Well Versed

Letters From Afar Close Up

The four side-by-side frames shimmer as if blown by a gentle breeze. Scenes begin to flicker before you, like a dreamscape, some in black and white, some in color. Rock-solid, ageless buildings appear, their stone facades immortalized by light and film.

Warsaw street scene; still from Polish home movie, c 1920s - 1930s. From the archives of YIVO

An Illustrated Saga Of The Diaspora

Mark Podwal is once again the subject of a documentary by Czech Television. In the most recent film, the producers focused on the creative process behind the artist’s latest portfolio of works, “All This Has Come Upon Us,” a series of 42 paintings and drawings created for and displayed at the Terezin Ghetto Museum earlier this year. The works provide an illustrated history of Jewish tragedies and, according to the artist, offer “a disturbing reminder of how Europe’s extensive history of ‘Jew-Hatred’ laid the groundwork for Terezin and Auschwitz.”

Mark Podwal. “Terezin.” Courtesy of the artist

His Yamaha Says Yamulke: Meet Daniel Cainer

A singer songwriter's frank engagement with the fallible Jewish male enlivens “Jewish Chronicles” –- a one man cabaret show at the Soho Playhouse now through November 16th.

Daniel Cainer

The Greenest Sukkah

Anyone passing by the JCC in Manhattan over the course of Sukkot would happen upon a peculiar sight – a skeletally crafted hut with maize as a ceiling and bubbling, whirring bottles of variously hued greens embedded in its walls. This is the JCC’s outdoor sukkah, an extension of a larger exhibition “Incubating Ideas and Cultivating Connections: The Greenhouse of Ein Shemer,” present in the center’s lobby and roof.

Sukkot on Amsterdam Avenue. Yaakov Bressler

Fragments From A Long, Wide View

Yale Strom has devoted his life to preserving and rescuing Jewish culture and in particular, klezmer music, in Central and Eastern Europe. As a result, the musician is also a filmmaker, historian, ethnomusicologist, and photographer.

Yale Strom. "Passing the Village Synagogue, Dorohoi, Romania, 1985." Courtesy of Anne Frank Center

Fragments From A Long, Wide View

Yale Strom has devoted his life to preserving and rescuing Jewish culture and in particular, klezmer music, in Central and Eastern Europe. As a result, the musician is also a filmmaker, historian, ethnomusicologist, and photographer.

Yale Strom. "Passing the Village Synagogue, Dorohoi, Romania, 1985." Courtesy of Anne Frank Center

Psalmic Muse

Keeping in mind the Chasidic custom of reciting Psalms during the days leading to Yom Kippur, now would be a perfect time to head up to the scenic Derfner Judaica Museum for Archie Rand’s visual renditions of Psalm 68. 

Archie Rand, Psalm 68:30. Courtesy of the Derfner Judaica Museum

Supporting Israel With Art

Few subjects have troubled Jews across the globe this past summer as much as the recent conflict in Israel. The violence  portrayed on the news stimulated a consequential outpouring of support from Jewish communities worldwide. But an art group based in Brooklyn is showing support through a unique means: a spiritual defense.

Leah Raab. “Huddled in the Tunnel. Courtesy of the Creative Soul

Sharon’s Life And Family Roots Celebrated In Belarus

Ariel Sharon’s grandfather moved to Palestine in 1910 from the town of Brest Litovsk in White Russia. But after two years in Rehovot, enduring hardships, he returned to his native town. Then, in 1922, his son (Ariel Sharon’s father), also made aliyah, to escape persecution. A student of agronomy, he and his wife settled on a moshav northeast of Tel Aviv, where their son was born six years later.  Ariel Sharon would often speak of his childhood on the moshav, Kfar Malal, where his love of the rural life took root. 

Gilad Sharon at the opening of the exhibition. Yossi Aloni

Maurice Sendak’s Papers: Thoughts On An Artist’s Legacy

Maurice Sendak, the beloved and celebrated maker of children’s books, was much more than "Where the Wild Things Are." At his death in 2012, more than 10, 200 pieces of his work –  drawings, watercolors, manuscripts, proof copies and more – resided at the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia. The museum had hoped that this situation, which let them stage no fewer than 72 Sendak exhibitions since 1970, would continue. However, Peter Dobrin of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently broke the news that not only did Sendak leave the materials to the Maurice Sendak Foundation, but the foundation’s trustees have asked for their return to Sendak’s Ridgefield, Connecticut home, set to become a museum of sorts itself.

"Maurice Sendak's "Where The Wild Things Are"
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