Arts & Culture

The JCA is proud to present our annual Arts & Culture Series, featuring scholars, authors, films, photography and musical performances.

The 2019-2020 Arts & Culture Series is presented with generous funding from the Sam L. Cohen Foundation, our donors, and community members, whose support makes these special programs possible.


Advanced registration strongly recommended to ensure sufficient seating. Register online at the links below or by calling (207) 772-1959.

Events are subject to change or weather cancellation – please see our e-newsletter and Facebook page for the latest information.

Finances should not be a barrier to participation. Please contact Deena at or (207) 772-1959 for discounted or free event admission.

JCA’s Arts & Culture events are free for students with a valid high school, college or university ID, unless otherwise noted.

Prince of Egypt

The Prince of Egypt - POSTPONED

Presented as part of the 2020 Maine Jewish Film Festival and in partnership with PJ Library Southern Maine

Sunday, March 29th, 12:30 PM
JCA - 1342 Congress St., Portland
Free Family Film

This extraordinary animated musical drama tells the story of Moses, a prince of Egypt with a secret Jewish past.  An engaging retelling of the Passover narrative, Prince of Egypt is sure to be appreciated by adults and kids alike.  Crafts and pizza at 12:30 followed by the movie.

Appropriate for ages 5 and up. Under 13 MUST be accompanied by an adult.


Rewind 2019 Doc

Rewind (2019) - MJFF Documentary Film - POSTPONED

Presented as part of the 2020 Maine Jewish Film Festival

Monday, March 30th, 6:00 PM
JCA - 1342 Congress Street, Portland
$10 - Students & Seniors, $12 - General Admission

An abuse survivor, the films director, exhumes his past in this no-holds-barred investigation of trauma in a Jewish American family. Featuring a unique home movie archive with rare visual clues about family dynamics and actual offenders, he follows contemporary attempts to use the criminal justice system to hold the perpetrators accountable, and to find healing for the family.

Disturbing language.

Program with Jacqui Neulinger, mother of Sasha Neulinger, follows.

Documentary/Director Sasha Joseph Neulinger/USA/2019/87m


Spots of Light - To Be a Woman in the Holocaust - POSTPONED UNTIL NEXT YEAR

A traveling exhibit from Yad Vashem - The World Holocaust Remembrance Center

April 1-27, 2020
JCA - 1342 Congress St., Portland
Free, all are welcome.

Exhibit is open during regular building hours. For group visits, contact or call (207) 772-1959.


Heading Home

Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel - POSTPONED

Presented as part of the 2020 Maine Jewish Film Festival

Sunday, April 5th, 1:00 PM
JCA - 1342 Congress St., Portland
Free Youth Film

The underdog journey of Israel’s national baseball team as they compete for the first time in the World Baseball Classic. With their ever-present ‘Mensch on the Bench’ mascot by their side, the team laughs, cries and does much soul searching, discovering the pride of representing Israel on the world stage.

Documentary/Directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger,/USA / Israel / Japan / South Korea/ 2018/ 86m

Refreshments will be served


Sheera_Adam Ben David for website

Sheera & Adam Ben David in Concert - POSTPONED

Presented by the JCA’s Cantor Kurt Messerschmidt Memorial Fund and co-sponsored by Temple Beth El

Sunday evening, May 3rd, 7:00 PM
Temple Beth El – 400 Deering Ave., Portland
$25 - Regular individual ticket
$50 - 'Supporter' ticket
$118 - Concert Host Committee member ticket - admission includes special reception access prior to concert for ticket holder

Join siblings Sheera and Adam Ben David for a cabaret-style musical evening including Broadway favorites.

Cantor Sheera Ben-David has spent her life immersed in the Jewish community and congregations. After graduating from New York University and Hebrew Union College, she followed in her father’s footsteps and began her cantorial career as the soloist for Jewish Family Congregation of South Salem, NY, and went on to serve Beth Am Temple of Pearl River, NY, The Reform Temple of Forest Hills, Temple Israel of NYC and Central Synagogue of NYC, and has found her professional home at Temple Sholom of Chicago.

In addition to her cantorial role, Sheera is an award-winning cabaret singer. She has delivered multiple critically-acclaimed runs at The Oak Room of The Algonquin Hotel, The Royal Room of The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, and received rave reviews from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Huffington Post. Throughout her secular singing career, Sheera always remained in service to her congregations and feels the intimate craft of communicating and storytelling through music has only enhanced her connection with the incredible sacred music of the Jewish people.

Adam Ben-David is a Broadway musician and conductor, playing piano or keyboard and serving in conducting and musical director roles in productions including Wicked, Jersey Boys, High Fidelity and the Book of Mormon. Adam is currently touring with Tony and Emmy award winning actor and singer Mandy Patinkin.

Sheera and Adam’s mother, Portland native Bonnie 'Batyah' Godfrey Ben-David, was a principal singer at The Metropolitan Opera House for over 24 years and their father Kerry Ben-David z’l was Cantor Emeritus of Scarsdale Synagogue, Temples Tremont and Emanu-El, and of the Jewish Family Congregation in Lewisboro, NY. Their parents have been tremendous influences musically and spiritually. Sheera and Adam are the grandchildren of Norman and Ethel Godfrey. Norman was the beloved first Executive Director of the Portland JCC.

Ladin Soul-of-the-stranger Book cover

The Soul of a Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective - Book Talk with Joy Ladin

Thursday, June 18th at 6:30 PM
JCA - 1342 Comgress St., Portland
Suggested admission: $10 - JCA members, $12 - general public

Reading some of the best known Torah stories through the lens of transgender experience, Dr. Joy Ladin explores fundamental questions about how religious texts, traditions, and the understanding of God can be enriched by transgender perspectives, and how the Torah and trans lives can illuminate one another.

Code of Conduct

The JCA is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all community members, guests, visitors, and staff, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, ability or financial status. Failure to abide by the Code of Conduct may result in the suspension or revocation of participation in JCA programming.

  • Program participants are committed to maintaining a respectful and pluralistic environment.
  • Harassing, bullying, threatening or proselytizing behavior will not be tolerated, and we reserve the right to remove from the premises any individual acting in an inappropriate manner.
  • Distributing flyers, booklets or other literature is prohibited without prior approval.
  • No one may enter the JCA facility while carrying or concealing weapons.