Jewish Arts Festival entertains, unites community
By Leah R. Singer
SAN DIEGO –The 19th Annual Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival kicked off last week with a host of different productions. This year’s festival, which runs through June 7, features everything from baseball to Klezmer to Spanish language performances.
Todd Salovey, who has been the Jewish Arts artistic director since the program’s inception in 1994, expects close to 3,000 attendees at the Festival’s six venues. He begins his festival research by looking at the exciting and diverse offerings in Jewish arts. His goal when curating the festival is to appeal to different parts of the San Diego Jewish and arts communities, but also appeal to different audiences each year.
“I like to focus on the beauty, power and uplifting aspects of Judaism and find artists who are making great art to bring them into the Festival,” said Salovey.
This year’s Festival features more diverse performances than in years past. Salovey expects the all-Spanish El Primero, which is performed by Teatro Punto Y Coma, to sell out. The Klezmer performances always draws a large crowd, with this year’s Klezmer Summit no exception.
The 11th Annual Klezmer Summit is a departure from past year’s performances, said Salovey. The evening starts with local musician Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi playing wedding dances, folk songs, and theater songs. New this year to the Summit is Common Chords, a celebration of shared musical roots of Klezmer, jazz, Indian, and old time rock and roll. The music features a blend of Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Hindu cultures that will feature Klezmer like never before. Salovey expressed pleasure that this performance is highlighting cultural diversity and building bridges among religions and cultures.
Other standout performances in this year’s Jewish Arts Festival include the Jewish rock band Soul Farm; the world premiere of That’s Baseball with Andy Strassberg; and The Blessing of a Broken Heart. Women of Valor is also an important component of the Festival that includes music, vivid images and heartwarming stories that are combined to tell the stories of the following six inspirational Jewish women: Edith Eva Eger, Claire Ellman, Karen Flexor Friedenberg, Ana Galicot, and Julia Stone.
Salovey describes the Festival as a great way to bring together and honor the Jewish arts community.
“I look at festival as a way to honor our community and celebrate Jewish traditions and history,” said Salovey. “What guides me is the question, What does it mean to be Jewish?”
More information about the 19th Annual Lipinsky Jewish Arts Festival – and ticket purchasing – is available online (http://www.sdrep.org/extpage3.aspx).
Singer is a freelance writer based in San Diego. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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