Featuring 12 scintillating events in just 15 days, the OC Jewish Arts Festival 2015 promises to be the biggest yet. Thousands are expected to attend, as the Festival is considered the largest Jewish event in Orange County and a cornerstone of the diverse community. “We are creating a spectacular presence in Orange County celebrating the many facets of Jewish culture through music, film, books and dance,” said Dan Bernstein, Merage JCC President and CEO. “The number and quality of events comprising this year’s Festival are a strong testament to Jewish arts, and to our community’s support of the arts.”
The Festival launches with a much heralded pre-event: famed lawyer, jurist and author, Alan Dershowitz, presents his hot-off-the-presses book (out October 6) Abraham: The World’s First (But Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer. Dershowitz is a New York Times best-selling author of more than thirty books. He is a Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School, and has practiced law for more than fifty years.
In this amusing survey of Jewish lawyers throughout history, Dershowitz profiles Jewish lawyers both well-known and unheralded, admired and excoriated, victorious and defeated. Louis Brandeis, Theodor Herzl, Judah Benjamin, Max Hirschberg, Rene Cassin, Bruno Kreisky, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan are a few of the “idol-smashers, advocates, collaborators, rescuers, and deal-makers” whose advocacy helped to change history.
Dershowitz’ will entertain a sell-out crowd. Ambassador Dennis Ross promises to be a Festival showstopper as well.
Ross, a scholar and diplomat, has served under presidents George H. Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Named Special Middle East Envoy by President Bill Clinton, he helped Israelis and Palestinians reach the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, facilitated the Israel-Jordan peace treaty and helped negotiate talks between Israel and Syria.
Known for his provocative dialogues, Ross will discuss his timely new book Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama.
It wouldn’t be a festival without a measure of wit. Christopher Noxon brings Plus One, A novel to the festival. Noxon is an author and journalist, as well as husband to Jenji Kohan, creator of the television series Weeds and Orange is the New Black. Over lunch Noxon will share his funny story about an interfaith family, set in contemporary Los Angeles. When wife Figgy’s fourteenth television pilot becomes a huge, Emmy-winning hit, husband Alex Sherman-Zicklin is sucked into a mad show business vortex and quits his job to become the family’s “domestic first responder.” It is the story of a caretaking support goy, his breadwinning Jewish wife, and the fast-changing roles of parents and partners.
On a more serious note, Dan Ephron will discuss Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel. Ephron served as Jerusalem bureau chief of Newsweek and covered both the rally where Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated and the subsequent murder trial. His book is based upon documents and interviews with all of the key players including members of the assassin’s family. The murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by Yigal Amir remains the single most consequential event in Israel’s recent history.
For the complete schedule visit the 2015 OC Jewish Arts Festival, www.JCCOC.org.