Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Culture

Cancellation of Israel Play Provokes Censorship Accusation

The National Coalition Against Censorship has sent out a letter criticizing the recent decision of the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in Miami to cancel a production of Julia Pascal’s play “Crossing Jerusalem” in the middle of its run.

The play follows an Israeli family during the second intifada in 2002, and was met with criticism from some offended community members that its message was “inappropriate and troublesome.”

The NCAC wants the JCC’s president, Gary Bomzer, to rethink its decision and reschedule the remaining shows. In a letter, the NCAC says the JCC shouldn’t have given into pressures that wanted to stifle controversy and debate.

“Censoring the play does nothing to promote conversation; on the contrary, it cuts short any possibility for a productive debate by letting hecklers decide the programming of an institution that should serve the community as a whole — in all its diversity of views,” the letter reads.

Ari Roth, the former director at Theater J, which is overseen by the Washington, D.C. JCC, and who blamed his 2014 firing in part as stemming from controversies over handling plays dealing with Israel, endorsed the letter, along with other playwrights like Joshua Ford, Larry Kunofsky, Christine Evans, Karen Zacarias, Motti Lerner and Wendy Graf.

“It’s probably a good JCC and they’ve made a very bad decision,” he said. “They shouldn’t be silencing voices in their community and will pay a high price when they shut good voices up.”

Roth believes that the NCAC’s letter will have a positive effect on those who read it, but that the JCC will stand by its decision.

“The JCC will remain firm in their decision and yet the energy and the support of the community will lead to an enlarging of the circle of interest around portraits of Israel,” he said.

Bomzer has not returned calls for comment.

Britta Lokting is the Forward’s culture fellow.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.