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ReelAbilities Diversity & Inclusion Festival

The ReelAbilities Diversity and Inclusion Film Festival is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different abilities. The festival presents award-winning films, accompanied by discussions and other engaging programs which bring together the community to explore, discuss and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

Kesem (“Magic” in Hebrew) is exactly what occurs when actors, both with and without needs, go through this theatrical process together. Under the direction of Brian Bassett, participants learn, grow and express themselves in ways they may never had imagined.  In Kesem, the Weinstein JCC’s inclusive theater project, it is the process, more than the result, that is most important.  The cast and crew of Kesem invite everyone to come and experience the magic of Kesem! Click here to learn more.

This year's festival, presented by Karen and Ken Olshansky, will take place February 11-13. See below for this year's events!

Jewish Film Series: Shoelaces

Directed by Jacob Goldwasser I 90 min I Narrative I Israel I 2018

Nominated for eight Ophir Awards (Israeli Academy Awards) including Best Film, Shoelaces is a wholly engaging, tender family dramedy about the knotty relationship between an aging, irascible mechanic and the exuberant special-needs son he abandoned long before.

Shoelaces tells the story of a complicated relationship between an aging father (Reuben) and his special-needs son (Gadi), whom he abandoned while he was still a young boy. Reuben's kidneys are failing and his son Gadi wants to donate one of his own kidneys to help save his father's life. However, the transplant committee objects to the procedure claiming that Rueben, acting as Gadi's sole legal guardian, does not have the right to authorize such an invasive procedure.

Through the film's portrayal of a relationship full of love, rejection and co-dependency, it manages to shed some light and question the importance of human life, human connection and if life is even possible without it either one of them.

Presented by The Arenstein Family

IdentityRVA: Exploring Our Humanity Gallery Opening & Show

IdentityRVA is a photography exhibit that focuses on the humanity that exists in each of us and seeks to raise awareness and explore issues around how we are all more alike than we might think despite some of our differences. Eleven diverse women are part of our inaugural exhibit which launched in May of 2018. Photographs of 10 diverse men were added to the exhibit in January of 2020. The complete exhibit will be on display in the Sara D. November  Gallery at the Weinstein JCC. 

In addition, on Wednesday, February 12 at 7:30 PM, the community is invited to meet Kim Brundage, Identity RVA curator and photographer, along with many of the individual participants of this unique exhibition, to experience first-hand, their inspiring stories of strength, courage and diversity. Reception and program are free and open to the community.

Presented by Hirschler

Videography by Memories Videography

Kesem Inclusive Theatre Performance

In Hebrew, the word "Kesem" means magic, and at the Weinstein JCC, we like to make magic! The Kesem Inclusive Theatre Project is a theatre education initiative from the Weinstein JCC for adults ages 18 and up. The Center is committed to offering inclusive programming within the community for people of all ages and abilities. Kesem will provide a comprehensive theatre education experience from process to performance. Recognizing the positive impact of arts education on the social, emotional and functional aspects of life for all individuals, the Weinstein JCC has compiled a qualified team of professionals to develop a program that will meet the needs of individuals with disabilities while providing a deep and meaningful experience for every participant.

This year’s Kesem performance will take place on Thursday, February 13 at 7:30 PM. 

If you are interested in learning more this exciting program, please contact Melissa Bunce, Director of Inclusion & Support Services, at or (804) 545-8658