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CSP [Social] Distance Programs

Week of April 5, 2020

Robbie Gringras (Everything You Need to Know About Israel Through the Songs of Ehud Banai)
*Amy Jill Levine (Part 3: The Parables of Jesus as Jewish Stories – The Dishonest Steward)
*”Master Class” program underwritten by a grant from Jewish Community Foundation of Orange County

Robbie Gringras
Everything You Need to Know About Israel Through the Songs of Ehud Banai 

Monday April 6, 2020, 12:00 PM PDT
From politics to spirituality, from Talmud to Ethiopians, from Diaspora to Bible… This workshop led by Robbie Gringras digs into the Israel we discover through the soul and uplift of Ehud Banai’s songs.  Robbie Gringras was born and bred in the Jewish community of Britain but has been living and creating in Israel since 1996, primarily with Jewish Americans. As such his work – educational and theatrical – bridges the Israel-Diaspora connection with empathy and insight.  He lives in the secular world, while his knowledge base and research specialties – especially after his many years studying in Jerusalem – are deeply religious. While Creative Director of Makom, the Israel Education Lab of the Jewish Agency, he coined the phrase: “Hugging and Wrestling with Israel”, drove the 4HQ System of Israel Education, and wrote for and ran the Makom website. As a world-renowned solo theatre performer, he is also an inspirational speaker, and a charismatic teacher.  As a prolific playwright, he is also a challenging and original educator.  As an experienced and committed Jewish Zionist educator, his theater creations are educational treasure chests.
Amy Jill Levine
“Master Class Series”
Underwritten by a grant from Jewish Community Foundation Orange County
Part 3: The Parables of Jesus as Jewish Stories – The Dishonest Steward 

Tuesday April 7, 2020, 12:00 PM PDT

Parables today have lost their punch: they have become simple platitudes about being nice to someone who is hurt (the “Good Samaritan”) or claims about how sinners are forgiven (the “Prodigal Son”). First-century Jews, including Jesus, knew that parables were not simple stories: they were designed to challenge, to provoke, to engage the mind as well as the heart. Jesus told Parables to fellow Jews: recovering that original setting corrects their frequent anti-Jewish interpretations, provides a grounding for better Jewish/Christian relations, and offers new insight into both ancient and contemporary social relations. Amy Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies and Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt (Divinity and A&S); she is also Affiliated Professor, Woolf Institute: Centre for Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge. Her books include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus (Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of 2007; audio books); Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi (Catholic Book Club; translations: Spanish, Italian; audio books);  The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us (with Douglas Knight); The New Testament, Methods and Meanings (with Warren Carter); and The Gospel of Luke (with Ben Witherington III (the first full-length biblical commentary co-authored by a Jew and an Evangelical).

With Marc Brettler she edited The Jewish Annotated New Testament; she also edited the 13-volume Feminist Companions to the New Testament and Early Christian Writings, and The Historical Jesus in Context (Princeton Readings in Religion; translation: Japanese); she is the New Testament editor of the new Oxford Biblical Commentary Series. Professor Levine has held grants from the Mellon Foundation, NEH, and ACLS, and she has held office in the Society of Biblical Literature, Catholic Biblical Association, and Association for Jewish Studies. She served as Alexander Robertson Fellow (University of Glasgow), and the Catholic Biblical Association Scholar to the Philippines. In Spring 2019 she was the first Jew to teach New Testament at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute. Holding the B.A. from Smith College, and the M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, she has honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Drury University, Christian Theological Seminary, and Franklin College. A self-described Yankee Jewish feminist, Professor Levine is a member of Congregation Sherith Israel, an Orthodox Synagogue in Nashville, although she is often quite unorthodox. 

CSP Parsha Theater of the Week Featuring Jon Adam Ross

John Adam Ross – “Dayeinu – It Might Have Been Enough”

Actor, educator and founder of the IN[heir]itance Project, Jon Adam Ross was recently in Orange County with Chantal Pavageaux, an interdisciplinary artist working in performance and social practice, as community artists in residence between February 21-28, 2020 (the program was funded by a grant from the Albert and Rhoda Weissman Arts Endowment Fund, a joint program of Jewish Community Foundation Orange County and Jewish Federation).

The In[HEIR]itance Project is a national arts organization that collaborates with communities using a unique methodology of collective artmaking that puts lived experiences in relationship with sacred* texts to instigate engagement around challenging civic conversations. *We interpret ‘sacred text’ to mean any narrative that holds meaning for the community. They could be ancient religious, mythic, cultural or patriotic texts, personal and universal stories, attitudes and archetypes, local lore (current or historical), or popular media and culture. 

As a founding member of the Storahtelling troupe with Amichai Lau-Lavie, Jon Adam Ross helped pioneer a theatrical approach to Torah reading in synagogue, which, by acting out the Torah portion rather than simply chanting it, aimed to break down all sorts of barriers between congregants and the Bible. This leveling of the playing field is a major preoccupation for Ross. Jon has served as an artist in residence at Union Theological Seminary, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and many other religious and educational institutions. Jon was a Spielberg Fellow in Jewish Theater Education with the Foundation for Jewish Camp and received a Fellowship from the Covenant Foundation to create the In[heir]itance Project in 2015. As an actor, Jon has performed his solo shows in over 90 cities around the globe. Notably, Jon has performed at the Guthrie Theater (MN), Playhouse on the Square (TN), and in NYC where his stage credits include: a dog, a 2,000 year old bird, an elderly orthodox Jew, a spurned housewife, a horse, a British naval officer in 1700’s Jamaica, a goat, Jesus Christ, a lawyer, a hapless police chief, and a cyclops. Jon holds a BFA in Acting from NYU/Tisch.

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