Art, Artists, and Activism
The 2018 Henry N. and Selma S. Rapaport Memorial Lecture
Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody, award-winning actors and performers
in conversation with
Ruth W. Messinger, JTS Finkelstein Institute Social Justice Fellow and Global Ambassador of American Jewish World Service
What are the most responsible and effective ways for actors, singers, directors, and other artists to use the power of their public platforms on behalf of social causes? An illuminating discussion with our celebrated guests about how their passions and commitments have shaped their artistry and activism.
About the Speakers
Mandy Patinkin has been fortunate to carve out a varied career including theater, the concert stage, film, television, and as a recording artist. He won a Tony Award for his role as Che in Evita and was nominated for his starring role as George in the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George. He has appeared in many feature films, including The Princess Bride, Yentl, and Ragtime, and has performed in concerts worldwide. In television, Mandy won an Emmy Award for his performance in Chicago Hope, and starred in Criminal Minds. Currently, he can be seen in the Award-winning series Homeland as CIA Agent Saul Berenson. He is a board member of the Arava Institute and has been closely involved with such organizations as International Rescue Committee, Brady Campaign, Association to Benefit Children, and American Jewish World Service.
Kathryn Grody has received Obie Awards for her performances in Top Girls and The Marriage of Bette and Boo as well as a Drama Desk nomination for her performance in her three-character one-woman play, A Mom’s Life, all at Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre. She has also appeared on Broadway in Scapino, and this winter she appeared Off Broadway in 20th Century Blues. Film appearances include Lemon Sisters with Diane Keaton and Carol Kane, and Reds by Warren Beatty. Her television appearances include The Sunset Gang with Uta Hagen, Execution of Private Slovik with Martin Sheen and Law And Order: Criminal Intent. Her essays have appeared in Harpers Bazaar and Oprah Magazine. She is a board member of Noor and Dances For A Variable Population, and works with American Jewish World Service, Search For Common Ground, and other social justice organizations.
Ruth W. Messinger is the inaugural JTS Louis Finkelstein Institute Social Justice Fellow, charged with identifying and expanding the work at JTS for social justice. She was most recently President of American Jewish World Service (1998-2016) and is currently the AJWS Global Ambassador, engaging rabbis and interfaith leaders on behalf of oppressed and persecuted communities and in support of human rights worldwide. She is also the Social Justice Activist in Residence at the Manhattan JCC. Before coming to AJWS, she had a 20-year career in public service in New York City as a city council member and Manhattan Borough President. She is a member of the World Bank’s Moral Imperative Working Group to end extreme poverty. She has been honored by many national Jewish organizations and recognized in the past decade by the Forward, the Jerusalem Post, and the Huffington Post.
About the Rapaport Memorial Lecture
The annual Henry N. and Selma S. Rapaport Memorial Lecture was originally established in 1982 by Selma S. Rapaport (1916–2010), who served as president of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism and as a longtime JTS board member, in memory of her late husband. A distinguished attorney and committed Jew, Henry N. Rapaport (1905–1980) served as president of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, New York, and as president of United Synagogue. He was an active member of the JTS board, and a generous benefactor of JTS’s scholarly programs.