About Us

The Washington Jewish Music Festival is the flagship of the Edlavitch DCJCC’s year-round music program. Established in 1999 with a lead gift from the Howard and Geraldine Polinger Family Foundation, the WJMF promotes a broader appreciation of Jewish culture and connects the Greater Washington, DC community through music. WJMF presents extraordinary performing artists who preserve and invigorate Jewish music in contemporary culture. Through collaborations, educational programming, and free events, the Festival actively engages people throughout the greater DC community in cross-cultural dialogue.

In addition to the Festival, the WJMF presents year-round programs at our home venue, the Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater.

To see more, check out our 17th Washington Jewish Music Festival Recap Video.

WJMF Staff

Ilya Tovbis is the director of the Washington Jewish Music Festival. Ilya’s involvement with music programming started in the Bay Area through the Berkeley Jewish Music Festival and The Stern Grove Festival.

He also started the Berkley-based music showcase “The Brew,” featuring monthly pairings of diverse artists such as Meredith Axelrod, Beth Custer, Deli Kanli, Charming Hostess, Glenn Hartman, Kymata, Matt Nelson, Aaron Novik, Rob Reich, and John Schott, Katy Stephan, and Craig Ventresco.

Kaitlin Whitman is the Director of Operations. She joined the WJMF team in 2015. Through her education and prior work history, she brings a wealth of arts administration and festival experience to the music department. Prior to joining the EDCJCC, she worked at American University as the Photography Lab Manager where students learned how to process and print their own images in a darkroom. Before that, Kaitlin worked at the DC Environmental Film Festival in programming and a variety of other roles for five years. She regularly volunteers with festivals across the city, attends as many as possible, and consults on film projects. She loves all genres of music but finds herself listening most often to bluegrass and folk tunes. Kaitlin graduated from American University with a MA in Arts Management in 2014 and a BA in Visual Media and Cinema Studies in 2009.

Alexis Rodriguez is the WJMF Outreach and Communications Manager. He has a background in arts marketing and is passionate about bringing organizations closer to their communities.

Prior to joining the EDCJCC, he worked on grassroots marketing and public relations strategies at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Strathmore. He also helped develop and manage their Brainiacs program, an audience engagement initiative that helped boost retention among new subscribers.

Alexis graduated from American University with an MA in Arts Management in 2015 and a BA in Marketing from the University of Puerto Rico in 2012.

Hannah Grace Heartfield is the WJMF Program Coordinator. She brings with her a passion for the arts and culture as well as a background in dance and music.

Prior to joining WJFF, she spent the summer interning with the PBS Foundation where she assisted with fundraising efforts for PBS educational programming. Before that, Hannah Grace served as the company manager for Gamut Dance Company where she coordinated several performances during her senior year of college and regularly collaborated with music groups on campus.

Hannah Grace is a recent graduate of Davidson College with a BA in English and a concentration in Global Literary Theory.