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The Children of Willesden Lane is a Highlight of the Tapestry Season

By JCC Milwaukee June 21, 2023

The Children of Willesden Lane is a Highlight of the Tapestry Season

When the Temkin family brought an idea for a Tapestry performance to the JCC team, nobody could have known the impact that program would have on our community.

The Temkins – Libby, daughter Kim Temkin-Taylor, and son Todd – established a new endowment fund in 2019 to make possible an annual Tapestry arts event for our community that also celebrates Libby and reflects her passion for live performances. Arts & Culture Director Reva Fox worked with the family to brainstorm possibilities, always mindful of the work that they bring forward for consideration. 

In October 2022, The Children of Willesden Lane made its Wisconsin premiere in the Daniel M. Soref Community Hall of the JCC to a packed audience and standing ovation. Kim Temkin-Taylor had seen this virtuoso event several years prior in San Francisco and knew it was the perfect fit for the Tapestry program.

The Children of Willesden Lane is the inspiring true story of Lisa Jura, a young piano prodigy who escaped the Nazis when her parents sent her from her home in Austria to England via the Kindertransport. Throughout the conflicts of WWII, Lisa clung to the last words her mother said to her at the train station: “Hold on to your music…it will be your best friend.” Lisa’s daughter Mona Golabek, a concert pianist herself, chronicled her mother’s story in a book of the same name. The Grammy-nominated Golabek also created this one-woman, multimedia performance and travels the globe sharing the story of her mother’s courage, passion, and resilience. 

Generously sponsored by the Libby Temkin Endowment for the Arts, and with promotional support from the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, The Children of Willesden Lane was a one-woman tour de force production that kept people in the community hall talking, gushing, and raving about what they had just experienced. Tapestry donors and guests of the sponsor family had an opportunity to meet Mona Golabek in-person at a post-show reception – where the most asked question was, “How do we bring you back here?!”

Libby shared her own feelings with JCC staff the next morning: “So many guests there last night were so delighted with the performance…I personally feel that you put so much of yourself into our work together. What fun it is to see our plans and hopes come to such a beautiful result. I think we have established a level that I’m so proud to be a part of. I know my kids feel the same and we haven’t stopped talking about it. ”Stay tuned for the next Temkin Endowment for the Arts event in 2024 – as well as a potential return of Mona Golabek and The Children of Willesden Lane!

Click here to read more stories of impact from the 2022-23 Annual Report.