Voices from a Changing Middle East — The Conversation Begins

Shirley here.

Our VOICES festival always lends itself to much conversation, and this year is no exception.

We officially launched our series of panel discussions this past Sunday, with a powerhouse group of women ruminating on the topic of “Women and Religious Tradition” and covering a wide variety of subjects ranging from the glass ceiling within the Jewish Not-for-Profit world to the harassment of an eight-year-old girl in the Ultra Orthodox community of Beit Shemesh.

Panelists Jennifer Breger, Sara Rose Gorfinkel, Naomi Malka, Rabbi Esther L. Lederman, and moderator Shirley Serotsky

Panelists Jennifer Breger, Sara Rose Gorfinkel, Naomi Malka, Rabbi Esther L. Lederman, and moderator Shirley Serotsky

It was an honor to share the stage with this impressive brain trust:

  • Jennifer Breger, author, JOFA (Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance) Board member  and editor of the JOFA Journal
  • Sara Rose Gorfinkel, Executive Director, Tikkun Olam Women’s Foundation of Greater Washington
  • Naomi Malka, Coordinator of the Adas Israel Community Mikvah
  • Rabbi Esther Lederman, Associate Rabbi at Temple Micah

Next up, Theater J Council Member Stephen Stern will be talking with Hazzan Dr. Ramón Tasat (vocalist, composer, arranger, and choral conductor of Sephardic, Ladino, Israeli, and Classical Italian music) for An Encounter with Sephardic Identity through Music.

Check out our complete schedule of Voices from a Changing Middle East programming here; the schedule will be updated regularly to reflect additions and changes. As always–Theater J patrons can attend any and all panels–we invite you to join in on the conversation!

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2 responses to “Voices from a Changing Middle East — The Conversation Begins

  1. Stephen R. Stern

    It was exciting to witness last Sunday’s discussion, moderated by Shirley, of four women deeply engaged in Jewish religious and cultural tradition from diverse streams of identity. They responded first with nuance and firmness to the family situation in the play, giving guidance on dealing with rigidity and achieving some measure of reconciliation. Then they broadened it to their, and other women’s, challenges in taking full measure of ownership of Judaism. They gave plenty of evidence that those struggles are in good hands.

    I also want to emphasize that Dec. 30′s “An Encounter with Sephardic Identity through Music” will be a PLAY BACK as well as a talk back. We will discuss a bit, but the gifted Ramon Tasat will enlarge all of this by performing samples of Sephardic and Mizrachi music from across the Mediterranean, North African, Balkan, and Arab worlds from where these Jewish communities originated. As well as the Abrabanels in APPLES, we also have Doanys and Sharabys in the upcoming BOGED and Ramon will give us a sense of musical traditions that speak to the origins of these families. I look forward to sharing this with Theater J audiences.

  2. Thanks Stephen. We’re so excited to have you and Ramon examine identity, complete with SOUND BITES this coming Sunday. Mix-tape meets talk-back!