There’s something exquisite about the Offit Gallery on The Jewish Museum’s second floor: It is high-ceilinged with lots of light flooding in from the windows overlooking Central Park. In 2012, the Museum inaugurated a series of “laboratory” exhibitions in the space, once part of the Warburg family mansion. New works as well as pieces from the Museum’s collections are featured, in an effort to advance new ideas about art and culture.
Yishai Jusidman’s color palette is limited to materials connected to the Nazi gas chambers: Prussian Blue, a pigment that appeared on the chamber walls as a by-product of the Zyklon B Gas; a silicon dioxide power used for pellets that delivered the gas to the sealed chambers; and flesh-tone colored paints, referring to the murdered millions.
Had it been two blocks south and a bit farther east, the 16th Street Synagogue would have been included in Gerard R. Wolfe’s excellent new edition of his classic work, “The Synagogues of New York’s Lower East Side: A Retrospective and Contemporary View,” (Empire State Editions/Fordham University Press). That shul, formerly the Young Israel of Fifth Avenue, is being evicted from its building, after a long dispute with a developer.
Those interested in New York City’s building genealogy and the intertwining connections between real estate interests, immigrant history, shifting populations and synagogue life will find much of interest in Wolfe’s book, first published in 1978. He details the active synagogues (12) and the “lost” or endangered synagogues (24), and also includes a great chronological chart documenting shul mergers and breakaways in New York City, 1654 – 1875.
Shabbat dinner with Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach usually involved at least 50 people, maybe many more, according to his daughter, the singer Neshama Carlebach. It was Reb Shlomo’s custom to make kiddush and then pass around his wine, even if symbolically, to make sure that everyone had even a drop of the sanctified wine.
Ann Hamilton’s large-scale installation at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan, “The Event of a Thread,” is on view through January 6th. Readings, music, sound and live events are part of the piece, and visitors can try the 42 swings suspended from above. Some have seen Hamilton’s work as a statement about the passage of time and the threads that connect all of us. Rena Chelouche Fogel, who has been playing the role of the Solitary Writer, reflects on being part of the installation --Editor