Traveling Jewish Theatre teaming up with JCCSF


After a near-death experience last summer, San Francisco’s Traveling Jewish Theatre continues to rebound from its financial woes.

In addition to a successful $300,000 fundraising drive last year, TJT solicited a partnership with the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. As a result, the JCCSF now runs TJT’s box office operations and will co-produce plays with TJT.

“TJT came to speak to us very early on about some of the difficulties they were facing,” said Carole Zawatsky, the JCCSF’s associate director for Arts, Ideas and Jewish Life, and new member of TJT’s board. “It became more and more clear that working with them would be a mutually beneficial relationship.”

“The JCC was a very natural partner for us,” added Sara Schwartz Geller, executive director of TJT. “I am grateful to them for getting involved with us at a time we really needed support.”

In return, TJT will serve as the artistic home for the JCCSF’s long-running young adult outreach program, the Hub. The collaboration’s maiden effort, “Fabrik: The Legend of M. Rabinowitz,” wraps up an extended run this weekend, and in June a workshop production of “Stateless,” by Dan Wolf and Tommy Shepherd, will be presented.

The puppet production “Fabrik: The Legend of M. Rabinowitz,” which wraps up its run this weekend, is a collaborative effort of TJT and the JCCSF’s Hub.


The puppet production “Fabrik: The Legend of M. Rabinowitz,” which wraps up its run this weekend, is a collaborative effort of TJT and the JCCSF’s Hub.

“By bringing the Hub here,” said Geller, “we not only get their innovative programming, but also the audience that comes with that.”


TJT’s Florida Street theater is hosting both shows, but next up will be a production mounted at the JCC’s Kanbar Hall, “2X Malamud: The Jewbird and The Magic Barrel.” It plays Feb. 14 and 15.

“We try to select shows for Kanbar that have a broad appeal,” Zawatsky added. “We have a much larger seating capacity, with the goal that we can garner a larger audience. Similarly, there are productions that are better suited to an intimate theater experience [at TJT], such as ‘Fabrik.’”

“2X Malamud” and all future TJT productions at the JCCSF fall under the auspices of the Eugene and Elinor Friend Center for the Arts.

Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, TJT fell on hard times last year. Most of the staff was laid off, and the 2008-09 season put on hold. But a summerlong fundraising appeal bought in much-needed cash, and TJT lived to play another day.

The new alliance with the JCCSF in a big part of that.

Said Zawatsky, “It’s a creative and thoughtful way to help an outstanding theater get the attention and support that it needs to continue to exist.”

As for the traveling part of Traveling Jewish Theater, other than the JCC’s California Street location, the company is staying put for now.

“We’re not traveling,” said Geller. “Going cross-town to the JCC is about as far as we go.”


Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.