Symphony Artistic Director Dr. Noreen Green

This special performance was originally set to debut at Temple Isaiah (Templeishaiah.com) and was part of the Violins of Hope Los Angeles Program Tour (violinsofhopelosangeles.org), produced by Susanne Reyto. Special thanks to Gail Solo, our Angel Donor, whose support helped make this show possible.

Episode #56: Preview – Stories from the Violins of Hope2021-01-21T16:14:57-08:00

Episode #43: Audio Replay of Creative Couples Event

In case you missed it, Angella Nazarian dives into the stories of 15 couples who motivate one another, change their lives, and who have left an unparalleled mark on the world of literature, philosophy, and art due to their collaborations. From intellectuals and activists Martin and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the mysterious Queen Elizabeth 11 and Prince Philip, Nazarian highlights how each couple’s relationship enables them to reach greater heights in their respective fields. Join us for this special discussion PLUS:

-An interview with lawyer couple Nicole Kelly & Josh Ezrin
-An original JWT dramatic piece about Martin and Ruth Bader Ginsburg!
-Q&A with our guests

Discover how your relationships can motivate, nourish and transform you!.

Join us for our next Sunday Morning at The Braid event, May 17th at 11:00 am PDT Jewish Nonprofits: Making Mitzvot Across America Click here to register!

Want to watch a video replay of this event? Click here!

Episode #43: Audio Replay of Creative Couples Event2020-05-04T13:53:42-07:00

Episode #42: Audio Replay of Rob Eshman Event

In case you missed it, Rob Eshman has just become the National Editor of the venerable, historic paper The Forward. Join Lisa Rosenbaum, author and JWT writer, for a talk about his vision for the challenge ahead and how a kid from Encino with a passion for food became one of America’s most influential Jewish journalists.

Join us for our next Sunday Morning at The Braid event, May 3rd at 11:00 am PDT a conversation with best-selling author Angella Nazarian! Click here to register!

Want to watch a video replay of Rob’s event? Click here!

Episode #42: Audio Replay of Rob Eshman Event2020-05-01T10:40:51-07:00

Inside Our Time: Love in the Time of Corona by Gayle Ann Weinstein

Jack and Jill met on J-Date two weeks and a day before the city was shut down because of the Coronavirus.  They emailed every day or so and finally decided to meet at a coffee shop halfway between.  Both were mostly fair representations of their photographs.  Jill didn’t wear glasses in the photo and it had been taken about five years before.  Jack looked a bit paunchier and was likely a few years older than his photo.

More concerning to Jill was the fact that when she waved at Jack from the table where she was sitting, he didn’t respond.  She got up and approached him at the ordering counter. 

“Jack?”
He smiled, but didn’t seem to recognize her. “Yes.
“I’m Jill.”
“I didn’t recognize you.”
“I would have taken off my glasses but I wouldn’t have been able to see you. Ever since Oprah started wearing her 500 different pairs, glasses have become chic.”
They sat together in front of a fake fireplace.
“I had no idea,” Jack said.  He took a pair of reading glasses out of his pocket and put them on.  “That’s better.  You’ve already clarified my life.”
“Hope that’s a good thing.”
“When you changed our meeting date, I thought you were blowing me off.”
“The weather in February is so unpredictable in Chicago, I didn’t want to have to drive in 6 inches of snow.”
She sipped her coffee.
“And it never did snow.  Not even a dusting.”
“I was surprised when you said you belonged to my synagogue,” he said.
“I just joined at the High Holidays.”
“That explains it, I guess.  I go out of town.”
They talked another hour or so and shook hands before going to their cars.
The next day the governor of the state announced a “stay at home” order.

Jill’s email: I guess we can’t meet for a while.
Jack’s email: We can email.  That will take care of the waiting period.
Jill’s email: Not necessarily.  Emails are not dates.
Jack’s email: Our first fight.  I can’t wait to make up.
Jill’s email: Time will tell.

Thank you Gayle, for your story! “Inside Our Time” digital series:

Inside Our Time: Love in the Time of Corona by Gayle Ann Weinstein2020-04-30T21:26:36-07:00

Inside Our Time: March 17, 2020 by Bara Swain

Strolling at a brisk rate, it took me 13 minutes to walk the interior parameter of an empty playground – empty, that is, with the exception of two 12 year old boys inhabiting a bench that is usually occupied by tired mothers and over-stuffed diaper bags. “What are those boys thinking?” I wondered on my eighteenth rotation.  Suddenly, the pre-teens disappeared as quietly as the City has become in a matter of days.

My FitBit beeped: 2,700 steps to reach your goal. “My goal?” I thought.  Oh, my goals have changed drastically in the past 96 hours!  And while it’s alarming that my cupboards are stuffed with enough carbs to raise my cholesterol 100 points, and it’s disappointing to have three productions canceled, I’m overwhelmed by the fact that I will be unable to see my grandchildren for, what?  Two weeks?  Forty-five days?

I face-timed with my older granddaughter, Tallulah, as she finished her lunch.  “What are you up to, Lulu?” I asked. “Me and mom were playing hairdresser in the bathroom.” “That sounds like fun,” I said. Tallulah paused for a moment. “Too pensive,” I thought.  I flipped my removable denture out of my mouth – something that always makes her laugh.  Tallulah giggled and said, “Grandma, when I come for my next sleepover, we can play hairdresser, too.  You can share my barrettes!”  I nodded agreeably.

Since Tallulah was born, I’ve spent 20-40 hours a week playing babysitter.  After her sister arrived last year, I’ve been visiting my charges four days a week and sharing childcare responsibilities with my daughter, who works from home.  “What is Lulu thinking about my absence?” I keep wondering.

Yes, children are resilient.  Tomorrow, Lulu and I will face-time again and, as promised, play a new game I purchased – an afterthought as I paid for water, canned turkey chili, wipes, TP, and coffee.  Maybe I can hold her attention for a while longer.  If not, I’ll just remove my bottom denture to hear my granddaughter laugh.

When our phone call ended, I wept as silently as the empty City before turning on the news.