Mazel Tov!

Dancers with DCDC2 performed a newly-commissioned work, When Dance Transcends Barriers, April 7 at Beth Jacob Congregation. Funded by a Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton Innovation Grant, the piece celebrates the legacies of DCDC founder Jeraldyne Blunden, and her mentors, Dayton Ballet founders Josephine and Hermene Schwarz. Blunden’s daughter, DCDC Chief Artistic & Producing Director Debbie Blunden-Diggs, shared her recollections at the event. Arts enthusiast Dr. Burt Saidel served as master of ceremonies. Beth Jacob co-sponsored the program with the Jewish Community Relations Council.

DCDC2 performance at Beth Jacob. Photo: Jeff Blumer.

Two performers from the JCC Youth Theatre’s February production of Tuck Everlasting continue to “tread the boards” this spring. Lana Dorf, daughter of Masha Kisel and Sam Dorf, is in the children’s choir for Dayton Opera’s production of Tosca, April 20-21. A musicologist, Sam is giving the pre-performance talks.

Clementine Combs, daughter of Krystal and Brad Combs, is in the children’s choir of Dayton Playhouse’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, May 10-26. Joining Clementine on stage will be Krystal in the role of Narrator. The Combs family moved to our area from Los Angeles last summer.

Among the artists whose works are on display with two Women Strong exhibits in Downtown Dayton this spring is Elyssa Wortzman. The Do You Hear Me? exhibit is at the International Peace Museum through May 11. And the Women Strong exhibit at the Dayton Woman’s Club closes April 26. For the Peace Museum exhibit, Wortzman incorporated into her art red string — a symbol of protection — that women from her congregation, Beth Abraham Synagogue, had used in a workshop she facilitated in which they prayed, meditated, and shared stories on the theme of “protected spaces for all voices.”

Lela Klein, co-founder and co-executive director of Co-Op Dayton, will be the featured guest on the Crown Jewel Conversations webcast, Thursday, May 2, 1-2 p.m. A project of Elluminate ( — a Jewish leadership organization — the monthly webcast highlights members of its leadership advancement program, The Collective. Lela is a member of Elluminate’s fourth Collective cohort. She’ll talk about how Co-Op Dayton works to break the cycle of generational poverty for families and communities, and to create a just economy in the Dayton area.

At the annual Women’s Freedom Seder, April 4 at Beth Abraham Synagogue, are (L to R) Jewish Federation CEO Cathy Gardner, Mont. Co. Office of Reentry Community Manager Jamie Gee, Circle of Vision Keepers co-founder & Program Director Khadijah Ali, Mont. Co. Commissioner Debbie Lieberman, and Mont. Co. Commissioner Carolyn Rice. This year marked the 10th Women’s Freedom Seder, a program of the JCC in collaboration with women from Beth Abraham Synagogue, Beth Jacob Congregation, Hadassah, Temple Beth Or, and Temple Israel.

Adriane Miller, executive director of the National Conference for Community and Justice, shares that there are still spots available for NCCJ’s Anytown Youth Leadership Institute, to be held at Wright State, June 23-28. It’s a free overnight program for high school students across the Miami Valley. Adriane describes it as transformative. “It equips students with the tools and knowledge to become strong leaders for social justice.” Registration is at

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To read the complete May 2024 Dayton Jewish Observer, click here.

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