2018-2019 Fellows

Meet the new LABA fellows that will be joining our exploration of LIFE + DEATH for the 2018-2019 season:

Dmitri Barcomi is a theater director from New York City. His artistic goals include creating theater from unusual source materials and exploring technology/multimedia in live performance. His work has been featured at Edinburgh Fringe, La Mama, Dixon Place, The Brick, and more. Dmitri is also a violinist and works in theater production. Education: BA, The New School. Directors Lab North alum & Lincoln Center Directors Lab member.

Ari Brand is an actor, musician, writer, teacher and lifelong New Yorker. His current projects include developing a play based on the life of his father, an Israeli-American pianist who died of AIDS in 1990. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and two-year-old son.

Maya Ciarrocchi is a Bronx-based interdisciplinary artist whose work addresses identity and the body as a site of history. Her work has been presented in galleries and institutions, nationally and internationally and she has received funding from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Jerome Foundation, and the MAP Fund as well as residencies from the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Millay Colony, and UCross Foundation.

Jessica Tamar Deutsch is a New York based artist. Her work explores the intersection of ancient Jewish practice and contemporary culture. She earned her BFA in illustration at Parsons School of Design. Deutsch has completed residencies with Art Kibbuts, Brandeis Collegiate Institute, and was included in The Jewish Week’s 36 under 36 in 2018. The Illustrated Pirkei Avot, A Graphic Novel of Jewish Ethics, is her first published book.

Yochai Greenfeld, dancer actor and singer, was born and raised in Israel, where his artistic passion evolved among the books and the scrolls at Yeshiat Maale Gilboa. He believes in art as a form of multi-layered communication, and aspires to create meaningful, amusing and inspiring conversations in his work.

Yonatan Gutfeld grew up in Jerusalem, where he studied music composition. He was active in the Tel Aviv singer-songwriter scene and toured the country with his band after releasing his debut album. Since 2012, Yonatan has lived in NYC where he records his songs, teaches and writes music for theatre productions. In 2017, he released Time’s Tyranny, an album of new compositions to Shakespeare sonnets in Hebrew translation.

Jeanne Heifetz came to visual art by an indirect route: she has two degrees in English and originally worked as a writer and editor. Her artwork has been shown in 21 states, the U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Italy, and Israel. Her current series addresses mortality through the abstract language of cemetery maps.

Marques Hollie, jewsician, is an operatic tenor and facilitator of creative Jewish ritual whose work focuses on creating Jew-of-color-centered ritual experiences. Marques was named one of New York Jewish Week’s 36 Under 36 (2018) and a fellow in the Union for Reform Judaism’s JewV’Nation Fellowship, a visionary leadership development program.

Stav Palti-Negev is a NYC based Israeli playwright. Stav’s work has been developed through Atlantic Theater Company, The Public Theater, The Flea Theater, Asylum Arts, and Israel International Exposure among others. Produced: Israel Fringe Theater Festival (Acco), Tmuna Theater (Tel-Aviv), Nazareth Theater. She is a 2017 alumna of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group.

Richard Saudek is an idiot who likes to make faces at himself in the mirror. He grew up performing in the circus, has done commedia dell’arte in Florence and improv in Chicago; has stilt-walked in Shanghai and been a burlesque bellhop opposite Steve Buscemi. He’s portrayed madmen and fools, teaches undergrads in Northern Greece, and has depicted multiple mute characters around NYC off-broadway for some reason.

Ilana Sichel is working on a non-fiction project about the death of her brother and end-of-life-ethics. She has widely published her fiction and non-fiction, and her collaborative guerilla art/activism projects have garnered broad media coverage. Ilana received her MFA in Fiction from the University of Michigan, her AB in Literature from Harvard, and is currently working toward her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at City College.

Mariano Wainsztein was born in Argentina and raised in Israel. He is a composer and a filmmaker. He has won prestigious awards from Franklin Furnace Archive for performance art in 2000 and from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures in 2011. Mariano is a community teaching artist at Educational Alliance and is an adjunct professor in the Film and Media department at Hunter college.

Alex Weiser is a composer of music with broad gestures, rich textures, and narrative sweep, which has been called “compelling” (New York Times), and “shapely, melody-rich” (Wall Street Journal). Born and raised in New York City, Weiser creates acutely cosmopolitan music combining a deeply felt historical perspective with a vibrant forward-looking creativity.


Kendell Pinkney is Brooklyn-based theatre writer, educator, and rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. A graduate of Oberlin College and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, his collaborative works and songs have been performed at venues such as Joe’s Pub, Two Rivers Theatre Company, and LABA @ the 14th Street Y to name a few.

Lisa Ann Sandell is the editorial director of Scholastic Focus, an imprint of Scholastic Inc. dedicated to narrative nonfiction for middle grade and young adult readers. She is also the author three young adult novels, and lives in New York City with her family.

Ophir Tal, a proud Jerusalemite, is a trained facilitator of Jewish-Palestinian dialogue groups, a youth Instructor and a writer in soul. He was a music journalist in Maariv Lanor, a military correspondent in the IDF Magazine “Bamhane”, a journalist in Xnet, and is now the new Shaliach of the Jewish Agency and UJA Federation to the 14th Street Y. In the Shlichut, he aspires to tell stories by the art of the word, exploring conflicting narratives and perspectives.

Adi Yeger is a long time Copy&Screenwriter, short time Comedian and a life long Jew. Finally she found the place that appreciates all 3 aspects of her life. Adi can’t wait to meet everyone, bring to life amazing ideas and collaborations – and avoid death as much as she possibly can.

LABA Buenos Aires

Mirta Kupferminc, LABA BA Artistic Director, is an Argentine multidisciplinary artist. Exhibiting since 1977, has had more than 100 solo shows, locally and internationally. Her works can be found at: The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Contemporary Art Collection; Taipei-Fine Arts Museum; Taichung Fine art Museum in Taiwan; Ralli Foundation Museum, Uruguay; Holocaust Museum in Budapest; Hungary-University of Maryland; Library of Congress, Washington DC; Golda Meir Library, Winsconsin University, Milwaukee; HUC Jewish Museum, NYC; Southern Graphic Council Collection, USA (selection). In 2015 launched, and now directs, LABA-BA in dialog with LABA House of Study: a Laboratory for Jewish Culture at the 14th St Y in NYC.

Tova Shvartzman (Graciela Shvartzman), LABA BA Teaching Artists, is a licensed Sociologist at the University of Buenos Aires, and a former research professor in Psychoanalysis at University of Buenos Aires and University of Belgrano . She has a degree in Jewish History from Hamidrashá Haivrit. She is also a visiting lecturer in Masters on Human Resources at San Andres University, as well as a visiting professor at Tel Aviv–Jerusalem (Study groups – Lacan Seminars). Between 1970 and 1999, she held positions in the Jewish Community among them Director of the teacher education center Maayanot, director of Tzavta (Mapam-Hashomer Hatzair) director of UPIZ, Open University. She represented the Jewish Community in the Secretaría de Desarrollo Humano y Familia during the government of President Dr. Alfonsín. During the terrorist attack on the Amia in Buenos Aires she was part of the psychological help team in extreme situations. Conferences, among them: Madrid 2011- Jewish Community; Washington 2016, Library of Congress; Jerusalem 2008 Eitanim Hospital. She investigates the relationship between Judaism and Psychoanalysis. Poems: De Grietas y Entretantos (1998), En cualquier aquí (2018).

Learn more about our previous fellows: