Welcome to


and to

Jewish Involvement Theatre (JIT),

done debbie-style: 

Scroll down, down, down to soar up, up, up!    

Debbie Fink currently serves as the Director of Community Outreach & Impact for RespectAbility, a national, nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates on behalf of all people with disabilities.  In this role, Debbie oversees its national, secular Volunteer Corps as well as its faith-based efforts in Jewish Inclusion.

Prior to joining RespectAbility’s dynamic team – and amidst Debbie’s other secular Tikkun Olam projects – debbiefink&co. emerged.  As a writer and ‘edu-tainer’ (educator + entertainer), all of Debbie’s projects are rooted in character education / middot.  She has crafted and conducted workshops and performances for over 70,000 students, educators, parents, service members, wounded warriors and others worldwide.  Debbie had the great honor of edu-taining America’s troops’ families as a USO Tour Veteran; the USO invited her to take her messages and books on tours throughout South Korea, Japan/Okinawa, Italy, and Germany.  Meanwhile, Debbie has conducted her interactive Jewish edu-tainment in the U.S. and Canada.

Debbie’s Jewish Chai-lights:

Served as a Hillel Director;  

 Lived/studied//danced/worked in Israel for four years and visits regularly;

Chaired, crafted, and directed a $1.2 million fundraiser for Israel;

  1.     Selected by Jewish Women International (JWI) as one of its Jewish HERoes


 Recorded a Jewish CD (folk violin/vocals) All in Good Time with former musical troupe Calliope;

Led ~ 200 horas at Jewish events worldwide and co-led ~180 havdalot ceremonies;

Involved with ongoing co-creations of musically-infused, multi-sensory Jewish experiences for synagogue services and other Jewish venues;

Co-led music and dance for over a dozen Women's Seders, including writing a Haggadah for, and leading, a UJA Federation Women’s Seder;

Conceptualized and co-authored The Ethical Covenant:  A Practical Guide to Creating Honorable Menschen and A Moral, Caring Community for the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School of MD; and

Created, conducted, and performed multiple "Jewish Involvement Theatre" (JIT) productions, directing/performing them throughout the DC/MD/VA/NY area and Canada (e.g., the international JEA Conference in Washington, D.C. and the Canadian Council for Conservative Synagogues in Toronto).

Debbie enjoys sculpting JIT productions – powerful, humorous, interactive, multi-character, multi-perspective, one-woman shows – they reach, teach, and touch participants’ minds and neshamot (souls). 

Debbie believes that JIT’s pedagogic paradigm is Jewish theatre that respectfully tackles any topic and makes it meaningful, joyful, and thought-provoking for all who participate. The JIT productions get to the heart of the matter, and participants leave with much more insight on that topic than they came.

JIT’s Basic Pedagogic Formula:

Opening - 2-4 minutes (movement / sign language)

First Character’s Monologue (5-10 minutes)         –– Followed by a facilitated discussion

Second Character’s Monologue  (5-10 minutes)   –– Followed by a facilitated discussion

Third Character’s Monologue (5-10 minutes)      –– Followed by a facilitated discussion

Fourth Character’s Discussion (5-10 minutes)     –– Followed by a facilitated discussion

Group Interview of one Character

  (Participants vote on one character to bring back to interview)

Closing - 3-5 minutes (movement / participants learn sign language)

Commissioned by synagogues, schools, and Jewish organizations, Debbie’s JIT and other innovative works include:  

Queen Vashti: Taking the First Public Stand Against Domestic Violence;

  1. RiverSpeak: Stories of Heroism Told from the Banks of the Nile, Danube, and Potomac Rivers;

RiverSpeak: An Interactive Seder Told from the Banks of the Nile, Danube, and Severn Rivers;   

The Growing Tree: Nurturing Our Children’s Jewish Roots and Limbs;

Breaking Through the Glass:  Joining our Children on Their Jewish Journey;

Im Ein Ani Li, Mi Li? Taking Care of Me, 2010 (for 6th graders);

I’m Sorry.  I’m Sorry.  I’m Sorry.  Slicha. (A High Holiday performance);

Israel Through the Decades Honors (Commissioned scriptwriter and Director)

Hoedown Horas!

Wills of Iron, Souls of Steel:  A Women’s Seder for UJA’s Federation of Washington, D.C.

Below is a series of photo montages, ending with a Washington Jewish Week article about JIT that features Debbie’s work. 

(Note: performances performed on Shabbat or Yomim Tovim have no photos . . . )

While ‘a picture’s worth a thousand words,’ there’s no substitute for the actual, real-live experience!


“After participating in the presentation RiverSpeak, we were so moved that, on our trip to Budapest a few months later, we decided to visit the memorial site to the Hungarian Jews murdered along the Danube.  We searched out the site, and as we reflected on the varieties of shoes in the sculpture, the presentation returned to our minds and made the memorial much more meaningful.  RiverSpeak is a powerful reminder of that period of history and helped to make our trip to Budapest especially memorable.”

Howard and Holly Stein



“Not knowing what Debbie’s one-woman-show would be like – the outcome was astounding. The audience was mesmerized by her ability to relay her message through her four characters in a manner that made discussion around these characters easily forthcoming. Her versatility in acting, dance movement, and putting together a ‘sign language’ routine capturing our convention’s theme was thoughtful and to the point. By the end of the session we were all ‘signing’ our theme. The comments that followed were ‘heartwarming, provocative, true to life, and thought provoking.’  I was more than satisfied with her performance, and will look forward to bringing her back to Canada.”  
Bernie Shiner
Convention Chairman
Canadian Council of Conservative Synagogues

Article in the Washington Jewish Week

on debbiefink&co.’s 
Jewish Involvment Theatre

January 14, 2010

Debbie Fink’s Jewish “Chai-lights:”

Not up-to-date . . . 

But all accurate!
"Debbie Fink's . . . dramatic one-woman play ... was remarkable. What made it even more meaningful is the audience participation that allows for further exploration of her subject, creating a great learning as well as entertaining experience. Her original, imaginative and creative script coupled with her acting talent is a very special treat for any audience. I highly recommend her work."

 Chazzan Abe Lubin, Bethesda, MD
“Debbie Fink's production of RiverSpeak spoke to our hearts, our minds, our souls.  We commissioned Debbie to create a dramatic Passover experience for our sisterhood.  Did she ever!  Debbie took us on a journey from our hometown Severn River, to our ancestors' Nile River, to the atrocities along the Danube River (circa 1944-45).   Debbie revealed her exceptional ability to weave drama, music, movement, history, scenery, laughter, tears, and suspense.  Moreover, she crafted an evening that completely involved and engaged its audience from beginning to end.  It was a true pleasure working with Debbie again, and I will try to create an opportunity to work with her again soon!”
Merle Intner 
Co-Chair, Beth El of Baltimore Sisterhood’s
2010 Women’s Passover Experience

“Jewish Involvement Theater gives sixth graders and their parents the forum to discuss important topics such as how to prioritize time and what friendships to value.   The social topics would be worthwhile in any setting, but here the Jewish values are added using traditional texts in a non-threatening way.  The role playing format allows people to be less guarded in revealing their true feelings since they are doing so under the guise of talking not about themselves, but rather about a character.  Children and parents also have the opportunity to hear messages from other children and parents that they may receive differently than if it was coming from their own family member.”

Sarah Roark
Media Specialist
Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
“It was amazing!  The attendees were so attentive and focused you could hear a pin drop!”  

Dr. Robert Spitz
Director of Education,
Temple Beth Torah, 
Long Island, NY
“Your performance was ‘gadol’ [huge]!   You really did a great job, taught us a lot, and the hora dancing was just so much fun!” 

Israeli Educator,
Long Island, NY
      NOVEMBER 3, 2010

Dr. Spitzer,

“I have been attending  Yom Iyuns for over 20 years.  The one we had yesterday was one of the best.  It was educational, engaging and relevant.  It was highly worthwhile.”


”’I'm Sorry, I’m Sorry, I’m Sorry’ is an engaging program exploring the difficulties of admitting when you're wrong.  Each character that Debbie brings forth is someone the audience can relate to and identify with (one blames others for mistakes; one justifies mistakes; one denies mistakes; and one accepts responsibility for mistakes, knowing how to make amends).  The emphasis is on learning to own our mistakes, to apologize, to try to “make right,” and to avoid repeating the same mistake in the future.  Her energy, creativity and depth make this a wonderful program worth bringing to your community.”

Rabbi Greg Harris
President of the Washington Board of Rabbis

Associate Rabbi of Congregation Beth El
Bethesda, MD
APRIL 10, 2011

Kol Hakavod!
[Y]ou did an amazing job tonight. What you have done is to give people the opportunity to engage and reflect about how our history affects and molds our modern day lives. I will call upon the stories of these Jewish heroines at my Passover Seder, to teach my children and grandchild the importance of understanding, relating to, and upholding our precious legacy.

All the best.
Jeff Hausfeld, M.D.
APRIL 10, 2011

As Jews we are commanded to repeat the story of the Exodus from Egypt from generation to generation.  As post war survivors we are told to never forget.  A night in attendance at Debbie Fink's touching and dramatic production of RiverSpeak will carry this pledge one step further.  It saturates your heart with unforgettable vignettes of people from biblical days to the present who have lived and died on their Jewish roots.  As both a teacher and daughter of a survivor the scenes struck a personal chord bringing to mind important lessons for the classroom and for our children to embrace.  The evening is serious, with messages conveyed through uplifting musical interludes, culminating in messages of hope and renewal.  If Debbie's in town, buy tickets first and ask questions later. 
Diana Siegel
Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
 APRIL 10, 2011

REVIEW of RiverSpeak:  Stories of Heroism Told from the Banks of the Nile, Danube, and Potomac Rivers

by Debbie Pollack, M.D, psychiatry

The opening scene in RiverSpeak, Debbie Fink’s one woman show, began so politely.  Tuxedoed men and gowned women waltzed to the tune of The Blue Danube in ever so genteel a fashion.  But it wasn’t to last. Quickly, the audience was transported out of this reverie and thrust back into times when civility was hard to find. In challenging situations, four heroines stepped forth to save a child, and in doing so, taught us all a lesson in humanity.  

The play was divided into four acts.  Each act began with an account of a key woman who helped save the baby Moses.  Had it not been for his feisty sister Miriam, or the righteous Egyptian midwife Pu’ah,  or Moses’ brave but terrified mother Yocheved, or the Egyptian princess Batya who lovingly adopted and raised him,  our exodus would never have happened.   The biblical accounts were beautifully chanted by Evan Krame and Rachel Gafni.
 After each Biblical heroine’s story was sung, we were seamlessly transported to modern times and introduced to their contemporary counterparts.  In a hauntingly moving scene, we witnessed a desperate mother in Nazi occupied Budapest handing her baby off to a stranger and an aristocratic  Gentile woman who daringly hid the infant through the duration of the Holocaust.
Sandy Lederman, the pianist and vocalist, set the mood with her magnificent voice which flowed powerfully through each act, much like the rivers which flowed through every story.   
What made the evening so unique was the opportunity for everyone in the audience to truly engage in the experience.  Debbie‘s production is part of a new genre of acting called [Jewish] Involvement Theater.   People sat at round tables, snacking on nuts and fruits from “seder plates”, and contemplated four very real dilemmas posed by a moderator in each group.  The opportunity to share and connect with others added a whole new dimension to what was a truly outstanding night and a prelude to our retelling of our stories at our upcoming seders.
                            YouTube Infomercial for 
RiverSpeak:  Stories of Heroism Told from the Banks of the Nile, Danube, and Potomac Rivers (4/10/11)



Hi Debbie,
 Your hard work was certainly appreciated today by all the people involved with your production as well as those in the audience today at Beth El! Yasher koach for a job well done!! It was a pleasure meeting you and however briefly working with you too. I wish you much success in your future endeavors and do hope that our paths will cross again in the future!
 Most sincerely,

Judi Snyder
(Played wife of honoree Amos Oz)

THANK YOU! for being you and delighting us with your incredible show about Israel.  Your passion radiated and permeated the room, coming through each member of the cast as they looked at their faithful director.  We were so honored to be there, sit so close, and . . .  I loved learning about the Israeli people and the  music was so touching and beautiful.  I've never been to Israel and actually felt inspired to go!! Who knew?


To All the Cast & Crew -
WOW!!! What a performance by everyone.     I stood at the door after the performance as well as roamed around the room and only heard wonderful comments such as:  very professional, informative, enjoyable, etc., etc.  All of you should be very proud of what you accomplished.  All the hard work and many hours of preparation certainly paid off. 

 Ellen Budish
Beth El of Baltimore

Debbie Fink’s rendition of Vashti was simply . . .  indescribable! Debbie combined her skills as scholar, author, and performer to create this profound Vashti soliloquy.  She took a character we’ve heard about year after year and conveyed her to us in a fresh way that left us all ‘charged’ to take a stand on domestic violence.  She delivered such depth and soul to our evening’s event; expanded our knowledge and horizons; and elevated our sense of sisterhood and commitment to this critical cause.   And she managed to keep us giggling while she did it!  I’m not sure how Debbie does what she does, but it’s quite an extraordinary experience.  
Debbie Olchyk
Congregation Beth El

Debbie Fink brought her extraordinary talent to our first ever Vashti's Banquet. She literally brought Vashti alive, dramatically re-telling Vashti's story to a room full of spellbound women. No one can weave a story quite like Debbie!
 Karen Judson
Event Chair, Sisterhood
Beth El of Montgomery County, MD