JFEST (Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival) 2021 celebrates 28 years of performances exploring Jewish history, people and ideas in virtuoso music, theatre, dance, and fine arts! Each year we create new programs and collaborations that start in the Festival and are then subsequently performed in venues throughout San Diego and the country. JFEST partners with arts, Jewish, and social organizations to present events in theatres, libraries, and schools throughout San Diego and North County.
“This is our most accomplished and most accessible Festival,” shared Festival Artistic Director Todd Salovey. “I’m so proud and excited by the nationally acclaimed artists in our diverse line-up. With most shows ‘suggested donation only’ we invite everyone to enjoy our shows.”
28th Annual Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival Line-up:
Special Note: Because of COVID-19, JFEST 2021 will be a mix of online events and live events!
Calendar of Events (all events listed in Pacific time):
Thursday, May 13th @ 7:00 p.m. online – The Room Where It Happens
Sunday, May 16th @ 5:00 p.m. online – Hershey Felder as Sergei Rachmaninoff in Anna & Sergei – LIVE from FLORENCE
Wednesday, May 19th @ 7:00 p.m. online – Tovah Feldshuh: Virtually with You
Thursday, May 20th @ 7:30 p.m. online – Theatre Dybbuk – In Defense of Women
Sunday, May 23rd @ 5:00 p.m. online – Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish
Monday, May 24th @ 7:30 p.m. online – The Rain & the Wind
Wednesday, May 26th @ 7:30 p.m. online – Ahavat Olam with Ben Platt, Henry Platt & Jonah Platt
Sunday, May 30th & Monday, May 31st online (full schedule below) – The Whole Megillah – Jewish New Play Festival
Tuesday, June 1st @ 7:30 p.m. online – Perla Batalla: Songs of Love & Protest
Thursday, June 3rd @ 7:30 p.m. online – 12th Annual Women of Valor honoring Elizabeth Schwartz
Sunday, June 6th @ 7:30 p.m. online – 12th Annual Women of Valor honoring Dr. Sonia Ancoli-Israel
Monday, June 7th @ 7:00 p.m. online – The Klezmer Summit: Sweet Home Anatevka
Tuesday, June 8th @ 7:30 p.m. online – 12th Annual Women of Valor honoring Jodie Graber
Wednesday, June 9th @ 7:30 p.m. online – Herbert Siguenza’s Isaac Asimov Grand Master Funk
Thursday, June 10th @ 7:30 p.m. online – 12th Annual Women of Valor Honoring Francheska Gelbart
Thursday, June 17th @ 8:00 p.m. online – Elon Gold – I DO Mean to Complain
Wednesday, June 23rd @ 7:00 p.m. live – Soulfarm performs music of the Grateful Dead
Sunday, July 25th @ 7:00 p.m. online – In Every Generation
Tickets are available by clicking here! Scroll down for more details and links to register for specific events. All previous events are available until June 23 (excluding The Rain and the Wind)!
About the 28th Annual Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival
The Room Where it Happens
Thursday, May 13th @ 7pm | Online
3rd annual teen showcase! Talented teens from across San Diego perform music, theatre, dance, and spoken word, directed by Rebecca Myers. Featured performers include Temple Solel's Kavannah, students from San Diego Jewish Academy, Congregation Beth Israel, and more! A donation in recognition of the teens will be made to the high school arts program at San Diego’s sister city, Sha’ar HaNegev.
Hershey Felder as Sergei Rachmaninoff in Anna & Sergei – LIVE from FLORENCE
Sunday, May 16th @ 5pm | Online
World Premiere! Taking place as a memory play in the house in which the Russian Rachmaninoff died in Beverly Hills, this is the story of a very strange meeting between Rachmaninoff and Anna Anderson, the woman who claimed to be the sole surviving member of the Romanov Dynasty, the Princess Anastasia. Featuring Rachmaninoff’s most beloved melodies and music.
Ticket purchase required. (Not available on Festival Pass)
Tovah Feldshuh: Virtually with You
Wednesday, May 19th @ 7pm | Online
Get up close with four-time Tony Award Nominee, Tovah Feldshuh from New York’s Birdland Jazz Club. Selections include her hysterical “Where’s the Bathroom” from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, “Together Wherever We Go,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “Never Never Land,” and the Yiddish treasure “In Cheider.” You’ll love Tovah’s tribute to the late justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, “RGB Rap.”
Theatre Dybbuk – In Defense of Women
Thursday, May 20th @ 7:30pm | Online
In a live presention structured after The Dybbukast
, theatre dybbuk explores "In Defense of Women," a poem from the 16th century in Italy by Jewish dramatist Leone De' Sommi Portaleone, who also wrote what is considered to be the oldest extant Hebrew-language play. The poem touches on the role of women in drama and reveals a great deal about the cultural considerations and power dynamics of the time, thus holding a mirror up to our own society today. Intercut with performances of selections from the poem and other works of the era, scholar Erith Jaffe-Berg, PhD will unpack the text's meaning and its relevance to issues of equity and belonging.
THEATRE DYBBUK seeks to illuminate universal human experience for contemporary audiences by exploring Jewish thought through lyrical theatrical performances and innovative educational encounters.
Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish - A Conversation with director Joel Grey, stars Steven Skybell, Jennifer Babiak, musical director Zalmen Mlotek, associate director Motl Didner, and set designer Beowulf Boritt
Sunday, May 23rd @ 5:00pm | Online
The Off-Broadway Yiddish production of beloved Fiddler on the Roof won the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk awards for best revival of a musical. Steven Skybell won the Lucille Lortel Award for outstanding lead actor. Under the direction of Tony Award and Academy Award winner Joel Grey, the production in Yiddish captured a magic and authenticity that brought Fiddler to life as if for the first time. Join the creators for a conversation about this magical production and enjoy selections from their amazing show.
L to R: Joel Grey, Motl Didner, Beowulf Boritt, Jennifer Babiak, Steven Skybell
The Rain & the Wind
Monday, May 24th @ 7:30pm | Online
In celebration of Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday, three actors inhabit the Nobel Prize-winning artist at various points of his storied career, from his folk roots to his explorations of rock and country. Tracing his journey through the decades, they are joined by expressive dancers from Israel’s Sheketak Group. Adapted and directed by Nephesh Theatre founder Howard Rypp, and coproduced with Haifa Theatre.
Founded in 1978, Nephesh Theatre, now based in Tel Aviv, produces plays in repertory throughout Israel in Hebrew and English. Their works reflect a plurality of beliefs and emphasize common bonds between different communities within Israeli society.
Ahavat Olam with Ben Platt, Henry Platt & Jonah Platt
Wednesday, May 26th @ 7:30pm | Online
Join Tony Award-winner Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) and his off-the-charts talented brothers Henry and Jonah for a live introduction and Q&A. Solo and together, the trio will then share four musical treats including the world premiere of a newly commissioned tune for L’Dor Vador, plus their gorgeous renditions of “Hodu” and “Ahavat Olam.”
The Whole Megillah – Jewish New Play Festival
Sunday, May 30 – Monday May 31 | Online
On Memorial Day Weekend, JFEST inaugurates our celebration of new voices in Jewish theatre, The Whole Megillah. This two-day new play festival highlights unproduced and unapologetically Jewish work for the American Theatre. Each powerhouse playwright explores Judaism and contemporary issues with a unique point of view. The Whole Megillah features Zoom readings of 4 diverse plays, and three expert panels of artists and scholars. Join us to discover Jewish stories brimming with humor, drama and original voices expressing Jewish ideas from many perspectives: The Whole Megillah.
Sunday, May 30th
SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE
12pm-1pm - Opening Panel - What Makes a Play Jewish?
1pm-3pm - The Berlin Diaries by Andrea Stolowitz
3pm-4pm - Panel – What does Jewish Theatre Offer Now?
4pm-6pm - What We Found by Molly Olis Krost
6pm-8pm - A Play About a Baby Carrot by Juliet Roll
Monday, May 31st
1pm-2pm Panel - Meet the Playwrights of the Whole Megillah
2pm-4pm - Why This Night by Dan Kitrosser
Perla Batalla: Songs of Love & Protest
Tuesday, June 1 @ 7:30pm | Online
Songstress Perla Batalla follows 2 years’ sold-out performances at the Lyceum with a new program celebrating the music of Pete Seeger and Leonard Cohen. Perla sang with Leonard Cohen for years and is an ultimate interpreter of his music, and carrier of his legacy. Her glorious new program will re-awaken your spirit of social change and your poetic heart of compassion.
12th annual Women of Valor
Directed by Ali Viterbi
Written by Rebecca Myers, Sarah Price Keating, Leah Salovey, Todd Salovey, and Ali Viterbi
Streamed for free on The REP's YouTube page
A woman of valor, who shall find? All-new video profiles celebrate four incredible women in San Diego’s Jewish community. With stories, images, stunning acting, and music Valor honors the courage, love, joy and strength of Jewish women.
The Klezmer Summit: Sweet Home Anatevka
Monday, June 7 @ 7:00pm | Online
Our 20th Klezmer Summit features virtuoso fiddler Yale Strom and his band Hot Pstromi (Mark Dresser - bass, Tripp Sprague tenor sax/flute, Irving Flores - piano, Tyler Kruetel - percussion, Elizabeth Schwartz - vocals) performing traditional klezmer and Yiddish folk songs honoring the past with an eye towards the post-pandemic future. Very special guests include jazz superstar Gilbert Castellanos on trumpet, and Berlin-based Yiddish vocalist Sasha Lurje singing a tune from her native Latvia. Making their Festival debut are acclaimed members of the Art of Elan premiering Strom's string quartet "Di Fusgeyers - The Wayfarers," a tribute to the sixty young Jews who left Birlad, Romania April 1, 1904 to escape pogroms, poverty and anti-Semitism walking all the way to the port in Hamburg to sail for America.
Isaac Asimov: Grand Master Funk
By Herbert Siguenza
Directed by Thomas W. Jones II
Wednesday, June 9th @ 7:30pm | Online
The REP’s award-winning Playwright-in-Residence Herbert Siguenza (Steal Heaven, Bad Hombres/Good Wives, A Weekend with Pablo Picasso) is back with an intergalactic comedy, directed by Thomas W. Jones II. It's 1992, and the "father of science fiction" Isaac Asimov is dying. When he gets a surprise visit from two Black visitors from space (and his literary imagination), Asimov is convinced to write one more science fiction story that will give him atonement and a possible best seller! Isaac Asimov Grandmaster Funk explores imagination, robotics, space travel and Afro-Futurism, set to a 1970's Funk music soundtrack.
Elon Gold – I DO Mean to Complain
Thursday June 17th @ 8:00pm | Online
The funniest stand-up comic to grace the Festival returns with an evening of jokes and stories. Elon’s hilarious routines include A Commercial for Judaism and Why Jews are Better Off Without Christmas Trees. With starring roles on FOX's Stacked, NBC's In-Laws, ten appearances on The Tonight Show and recently on HBO’s Crashing as himself, Elon has become recognized as one of the top Jewish comedians. Elon’s humor brings a joyous clashing of tradition and irreverence.
Soulfarm performs music of the Grateful Dead
Wednesday June 23rd @ 7:00pm | Live at The Hive at Leichtag Commons, Encinitas
Welcome back to in person performance! The Grateful Dead’s 6 decades of soulful and psychedelic American roots music have created their own international community. The Festival pays tribute to The Dead’s passionate Jewish following with C. Lanzbom and Noah Solomon of the Jewish jam band, Soulfarm. Their world-beat original and popular Jewish songs are full of Mediterranean flavor with captivating guitar leads, dance rhythms and strong percussion breaks. Enjoy a glorious sunset concert overlooking the ocean.
In Every Generation
By Ali Viterbi
Sunday, July 25 @ 7pm | Online
One family. One holiday. Four millennia. The Levi-Katz family celebrates Passover again and again (and again and again) and while times, location, and languages change, traditions stay the same. Over matzah ball soup and (vegan) brisket, the close-knit clan contends with questions of race, religion, and inter-generational trauma. The present echoes the past—and the past the present—as the family repeatedly reenacts the exodus from Egypt, each time asking themselves: must we define ourselves through trauma? Will we ever be free? And why is this night different from all other nights?
Heartfelt thanks to the Lipinsky Family Foundation for their visionary support of this Festival.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 619.544.1000
Presented by San Diego Repertory Theatre
Festival Artistic Director: Todd Salovey
Festival Associate Artistic Director: Ali Viterbi
Festival Associate Producer: Rebecca Myers
Thank you to our Season Sponsors!
The City of San Diego
The Conrad Prebys Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
2021 Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival Community Co-Sponsors
NORTH COUNTY & VIRTUAL PROGRAMS UNDERWRITER:
COMMUNITY & ARTISTIC CO-SPONSORS:
2021 Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival Donors
Heartfelt thanks to the Lipinsky Family Foundation for their visionary support of this festival
Online Programs Underwriter
Festival Underwriter Sponsor
Chortek Family Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation
Festival Circle Sponsor
Julia and Kenneth Stone
Dylan Jacobs & Mikayla Wilson in honor of Rebecca Myers
In Memory of Ronald and Elaine Salovey
Sarah Price-Keating & Brian Keating Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation
Susan Chortek Weisman & Eric S. Weisman Fund of the JCF
Neil Senturia & Barbara Bry Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation
Jodie & Matthew Graber
Paul B. Scott
Linda J. & Jeffrey M. Shohet
Adam & Rachel Stone
Fern and Lee Siegel
Sachiko Kohatsu & Tom Held
Suzanne & Brian Marcus
Monica Penner & Amnon Gires
Jackie & Bertie Woolf
Festival Double-Chai Sponsor
Robert Rubenstein & Marie Raftery
Eva & Steven Barnes
Pam & Walt Ferris
Igal & Sore Gordon
Charles & Ilene Mittman
Festival Chai Sponsor
Diane & Steven Demeter
Linda & Michael Bennett
Jewish Family Services
Rabbi Scott Meltzer
Susie & Eli Meltzer
Eileen S. Wingard