JCA Cultural Arts Festival


November 1 – 18, 2021
with Extension Events in 2022

Each November, the JCA celebrates its annual Jewish Cultural Arts Festival and this year features a variety of both virtual and in-person events including art, films and literature.

Join us for the JCA’s celebration of the arts at the 2021 Jewish Cultural Arts Festival. This year our Jewish literary, film and arts event, features artwork, films, performances and the 25th Anniversary of the JCA’s signature Jewish Book Festival.

Due to the generosity of our sponsors, the 2021 JCA Cultural Arts Festival events are free and open to the community!

To register for an event, please click here or call (904) 730-2100 ext. 228.

For information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Ben Marcus at (904) 730-2100 ext. 318 or click the button above.

For additional details about the festival or how to get involved, contact either Rachel Sandler at (904) 730-2100 ext. 271 rachel.sandler@jcaja.org or Heather Terrill at (904) 730-2100 ext. 265 heather.terrill@jcajax.org.


Thank you to our generous sponsors:

Festival Supporter

Jordan and Shirley Ansbacher Family Foundation
Linda and David Stein
Rochelle and David Stoddard
Trager Family Foundation
Brenda and Eugene Wolchok

Arts Patron

Helen Rowan and Paul Halloran
Nancy and Mark Green
Korman and Shelton Families


Regina and Adam Chaskin
Paula and Ken Horn
Sam Kersun
Glenn and Michael Miller
Kimberly and Richard Sisisky
Jennifer Stuart
Patty and Steve Wilson


Irene and Jimmy Jaffa
Whitney and Grant Kuvin
Kirsten and Josh Martino
Judy Mizrahi
Rachel and Craig Morgenthal
Evelyn and Stewart Pinsof
Sondra Resnikoff
Toby Ringel
Judy and Steve Silverman
Phyllis Vandroff


Roz and Mark Abramson
Karen Backilman
LaVerne and Andy Cantor
Kristina and Matt Flagler
Beverly and Melvyn Fruit
Goldie Lanksy
Christina and Mark Levine
Marilyn Mass
Daniel Miller and Lior Spring
Thelma and Robert Nied
Kim and David Robbins
Ellen and Alan Rosner
Millie and Edward Tannen
Sharon and Bruce Witten
Randy Kammer and Jeff Wollitz
Arlene and Evan Yegelwel


Karen and Philip Adler
Lois and Alan Chepenik
Marilyn Desser
Susan and Ronald Elinoff
Bunni and Myron Flagler
Mimi Kersun
Pam and Michael Korn
Dan Kossoff
Jill and Paul Metlin
Ruth and Bernard Nachman
Suzanne Perritt
Alicia and Jesse Rauchwarger
Howard Roey
Judy Schnitzer
Sandra and Robert Selwitz
Jackie and Bernie Simms
Dianna Smith
Michele and David Steinfeld


Hollie and Hank Arnold
Phyllis and Mark Atkins
Carole and Marvin Feldman
Leslie Held
Helen and John Hill
Sharon Kesler
Evelyn Peck
Ann Silke
Carole Wolpin

*as of 11/4/2021


Come listen to Jewish authors speak about their books both in-person and virtually.

Opening Night!
Monday, November 1 at 7 pm

Ticking Clock – Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes

Emmy and two-time Peabody Award-winning writer and producer, Ira Rosen reveals the intimate, untold stories of his decades working at 60 Minutes. For nearly 25 years, Rosen has produced some of America’s most iconic long-form journalism, breaking some of the most important stories in television news. Rosen shares his first-hand accounts of clashing producers and anchors.


Streaming at the JCA
Book Club
Tuesday, November 2 at 12 pm

The Woman with the Blue Star

New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan Tale and Lost Girls in Paris, Pan Jenoff shares the story of Sadie Gault, a young girl living with her parents in the Krakow Ghetto during World War II. When Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her mother are forced to seek refuge in the sewers. One day, Sadie meets a Polish girl who helps her as the dangers of the war worsen. Set in 1942, this emotional tale is a testament to the power of friendship and strength of survival.

Tuesday, November 2 at 7 pm

The Upstander – How Surviving the Holocaust Sparked Max Glauben’s Mission to Dismantle Hate

Max Glauben is on a mission to outlast hate and compel the world to embrace tolerance. “Why me?” Max asked himself as a 15-year-old convoy rumbled from the Warsaw Ghetto to Majdanek death camp in 1943. As his questions intensify, the Nazis kill Max’s family, leaving him to channel grit, determination and his knack for carpentry to survive.

Girl’s Night Out
Monday, November 8 at 7 pm 


Writer of the Netflix Series Emily in Paris, Deborah Copaken shares her memoir of a Jewish woman trying to keep it together while her body falls apart. A frontline account of a woman brought to her knees by the punch of divorce, single motherhood, unaffordable child and healthcare, illness, death, college tuition, ageism, sexism and bad luck. With every setback, she finds humor, as she struggles to survive.

Virtual Event
Wednesday, November 10 at 7 pm

The Unexpected Spy – From the CIA to the FBI, My Secret Life Taking Down Some of the World’s Most Notorious Terrorists

A Jewish American woman recruited by the CIA, Tracy Walder, tracked terrorists for President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell. Driven to stop the new breed of terror that war created, Walder with an alias identity, followed the trails of terrorists across North Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Streaming at the JCA
Sunday, November 14 at 1 pm

What Does the Constitution Say? A Kid’s Guide to How Our Democracy Works

The Constitution can be hard to understand – even for adults. Take a tour of the whole Constitution while understanding what all the fancy words really mean. From the Preamble to the 27 Amendments, this guide is packed with information, historic quotes and the most important topics involved in understanding the Constitution.

Monday, November 15 at 7 pm

Food Americana – The Remarkable People and Incredible Stories Behind America’s Favorite Dishes

Creator of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, David Page shares an exploration of how America created national cuisine from the foods of other countries. Including a closer look at bagels and lox, the history of Lender’s Bagels, and comments from Actor Mel Brooks, who reminisces about lox as a once-a-week treat.

Virtual Event
Tuesday, November 18 at 7 pm

Can We Talk About Israel? A Guide for the Curious, Confused, and Conflicted

Can the situation in Israel be explained in 10 minutes or less? Why do people feel so passionately about the century-long struggle between two peoples? As head of the New Israel Fund, dedicated to equality and democracy, Daniel Sokatch is extremely well versed on the Israeli-Palestinian issue and shares why the conflict inspires such extreme feelings.

Streaming at the JCA
Book Club
Tuesday, February 8 at 7 pm

Little Pieces of Me

When a DNA test reveals a long-buried secret, a woman must look to the past to understand her mother and herself. Following her acclaimed debut novel, You and Me and Us, in Little Pieces of Me, Alison Hammer offers a deeply moving story of family, identity, relationships and Jewish culture. Founder of the Every Damn Day Writers online group, a graduate of the University of Florida and the Creative Circus in Atlanta, Alison lived in nine cities before settling down in Chicago.

Tuesday, February 15 at 7 pm

May You Live In Interesting Times

Laraine Newman’s memoir May You Live in Interesting Times, chronicles her life and experiences that were on the forefront of every pop culture shift in America, from the British invasion and music scene in Los Angeles to the beginning of the comedy store and how it started the prominence of comedy. A founding member of the groundlings and an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, Laraine shares her memories from SNL and watching the rise of animation – all while dealing with “demons,” getting sober, having children and reinventing herself.

Thursday, March 24 at 7 pm

How Magicians Think: Misdirection, Deception, and Why Magic Matters

Joshua Jay has performed on stages in more than 100 countries. A headliner at Hollywood’s Magic Castle and a former World Champion in Sleight of Hand, Joshua shares his book How Magicians Think: Misdirection, Deception and Why Magic Matters. The best-selling author brings his readers inside and turns the light on to the mindset behind the magic. Joshua has performed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with James Corden and fooled the famous magic duo, Penn and Teller, on Fool Us.

Tuesday, January 11 at 7 pm

Public Art in Jacksonville

The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville joins us at the JCA to share what goes on behind the scenes when it comes to implementing public art projects in the River City. Learn more about the process of public art installations and the exciting things happening in Jacksonville with the Cultural Council.

Sunday, January 16 from 2 – 3:30 pm

Downtown Art Tour

Join us on a tour with the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville to see the amazing pieces included in the Art in Public Places of Downtown Jacksonville. This tour gives a glimpse of the work the Cultural Council does within our beautiful community. Registration is required. Attendees will be emailed the starting location of the tour.

Tuesday, April 5 at 7 pm
Streaming at the JCA

Big Time

Jen Spyra has worked in near­ly every kind of comedy there is from penning stories for The Onion, writing skits and oneliners as a staff writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, contributing pieces to The New Yorker and McSweeney’s, to being an improv performer at UCB Theatre in Manhattan. In this uproarious, addictive debut in her novel, Big Time, Jen takes a culture that seems almost beyond parody and holds it up to a funhouse mirror. Reader are immersed in a world of prehistoric influencers, woodland creatures plagued by millennial neuroses, and a birthday bash determined to be the most lavish celebration of all time – by any means necessary.

Tuesday, May 10 at 7 pm
Streaming at the JCA

Mom’s Don’t Have Time To Have Kids

An author, podcaster, publisher, CEO, wife and mother of four, Zibby Owens lives in New York City where she is inspired by five things moms don’t have time to do – write, get sick, see friends, lose weight and sleep. Founder of Zibby Owens Media, a privately-held media company, Zibby helps busy people live their best lives by connecting to books and each other. Her award-winning podcast, Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books,has been downloaded millions of times. In her novel, Moms Don’t Have Time to Have Kids, Ziggy compiled 53 essays by 49 authors to help the rest of us feel understood, inspired and less alone. All previous guests on her podcast, the book includes fifteen New York Times bestselling authors, five national bestsellers and twenty-nine award-winning/notable/critically acclaimed writers.

JCA Pop-up Book Store

Visiting authors’ and JBC books for sale! A unique selection of books.


Cinematic creativity in acclaimed Jewish-themed films from festivals across the U.S.

Thursday, November 4 at 7 pm

Kiss Me Kosher

Even in the darkest, most cringe-worthy situations, Kiss Me Kosher is a laugh-out-loud comedy about acceptance, love and plenty of family drama. After a string of ex-girlfriends, Shira found real love with Maria, a German who uproots her entire life to live with Shira in Tel Aviv. The women plan to marry, as their families awkwardly work to overcome their cultural and religious differences. However, there is one exception, Shira’s grandmother, Berta who disapproves of marriage between Germans and Jews and goes to great lengths to break up the happy couple. But even that becomes complicated when Berta secretly starts seeing a Palestinian man. Join us on Thursday, November 4 at 7 pm for Kiss Me Kosher, as Shira and Maria learn that the road to happiness is a minefield with plenty of booby traps along the way.

Sunday, November 7 at 3 pm


Premiering at the Berlinale’s European Film Market, Neighbours depicts a realistic look at the quiet dignity of villagers living with the oppressive tyranny and corruption of the Syrian government and Turkish border guards in the seventies. In his Kurdish village in northeastern Syria, Sero and his uncle act as the Sabbath goy’im (gentile, a non-Jew) for their Jewish neighbors and their spinster daughter, Hannah. With a growing state of antisemitism, the situation becomes precarious for the Jewish family, yet they are stripped of their Syrian citizenship and are unable to leave the country. When Sero’s mother is accidentally shot by a Turkish border guard, the Jewish family turns to Sero’s father to help Hannah flee using his dead wife’s papers. Years later, when Sero is with his family in an Iraqi refugee camp, Hannah comes to find him. The emotionally uplifting Nieghbours, an emotionally uplifting and important humanistic film, will play at the JCA on Sunday, November 7 at 3 pm.


Wednesday, November 17 at 7 pm

The Tiger Within

The unlikely friendship between Samuel an elderly Holocaust survivor and Casey, an angry 14-year-old runaway is the premise of Tiger Within. On Wednesday, November 17 at 7 pm, join us for this inspiring, redemptive film about the power of forgiveness and unconditional love to transform lives and overcome ignorance, fear and hate. As the story unfolds, Samuel and Casey form a powerful bond, which blossoms into a new family unit. The relationship provides Casey support and guidance as it offers Samuel a glimpse of fatherhood that was torn from him in Dachau.

Visual Arts

Featuring Jewish Artists in Jacksonville in our Vandroff Art Gallery.

Oct 28 – Dec 1, 2021
Opening reception: November 1 at 6 pm

The JCA Vandroff Art Gallery presents:
JCA Cultural Arts Festival: Jewish Artists of Jacksonville 

Walking through our Vandroff Art Gallery, will also be a treat to visitors at the JCA as they take delight in the featured pieces from various local Jewish artists. There will be an opening reception at the JCA on November 1 at 6 pm to showcase artists: Ellen Diamond, Louise Freshman Brown, Roberta Harmon, Irene Jaffa, Karen Lippes, Jan Lipsky, Donna McNett, Kim Miller, Kim Robbins and Marlene Scheer.

For Young Families

Spark imagination in your family at our Jewish Cultural Arts event.

Sunday, November 7 at 10 am

One Good Deed

Families, join us for a book walk during the Cultural Arts Festival at the JCA as we share One Good Deed with our community. The children’s book written by Terri Fields and illustrated by Deborah Melmon stresses how one small act of kindness can lead to another. During our book walk, families will enjoy One Good Deed displayed by poster-sized pages in 10 different stations. Families will walk to each station where they will read a portion of the story and participate in a corresponding activity. For example, in one section of the book, children rake leaves with their neighbors. For this page of the book, we will have a large pile of colorful fall leaves for children to rake.

Whitney Kuvin

Lisa Ansbacher, Karen Backilman, Suzie Becker, Nicole Brown, Regina Chaskin, Ellen Cottrill, Susan Elinoff, Sunny Gettinger, Bruce Goldring, Stacey Goldring, Kelsi Hasden, Hazzan Jesse Holzer, Iris Kraemer, Mark Kraemer, Rachel Morgenthal, Thelma Nied, Sandy Oasis, Jennifer Plotkin, Edrea Porter, Alicia Rauchwarger, Sherrie Saag, Elaine Silliman, Paul Silliman, Jackie Simms, Rena Smith, Michele Steinfeld, Alyssa Sugg, Rachel Walker

Board Chair
Rochelle Stoddard

Adam Chaskin