It has been a hectic week since I last wrote to you. From speaking at the South Pasadena City Council meeting, where they became the 12th city to adopt a resolution denouncing antisemitism, to participating in two meetings with the ADL (one with Glendale’s mayor and Chief of Police and another with the leadership of the Armenian National Committee of America) to the start of 2023 Camp Gan Shalom yesterday, we have been busy here at the Jewish Federation. Oh, and an Op-ed I wrote about how our Jewish Federation is combating antisemitism locally was published in the Sunday edition of the Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, and the Whittier Daily News. So the last several days have been very eventful.
And that does not even take into account Sunday night. In my house, the Tonys… you know… the award ceremony celebrating Broadway... is a huge deal. In fact, it has begun to rival the Super Bowl party we have each year. This year’s show was even more meaningful, with the Pasadena Playhouse receiving the 2023 Regional Theatre Tony Award. You may remember that Danny Feldman, the playhouse’s Producing Artistic Director was the cover article for April’s JLife SGPV, so seeing him speak about the Pasadena Playhouse made this year’s Tonys extra special.
I brought up the Tonys because two of the shows that wound up winning significant awards were Parade and Leopoldstadt. Both shows focused on important Jewish themes like antisemitism and Jewish identity. And in the climate we find ourselves in today, both stood out to me to be very relevant and provide a context in ways that only theater (or film) can portray.
In his acceptance speech, Michael Arden Parade’s director shared the following message:
“Parade tells the story of a life that was cut short at the hands of the belief that one group of people is more or less valuable than another and that they might be more deserving of justice. This is a belief that is the core of antisemitism, of white supremacy, of homophobia, of transphobia and intolerance of any kind. We must come together and we must battle this because if we don’t we are doomed to repeat the horrors of our history.”
Having someone share these thoughts as publicly as Arden did with the 4.3 million people who watched the Tony telecast was important. This public allyship can be very powerful, and we need more people to do it. This is why shows like Parade and Leopoldstadt are so vital because not only do they raise awareness, but they also get people thinking.
We sometimes forget that while we may not have the same “wattage,” each of us has the same power… the power of our voice to share our thoughts. This is how social media and each of us using that platform can help spread the word and call out injustice where ever we see it. This is one of the many reasons the Jewish Federation is doing what we are doing to try and use our influence to make more people aware of antisemitism by asking our local leadership to join our efforts.
Remember to use your voice because it can be a powerful weapon… if you choose to use it for good. And I can assure you your voice is needed. Use it now by helping us spread this message or even donating to support our effort and making people aware of what (and why) you support what you do.