Arts & Culture


CANCELED: The Gathering: A Staged Reading of the Critically Acclaimed Play

Previously scheduled for Thursday, April 12
JCC East Bay Berkeley Branch

We are sorry to share the news that Arje Shaw passed away in March, 2018, and thus, this event has been canceled. May his memory be a blessing.

If you purchased tickets online, you will be refunded. If you have any questions, please contact Lauren Paul at

The Gathering was first produced in 1999 at The Jewish Repertory starring Theodore Bikel and Jesse Eisenberg, followed by The Broadway production in 2001 at The Cort Theater, starring Hal Linden. It was produced in 2016 in San Francisco and Berkeley’s Live Oak Theater directed by Joy Carlin.

Arje Shaw was a Russian émigré who came to New York City as a child with his parents and sister from a German Displacement camp after the Second World War. After a career in social work, he became a writer, playwright, producer, and performer. In 2001, Mr. Shaw’s The Gathering was produced at The Cort Theater on Broadway starring Hal Linden, following the off-Broadway production with Theodore Bikel and Jesse Eisenberg. His first play, A Catered Affair, was produced off-Broadway in 1992. In 2004, Magic Hands Freddy premiered at The Soho Playhouse and was voted the most popular New York play in The Wall Street Journal survey. His novel, The Fix, based on his life, was published in 2011. Mr. Shaw lived happily in Berkeley with Esther, his amazing wife and source of his material for of 53 years, and always dedicated his work to his children and family…and the memory of the martyrs.



Finding Humanity at End of Life:
Two Provocative Evenings with Pastor Corey Kennard and Dr. Jessica Zitter

This two-part miniseries explores faith and inequity among the seriously ill and dying in our healthcare system. What role does spirituality play at end of life and in a health care setting? How can healthcare providers build trust with patients across cultures and faith traditions? How can we address the inequities faced by African Americans when seeking care at the end of life? 

Reaching Across Traditions: Spirituality and Medicine at End of Life

Tuesday, April 17, 7 PM
Tickets: $10; Register here
Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA

Is spiritual support important for hospitalized dying patients? Should doctors pray with their patients? What if the doctor is a different religion, or not religious at all?

We will take a look at the intersection of faith and medicine at the end of life and how to bridge traditions and cultures between medical professionals and their patients. Pastor Corey Kennard, head of the congregation at Amplify Christian Church in Detroit, has spoken widely about the spiritual needs of African Americans at the end of life. Dr. Jessica Zitter, a Jewish Critical Care and Palliative Care physician at Oakland’s Highland Hospital, has spent her career caring for seriously ill patients in the inner city. Facilitated by Amy Tobin, CEO of the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, this conversation will explore the role of faith and prayer for patients with serious illness in the medical setting and will look at ways physicians can best serve the needs of their patients from different traditions.

Speakers: Corey Kennard, Pastor, Amplify Christian Church, Detroit; Jessica Nutik Zitter, Physician, Highland Hospital, Oakland; Amy Tobin (facilitator), CEO, Jewish Community Center of the East Bay
Sponsor: Northern California Grant Makers  

Exploring Racial Inequities in Healthcare at the End of Life
Wednesday April 18, 7 PM at GLIDE Memorial Church, San Francisco, CA

In Part Two of this series, Dr. Jessica Zitter and Pastor Corey Kennard will explore the great divide between seriously-ill African American patients and the healthcare system they come to for support.  

Presented by ReImagine the End of Life Series


Bay Area Book Festival and JCC East Bay Present:
Thriving Past Trauma—Holocaust Survivor Dr. Edith Eger with The Choice 

Sunday, April 29, 10-11:15 AM
Location: Freight & Salvage
Part of the Bay Area Book Festival
Tickets available here.

Dr. Edith Eger interviewed by Elizabeth Rosner

An absolute must-see: Dr. Edith Eger, 92-year-old Auschwitz survivor and trauma psychologist, comes to us to discuss one of the most compelling books we’ve read this year, “The Choice: Embrace the Possible,” which Desmond Tutu called “a gift to humanity.” She will be interviewed by Elizabeth Rosner, author of the award-winning “Survivor Cafe: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory.”

Sponsored by the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay; in memory of Mayer Goldberg and Henry Ramek




Vocolot: Legendary A Cappella Ensemble Reunites

Saturday, April 28, 7:30 PM
JCC East Bay Berkeley Branch
Fee: Concert & Dessert, $25
Tickets available here.

​After a hiatus of five years, the a cappella group Vocolot is gathering together for a rare concert appearance featuring both original songs and songs of Jewish heritage from around the world in Hebrew, Yiddish, English, and Arabic. Their music, rooted in universal heart, social conscience and Jewish soul, communicates a powerful vision of world peace and reconciliation. This performance features Cantor Linda Hirschhorn, singer/percussionst Liz Stuart, and singers Talia Cooper and Jennifer Karno. There will also be guest appearances by former Vocolot members.

Produced by Dan Siegel, who has produced over forty Jewish music concerts for his Cozy Concerts series, the Jewish Music Festival, and Congregation Netivot Shalom. Dan also plays trombone in the Netivot Shalom Jazzkleztet and Albany Jazz Band.


Best of the Fest: A Four-Part Series

Missed the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival last summer? The JCC East Bay is thrilled to partner with the Jewish Film Institute to bring four of their best films to venues across the East Bay. This series highlights fan-favorite films centered around social justice, identity, stardom, and love.

Heather Booth: Changing the World

Wednesday, May 2, 7 PM
Temple Israel, Alameda

"The most influential person you never heard of," Heather Booth is an organizer who has been at the center of almost every social movement of the past 50 years. From registering Mississippi voters during the 1964 Freedom Summer to joining Elizabeth Warren in the fight against Wall Street Banks, Booth has been a formidable force for change. Filmmaker Lilli Rivlin (Grace Paley: Collected Shorts, SFJFF 2010) creates a compelling portrait of an inspiring activist.

Join us here.

This program made possible in part by a grant from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund. 

Bending the Arc
Wednesday, May 9, 7 PM
The New Parkway, Oakland

Thirty years ago, a group of young, enthusiastic, and caring friends came together with a goal that was both simple and complex: to provide health care for all, particularly the poor in the developing world. This inspiring documentary charts the success of Partners in Health, an NGO which builds hospitals and delivers health care throughout the world as they work to bend the arc toward justice.

Buy tickets in advance.

This program made possible in part by a grant from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund. 

Bobbi Jene
Thursday, June 7, 7 PM
California Theatre, Downtown Berkeley

"I want to get to that place where I have no strength to hide anything." After a decade of stardom in Israel as a part of the illustrious Batsheva Dance Company, dancer / choreographer Bobbi Jene Smith at age 30 pursues a solo career in the U.S. Winner of the Best Documentary prize at the Tribeca Film Festival, Bobbi Jene is a portrait of a dancer which is an unflinching, wondrous and embarrassing as life itself. Note: contains nudity.

Don't miss out.

This program made possible in part by a grant from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund. 

Past Best of the Fest:

House of Z
The New Parkway, Oakland

This chronicle of the fascinating career of fashion designer Zac Posen, known to many as a celebrity judge on Project Runway, shows how Posen began designing as a teen. With his family's support, he enjoyed a meteoric rise. Friendships with famous women (Claire Danes and Natalie Portman) helped catapult him to fame. But when his career stalls, Posen struggles with depression. His plans for a comeback with have audiences cheering for the likeable and talented artist.



From "The Melting Pot" to Angels in America: Romance, Jewish History, and Americanization

Tuesday, May 15, 7-8:30 PM
JCC East Bay Berkeley Branch
Tickets available here.

Presented by Lehrhaus Judaica.

This presentation will trace the development of conceptions of Jewish identity in the United States from Israel Zangwill’s hugely influential 1908 play “The Melting-Pot” to Tony Kushner’s 1991 “Angels in America.” In particular, we will explore the role of romantic love in the process of Americanization, from the immigrant love story in Zangwill’s play to the queer relationships of Reagan-era responses to the HIV epidemic.

Sarah Rose Leonard, Berkeley Rep’s Literary Manager and dramaturg for Angels in America, will join us to discuss the production at Berkeley Rep, April 17-July 22.

This program is co-presented by The Berkeley Rep.

Sarah Rose Leonard: Sarah Rose Leonard is the Literary Manager at Berkeley Rep. Before returning to the Bay Area, where she grew up, she was the Literary Associate at Signature Theatre in New York City. In New York she held positions as the Associate Agent at AO International, Next Generation Fellow at The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the CUNY Graduate Center, Literary Resident at Playwrights Horizons, and Literary Associate at Page 73. She has dramaturged productions of Angels in America (Berkeley Rep), Ain’t Too Proud (Berkeley Rep), Iron Shoes (Shotgun Players), A Tale of Autumn (Crowded Fire), You For Me For You (Crowded Fire), A Particle of Dread (Signature Theatre), Kung Fu (Signature Theatre), Big Love (Signature Theatre), The Wayside Motor Inn (Signature Theatre), and The Hotel Colors (The Bushwick Starr), and workshopped new plays with Martyna Majok, Kate E. Ryan, and Mia Chung at The Ground Floor.

Naomi Seidman: Naomi Seidman Prof. Naomi Seidman is Koret Professor of Jewish Culture and Director of the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Her first book, A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish, appeared in 1997. Her second, Faithful Renderings: Jewish-Christian Difference and the Politics of Translation, was published in 2006.


Past Programs:

Hot Mess Kitchen: A Book Party
with Gabi Moskowitz and Miranda Berman

Little Stones
A Jewish Film Fest Event
Sponsored by the JCC East Bay

Bending the Arc
A Jewish Film Fest Event
Sponsored by the JCC East Bay

Body and Soul: An American Bridge
A Jewish Film Fest Event
Sponsored by the JCC East Bay

Stay Amazed
with Berkeley Arts Ambassador Susan Duhan Felix

What We Carry With Us: A Refugee Storytelling Lab
with Guest Curator Citizen Film

Celebrating Brit Shalom 
with Lisa Braver Moss

Jewish and Indigenous Communities: Lessons from Standing Rock
With Lehrhaus Judaica

Masha Gessen on Truth, Lies, and Totalitarianism in Russia and the U.S.
A Bay Area Book Festival Event
Sponsored by the JCC East Bay

Absurd and Hilarious: Stories About Money
A Bay Area Book Festival Event
Sponsored by the JCC East Bay

More Courage
with Jewish Women's Theatre

The Kvetchy Cowboys Ride Again! 
with Gerry Tenney and Arje Shaw

No Way Out: a Play by Susan Printz Shear

Sanctuary for All: Refugee Crisis Community Update
with Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay

Beyond Bubbe: A Taste of the Old East
with Reboot and JIMENA7

Roomies: Living Together
with Israel Story and Jewish National Fund

The Amy X-Perience
with Guest Curator Amy X Neuburg 

In the Belly of the Beast
with Jay Michaelson

Jewish Winemakers
with Guest Curator Alix Wall

Barry in Context: Film Screening and Discussion
with Adam Mansbach and W. Kamau Bell