SeaJAM, which kicks off the SJCC Arts + Ideas 2019–2020 season, will present “An Evening with Debra Messing” on Saturday, September 14, at Benaroya Hall’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. Courtesy photo

SeaJAM, which kicks off the SJCC Arts + Ideas 2019–2020 season, will present “An Evening with Debra Messing” on Saturday, September 14, at Benaroya Hall’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. Courtesy photo

SJCC prepares for second annual SeaJAM

SeaJAM will present “An evening with Debra Messing” on Sept. 14.

  • Monday, August 19, 2019 1:30am
  • Life

The Stroum Jewish Community Center (SJCC) will present the 2019 Seattle Jewish Arts + Music (SeaJAM) Festival Sept. 13-15. This year’s festival celebrates the SJCC’s 50th anniversary on Mercer Island and 70th in greater Seattle. The SJCC is the only Jewish community center in Washington State.

SeaJAM, which kicks off the SJCC Arts + Ideas 2019–20 season, will present “An evening with Debra Messing” on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Benaroya Hall’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. Best known for her role on NBC’s Emmy-winning and Golden Globe–nominated comedy series Will & Grace, Messing will discuss her work in TV, film and theater, including the recent reprisal of her role as Grace Adler, 11 years after the original series ended. Messing will also discuss her advocacy work as a global health ambassador focusing on HIV/AIDS, her involvement with the Women’s March and LGBTQ causes and being a positive example for Jewish women and moms on-screen and off.

The festival will continue on Sunday, Sept. 15, with the 50th anniversary celebration brunch and banter with chef Joel Gamoran, Sur La Table’s national chef and host of A&E’s series Scraps. The brunch event will be preceded by an onstage conversation during which Chef Gamoran will show attendees how to make delicious dishes from his trailblazing cookbook, “Cooking Scrappy,” of which all attendees will receive a signed copy. In support of the SJCC’s anniversary, Gamoran is donating a private cooking class for seven people that will take place in the new test kitchen he is building.

That same evening, SeaJAM 2019 will close with The Maccabeats performing a family-friendly a capella concert of traditional Jewish, American and Israeli songs, parodies of pop hits and their signature mash-ups. Originally formed as a Yeshiva University student vocal group in 2010, the Maccabeats have become a Jewish music and a cappella phenomenon, with more than 20 million views on YouTube, numerous TV appearances and four successful albums. The singers have entertained and inspired hundreds of audiences across the globe, connecting with fans of all backgrounds and ages.

SeaJAM, now in its second year, is a festival celebrating Jewish life, art and culture and features up-and-coming performers and top acts in music and comedy as well as family shows. A cornerstone program of the SJCC’s Arts + Ideas season, SeaJAM brings rarely seen Jewish and Israeli talent to the Pacific Northwest to engage, educate and inspire the Jewish and wider communities.

“We are very excited about this year’s lineup at our second annual SeaJAM,” SJCC CEO Amy Lavin, said in a press release. “It will bring excitement, delight and, most importantly, community celebration to this milestone year in which we are celebrating our 50th year on Mercer Island and 70th in greater Seattle.”

SeaJAM Festival schedule:

Friday, Sept. 13 — Challah for the J: The Great Challah Contest, SJCC, 4:30–6 p.m., free to attend, $18 challah entry fee.

Saturday, Sept. 14 — An evening with Debra Messing, Benaroya Hall, 8 p.m., VIP reception at 7 p.m., $35–$100.

Sunday, Sept. 15 — Chef Joel Gamoran Brunch & Banter, SJCC, 10:30 a.m., $100 (includes brunch and signed book), followed by The Maccabeats concert, SJCC, 5 p.m., $15–$25.

“The SJCC remains a place where friendships form, traditions thrive and community strengthens, and in this anniversary year, we recommit to creating experiences that unify us, celebrate Jewish values and ensure that we all feel connected in and around the SJCC. This year’s SeaJAM lineup does just that,” Lavin said.

For more information and to purchase tickets to all SeaJAM 2019 events, go online to

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.


More in Life

File photo.
Chamber wellness webinar moved

The event, which features Dr. Erica Clark and Dr. Ilan Green, has been rescheduled from Aug. 6 to Sept. 10.

Shot from the city’s 2018 National Night Out event. Photo courtesy Julie Underwood
No city-sanctioned National Night Out event on Mercer Island this year

In light of COVID-19, the city is encouraging residents to still find safe ways to celebrate.

Shot from a previous Art UnCorked event. Photo courtesy MI Art UnCorked Facebook page
Art UnCorked, postponed to 2021, gets new official date

For now, the next Art UnCorked event is set for Sept. 10, 2021.

Graphic courtesy SJCC.
SJCC announces ‘senior hours’ for sidewalk café

Starting Aug. 4, seniors will be served exclusively from 10-11 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Top row, L-R: Councilmember Jake Jacobson, Mayor Benson Wong, Deputy Mayor Wendy Weiker. Middle row, L-R: Councilmembers Lisa Anderl, Craig Reynolds, David Rosenbaum. Bottom row, L-R: Citizens of the Year Kendra and David Uhler and Councilmember Salim Nice. Screengrab courtesy city of Mercer Island
Mercer Island ‘Citizen of the Year’ announced

David and Kendra Uhler received the honor at a recent council meeting.

A photo from this year’s production of “Rent,” which debuted in March. YTN only got through a few performances before having to cancel remaining dates due to coronavirus concerns. Photo courtesy YTN Facebook
Youth Theatre Northwest making unprecedented adjustments amid pandemic

The Reporter caught up with executive director Mimi Katano to discuss how the theatre is transitioning, what has/hasn’t worked and what concerns she has about the future.

Ezra Teshome. Photo courtesy Mercer Island Rotary Club
Mercer Island Rotary Club announces upcoming speakers

Ezra Teshome will be presenting at the July 21 meeting, Rick Newell on the 28th.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid. Courtesy photo
2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid | Car review

There’s a reason Honda’s CR-V has been America’s top-selling crossover vehicle over… Continue reading

2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat. Courtesy photo
2020 Ford Ranger SuperCrew Lariat | Car review

Ford’s venerable compact Ranger pickup went away for a while. But it… Continue reading