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Tarbut: Festival of Jewish Culture Set to Make Triumphant Return, Lineup Announced For 11th Edition

October 18,2021


The Rady JCC is thrilled to announce that after a pandemic induced hiatus, the 2021 Tarbut:  Festival of Jewish Culture is returning for its 11th edition.

This year’s event will take place from November 13-20 at the Berney Theatre located inside the Rady Jewish Community Centre (123 Doncaster Street). Individuals will be able to attend the event in person for the first time since 2019.

Tarbut features musicians, speakers, films, and authors in a week-long festival of Jewish Culture.

“We are so thrilled and happy to be able to put on Tarbut once again. The fact that we are able to allow our supporters to come in person and enjoy an incredible lineup is the best feeling in the world” said Laura Marjovsky, Rady JCC Manager of Programming.

Kicking off the festival on Saturday November 13, 8:00 pm is An Evening of George Gershwin, led by Jon Gordon. Jon is a native New Yorker, saxophonist, and composer, as well as a professor in the Desaultels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba. He has played with a wide range of musicians including Benny Carter, Aretha Franklin, Lionel Hampton, Harry Connick, Jr., Bruce Springsteen, Clark Terry, Roy Eldridge, John Scofield, and Maria Schneider. He is a winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk Competition. His most recent album, Stranger than Fiction, was released in September 2021. With Erin Propp and Monica Huisman on vocals, Jon on alto saxophone, Carter Graham, piano, Julian Bradford, bass, Fabio Ragnelli, drums, and Andrew Littleford, trumpeter, this band of outstanding musicians and singers will showcase the repertoire of the incomparable George Gershwin.  Expect jazz standards that range from Embraceable You to Summertime, with many toe-tapping rhythms that have formed the basis of the Great American Songbook.


On Sunday November 14th 7:30 pm, the documentary film Ma Nishma Manitoba will be shown, followed by a Q & A with the filmmakers Sara Bulloch and Johanna Reimer-Henteleff.

Hot off a highly successful premiere at Gimli Film Festival 2021 - this, playful, funny, and evocative documentary by two local Jewish filmmakers explores the history of Jews in Winnipeg - the complex, diverse, and dynamic experience of the current Jewish community and what exactly it means to be ‘Jewish enough’. Through interviews with a Rabbi, a politician, a musician, a student, and others; combined with joyful graphics, archival footage and animation; the film explores questions of identity, spirituality, family, inclusivity, creativity, and a range of perspectives on Israel. 

Monday November 15th at 7:30 pm, Tarbut will screen the premiere of Winnipeg Jewish Theatre’s season opener:  25 Questions for a Jewish Mother.  Part memoir, part stand-up routine, part documentary, this hilarious and affecting play breaks down just what makes Jewish mothers so lamentable, laughable, and lovable. WJT’s digital production will be led by Emmy, Gemini and Dora-award nominated actress Diane Flacks and feature a dozen mothers from Winnipeg’s Jewish community. For more information and tickets,


On Tuesday November 16at 7:30 pm, Tarbut presents True Stories of Jewish Lives, featuring authors Allan Levine, Rebecca Frankel, and Wayne Hoffman.  Join us for a stimulating discussion with three well respected authors.  Beginning with local author Allan Levine on stage, followed by Rebecca Frankel on screen from Washington DC, and concluding with Wayne Hoffman on screen from New York, Karla Berbrayer (Tarbut Festival Producer) will introduce the audience to each of these three authors as they take the stage, live and virtually. The Q & A portion of the evening for each author will be moderated by Karla Berbrayer and Allan Levine.  Click HERE for more information on all the authors


On Wednesday November 17, 7:30 pmTarbut presents The Wandering Jew featuring Orit Shimoni on vocals, guitar and accordion. Orit Shimoni takes you on a journey of song as she explores the ways her Jewish and Israeli identity have shaped her music and her experiences as an internationally wandering troubadour for the past decade.  With stories, lyrics and melodies that will make you laugh and cry, nod your head in thought and maybe even sing along, Orit’s creative reflections will engage you in the very crux of where the uniqueness of Judaism and universal Humanity meet. The talented Paul Balcain will be accompanying Orit with an array of instruments as she sings, each carefully chosen to bring out the joy and sorrow of her enchanting texts.

Named, “one of this nation’s most intriguing and alluring vocalists,” [The Calgary Herald], Orit Shimoni had been touring Canada and Europe, full-time, solo, independently, and by public transit, with no fixed address, until due to the pandemic she wound  up in Winnipeg.


On Thursday November 18at 7:30 pm, the film Here We Are will be shown.

Aharon (Shai Avivi) stepped away from a successful career as a graphic designer long ago. Now his life’s work is managing the delicate balance of each day for his autistic son Uri (Noam Imber). Uri is a young adult and is due to move into a residential home. Aharon, however, believes he knows his son’s needs better than anyone else and decides to take his son on a road trip across Israel, with the aim of fleeing the country together. Handling its themes with sensitivity and respect, the latest film from Nir Bergman is a gratifyingly textured portrait of a loving father -son relationship teetering on the brink of suffocating co-dependency. Here We Are was the Official Selection Cannes Film Festival for 2020 and nominated for 10 Israeli Ophir Awards.


Closing out the festival on Saturday November 20, 8:00 pm is the Prairie Hearts Band in A Celebration of Jewish Stars Through the Decades. Led by Paul De Gurse, Prairie Hearts features a group of killer musicians and vocalists: Rochelle Kives and Reid McTavish on vocals, Duncan Cox, guitar and vocals, Ruslan Rusin, bass, Brendan Thompson, drums, and Paul De Gurse, keyboards. This six- piece band takes us on a journey of outstanding music written by Jewish composers or sung by Jewish singers, from the 1960s through 2010, dipping into each decade.

Celebrating artists that include Barbara Streisand, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Paula Abdul, Steven Page, Amy Winehouse, Adam Levine, Pink and more, this concert is sure to close the 2021 Tarbut festival with razzle dazzle!


Tickets are now available for purchase online by visiting

Upon conclusion of the festival a virtual package will be made available

Tarbut is presented by the Rady JCC and is produced once again by Karla Berbrayer.

The Rady JCC is grateful to the Babs Asper Centre for Cultural Arts, Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, Jewish Foundation of Manitoba and the United Way Winnipeg for their ongoing support. 

Note - Proof of vaccination is required for all live events


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