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Passover Artists 2019

Isabel Balée is a poet, critic, and multimedia artist based in Oakland. Poetry and essays have recently appeared or are forthcoming in the journals Wolfman New Life Quarterly, Jacket2, and Ursus Americanus. Sound and film experiments have been shown at Anchor Gallery in Providence, Bath House in Oakland, and McCormack Theater at Brown University. In 2015, she earned an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University, where she taught poetry workshops and translated poetry from Portuguese. She has previously taught creative writing at Tulane University. Isabel is the co-founder of a New Orleans-based experimental theater company, Poor Yorick. Writings and other experiments can be found at her website: ibalee.me. She is the Executive Assistant at the JCC East Bay.

Dane Fox-McGraw is a voice actor and improviser who has been performing and learning in the bay for the last 6 years. In his off time he is the Assistant Director for the JCC's afterschool program at Joaquin Miller Elementary, 40 hours a week. Dane does a weekly podcast with his friend Jimmy, where they do Would You Rathers and other fun things. Past jobs include chicken sausage salesmen, preschool teacher, ceramics instructor, fishery baker, short-order cook, camp counselor, park custodian, and others lost to time. With a degree in Music from UC Riverside, Dane mainly listens to podcasts. One of his favorite books is the Phantom Tollbooth and he could eat sandwiches every meal of the day, which he sometimes does. 

Rabbi Dr. Rebecca Joseph (JCC East Bay Shamash Resident) is a master educator and non-profit consultant with more than three decades of experience in program design, fundraising, and leadership development. Inspired by Judaism and culinary arts, she created San Francisco’s 12 Tribes, an award-winning kosher catering company focused on mindful, sustainable lifestyles and The Parve Baker blog. Concern with inequities in the food system led her to initiate and direct action research studies of the largest community garden in the United States, multi-generational farm stands on federal lands, and food bank distribution disparities. She partnered with The Thrive House for Youth, introducing Cooking Matters for middle school students, a summer culinary arts programs for older teens, and baking workshops for grades K-3. The first West Coast chef spotlighted in WineSpectator.com’s Passover feature, Becky’s current projects include a book of Torah commentary with recipes for the home baker and a culinary companion to the Talmud.  

Margot Sands has been wandering through the desert like our ancestors since her childhood in Arizona and Nevada. Margot brings her sense of movement from her upbringing as a dancer, environmental activist, gardener, and educator. She has participated in a variety of creative community projects such as FoodCorps Massachusetts, the Urban Adamah Fellowship, Hazon's JOFEE Fellowship. Currently, she is a mentor for Wilderness Torah's Peninsula B'Hootz and is cultivating a rich afterschool program as the Assistant Director of JCC's Oakland afterschool program. Margot continues to engage in the arts by dancing at Hipline dance studio and honing her crafts of weaving, cross-stitching, and watercolors.

Creativity for Bara Sapir is more than fabrication of a physical object: it a deep practice of being awake and present, forging a bridge to the past, and providing opportunities for others to deepen experience and clarify expression. Bara creates ritual, performance art, music, and artistic methods that encourage participants to experience a personal and communal journey. She was art director for Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture for eight years. Additionally, she taught at universities, retreat centers, art centers, and galleries; worked as an illustrator and designer of interactive children’s exhibits for New York City museums; and exhibited in galleries internationally. Bara holds degrees from the Jewish Theological Seminary (MA in Education) and University of Michigan (MA in Art History, BFA in Fine Arts) and ordination from the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute. She studied the relationship of creativity to theology with various teachers in Jerusalem, most notably under the mentorship of Dr. Jo Milgrom. Bicoastal with her pup, she is CEO/Founder of City Test Prep, the only test prep company to combine holistic and mindful modalities with training for high-stakes admissions tests.

Originally from the Boston area, Sarah Wolfman-Robichaud is a recent East Bay transplant via Vancouver, Canada. Sarah comes with an extensive personal and academic background in theater performance, arts/theater education and social justice practices, lectures, and workshops, arts administration (most recently managing the programming department at Arts Umbrella, the largest arts education organization in Canada), and guitar lullabies with her children. When not wearing her JCC East Bay Director of Public Programs hat, Sarah fondly remembers her performances as the Witch in Into the Woods, Drood in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Hair, Trina in Falsettos, and Peter in Peter Pan, etc. as well as her years singing in the southern rock band, Rollaway.

Bob Fink is the founder and principal architect of Fink Architecture (www.finkarchitecture.com) in Emeryville. Using natural elements-- light, airflow, topography-- and human-centered design, Bob has been designing homes and restaurants in the Bay Area for over 20 years. He is a graduate of Syracuse University who likes to tinker with furniture design in his spare time. Elizheva Hurvich is a Jewish educator and a  Rabbinical student at the Academy for Jewish Religion, AJR-CA.  Elizheva holds a BA from UC Berkeley in women's studies and poetry and an MA from the Jewish Theological Seminary in Jewish Art and Material Culture. Elizheva likes to craft, particularly with textiles, and specializes in making ritual objects such as tallitot (prayer shawls) and huppot (wedding canopies.)  Combining their skills and passions, Bob and Elizheva have been collaborating on projects for over a decade, including the building of their annual backyard Sukkah and remodeling their home. By far their greatest collaboration and adventure is raising Max, who is now 6 1/2.

Marques Hollie is a jewsician, theater artist, and classically-trained tenor based in NYC. Since making his professional debut in a production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida, he has performed more than 20 roles in the operatic canon. He has made numerous appearances on the concert and recital stage (including two New York Fashion Week runways) and is a passionate performer of contemporary opera and art song. After a particularly meaning Passover experience several years ago, he began seeking out opportunities to explore his black and Jewish identities.

Marques was a member of the inaugural cohort of the Union for Reform Judaism's JewV'Nation Fellowship, a current member of the 14th Street Y's LABA Fellowship, and was recognized as one of New York Jewish Week's 36 Under 36 in 2018. Marques began developing Go Down, Moshe, a one man show that reimagines the exodus from Egypt using Negro spirituals and the narratives of formerly enslaved people, during the JewV'Nation Fellowship and is thrilled to present an excerpt at the 14th Street Y as a LABA fellow. www.marqueshollie.com