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On Saturday February 2, the Merage Jewish Community Center will present “New Eyes,” a critically acclaimed poignant and funny one-woman show that addresses how Israelis and American Jews are stereotyped and the havoc that plays on young people’s ability to find their place in the world.  The show tells the life story of Yafit Josephson, a young woman living in Israel who joins the Israeli army as part of her mandatory service to her country.  Upon completing her service, she moves to Los Angeles to follow her dream of becoming an actress but finds herself constantly cast as the villain. 
 
Just as Israel wrestles with the world’s false perceptions, Yafit must decide how far she is willing to go to challenge, change, or accept how others see her, and what she is willing to risk to fulfill her dreams and destiny.  “New Eyes” explores universal themes of self-esteem, family relationships, identity and cultural differences and similarities.  Yafit Josephson portrays 18 characters from five different countries as she conveys her riveting and uplifting story, as she sees the world, and it sees her, through “New Eyes.” 
 
Since the beginning, “New Eyes” has been a family project.  Josephson’s family members are among the 18 characters she portrays in the show.  Her brother, Eliad, gave her the initial funding and is the show’s producer, her father handles publicity and takes photos, her fiance runs the box office and her mother attends as many shows as possible, sometimes even making schnitzel to give to audience members after the show.  Josephson co-wrote the show with her friend Suzanne Bressler.
 
Yafit was born in Los Angeles and raised in Ramat-Hasharon, Israel, since she was two years old.  As a daughter of an Israeli filmmaker, who produced two famous comedic Israeli movies, Charlie Va’hetzi and Hagiga Ba’Snuker, Yafit was exposed to the entertainment industry at an early age.
 
As a little girl, she recalls looking at the movie set pictures of her father’s films and imagining herself as an actress.  She started practicing by reciting famous lines from the movies and promised herself she would pursue acting professionally “one of these days.”
 
At the age of 18, she began her service in the Israel Defense Force as part of her mandatory military service to her country.  After two years of service, Yafit decided to move to Los Angeles in 2003 to study acting and pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an actress.  Shortly after, she was accepted to the University of Southern California School of Theatre with a full scholarship, and graduated in May of 2008.
 
Throughout her time at USC, she acted in a number of productions, such as “The Threepenny Opera,” “Ash Girl,” “Our Country’s Good,” “The Vagina Monologues” and “Pentecost.”  Yafit learned about the art of solo performance.  She wrote and performed two short solo performance pieces, “The Skies of Tel-Aviv” and “I’ve Gotta Go,” which describe her journey as an Israeli soldier.
 
Following graduation, Yafit began writing her full-length one-woman show, together with Suzanne Bressler, while teaching Hebrew and Judaic studies, using her acting skills, at the religious school of Wilshire Boulevard Temple in West Los Angeles.  After a year and a half of intense writing, she finally brought “New Eyes” to life on stage in July 2010 and has been sharing her personal life story ever since.  Yafit has been presenting “New Eyes” for more than 2 years with more than 100 shows in Southern California, and is now taking it on the road. 
 
“New Eyes” will make its Orange County debut on February 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Merage Jewish Community Center in Irvine.  Advance tickets are $25 and available online at www.jccoc.org or by calling the JCC at (949) 435-3400.
 
If available, tickets at the door are $30.  The Merage JCC is located at 1 Federation Way in Irvine.  For more information contact Merage JCC Cultural Arts Director Yael Brudner at yaelb@jccoc.org.
 

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