Jewish Women’s Theatre (JWT) Puts its Money Where its Stories Are

Emma Berdie Donson learns that kindness can happen anywhere, even at a rest stop on the way to High Holiday services.

How can we put on a show that celebrates real life heroes without being moved to help the non-profit organizations who are doing this brave work every day?

“We can’t,” says Ronda Spinak, artistic director of Santa Monica’s Jewish Women’s Theatre. The Accidental Activist runs from January 20-30 and features heartfelt stories about people who are working in astounding ways to change the status quo or to help others.

“We didn’t want to just tell their stories,” Spinak explains. “We wanted to help those who personify the spirit of the heroes in our stories.  As a result, we are donating half of the donations we receive at each show to non-profits whose missions match those of our characters.”

Each of the performances of The Accidental Activist, will be matched with a non-profit organization whose activities relate to one of the stories in the performance.  The non-profits include:

  • Jewish Family Services – enriches the community and improves the lives of countless men, women and children of all religions, ethnicities and ages through a wide ranging extended family of social services.   www.jfsla.org
  • East L.A Women’s Center – strives to ensure that all women, girls and families live in places of safety, health, and personal well-being, free from violence and abuse, with equal access to necessary health services and social support, with an emphasis on Latino communities. www.elawc.org
  •     Worthy of Love – homeless children on skid row experience something most kids take for granted: a birthday party with dancing, presents, cake and hugs from Skiddy Kat. [email protected]
  •    The Miracle Project  – uses a groundbreaking methodology to provide individuals with autism and other disabilities the tools to build communication, social skills, community, and greater self-esteem through inclusive theater and expressive arts programs.  www.themiracleproject.org
  •  The Museum of Tolerance – has received acclaim from national and international leaders, and has been described by newspapers and magazines world-wide as extraordinary and a “must see” destination in Southern California. Today the public has come to view the MOT not only as a symbol of society’s quest to live peacefully together, but also as an important resource on how to achieve that goal. www.museumoftolerance.com
  • MAZON – a Jewish response to hunger is a one-of-a-kind engagement program that travels the nation raising awareness about who in America struggles with hunger and why, and empowers everyone to take action. [email protected]
  • National Council of Jewish Women – is a grassroots organization of volunteers who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, it strives for social justice and individual rights by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families. [email protected]
  • 9/11 Memorial and Museum NYC –  honors the lives of those who were lost on 9/11.  It occupies eight of the 16 acres at the World Trade Center, and is a tribute to the past and a place of hope for the future. [email protected]
  • JQ International – builds and strengthens a community that nurtures a healthy fusion of LGBTQ and Jewish identities.  JQ International also encourages and strengthens leadership, activism, and social action among its members in order to continue creating not only a vibrant and inclusive LGBTQ Jewish community but also the best possible community at large. http://www.jqinternational.org/

“These wonderful non-profits are doing work that relates to the stories in our new show, The Accidental Activist,” says JWT’s Literary Manager and Producer Suzanna Kaplan.  “Our audiences will

witness professional actors narrate stories submitted by many writers, recounting poignant and uplifting tales of challenge, courage and how they ultimately succeeded in making a difference.”

The Accidental Activist plays in six locations across the Southland from January 20-30.  It is the first in a series of three new salon-style performances that take place in private homes and theatres until May 15.  Three-play subscriptions are $118 and individual shows are on sale now at $40.  Tickets and performance schedules are at: www.jewishwomenstheatre.org

Emma Berdie Donson learns that kindness can happen anywhere, even at a rest stop on the way to High Holiday services.