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djn-1988-09-02-0-036The latest Jewish Ensemble Theatre (JET) brochure was in my mail this week, and I decided to see what the pages of the JN in the Davidson Digital Archives had to offer on the theater. I remember that my good friend, actress and JET vice president Mary Lou Zieve, first introduced me to the ensemble.

JET is a professional theater founded in Metro Detroit by film and television actress and artistic director Evelyn Orbach. This season will be JET’s 28th, a long history of producing thought-provoking plays.
Reading about JET, one also learns that the ensemble is not limited to just stage performances each year. For example, JET’s outreach program has reached more than 500,000 school kids, who have learned from such plays as Word, Mean Girls and I Was Just Kidding that focus on bullying. Such work supports the mission of JET, part of which is to serve “… as a force for Jewish continuity, a platform for new voices and a bridge of understanding to the general community.”

This is why the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs declared JET an “anchor” organization, just like the Detroit Zoo and Cranbrook.

This is the earliest advertisement in the JN that I could find for a JET performance — 1988 at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield. Rather humble beginnings for an “anchor” institution. *

— Mike Smith, Foundation Archivist

Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.

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