Upcoming Events

Winter 2020

The Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller Institute for Jewish Learning &

Hillel at UCLA invite you to a talk by Dennis Ross


Click here to RSVP

Spring 2020

Avivah Zornberg Lecture

Tuesday, May 12th 2020 at 7:30 PM


$15 for lecture
$25 for dinner
$40 for combo

AVIVAH GOTTLIEB ZORNBERG is the author of The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis, for which she won the National Jewish Book Award (JPS 1995, paper Schocken 2011), and The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus. (Doubleday 2001, paper Schocken 2011) Her latest book is: Bewilderments: Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Hardcover–February 24, 2015).  She was born in London and grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, where her father was a Rabbi and the head of the Rabbinical Court.  She studied with him from childhood; he was her most important teacher of Torah. She holds a BA and PhD in English Literature from Cambridge University. After teaching English literature at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, she turned to teaching Torah. For the past thirty years, she has taught Torah in Jerusalem. Dr. Zornberg holds a Visiting Lectureship at the London School of Jewish Studies. She travels widely, lecturing in Jewish, academic, and psychoanalytic settings.


Co-sponsored by: The New Center for Psychoanalysis (NCP) in Los Angeles
Lovingly sponsored in memory of Gloria D. Nimmer

Spirit of Israel Ensemble Residency 

May 18 & 19, 2020

Click here to RSVP

Image of Tamir Hendelman from the jewishnews

Pianist-composer and UCLA faculty member Tamir Hendelman leads the Spirit of Israel Ensemble, a quartet/quintet of top Israeli jazz artists/composers from NY and LA who will perform an evening of rhythmical and lyrical jazz interpretations of Israeli music their own original compositions. Inspired by their homeland, the quartet will meld  jazz, world and classical influences into an exciting program of contemporary jazz improvisations.This would include musical workshops, a concert and talk, and interactions with both music and humanities classes, including Professor Uri Dorchin (International Studies; Middle Eastern Studies), who’s expressed interest in a visit to his spring class (M142), during which the ensemble can discuss the influence of Israeli culture on our musical upbringing, and the relationship between communal improvisation in our jazz performance practice and growing up in the melting point that is Israeli society. 
The quartet’s members includes pianist Tamir Hendelman (Jeff Hamilton Trio, Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Natalie Cole, 
guitarist Yotam Silberstein (James Moody, Monty Alexander, John Patitucci) 
(Yotam is one of the musicians profiled in the above blog.)
bassist Noam Wiesenberg (Lalah Hathaway, Vince Mendoza, Ari Hoenig)
and drummer Daniel Dor (Billy Harper, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Avishai Cohen).
Possibly also: Shai Golan (tenor/alto saxophonist- Billy Childs, Louis Cole) or Asaf Yuria (Omer Avital, Eddie Henderson.)

Winter 2021

Sunday, February 21st 2021 at 4 pm

Free & open to the public

Click here to RSVP

Here are some links to a recent performance of the programme:

Shaar Asher Nisgar | Corina Marti, Doron Schleifer

Shokhant Basade | Corina Marti, Doron Schleifer

Past Events

The Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller Institute for Jewish Learning presents:

American Jews, Israel and Anti-Semitism in the Trump Era

Tuesday April 30th at 7 pm

Free & open to the public

UCLA Gloria Kaufman Hall

Click here to RSVP

In April, we are proud to present Stacie Chaiken’s acclaimed solo play The DIG with new music, composed and performed by world musician Yuval Ron.

The DIG revolves around a mystery: The Israelis have discovered a 4000-year-old burial in a sarcophagus in Jaffa. What is it? How did it get there? 

But the real story is about Sally Jenkins, a world-renowned genetic archaeologist, who has been summoned to Israel to answer these questions. At the top of the field of ancient DNA, Sally has discovered a way to clean away eons of dirt and dust and replicate the material necessary to identify ancient burials, using infinitesimal fragments of bone. 

Traveling to Jaffa the morning after her mother's death, she finds herself in a place where the mess of history — her own and that of the land she is working in — cannot be so easily cleaned away.

The world premiere of The DIG was produced at Los Angeles Theatre Center, Jose Luis Valenzuela and the Latino Theater Company.

The DIG received the 2017 Stage Raw Award for Solo Performance

for more information, visit theDIGplay.com

About the Play

In The DIG, playwright and actor Stacie Chaiken plays Sally Jenkins, an American archaeologist renowned worldwide for her ability to extract genetic information from ancient bones.

In the performance, Sally is summoned to a dig in Jaffa where the Israelis have discovered something they fear might topple the precarious political, historical and religious balance in the region. Sally is the only person in the world who can tell them what it is.

Her partners in this adventure are Israeli antiquities operative David, Arab-Israeli expert in text and artifacts, Rashid, and Mo, the lizard she finds in the bathtub in her suite in a five-star hotel.

Based on Sally’s findings - scientific and otherwise - she, David and Rashid together make a choice that is uncharacteristic, possibly reprehensible, and certainly transformational.

The DIG seamlessly traverses the worlds of archaeology; science and biochemistry; Biblical text; Jewish history and identity; the history/story of the land of Israel Palestine; modern Israeli culture, ethics; genetics; epigenetics; mother-daughter meshugas (craziness); the Holocaust and generational trauma - in the realm of families and nations and peoples.

Written and Performed by Stacie Chaiken | Original Music Written and Performed by Yuval Ron | Sound Score by Tim Labor | Directed by Pamela Berlin

Running Time: 60 mins


"Chaiken has created an intricate, multi-layered tale that combines archeology, religion, Israeli-Palestinian politics and personal issues, with each strand of the narrative reflecting back on the others. Her play deals with the complexities of Israel during the Second Intifada, her relations with her co-workers David and Rashid, and her growing relationship with the lizard she found in the bathtub of her luxury hotel." - Neil Weaver, Stage Raw

"The DIG is a little gem and will both enlighten and entertain audiences." - Elaine Mura, LA Splash


Los Angeles Stage Raw Theatre Award - Solo Performance

Los Angeles Stage Raw Theatre Award - Sound and Projection Design (nominated)


About the Creators

Stacie Chaiken is a writer-performer and the principal creative force behind The DIG. The Los Angeles-based Chaiken's work has included a variety of solo performances as well as leadership of several devised-theatre projects with diverse communities, including immigrants, recovering drug addicts, LGBTQ youth, interfaith youth and Orthodox women. Her current work includes consultation and leadership of other creative projects in Los Angeles, including acting as Story Consultant for New Ground: a Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change and as facilitator of story workshops for the organization's fellows. A Fulbright Senior Specialist in the field of Performance and Story, she was formerly on the performance faculty of the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts.

Yuval Ron is an internationally renowned and award-winning World Music artist, composer, and record producer. In addition to his leadership of The Yuval Ron Ensemble music and dance group, Ron has created scores for a number of plays, television series and films, including the Oscar-winning short West Bank Story. His music is influenced by his continual research into various ethnic musical traditions and spiritual paths. This research has included producing field recordings in the Sinai Desert with the Bedouins, archival preservation recordings of the sacred Yemenite, Moroccan and Andalusian Jewish traditions, and the album of a famed Sufi master musician, Omar Faruk Tekbilek. Ron's musical achievements have been recognized with a a variety of awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Composers Forum, California Council for the Humanities and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Pamela Berlin is a New York-based theater director. Her credits include dozens of plays in New York and across the Northeast and Canada as well as several operas. She has participated in the Sundance Playwrights Institute, Chautauqua, Theatreworks Palo Alto, Cape Cod Theatre Project and the New York Theatre Workshop Dartmouth Summer Residency. She taught directing in the MFA program at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University for twelve years, acting in the MFA program at Brooklyn College, and frequently directs at Juilliard and the NYU Graduate Acting Program. She is a long time member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre and served as the President of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers from 2000 to 2006. Berlin received her BA in American History and Literature from Harvard University and her MFA in Directing from Southern Methodist University.

Tim Labor is an award-winning Professor in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside who specializes in music composition and sound design for theater and film. Prof. Labor's pre-recorded score for the 2016 premiere production of The DIG at the Los Angeles Theatre Center helped earn the production a nomination for the 2017 Los Angeles Stage Raw Theatre Award for Sound and Projection Design. At the April 30th production, a trio of world musicians from the UCLA community will perform live Prof. Labor's musical score for the play. As a film and media composer, Labor has collaborated in composition or sound design for a variety of projects, including computer games, video, dance, and theatre and has been recognized for his work with a number of prestigious awards.

Bios & excerpts by Jack Schwada

Generously sponsored by:
UCLA Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies 
Aliza & Marc Guren
Patty Glaser & Sam Mudie
Professor David Myers, the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History
Steven Weinstein and Maya Windholz
Jack and Babette Weir
Estelle Fisher






theatre dybbuk in association with the Dortort Center


World Premiere of the play

lost tribes

Written and directed by artistic director of the theatre dybbuk

Aaron Henne


This event has reached maximum capacity

Click here to sign up for the wait list


Date: March 10th 2018, 8:00 PM

Location: Spiegel Auditorium at UCLA Hillel

574 Hilgard Ave. Los Angeles CA, 90024.


Inspired by the stories of the lost tribes of Israel, theatre dybbuk presents a full-length theatrical work, rich in movement, original music, and lyrical language that relates ancient mythological and tribal narratives to contemporary questions of integration, appropriation, and belonging.

In the early eighth century BCE, the Neo-Assyrian Empire conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel, from whence it has been said that ten of the twelve ancient tribes of Israel were deported and assimilated. These tribes are now lost to history, with a variety of folktales, legends, and theories about their fates having come about since that time. Some are told from the point of view of those who regard themselves as members of a lost tribe, while others are told from an outside perspective in order to make a case for self-serving outcomes.

Framed in the context of a gallery exhibition, lost tribes weaves together stories from the Assyrian conquest to the present day, tracing a world history of assimilation and dominance; of cultural conquest, annihilation, and survival. The performance incorporates choreography by Kai Hazelwood and a live percussion score composed by Michael Skloff, created in collaboration with Emilia Moscoso Borja and Alex Shaw. The production is written and directed by theatre dybbuk's artistic director, Aaron Henne, and was developed with the ensemble.


Admission: Free and open to the public

Hourly parking is available at Parking Lot #2 on the corner of Hilgard Ave and Westholme.


Learn more at: http://www.theatredybbuk.org/lost-tribes  





Staged Reading: "Suddenly, a Knock at the Door" by Robin E. Goldfin, based on stories by Etgar Keret



Monday November 20, 2017, 8:00 - 9:30 PM

Lenart Auditorium at the Fowler Museum at UCLA

Free and Open to the Public  



“I can’t do it like this!” protests the writer EITAN KATZEN to the BEARDED MAN, the SURVEY TAKER and the PIZZA DELIVERY woman who have come knocking at his door.  Brandishing weapons, they make the stakes clear: a story or your life!   So the writer held hostage to these three strange muses begins to weave his tales, played out on the stage by the same characters that are holding him captive.


Suddenly, a Knock at the Door is a new play adapted by Robin Goldfin and directed by Jeff Maynard, with live instrumental music by Oren Neiman, based on stories by award winning Israeli author and filmmaker Etgar Keret.  It is a celebration of storytelling and the magic of art—an ensemble piece written for six actors and two musicians playing some thirty different roles.

 Playwright Robin Goldfin has chosen eight stories from the latest critically acclaimed anthology by Etgar Keret to create the comic drama of a modern writer weaving eight extra-ordinary tales in the middle of Tel Aviv.  Here stories are the currency, a matter of life and death.  Here, stories make us real and teach us (with a nod to Scheherazade) how to face the difficulties of life—from the absurd to the unbearable—without resorting to violence or abusing your power.

In “Suddenly, a Knock at the Door,” Mr. Goldfin’s innovative script, Mr. Keret’s unique imagination and Mr. Neiman’s original music combine to bring this play to vibrant life. Click here to read a review of the play by New York Times. 




Left Image: From left to right: Antonio Minino, Alyssa Simon, Jeffrey Swan Jones, Kenneth Talberth, Gilad Ben-Zvi, Oren Neiman, Elanna White, Stephen Thornton. Right Image: From left to right: Elanna White, Kenneth Talberth, Jeffrey Swan Jones. 



One of Israel's most celebrated writers, Etgar Keret is the author of six collections of stories that have been translated into more than 30 languages. In the U.S., his work has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Harper's Magazine and The Paris Review.  He has also been a frequent contributor on NPR's This American Life. 

This event is presented by The Dortort Center for Creativity inthe Arts at UCLA Hillel in collaboration with the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA, the Jewish Women's Theater, and the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies.






The Dortort Center is located at Hillel at UCLA, but please take note of off-site event venues. The public is invited to view our exhibits Monday through Friday from 10:00am to 4:00pm (or at other times by special request) when school is in session.

For questions, please contact Perla Karney at 310-208-3081 x108 or perla@uclahillel.org