The Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival




JFEST 2022

Events from May – July

Free and paid, online and in-person

Tickets on sale now


Celebrate Jewish heritage, culture, art and ideas this summer at the 29th Annual Lipinsky Family Jewish Arts Festival.

Free and paid events take place in person at San Diego Rep downtown and at venues in North County, plus there are several online events.


Explore the JFEST schedule below. 

The Blessing of a Broken Heart
Niki Jacobs’ A Ballad of Resilience
The Room Where It Happens
In Every Generation
The Dancing Room (Selections)

The Blessing of a Broken Heart
by Todd Salovey, based on the memoir by Sherri Mandell
Directed by Yael Valier

Mon May 23, 7:30pm , then available to steam until May 30
Online event and post show discussion
Book now

Yael Valier’s beautifully staged The Blessing of a Broken Heart performed in Jerusalem in May 2022 was captured in film. 

The moving story of a young American mother who relocates her family from Maryland to the rural outskirts of Jerusalem in search of meaning and adventure - only to be immersed in the storm of a 3000 year old struggle. When a shocking tragedy hits the heart of her family, she embarks on a profound journey of discovery, growing faith and spiritual transcendence that becomes an inspiring story of healing and rebirth. 

Todd Salovey’s Edgerton Award-winning script premiered at San Diego Rep in 2008. This Israeli production in English is followed by a discussion with Sherri Mandell, Todd Salovey, and director Yael Valier.

“Watching [this] play was a profound experience for me.” Sara Yoheved Rigler, Jerusalem author and columnist. 


Niki Jacobs’ A Ballad of Resilience

Tue May 24, 7:30pm
In person event at San Diego Repertory Theatre, Lyceum Theatres
$30 premiere seating, $18 standard
Book now

Songstress Niki Jacobs and her ensemble visit JFEST from Netherlands where she has become one of the world’s leading interpreters of Yiddish music. Seth Rogovy of The Forward writes, “A Yiddish performance so versatile, it spans from ‘Mauthausen’ to Elvis Presley.” 

This performance features The Ballad of Mauthausen, one of the most gorgeous pieces ever written about the Second World War. It is a collaboration between the Greek poet Iakovos Kambanellis, who was a survivor of Kamp Mauthausen, and Mikis Theodorakis, the famous Greek composer banned for his activism against social injustice. Commemorating 75+ years of liberation from the Nazi regime Niki Jacobs re-addresses this musical piece, using a beautiful Yiddish translation to not only emphasize and give voice to those who perished or fled Eastern-Europe before, during and after the Second World War, but to also show that the Yiddish language is still alive.


The Room Where It Happens
With San Diego Jewish Academy
Produced and curated by Rebecca Myers and Kayla Swartzberg

Wed May 25, 7pm
In person event at San Diego Jewish Academy, 11860 Carmel Creek Road, San Diego 921320
Book now

The 4th Annual Room Where It Happens put the spotlight on the next generation of artists. Talented teens from across San Diego perform music, dance, theatre and spoken word.  


In Every Generation
By Ali Viterbi
Directed by Tod Salovey and Emily Moler

May 26 - Jun 19
Performance times vary
In person event at San Diego Repertory Theatre, Lyceum Theatres
Tickets from $25
Book now


One family. One holiday. Four millennia. The Levi-Katz family celebrates Passover again and again—1416 BCE, 1954, 2019 and 2050 to be exact. Why is this night different from all others? Written by San Diegan Ali Viterbi, In Every Generation has already won several awards, including the National Jewish Playwriting Contest and two Kennedy Center Awards. The highly-anticipated world premiere of this enthralling and touching family saga is not to be missed.


The Dancing Room (Selections)
Yehuda Hyman

Sun May 29, 6pm
In person event at San Diego Repertory Theatre, Lyceum Theatres
Free event (prior to 7pm performance of In Every Generation)
No tickets required, just turn up


Choreographer Yehuda Hyman’s solo show, The Mad Dancers was performed in the first JFest. His latest piece, The Dancing Room is a theatre tale about the award-winning playwright/performer’s dancer's life: from the first rhythmic steps his Polish and Russian immigrant parents taught him, to his teenage obsession with the legendary Nijinsky, to the winding road that led to his initiation into the ecstasy of Hasidic dance. In this 20 minute excerpt followed by a Q & A, Yehuda mixes memoir, humor and pathos in a search for levitation of the feet - and heart. 


Nissim Black in Concert

Mon May 30, 7pm - Memorial Day Weekend
In person event at Leichtag Commons, Encinitas
$50 inc. pre-show reception with Nissim Black
$30 premiere seating, $18 standard
Book now

Experience inimitable hip hop artist Nissim Black performing outdoors overlooking the ocean at sunset on Memorial Day weekend. Nissim Black has been a gangsta rapper, a gang member and a faith seeker. His current incarnation is here to stay: an African American Hasidic Jew who brings his sharp, hook-filled hip hop to audiences worldwide. His music pays tribute to both his urban past and Orthodox present through big beats, African hooks and memorable melodies that show off his silky smooth vocals. His recent releases Mothaland Bounce and Fly Away have garnered more than 7 million views on YouTube. Listen to Nissim Black on Spotify.

Sponsored by Leichtag HIVE, Congregation Adat Yeshurun & Congregation Beth Jacob. 

21st Annual Klezmer Summit 

To Ukraine With Love: Songs of Hope

Tue Jun 7, 7:30pm
In person event at San Diego Repertory Theatre, Lyceum Theatres
$25 premiere, $18 standard
Book now

Now in its 21st year, JFEST’s Klezmer Summit is a musical celebration featuring an international all-star line-up celebrating Jewish, jazz and cross-cultural music of hope. Beloved long-time hosts Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi are joined by vocalist Elizabeth Schwartz, guitarist Fred Benedetti, bassist Gunnar Biggs and Irving Flores on piano. Yale Strom, the multiple gifted violinist, composer, filmmaker, writer, educator, photographer and playwright is considered a pioneer among klezmer revivalists. 

This Summit features San Diego’s jazz giant, Gilbert Castellanos and his trio performing jazz standards by Jewish composers. With nearly 100 recording and film credits, Guadalajara-born San Diego-based musician Gilbert Castellanos has earned international recognition as a composer, curator, educator, arranger and top-call jazz trumpeter. Castellanos has spent over 30 years touring the globe and recording both as a solo artist and with the most renowned names in the industry – Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jone and Wynton Marsalis. 

The concert offers a tribute to the communities of Ukraine with Efim Chorny (vocals) and Susan Ghergus (piano) from Chisinau, Moldova and jazz singer Petra Ernyei and Adam Tvrny (guitar) from Prague, Czech Republic.


13th Annual Women of Valor
Written by Sarah Price Keating, Rebecca Myers, Todd Salovey and Ali Viterbi
Directed by Ali Viterbi

Thu Jun 8, 7:30pm and Sun June 12, 2pm
In person event at Leichtag Commons, Encinitas
$25 Premier, $18 Standard
Book now

Honoring Phyllis Epstein, Ellen Fox, Rabbi Susan Freeman, Betsy Lynch, Perla Myers and Edith Palkowitz


Performed by some of San Diego’s finest local actors, Women of Valor seeks to answer the immortal question from Proverbs: A woman of valor, who shall find? Enjoy six new short works that honor six San Diego Jewish women who are jewels of our community: Phyllis Epstein, Ellen Fox, Rabbi Susan Freeman, Betsy Lynch, Perla Myers and Edith Palkowitz. Through theatre, music and visuals we celebrate their accomplishments, passions and challenges. 

Sponsored by the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, and Jewish Family Service Center for Jewish Care. 

Proceeds from this year’s program will benefit: Hebrew Free Loans of San Diego, Joint Distribution Campaign’s Emergency fund for Ukraine, Jewish Gift Closet – San Diego Gmach. 

The Art of Shtisel
Michael Aloni and Ori Elon in conversation with host Todd Salovey 

Sat June 18, 12pm
Online event
Book now

Audiences worldwide binge-watched the award-winning Israeli series Shtisel on Netflix. With incredible acting and writing, Shtisel provides an intimate glimpse into unapologetically Jewish lives in a Jerusalem neighborhood. Series star Michael Aloni plays artist-seeking-soulmate Akiva Shtisel, and is one of Israel’s most sought after actors and television personalities.Michael joins Shtisel co-creator and award winning writer Ori Elon for a live-stream conversation with JFEST artistic director, Todd Salovey.


Joel Grey’s Favorite Plays
Joel Grey in conversation with Todd Salovey 

Sun Jun 18, 6pm
Online event
Book now

Joel Grey’s Academy and Tony-Award winning performance as the Emcee in Cabaret, the Broadway musical and movie with Liza Minnelli, is one of the most iconic in musical theater history. His remarkable production of Fiddler on the Roof won Drama Desk and Outer Critics awards as Best Revival of a Musical, and re-discovered the intimacy and emotion of the beloved Jewish story. In this exclusive conversation with JFEST Artistic Director Todd Salovey, Joel Grey will share his unique perspective on 3 of his favorite plays: Fiddler on the Roof, Paul Osborn’s On Borrowed Time, and of course, Cabaret.


Angelina Reaux Sings love, liebe, l’amour
The Love Songs of Kurt Weill

Produced in partnership with San Diego Opera

Thu Jun 23, 7:30pm and Sun Jun 26, 2pm
In person event at San Diego Repertory Theatre, Lyceum Theatres
$50 premiere, $36 standard
Book now

Angelina Reaux is a lyric soprano who performs opera, theatre and cabaret to glowing reviews across the US. She has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, mastered works by composers ranging from Gershwin to Puccini - but there is one artist that she is associated with more than any other - Kurt Weill. In this concert, Reaux celebrates the love songs of Weill in German, French, and English, accompanied by Scott Dunn on piano. 

“Réaux brings a better voice to Weill than anyone has ever heard and a degree of identification with the material no one has matched since Lotte Lenya herself.” The New York Times


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