The District of Columbia Jewish Community Center raised more than $250,000 at its April 29 Spring Showcase. The gala, which included dinner and a dessert reception, was held at the National Geographic headquarters. It culminated with a performance by actress and singer Kate Baldwin.
Carole Zawatsky, the center’s CEO, called the event “an evening to showcase our programs of arts and culture.”
Among the programs are Theater J; annual film, literary and music festivals; classes; day camps; and programs for interfaith couples and families.
The gala kicked off with a buffet dinner featuring salmon, cod, latkes, flatbreads and various sides. As servers distributed glasses of red and white wine, the 275 attendees milled, schmoozed and lined up at the bar for other drinks.
The crowd was elegantly dressed in suits and dresses.
Event co-chair Norm Rich said the Spring Showcase was meant to be a celebration of the center’s success rather than an introduction to its programming, as most of the attendees were familiar with what goes on at the center.
Following remarks by the center’s president, Rose Cohen, DCJCC Ambassadors Council member Joshua Bernstein presented the Lee G. Rubenstein Outstanding Leadership Award to Stuart Kurlander, a member of the Washington Jewish Week owners group.
Kurlander was recognized for his founding of the Gay and Lesbian Outreach and Engagement Program (GLOE). Now in its eighth year, GLOE is, according to its website, “the first and only full-time GLBT program at any JCC.”
“Stuart represents inclusiveness,” Rich said.
Kurlander also served as the first national board chair of Keshet, a Jewish LGBT rights organization.
“We must put our individual issues aside and work for the best interests of the collective,” Kurlander said in his acceptance speech. “The way I see it, the collective works best when everyone is represented at the table.”
Baldwin is known for her 13-plus years as a Broadway actress, appearing in such shows as The Full Monty and Big Fish, and off-Broadway performances including Henry V and The Music Man.
She released her first solo album, Let’s See What Happens, in 2009.
Baldwin debuted a brand new show for the gala, a musical journey through some of her favorite tunes from her past Broadway roles—and a few pieces from upcoming shows.