It is the morning after our participation in the J Street Conference (well, actually, it’s afternoon and the matinee performance of LOST IN YONKERS is soon to let out; or now actually it’s close to evening as the day gets away from the sometime blogger/AD). Our participation was important and responsible and good marketing and good programming interweaving the arts into the broader discussion of the Israel-US relationship. And yet it was also provocative because–who knew?–J Street was to be targeted as a “dangerous” and “destructive” organization “endangering Israel” by its very existence and the subject of a vigorous campaign to discredit it from a variety of avenues. The negativity emanating from our own community reflected something very threatened and defensive within ourselves and it’s been sad to keep abreast of the deluge of discreditation (to coin a term). Contrast that to the the J Street site, which is a must-view for seeing and feeling the energy of the event itself; for putting a face to the passionate attendees; it will give you a sense of the breadth of the programming–the schedule alone was inspiring for its range and diversity–and the inclusion of a culture track helped to humanize the discourse and make personal and palpable the impact of the issues under discussion.
This morning it became about moving onto to the next conference. The event planners for the upcoming General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities were in as we discussed my contributions to creating the spoken word biographies for the 6 historical figures who’ll be mingling with conference goers at the Monday Night Live reception, getting up on platforms, and intoning, interacting, pontificating, and generally holding court like the living wax museum figures they’re billed as. It’s a decidedly different kind of involvement we’ll be having at the G.A.–a gathering comprised of 3,000 representatives from Jewish Federations across North America. Will it be as inspiring a gathering as J Street? It’s outreach, baby. It’s a room full of Jews to play for and to make them aware that great theater’s happening but a few blocks down the road.
And we’ll be pitching our wares to other upcoming conferences. And gathering more potential audiences. Will controversy continue to follow? Will we be invited to create programming at AIPAC? (We’re hoping to). There are ever so many options. And we are put a small company. But oh so many seats to fill. So we will stay active in reaching out. And staying true to our vision.