The Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival



JFEST 2022
Events from May – July
Free and paid, online and in-person
Tickets on sale now
Celebrate Jewish heritage, culture, art and ideas this summer at the 29th Annual Lipinsky Family Jewish Arts Festival.
Free and paid events take place in person at San Diego Rep downtown and at venues in North County, plus there are several online events.
Explore the JFest schedule below. 

The Blessing of a Broken Heart
Niki Jacobs’ A Ballad of Resilience
The Room Where It Happens
The Dancing Room (Selections)
Nissim Black in Concert
21st Annual Klezmer Summit 
13th Annual Women of Valor
The Whole Megillah 
Hershey Felder's Sing-Along
Hershey Felder’s Musicians of Venice – Jewish Artists in a Venetian World

The Blessing of a Broken Heart
 by Todd Salovey, based on the memoir by Sherri Mandell Directed by Yael Valier

 Mon May 23, 7:30pm , then available to steam until May 30
 Online event and post show discussion 
 Book now
 Yael Valier’s beautifully staged The Blessing of a Broken Heart performed in Jerusalem in May 2022 was captured in film. 
The moving story of a young American mother who relocates her family from Maryland to the rural outskirts of Jerusalem in search of meaning and adventure - only to be immersed in the storm of a 3000 year old struggle. When a shocking tragedy hits the heart of her family, she embarks on a profound journey of discovery, growing faith and spiritual transcendence that becomes an inspiring story of healing and rebirth. Todd Salovey’s Edgerton Award-winning script premiered at San Diego REP in 2008. This Israeli production in English is followed by a discussion with Sherri Mandell, Todd Salovey, and director Yael Valier.

“Watching [this] play was a profound experience for me.” Sara Yoheved Rigler, Jerusalem author and columnist. 

Niki Jacobs’ A Ballad of Resilience
Tue May 24, 7:30pm
In person event at San Diego Repertory Theatre, Lyceum Theatres (map)
$30 premiere seating, $18 standard
Book now
Songstress Niki Jacobs and her ensemble visit JFEST from Netherlands where she has become one of the world’s leading interpreters of Yiddish music. Seth Rogovy of The Forward writes, “A Yiddish performance so versatile, it spans from ‘Mauthausen’ to Elvis Presley.” 
This performance features The Ballad of Mauthausen, one of the most gorgeous pieces ever written about the Second World War. It is a collaboration between the Greek poet Iakovos Kambanellis, who was a survivor of Kamp Mauthausen, and Mikis Theodorakis, the famous Greek composer banned for his activism against social injustice. Commemorating 75+ years of liberation from the Nazi regime Niki Jacobs re-addresses this musical piece, using a beautiful Yiddish translation to not only emphasize and give voice to those who perished or fled Eastern-Europe before, during and after the Second World War, but to also show that the Yiddish language is still alive.

This event is co-sponsored by YAAANA, the Yiddish Arts and Academics Association of North America.

The Room Where It Happens
 With San Diego Jewish Academy
 Produced and curated by Rebecca Myers and Kayla Swartzberg

 Wed May 25, 7pm
 In person event at San Diego Jewish Academy, 11860 Carmel Creek Road, San Diego 921320 (map)
 Book now
The 4th Annual Room Where It Happens puts the spotlight on the next generation of artists. Talented teens from across San Diego perform music, dance, theatre and spoken word.  

Nissim Black in Concert
Mon May 30, 7pm - Memorial Day Weekend
In person event at Leichtag Commons, Encinitas (map)
$50 inc. pre-show reception with Nissim Black
$30 premiere seating, $18 standard
Book now
Experience inimitable hip hop artist Nissim Black performing outdoors overlooking the ocean at sunset on Memorial Day weekend. Nissim Black has been a gangsta rapper, a gang member and a faith seeker. His current incarnation is here to stay: an African American Hasidic Jew who brings his sharp, hook-filled hip hop to audiences worldwide. His music pays tribute to both his urban past and Orthodox present through big beats, African hooks and memorable melodies that show off his silky smooth vocals. His recent releases Mothaland Bounce and Fly Away have garnered more than 7 million views on YouTube. Listen to Nissim Black on Spotify.

Sponsored by The Hive at Leichtag Commons, Congregation Adat Yeshurun & Congregation Beth Jacob. 

21st Annual Klezmer Summit 
 To Ukraine With Love: Songs of Hope
 Tue Jun 7, 7:30pm
 In person event at San Diego Repertory Theatre, Lyceum Theatres (map)
 $25 premiere, $18 standard
 Book now

Now in its 21st year, JFEST’s Klezmer Summit is a musical celebration featuring an international all-star line-up celebrating Jewish, jazz and cross-cultural music of hope. Beloved long-time hosts Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi are joined by vocalist Elizabeth Schwartz, guitarist Fred Benedetti, bassist Gunnar Biggs, saxophonist/flautist Tripp Sprague and Irving Flores on piano. Yale Strom, the multiple gifted violinist, composer, filmmaker, writer, educator, photographer and playwright is considered a pioneer among klezmer revivalists. Featured soloist Peter Sprague is “one of the emergent great guitarists" (LA Times). 

This Summit features San Diego’s jazz giant, Gilbert Castellanos and his trio performing jazz standards by Jewish composers. With nearly 100 recording and film credits, Guadalajara-born San Diego-based musician Gilbert Castellanos has earned international recognition as a composer, curator, educator, arranger and top-call jazz trumpeter. Castellanos has spent over 30 years touring the globe and recording both as a solo artist and with the most renowned names in the industry – Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones and Wynton Marsalis. 

San Diego dance company LITVAKdance opens the concert with an excerpt from their new work, Light, composed by Yale Strom and choreographed by Sadie Weinberg.

The concert offers a tribute to the communities of Ukraine with Efim Chorny (vocals) and Susan Ghergus (piano) from Chisinau, Moldova and jazz singer Petra Ernyei and Adam Tvrny (guitar) from Prague, Czech Republic.

13th Annual Women of Valor
 Written by Sarah Price Keating, Rebecca Myers, Todd Salovey and Ali Viterbi
 Directed by Ali Viterbi
 Thu Jun 9, 7:30pm - in person event at San Diego Repertory Theatre, Lyceum Theatres (map)
 Sun Jun 12, 2pm - in person event at Leichtag Commons, Encinitas (map)

 $25 Premier, $18 Standard
 Book now Thu Jun 9 Book now Sun Jun 12

Performed by some of San Diego’s finest local actors, Women of Valor seeks to answer the immortal question from Proverbs: A woman of valor, who shall find? Enjoy six new short works that honor six San Diego Jewish women who are jewels of our community: Phyllis Epstein, Ellen Fox, Rabbi Susan Freeman, Betzy Lynch, Perla Myers and Edith Palkowitz. Through theatre, music and visuals we celebrate their accomplishments, passions and challenges. 

Sponsored by the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, and Jewish Family Service Center for Jewish Care. Co-sponsored by the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, Temple Solel, and Jewish Community Foundation San Diego. Proceeds from this year’s program will benefit: Hebrew Free Loans of San Diego, Joint Distribution Campaign’s Emergency fund for Ukraine, Jewish Gift Closet – San Diego Gmach.

The Whole Megillah
 Jewish New Play Festival 
 June 13 - 14
 Times vary
 In person events at San Diego Repertory Theatre, Lyceum Theatres (map), and online

The Whole Megillah is JFest’s 2nd annual festival of new Jewish plays. In June, be the first to experience staged readings of brand new works from female writers. Each work explores different facets of the contemporary Jewish experience, and is coupled with panel discussions featuring renowned Jewish artists and speakers. Join us to be part of developing the next wave of outstanding theatre from Jewish writers. The Whole Megillah is produced by Rebecca Myers.

Written and performed by Lisa Robins, directed by Mitch Levine
Jun 14, 7pm
In person and online

Committed, written and performed by Lisa Robins, reveals her complex journey to understand and find meaning in her brother’s suicide. This healing “Ritual for Robbie” has no rules, unearthing questions of faith, art, mental illness, and personal responsibility while using dark humor to explore the meaning of life.

These and Those
By Ruth Geye
Jun 13, 6pm
Online only

October 27th, 2018. Six college students pile into a small basement apartment for Shabbat lunch, but they can’t keep the outside world from showing up uninvited.

Hershey Felder’s Sing-Along
Featuring music by Jewish and Jewish-American composers

Jul 11, 7:30pm
In person fundraising event at San Diego Repertory Theatre, Lyceum Theatres (map)
$180 donation, including post-show wine and dessert reception
Book now
This special event supports JFEST and San Diego Rep. Join Hershey’s well known audience sing-along of tunes by great 20th-century Jewish American songwriters, including George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers and others. Virtuoso Felder has dazzled audiences with live shows and live-streams of beloved composers – Beethoven, Chopin, Bernstein, Gershwin, Berlin and so many more. He returns to JFEST for a musical trip through 100 years of the yiddishe bochers who had a large hand in creating America’s songbook.

Hershey Felder’s Music in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice
 Musical film premiere
 July 12 - 19
Book now

Venice, Italy, 1516. The first Ghetto in the world is created. The origin of the Venice Jewish Ghetto, is not what one might think.  In this world premiere program, Hershey Felder is joined by internationally renowned cellist Amit Peled, singer, writer, and Tony nominated director, Eleanor Reissa as well as renowned Italian quartet, Klezmerata Fiorentina.  Filmed throughout one of the still-vibrant post war Jewish communities in Venice, Italy, Hershey Felder explores how music has reflected Jews’ changing roles in society.

Digital Program Book

The JFest digital program is at your fingertips. Enjoy all the info and artist bios in a touchless, screen-responsive, waste-reducing digital format. Best viewed on your mobile device. 
Read the program

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