SJCC launches 2018/19 Arts+Ideas Season performing arts lineup

New SeaJAM cultural festival kicks off Dec. 6.

  • Wednesday, October 31, 2018 1:30am
  • Life

The Stroum Jewish Community Center (SJCC) has announced its 2018-19 Arts+Ideas season lineup.

Now in its fourth season, the Arts+Ideas stage at the J continues to bring world-class musicians, films, chefs, authors, theater, live podcast events, a film and now a new cultural festival to its home on Mercer Island and to venues and audiences around the Puget Sound.

Several high-profile authors and chefs are featured in this year’s Words to the Wise talk series, which kicks off with James Beard Award-winning chef and cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi, who returns to the J for a second sold-out event.

The chef will discuss his new book “Ottolenghi Simple” on Oct. 31. Pulitzer-nominated author Nathan Englander discusses his new political thriller, “Dinner at the Center of the Earth,” on Nov. 17, and New York Times Washington bureau deputy editor Jonathan Weisman kicks off the second half of the season discussing his new book “(((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump” about the rise of the alt-right in a talk on Jan. 17.

Two local Seattle authors will also speak about their books. In her memoir, “Around Seattle in 80 Dates,” Renata Lubinsky chronicles her quest for love through online dating (Feb. 10) and Karen Treiger explores her in-laws’ unlikely meeting in the forest outside the Treblinka Death Camp in “My Soul is Filled with Joy” (April 30).

The J brings eclectic world music to the region with its Global Sound international music series. Trailblazing Sephardic band Jaffa Road performs twice on Oct. 21. In the spring, Yemeni and West African dance grooves mix with the deep soul of old Mizrahi chants when the electric performer Ravid Kahalani and Yemen Blues take the stage.

This year’s theater, live podcast, and comedy shows focus on storytelling. Comedian Ophira Eisenberg, host of NPR’s “Ask Me Another” and frequent host of “The Moth,” brings her stand-up to the J on Jan. 24, and comedian Monica Piper, the Emmy-winning writer known for “Rugrats,” “Roseanne” and “Mad About You” delivers stories and stand-up on June 15.

As the SJCC Arts + Ideas season continues to create innovative programming and expand beyond the walls of our 370-seat, state-of-the-art theatre and cinema on Mercer Island, we are launching a brand-new festival in December that will deliver headlining artists along with up-and-comers in a festival format at various locations throughout the region. The first annual SeaJAM Festival (Dec. 6-9) is a showcase of emerging and established Jewish arts and music featuring an opening keynote headliner, two music shows including a family rock concert, dance, comedy, and more. SeaJAM kicks off at Benaroya Hall downtown on Dec. 6.

The 24th annual Seattle Jewish Film Festival (March 23-31 and April 6-7), will showcase 36 films from around the world that explore global Jewish and Israeli life, culture, identity, history, and diversity for everyone and all ages. Full lineup and ticket sales announced in February.

All events are open to the public.

For a full list of programs, more information, or to purchase tickets, go online to

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