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Vanessa "The Hebrew Mamita" Hidary  

Actress / Performer / Writer / Director

Native New Yorker Vanessa Hidary, aka The Hebrew Mamita, is an actress, solo performer, writer, and director who grew up on Manhattan's culturally diverse Upper West Side. Her experiences as a Sephardic Jew with close friends from different ethnic and religious backgrounds inspired her to write "Culture Bandit," a solo show that chronicles her coming of age during the golden era of hip-hop, identity struggles, and her dedication to fostering understanding and friendship between all people of all cultures.

"Culture Bandit," was originally produced by LAByrinth Theatre Company and has since played as part of the Roar Theatre Festival at Nuyorican Poets Café; the Downtown Urban Theater Festival; the Los Angeles Women's Theater Festival; the 3rd Annual Hip-Hop Theatre Festival in Washington, DC; the Revolutions Theatre Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico; the Philadelphia Fringe Festival; the Makor Arts Center's Hip-hop without Borders Festival; and most recently at the Comedy Central Stage in Los Angeles.

She has performed on Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam three times, and is featured in the film The Tribe, which was selected for the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival in NYC, and the 2007 Jewish Motifs International Film Festival in Warsaw, Poland. Hidary has been featured in The New York Post, Time Out New York, The Jewish Week, The Forward, URB, BUST, Beyond Race, The Los Angeles Times, The Jerusalem Post, Lilith Magazine, and on

Other performances include Central Park's Summerstage opening for "The Lyricist Lounge" with Def Poetry Jam, NBC's 9/11 tribute, Concert for America, and as a Grand Slam Poetry Finalist at The Nuyorican Poets Café. She frequently tours colleges and universities.

Striving to spread her message of inclusion and tolerance, Hidary conducts poetry and racism workshops with Bnai' Brith Youth Organization, and works with Birthright Israel NEXT directing "MONOLOUGUES," an evening of solo performances exploring Jewish identity inspired by a 10-day trip through Israel.


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Speech Topics

Culture Bandit

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