(Michael Paulson’s article appeared in The New York Times, 12/10; via Pam Green.)
A prominent but polarizing director of Jewish theater has been fired from his longtime perch at the Jewish Community Center in Washington after several productions that raised challenging questions about Israel.
Ari Roth, a 53-year-old playwright who had served as artistic director of the Jewish Community Center’s Theater J for 18 years, was removed on Thursday. He plans to start an independent theater company, called Mosaic, also in Washington.
Under Mr. Roth’s leadership, Theater J has periodically produced work that has tested the Jewish Community Center. This year, the agency scaled back a production of “The Admission,” which depicted a disputed incident of Israeli soldiers killing Palestinians in 1948, and canceled a Middle East festival; in 2010 the theater scuttled a production of a play about Bernie Madoff after objections from Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and writer; in 2009 there was controversy over a play by Caryl Churchill that some saw as anti-Semitic.