Community Reads

Looking for a different way to experience a play online?

Join Theater J for a fun, relaxed, and supportive reading of a topical play where you can play a part. Community Reads requires no acting experience – this is not a performance, but a chance to hear a play out loud and in community via Zoom.

All are welcome, even if you just want to listen.

All are invited – Community Reads is FREE – but reservations are required.

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The Melting Pot by Israel Zangwill
Co-Presented with the EDCJCC’s Morris Cafritz Center for Social Responsibility.

Tuesday, March 2 at 7:00PM

First performed in Washington, DC in 1908 to great acclaim (President Theodore Roosevelt cheered on opening night), Israel Zangwill’s landmark play introduced a new idea of immigrants’ essential place in the US and popularized the phrase “the melting pot.” The play tells the story of David Quixano, a Russian Jewish émigré, endeavoring to write a symphony about his vision of an America free from ethnic divisions. Will he be able to achieve his dream, or will the effects of his own history of persecution, pogroms, and escape stand in the way?

The event is free and open to everyone. Every participant must register individually, including those in the same household.

We invite you to a post-reading conversation to unpack the themes of the play and hear how you can help refugees in our community today.

Information on how to join as well as access to a digital script will be distributed to registrants in advance of the event.

In lieu of charging admission, we ask you to consider supporting HIAS, which works around the world to protect refugees who have been forced to flee their homelands because of who they are, including ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities. Guided by their Jewish values and history, HIAS brings more than 139 years of expertise to their work with refugees. Learn more at:

The Melting Pot is performed as part Edlavitch DCJCC’s week of events celebrating HIAS’s Refugee Shabbat from March 2-6, 2021. Refugee Shabbat 2021 is a moment for congregations, organizations, and individuals in the United States and around the world to dedicate a Shabbat experience to refugees and asylum seekers.

Interested in more events celebrating HIAS’s Refugee Shabbat with the EDCJCC? Visit

Previous Community Reads

Gloria: A Life by Emily Mann

September 1, 2020

Recently featured on PBS Great Performances, Gloria: A Life chronicles Gloria Steinem’s decades-long fight for women’s equality and the activists—including Flo Kennedy, Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Bella Abzug, and Wilma Mankiller—who guided her along the way. The script ends by inviting participants to share their personal reflections in a talking circle, a format Steinem and her contemporaries used in their advocacy.

This reading solicited donations for the Radical Monarchs, a California-based non-profit which creates “opportunities for young girls of color to form fierce sisterhood, celebrate their identities and contribute radically to their communities.” More information here:

Co-Presented with the EDCJCC’s Morris Cafritz Center for Social Responsibility.

Leah, The Forsaken by Augustin Daly

October 28, 2020

A rare chance to experience this thought-provoking melodramatic Jewish play written in 1862. When Leah leads three other Jews to safety outside a small Austrian town, will she find the solace she’s seeking? This classic drama about religious refugees resonates with the current world around us in powerful and surprising ways. Adapted by Augustin Daly from the work of German-Jewish playwright Salomon Hermann Rosenthal, Leah, the Forsaken is full of drama, wit, and biting social commentary.

This reading solicited donations for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization that has, since 1913, fought to stop anti-Semitism. Today, its mission also includes fighting threats to democracy, including cyberhate, bullying, bias in schools and in the criminal justice system, terrorism, hate crimes, coercion of religious minorities, and contempt for anyone who is different. Learn more at

Co-Presented with the EDCJCC’s Morris Cafritz Center for Social Responsibility.