2017 PASSAGES
 

$18 for individual tickets

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Israel & the Middle East through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner
Presenter: Lela Gilbert

Sunday, January 15, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Ina Levine JCCampus, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
Lela Gilbert is a prolific and award-winning writer who has authored/co-authored over sixty books. She is a Christian residing in Israel since 2006. She wrote the critically acclaimed Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner (Encounter Books, 2012). Her book was listed as one of the 20 best non-fiction Jewish books of 2012 by J.G. Myers in Jewish Ideas Daily. Lela Gilbert is the Distinguished Fellow in American-Israeli Journalism at Hillsdale College, and a Fellow at Hudson Institute, working with both the Center for Religious Freedom and the Center for Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World. She writes about the common ground between Jews and Christians, the expulsion of Jews from Muslim lands in the mid-20th Century, the ever-increasing global persecution of Christians, and the ongoing European and Muslim efforts to de-Judaize and delegitimize Israel.


"Kreplach and Dim Sum, Yes There are Jews in China!"
Presenter: Robyn Helzner

Sunday, January 22, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Ina Levine JCCampus, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale

Robyn Helzner returns to PASSAGES to give us a fascinating ”tour” of the Jews of China. She served as the first Cantor of the United Jewish Community of Hong Kong and officiated at the first Bar Mitzvah held in Beijing. Through stories, photos, song and an amazing multi-media presentation, Robyn Helzner will take us through the extraordinary history of the Jewish communities in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Kaifeng. She will trace their emergence as one of the fastest growing Jewish regions in the world today. Throughout North America, Asia and the former Soviet Union, Robyn has inspired Jewish audiences to identify with their cultural roots. Robyn serves as the Cantorial Soloist at Temple Sinai in Washington, D.C.a


Change is Good at Any Age - Finding a Way to Make Our Jewish World Better
Presenter: Jessica Abo

Sunday, January 29, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Temple Solel, 6805 East McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley

Jessica Abo is an award-winning television journalist, entrepreneur, social activist, YouTube creator and motivational speaker. In 2007, Jessica joined the NY1 News team as an on-air anchor and reporter in the Local Edition. She has covered everything from breaking news and beauty trends to sports and food. Her work has been featured on CNN, CBS, FOX and Fusion Network. Jessica is a member of the Screen Actors Guild. She has been cast as herself in TV shows and movies including: Gossip Girl, Nurse Jackie, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Delivery Man, and Girl Most Likely. She empowers people of all ages to turn their passion into action. Jessica was one of The Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36” in 2014 and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for different causes around the world. 


The Whole Megillah: The Story of the Yiddish Theatre
Presenter: Charles Troy & The Maxwell Street Band

Sunday, February 12, 2017, 6:30 p.m.
Ina Levine JCCampus, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
“The Whole Megillah: The Story of The Yiddish Theatre" covers the moment of its birth in Rumania in 1876, to its rapid spread across the Western Hemisphere, to its rapid flowering into a Golden Age, a flowering that would last but a few short decades – and carry the seeds of its own destruction. It’s an amazing story, full of twists and turns that are like Yiddish theatre itself -sometimes outrageous, sometimes poignant, but always melodramatic. Charles Troy is America's most acclaimed dramatic musical theatre historian, creator of more than 50 multimedia presentations on the history of musical theatre. The Whole Megillah is punctuated by music from Chicago’s famous Maxwell Street Klezmer Band that mirrors the soul of a vibrant but distant era.  


"What's In It For Me? - How the Bible Informs Us in the 21st Century"
Presenter: Rabbi Stephen Fuchs

Sunday, February 19, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Temple Solel, 6805 East McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley
Rabbi Stephen Fuchs has published more than 100 articles, book chapters and op-Ed essays in such publications as The Washington Post, The Jerusalem Post, The Baltimore Sun, and The Hartford Courant. He is the author of the book, What's in It for Me? Finding Ourselves in Biblical Narratives. “My passion for biblical stories has nothing to do with whether they are historically or scientifically true. I love these stories because they are our stories. If we take a good look, we can find ourselves and guidance for our own lives in them." Rabbi Fuchs has served as President of The World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) and senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford Connecticut and Adjunct Professor at the Hartford Seminary, Connecticut.  


A Delightful Evening of Laughter
Presenter: Comedian Benji Lovitt

Sunday, March 5, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Ina Levine JCCampus, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale

Benji Lovitt lives in Israel and regularly performs standup comedy. He repeatedly delivers fun, inviting cultural programs for audiences in Israel, North America, and around the world. His perspectives on Israeli society have been featured on Israeli TV and radio, as well as in publications such as USA Today, Time Magazine, Huffington Post, The Atlantic, the Times of Israel, the Jerusalem Post, and many more. Benji has been translating the Israel experience through laughter since his aliyah flight landed in 2006. He is a member of the ROI Community (an initiative which connects dynamic Jewish leaders from around the globe, enabling them to turn their passion into action and shape the future of the Jewish world) and is a frequent presenter at Limmud conferences around the world.


69 Reasons to Be Positive About the State of Israel
Presenter: Gil Hoffman

Sunday, March 19, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Beth El Congregation, 1118 W Glendale Ave, Phoenix

Gil Hoffman is the chief political correspondent and analyst for The Jerusalem Post. He has interviewed every major figure across the Israeli political spectrum, has been interviewed by top media on six continents and is a regular analyst on CNN, Al-Jazeera and other news outlets. Called "The most optimistic man in Israel" by Israel Television, Hoffman provides a behind the scenes look at the intrigue and humor in the Israeli political arena. He was raised in Chicago, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northwestern University's School of Journalism, and wrote for the Miami Herald and Arizona Republic before moving to Israel. A reserve soldier in the IDF Spokesman's Unit, he has lectured in every major English-speaking country in the world. He lives with his family in Jerusalem.