AMERICAN THEATER | Fellowship for various Jewish artists names 7 inaugural fellows

The first fellows Avi Amon, Nemuna Ceesay, William DeMeritt, Rebecca S’manga Frank, Benji Kahn, Lilach Orenstein and Daniel Terna as well as the founder of The Workshop, Kendell Pinkney.

NEW YORK CITY: The workshop, a new program sponsored by the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), announced the first cohort of its scholarship, designed to support, nurture and develop professional artists and cultural creators who identify as JOCISM (Jews of color, Jews of color). ‘indigenous origin, and Jews of Sephardic and / or Mizrahi origin). Fellows will receive a participation allowance, a production / presentation allowance, and free access to the performance space and workspace.

The workshop scholarships are sponsored by JTS and its Hendel Center for Ethics and Justice, itself supported by producers Ruth and Stephen Hendel. Artists will have the opportunity regularly throughout 2022 to strategize on creative and professional challenges and to present current and final works to the public. Additionally, the studio’s founder and artistic director, Kendell Pinkney, will lead a monthly study of Jewish texts, and each artist will be matched with a mentor through To restart, a Jewish arts and culture organization with a network of leading professionals in the fields of theater, television, film, dance, music and the visual arts.

“The workshop brings to life the stories and talents of Indigenous people, Sephardim, Mizrahi and Jews of color,” said Ruth and Stephen Hendel in a joint statement. “As theater producers, we look forward to embracing and being inspired by these often under-represented voices. We thank Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay of JTS (Executive Director of the JTS Hendel Center), Kendell Pinkney and supporters for launching this innovative arts program. We look forward to the creativity and inspiration that will emerge from our cohort of artists in the months to come.

that of the workshop first seven scholarship recipients are:

  • Avi Amon (Discipline: Music, Theater) is a Turkish-American composer, sound artist and educator.
  • Nemuna Ceesay (Discipline: Theater) is an actress, producer, and MFA graduate of the American Conservatory Theater (ACT of San Francisco).
  • William DeMeritt (Discipline: Theater; Film) is an actor, writer, voice over artist, and graduate of the Yale School of Drama.
  • Rebecca S’manga Frank (Discipline: Theater) is an actress, writer, filmmaker, educator and activist.
  • Benji Kahn (Discipline: Theater; Film) is a New York-based queer black / biracial non-binary playwright and screenwriter who draws inspiration from his own experiences as a total outsider growing up with a white family in very small towns.
  • Lilach Orenstein (Discipline: Dance) is a choreographer, performer and producer best known for combining various types of arts from several disciplines in poetic synergies.
  • Daniel Terna (Discipline: Visual Art; Photography) is a Brooklyn-based photographer and filmmaker whose work focuses on family history and hereditary trauma, as well as various topics related to public and private boundaries.

“These are extremely talented and accomplished artists who belong to racial and ethnic groups who have been marginalized or neglected in the Jewish community at large,” said Pinkney, who in addition to being a professional theater artist and a creative producer, is primarily black. rabbinical student to attend JTS, in a statement. “We want to bring their stories and their work to the fore, supporting them in many ways so that they can question, expand and revitalize notions of Jewish art and identity. “

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