Israel at the Edlavitch DCJCC

The Edlavitch DCJCC has a robust series of offerings with which the Washington DC community can engage with social, political and cultural issues in Israel. Through theater, film, literature, music and panel discussions, the EDCJCC offers a year-round interdisciplinary experience with Israel. Israel’s top filmmakers (Eytan Fox, Eran Riklis, Dror Moreh and Avi Nesher), musicians (Yemen Blues, Hadag Nahash, David Broza, Achinoam Nini), and authors (Ari Shavit, David Grossman, Yossi Klein Halevi, Sayed Kashua) have all recently graced our stage.


Let the Sun's Light Rise: Applying Yitzhak Rabin's Inspirational Leadership to Contemporary Zionism
Thursday, November 5 | 7:00 pm Reception | 7:45 pm Remarks
Join us to explore the state of democracy in Israel today and focus on questions of remembrance and values. Participants will hear remarks from Knesset Member, Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin, a former assistant to Israel's warrior turned peacemaker Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated 20 years ago this fall.
This Jewish Community Relations Council program is co-sponsored with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and Masa Israel.

Dan Ephron, Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel
Thursday, November 19 | 7:30 pm
The assassination of Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin 20 years ago this November remains the single most consequential event in the country's recent history. Dan Ephron, former Newsweek Jerusalem bureau chief and author of the new book about the murder, Killing A King, and Nancy Updike, award-winning producer of This American Life, take us on a multimedia journey of the assassination and the event’s lasting reverberations.

2015 Programs

Washington Jewish Film Festival 

The 25th Anniversary Festival opens with the triumph Magic Men, the latest from the directors of Matter of Size and Mabul. Highlights such as Israeli Foreign Oscar Submission Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem; critically acclaimed Cannes entry Next to Her; and a Spotlight Evening with David Broza and Mira Awad headline a selection of 23 Israeli features, documentaries, and short films from one of the oldest, largest and grandest Jewish Film Festivals in North America. 

5th Annual Community Education Day on Arab Citizens of Israel 

Co-Sponsored by the Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues with lead Support provided by the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation and the Lois and Richard England Family Foundation. 

A day of in-depth exploration of the daily lives and challenges of Arab Citizens of Israel, including a keynote address by Dr. Dalia Fadila, Provost of Al-Qasemi Academy in Israel and a panel discussion with Dr. Fadila, and Safa Garb, JDC Division Director, Arab Society and Infrastructure and moderated by Rabbi Sid Schwarz, co-chair of the Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues. The day concluded with the DC premiere of Dancing Arabs with filmmaker Eran Riklis. 

Israel Screened: The State of Israeli Documentary Cinema (Discussion) 

Leading Israeli documentary distributor Ruth Diskin offers a state of the cinema address, looking at the evolving landscape of Israeli non-fiction film, and the challenges and changes ahead.

A Place in Heaven (Film) 

This quasi-Biblical, epic drama spans the history of Israel through 40 years and three wars, yet, like Madmony’s previous film Restoration, at its heart it is about father-son relationships.  

When the brave, much admired officer dubbed Bambi returns to base after a daring mission, the cook’s assistant, a young rabbi, tells him enviously that he has earned a place in heaven for endangering his life on behalf of his Jewish brethren. As a secular Zionist, Bambi scoffs at this notion and notes that he would gladly give up that place in exchange for his favorite spicy omelet. Since religious law permits the trade of such an abstract concept, the cook draws up a contract.  

The Hadar Noiberg Trio and Yael Deckelbaum in Concert (Music)

Sliding from jazz improvisation and Western harmony to Middle Eastern rhythms and semitones, flutist Hadar Noiberg fuses styles seamlessly, giving her a distinctive and innovative voice. Singer/songwriter Yael Deckelbaum, a member of the super group Habanot Nechama, has performed with the Israel Philharmonic and toured with megastar Shlomo Artzi. These two Israeli powerhouses come together for a very special double bill performance.

Layl Shira: An Evening of Israeli Song (Music)

Celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut with an evening of Israeli song! Shira betzibur (singing in public) was a favorite activity of the pioneers of Israel, who would pass out song sheets, take out a lone guitar or accordion, and sing around the campfire. We’re bringing back this fun tradition with a dynamic repertoire of familiar and new songs. Words are projected on a large screen and are easy to follow. Come and sing or just enjoy the music!

2014 Programs

Zero Motivation (Film)

The film centers on a Tel Aviv pub and its multicultural clientele; after a group of chauvinist soldiers are kicked out one evening, the unintended consequences are greater than anyone could have imagined. The complex Israeli social and political fabric is captured via a Tel Aviv pub owned by a middle-aged woman who, along with her patrons, is looking for love.

Footsteps in Jerusalem (Film) 

Heralded by MoMA as one of the most innovative films of 2013, Footsteps in Jerusalem is an anthology of ten short films that collectively offer an evocative portrait of the city—its diversity, complexity, and rapid transformation. It is also a tribute to the history of Israeli film, in particular to David Perlov, the forefather of modern Israeli documentary cinema, and to his 1963 revolutionary film In Jerusalem, made a few years before the ’67 War, in a divided city. 

Fifth Heaven (Film) 

In this beautifully made coming-of-age drama, a teenage orphan struggles to adjust to a new life amidst other exiles in a British-controlled Palestine. Deserted by her parents 13-year-old Maya is deposited at an orphanage for Jewish girls on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, where she develops forbidden feelings for an anti-British resistance fighter. Based on the Brenner Prize winning novel by Rachel Eytan.  

Life According to Afga (Film)

The film centers on a Tel Aviv pub and its multicultural clientele; after a group of chauvinist soldiers are kicked out one evening, the unintended consequences are greater than anyone could have imagined. The complex Israeli social and political fabric is captured via a Tel Aviv pub owned by a middle aged woman who, along with her patrons, is looking for love.  

Yemen Blues (Part of the Washington Jewish Music Festival) 

Yemen Blues mixes West African and Yemenite influences with contemporary grooves, from funk to mambo to the deep soul of old chants. Created by Yemenite Israeli vocalist Ravid Kahalani (of The Idan Raichel Project), this hip new arrival has taken the world music scene by storm with irresistible, rhythmic music that makes you want to dance.

Yotam Silberstein and Friends (Part of the Washington Jewish Music Festival) 

At the age of 21, guitarist Yotam Silberstein won the prestigious “Israeli Jazz Player of the Year” award and since 2005 has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the New York jazz scene where his performances received rave reviews from critics and fans. Silberstein will perform his unique mix of straight ahead jazz, modern, Brazilian, world music, blues and bebop.

The Ballad of the Weeping Spring (Film)

The final wishes of a dying man result in Josef Tawila (Uri Gavriel) traversing the northern Israeli countryside on a mission. He travels in search of the best musicians to perform the world premiere of The Ballad of the Weeping Spring. 

This stylized, moody and surprising journey is part spaghetti (Falafel?) western, part Seven Samuri, with musical instruments taking place of weapons.  

Falling Out of Time with David Grossman (Author) 

Following his magisterial To the End of the Land, the universally acclaimed Israeli author brings us an incandescent fable of parental grief––concise, elemental, a powerfully distilled experience of understanding and acceptance, and of art’s triumph over death.

Sponsored by Francine Zorn Trachtenberg and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut Celebration & The Troupe (Film)

A good ol’ fashioned Yom Ha’azmaut party: we’re talking inflatable hammers, bamba, corn on the cob, and Goldstar Beer all capped off with a screening of the cult classic Israeli film The Troupe, from 2014 WJFF Visionary Award Honoree Avi Nesher. 

Shtisel – Full Season 1 (Film)

Mondays, May 5 - 26, 7:30 pm

The new Israeli hit TV series Shtisel – from the producers of the beloved series Srugim – focuses on a Haredi family living in Jerusalem. Shtisel is a magical glimpse into an often closed-off world, overflowing with surprisingly poignant, if restrained, romanticism. 

Golda’s Balcony (Theater) 

By William Gibson and Starring Tovah Feldshuh

Broadway Production supervised by Scott Schwartz

A riveting portrait of one of the great women of our time, Golda Meir, Golda’s Balcony is the final work from Tony® Award-winning playwright William Gibson (The Miracle Worker, Two for the Seesaw), and an award-winning smash that, in 15 sold-out months on Broadway, set the record for the longest one-woman show in Broadway history.    

Reading: Hand in Hand Together by A.B. Yehoshua (Theater) 

Esteemed Israeli novelist A.B. Yehoshua’s latest drama depicts two of the historic meetings between Labor Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion and Revisionist Zionist leader Zeev Jabotinsky, first in London 1934 as Pinchas Rutenberg, veteran of the Bolshevik Revolution turned founder of the Palestine Electric Company, arranges for a clandestine meeting between the leaders of rival factions of the Zionist movement. Rutenberg hopes to broker an agreement that would end the (sometimes violent) conflict between the two groups and encourages them to work towards the common goal of establishing a Jewish homeland.  

Reading: 1948 by Yoram Kaniuk (Theater)

From the memoir by Yoram Kaniuk. Adapted for the Haifa Theater by Noya Lancet. Directed for Theater J by Derek Goldman (Our Class). Discussion to follow

A journey through famed Israeli author Yoram Kaniuk's first year in Israel when we arrived fresh off the boat from the ravages of Europe sixty years ago. Kaniuk writes the most personal memoir of his career detailing his experiences as a mostly bewildered but determined 17-year-old member of the famed Harel Brigade of the Palmah, fighting in the War of Independence. Kaniuk’s bestselling 1948 (or Tashach) was adapted for the Haifa Theatre in 2011. 


The Admission (Theater) 

A Workshop Presentation produced in collaboration with the Cameri Theatre and the Arab-Hebrew Theatre of Jaffa. By Motti Lerner and Directed by Sinai Peter

An Israeli homage to All My Sons set in Haifa during the first Intifada. Giora is a young professor engaged to Neta but in love with Samia, the Palestinian daughter of a family friend who becomes troubled when Giora's father's company begins building on the site of a battle that took place 40 years ago. Giora struggles to find the truth about his father's war-time secrets, confronting the causes of his brother's death and how Giora came to incur his own war-time injuries in Lebanon. As Giora's family presses him to look forward, not back, the play asks how we can move forward toward peace while still wrestling with the ghosts of war.


The 24th Washington Jewish Film Festival 

This 24th Festival opens with the Ophir Award-winning The Wonders, directed by this year's winner of the WJFF Visionary Award, Avi Nesher. We close the Festival 11 days later with Eytan Fox's Cupcakes. In-between are 22 other Israeli features, documentaries, short films and television series from one of the oldest, largest and grandest Jewish Film Festivals in North America.  

The 4th Annual Day of Education on Israeli-Arab Issues: Shared Society Through Public Spaces  (Film and discussion) 

With Ran Tal, Director, Garden of Eden; Jabir Asaqla, Co-Executive Director, Sikkuy: The Association for Civic Equality in Israel; Naomi Shacter, Associate Director, SHATIL, The New Israel Fund and moderated by Rabbi Sid Schwartz, Co-Chair, Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues.

Shared Society Through Teacher Integration (Discussion) 

With Ganit Ilouz, Director, Dove’s Cry; Ali Waked, Deputy Director of Merchavim – The Institute for the Advancement of Shared Citizenship in Israel; Myriam Darmoni Charbit, Director of Civics and Shared Life Education, Center for Educational Technology and moderated by Liron Shoham, Communications Manager, Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues. Sponsored by the Naomi & Nehemiah Cohen Foundation at the Washington Jewish Film Festival.  

Artistic Expression & Israel (Discussion) 

What is the appropriate balance between presenting for an American audience, Israeli art that is critical of the society and art which celebrates it?

Panelists: Dror Moreh, Academy Award-nominated director of The Gatekeepers; Linda Gradstein, Freelance Journalist and former NPR Jerusalem Correspondent; Leon Wieseltier, Literary Editor of The New Republic.  

Ari Shavit in Conversation with Leon Wieseltier (Discussion)

Ari Shavit’s newest book, The New York Times bestseller My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel is a thoughtful meditation on Israel's history, politics and crucial national questions. Drawing on interviews, historical documents, private diaries, and letters, as well as his own family’s story, Shavit illuminates the pivotal moments of the Zionist century to tell a riveting narrative that is both personal and national. Shavit will be in conversation with Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic.

Examining the History of 1948 (Discussion) 

The creation of the State of Israel and its subsequent victory over the assembled Arab armies arrayed against it was widely regarded as a modern miracle in 1948. Coming after the trauma of the Shoah and fulfilling an ancient longing for a return to Zion made for a heroic moment in Israeli and Jewish consciousness. In the years since, different historians have helped to uncover the more complex history of the war and its aftermath, even as that history has become an object of political debate. Our panel will discuss the developments in the historical research of 1948, the uses of that history and its impact on contemporary political discussions. 

Moderated by Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at Slate. 

Panelists Included: Professor Donna Robinson Divine, Morningstar Family Foundation Professor of Government and Director of Middle East Studies at Smith College; Shay Hazkani, Visiting Scholar at Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society; Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America.  

2013 Programs

The American Jewish Community’s Evolving Relationship with Israel (Discussion) 

Panel discussion a part of a new continuing series called Embracing Democracy: Who Has the Right to Speak for Israel? We will bring into the light the strong emotions, conflicting opinions and different modes of expression of support for Israel.  As America itself seems ever more polarized, we aim to use these discussions as a way to bridge the polarization that has beset the American Jewish community around Israel.

Moderated by Jane Eisner, Editor-in-Chief of The Forward. Panelists: Jonathan Tobin, Senior Online Editor of Commentary magazine; Rabbi Melissa Weintraub, Director, JCPA Civility Initiative and Founding Director of Encounter; Congressman Robert Wexler, president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace in Washington, DC; Michael Makovsky, CEO, JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) 


Hatufim: Israeli television series; 

basis for Homeland


Israel: A Home Movie 


Six Million and One 

Nono The Zigzag Kid, adaptation of 

a David Grossman book

Arab Labor Season 3 (complete)

Fill the Void 

Born in Berlin 

Slaves of the Sword 


Off White Lies 

Orchestra of Exiles 


Life in Stills 

The Law in these Parts

From the Black You Make Color 

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea 

Bridging Bet Shemesh 

Sayed Kashua & Arab Labor: Reading and screening of popular TV show with creator



Apples From the Desert 

Ulysses on Bottles 

The Aristocrats by Edna Mayza 

Boged: An Enemy of the People  


Orchestra of Exiles by Shai Wosner 

Mika Karni & Kol Dodi 

Achinoam Nini, Opening Night of the Washington Jewish Music Festival 


Sayed Kashua & Arab Labor: Reading and screening of popular TV show with creator

Five Houses of Leah Goldberg

Dan Raviv: Spies Against Armageddon 


The Israeli Elections: US Campaign Consultants Unpack the Results

Israel: Building a Shared Society - 3rd Annual Community Education Day on Israeli Arab Issues 

Stand-up comedy

Benji Lovitt 

The Edlavitch DCJCC stands firmly in support of Israel as an independent Jewish state.  We support open, balanced and respectful dialogue that engages a broad community in meaningful conversation.  We choose our partners and affiliations to ensure that all programming supports the EDCJCC’s mission to preserve and strengthen Jewish identity, heritage, tradition and values.  We oppose “Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions” of Israel (BDS) and all efforts to delegitimize the right of the State of Israel to exist.

Israeli Dancing in the Heart of DC

Sunday evenings, 7:00–11:00 pm
$10, Discount Member and Student Price $8
Markid (Instructor): Noah Glushakow-Smith

From 7–8:00pm come learn beginners dances and from 8-11:00pm join the circle for open Israeli dancing and intermediate instruction, including circle, line and couples dances. All are welcome, beginners and experienced dancers alike. No dance partner necessary.

No pre-registration required, except for groups of 10 or more. Join the RikudDC email list for weekly updates.  For more information or to volunteer, send us an email.