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The Forbidden Conversation": Israel Programming

Germantown Jewish Centre
Event organized by Germantown Jewish Centre

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“As Israel becomes an increasingly divisive issue among American Jews, conversations about Israel now frequently degenerate into bitter arguments and angry accusations. In his powerful and poignant play “The Forbidden Conversation” Gili Getz addresses this issue head-on, with candor, wit, and passion. Anyone who has argued about Israel, or simply struggled to talk about it, will surely relate to and be moved by Gili’s experience.”
— Professor Dov Waxman - Northeastern University - the author of Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel

“The Forbidden Conversation” is a powerful, poignant, and often humorous play in which actor and photographer Gili Getz presents a deeply personal one-man performance that explores the challenges of having a conversation about Israel in the American Jewish community. While visiting Israel during the last Gaza war in 2014, Gili experienced difficulty talking about the path Israel is on with his father for the first time in his life. Finding himself in a forbidden conversation with his dad, and worried that it might strain their relationship, Gili embarked on a journey to understand the most complex, sensitive and contentious topic in the Jewish community — Israel. Having come of age politically while serving as a military photographer during the turbulent Oslo accords and the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Gili turned to photography, hoping it would help him once again make sense of a painful political argument. The result is “The Forbidden Conversation,” developed during the artist fellowship LABA (Laboratory for Jewish culture) at the 14th Street Y, and premiered at the Center For Jewish History in the spring of 2016. The performance is followed by an open discussion about the challenging conversations we have concerning the future of Israel, the American Jewish community and ways to process fundamental differences, emphasizing the importance of understanding rather than convincing, and modeling how we can talk to one another—to family and friends, fellow congregants, and others—even when we have profound disagreements.

Gili Getz graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (NY), where he received the Kirk Douglas Scholarship and was a member of the Academy Company. He has performed in New York and Los Angeles in: Off-Off Broadway R.U.R. (as Gall), Off Broadway Retzach (as Flushed), Skin & Teeth (as Orion), for which he was nominated for Best Actor in a Drama (Artistic Director’s Award), Astroglide/That’s What (as Man), which he also wrote, The Broadway Play (as Lieutenant), Garbo’s Cuban Lover (as Thalberg), and in the New York premiere of Steel Tower. Gili performed at the Roxy Regional Theatre (TN) in Of Mice and Men (as George), Hamlet and the Bea[u]tiful in the Extreme. He has directed and acted in the critically acclaimed production of The Forgotten Carols for the past eight years. Gili’s career as a photographer began as a photojournalist in the Israeli military. His photos covering Jewish-American politics have been published in Yedioth Ahronoth, Haaretz, The Jewish Week, The Jewish Daily Forward, Times of Israel, JTA, and Tikkun Magazine. His work is published by Princeton University Press in the new book "Trouble in the Tribe" by Professor Dov Waxman. Gili was the editor of the Israeli news site Ynet US.

GJC thanks the Stern/Gafni Endowment for Israel Engagement for generously supporting this program.