The initiative, which will begin in December and last into spring 2014, will utilize forums, literary, film and theatre programs to advance the discussion, which will include the topics of artistic expression related to Israel, the history of the 1948 War of Independence and the current state of Israeli/Arab relations.
The JCC will mount a production of Golda's Balcony, starring four-time Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh (Pippin, Lend Me a Tenor, Yentl), as part of the initiative, as well as a workshop of Motti Lerner's The Admission, providing an opportunity for feedback before the play is finalized.
Theater J will also present readings of "1948," an adaptation of the memoir by Yoram Kaniuk; and "Hand in Hand Together" by Israeli novelist A.B. Yehoshua. As part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival and the 4th Annual Community Education Day on Israeli Arab Issues, the DCJCC will screen two films by Israeli filmmakers dealing with the day-to-day life of Arabs citizens of Israel on March 9, 2014.
"The evolving relationship between Israel and the American Jewish community is hinged on a strong belief in Israel's right to exist and an unwavering commitment to its security," Carole R. Zawatsky, CEO of the Washington DCJCC, said in a statement. "We may argue and struggle with the boundaries of the dialogue, but that should never be mistaken for a lack of commitment to Israel. 'Embracing Democracy' is an opportunity to explore those boundaries and restore civility to the dialogue, which has too often been absent."
Participants will include Congressman Robert Wexler of the Center for Middle East Peace; Rabbi Melissa Weintraub of the JCPA Civility Project; Jonathan S. Tobin, senior online editor of Commentary Magazine; Jane Eisner, editor-in-chief of the Forward; Professor Donna Robinson Divine, Morningstar Professor of Jewish Studies, Smith College; Leon Wieseltier of the New Republic; Dror Moreh, director of the Gatekeepers; Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer of the Shalom Hartman Institute; and Professor Yoram Peri of the University of Maryland. Additional participants will be announced at a later date. Visit washingtondcjcc.org for more information.