Date: May 12, 2022
JCC to Hold Second Annual Queer Jewish Arts Festival in June – JMORE
The documentary “‘Transkids,” following the lives of four Israeli teenagers, will be presented at the Queer Jewish Arts Festival next month. (Provided photo)
For the second year in a row, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore will host a festival celebrating LGBTQIA+ stories and experiences through film, theater and discussions.
In honor of “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month,” the second annual Queer Jewish Arts Festival will be presented with virtual and in-person programming during June.
The in-person component will be held at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave. in Owings Mills.
In particular, the festival will hold three events exploring multiple facets of gender, race, religion and class issues. Kicking off the festival, “It Gets Bitter” is a one-act dramedy exploring rejection and acceptance of queer people among Jewish families and within the community. Directed by Eric Parness, the play features video art, drag performances, live singing and serious drama.
“It Gets Bitter” is a one-act dramedy featuring Abbi and Si Gezunt, a mother-son entertainment duo. (Provided)
Written and performed by Israeli-born actor, writer and dancer Yochai Greenfeld, “It Gets Bitter” will be presented at the Gordon Center on June 16 at 7:30 p.m. There will also be virtual screenings of “It Gets Bitter” on-demand from June 20-26.
Also to be presented during the week of June 20-26 is “Transkids,” a documentary following four Israeli teenagers on the verge of military conscription and chronicling their transitions. A virtual conversation will be streamed on Sunday, June 26, at noon featuring Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and producer Hilla Medalia, Noam Kaniel, a student featured in the film, and Elisha Alexander, founder of Ma’avarim, the largest transgender community nonprofit in Israel.
In addition, the documentary “Marry Me However” will be presented June 20-26. The documentary, directed by acclaimed Israeli filmmaker Mordechai Vardi, explores the lives of LGBT individuals living in the Orthodox community who marry heterosexuals and follow the guidelines of their societies while denying their own true identities.
“Marry Me However” explores the lives Orthodox LGBTQ+ members who choose to marry heterosexuals and raise a heteronormative family while denying their own identities. (Provided)
On Sunday, June 26, a virtual conversation at 1 p.m. will feature Rabbi Steve Greenberg, an Orthodox-ordained educator, writer and speaker who has been a leading advocate for LGBTQ inclusion in the Orthodox world.
“Jewish tradition has always straddled the line between assimilation and counter-culturalism. We hold many different truths,” Sara Shalva, chief arts officer of the JCC of Greater Baltimore, told Jmore last year prior to the inaugural Queer Jewish Arts Festival. “I hope this festival is about blurring those lines between us and them. The Queer Jewish Arts Festival is the perfect example of how arts and activism intersect.”
The festival is sponsored by the Grandchildren of Harvey M. & Lyn P. Meyerhoff Philanthropic Fund. Co-sponsors include JPride Baltimore, the Iron Crow Theatre, LifeBridge Health and the Maryland State Arts Council.
For information about the second annual Queer Jewish Arts Festival, visit jcc.org/gordon-center/queer-jewish-arts-festival.