Susan Reimer-Torn's blog

A Communal Exploration Of Mental Illness

For three consecutive Wednesday evenings, beginning April 30th, the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education will partner with Congregation B’nai Jeshurun to co-host a groundbreaking series of experiential workshops and lectures, “Confronting Mental Illness.”

Devora Steinmetz. Courtesy of Drisha Institute

Literature On The Lower East Side

Must Jewish literature written by a Jew? How about a book that focuses on a Jewish concern, or characters with a recognizably Jewish neurosis? Is contemporary Hebrew-language literature necessarily Jewish?

Jonathan Rosen, Tova Mirvis and Josh Lambert at the Museum at Eldridge Street.  Sharna Brzycki

From The Jewish Feminist Frontier

The Jewish feminist movement has brought about remarkable changes in religious community life. But not everyone welcomes these shifts. More than one influential blogger has pointed to the “feminization” of Judaism, particularly in the more liberal sectors, as a contributing factor to the worrisome decline highlighted by the recent Pew report.

Judith Plaskow and Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses. Photo courtesy JCC in Manhattan

Mixed Media And Mothers At LABA

When was the last time you thought about – or stopped thinking about – this: “It’s not so simple to love your mommy.” Israeli novelist and philosopher Ruby Namdar surprises his audience at the 14th St. Y’s LABAlive performance with that deceptively simple  - - yet highly provocative - - opening line in his introduction to the evening’s performance.

Tom Block, “Valencia”

From The Runway To Sacred Space

Multimedia installation is not a novelty on the contemporary art scene. Even the inventive fusing of avant-garde couture, architecture and video is not without precedent. However, The Jewish Museum’s exhibition “threeASFOUR: MER KA BA,” is hallowed ground. This is space made sacred by its fervid devotion to intricate detail and the purity of its spiritual vision. The effect is disorienting and ethereal.

Clothing © 2013 threeASFOUR. David Heald The Jewish Museum and Art Production Fund

A Showcase Of Arts And Texts

How does an Orthodox center for rich and rigorous Jewish learning reach out to self-styled artists who are often in the margins of communal life?

Noach by Rabbi Joanne Yocheved Heligman. Photo courtesy Drisha Institute

Avivah Zornberg’s Intricate Patterns

Avivah Zornberg overlays a dizzying tapestry of midrashic, psychoanalytic and literary sources on her biblical themes. Her most satisfied listeners allow for the unmooring of the categorical mind. Zornberg, most recently the author of “The Murmuring Deep: Reflections on the Biblical Unconscious,” suggests that the hidden meaning of our classical texts is best perceived with our own porous and poetic unconscious minds.

Avivah Zornberg. Photo by Debbi Cooper

Happiness Show: Just Thinking About It Makes Me Smile

Happiness... there is a word for it in every language, yet, what it is and how best to sustain it is a perennial puzzle. There is hardly a culture, religion or political platform that fails to mention it, while few have defined it in consistently satisfying terms.

Photo courtesy The Jewish Museum

Springtime Rituals: A Seder And A Dance Festival Offer Annual Recharge

For the past 62 years, two seemingly unrelated events in the Jewish world mark the early days of spring in New York City: The Annual Israeli Folk Dance Festival and preparations for the Passover seder.

Purim Spiel: Social Justice, Burlesque And The Whole Megillah

It all started when the puppeteer Randy Ginsburg went to Bali at the age of 22 and his orthodox Jewish friends expressed fears that he would worship pagan gods.

 From The Whole Megillah. Photo courtesy Randy Ginsburg
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