Well Versed

From The Hazamir Stage To The Audience

As Matthew Lazar stepped onto the stage, surveyed his creation, and began conducting the Hazamir choir, his face was shining. Hazamir: The International Jewish High School Choir, founded by Lazar in 1993, includes students active in 21 chapters across North America and one (soon to be two) in Israel. Two Sundays ago, they performed their 20th Annual Gala Concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center, with songs including “Shehechayanu” and “L’Eyla.

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.

Drinking In The Texts

The evening had the feel of a Greek symposium or a party with your most creative friends. Last Thursday night, LABA (a laboratory for new Jewish art inspired by classical texts) hosted DRUNK, an intoxicating evening of learning at the 14th Street Y.  The theme of the evening was wine.
 

A Novel Of The Middle East: Bombing, Love And A Banana Split

“I don’t know what it was. It might have been a head, or perhaps a hand or foot, it went by so fast, but following it, as if pulling a wire, came the explosion, and instantaneously the window I was sitting beside shattered.” From the first sentence of Michael Lavigne’s “The Wanting” (Schocken), you are gripped by a tension that is sustained throughout the novel.

Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel Honored For Bridging Worlds of Science and Literature

The Jewish Book Council has bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award in past years on literary figures Philip Roth and Cynthia Ozick. This year’s award, however, went to someone not as well known in the world of literature, but who has contributed to the Jewish community as well as the world of literature and science. 

Tracking Tenement Gems


The stone faces that look at us from New York City buildings are called grotesques. On the Lower East Side, they form another layer in the city’s immigrant history.

Scouting the Armory Show

It’s the 100th anniversary of the legendary 1913 Armory Show, which took place in the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue and is widely credited for bringing Modern art to New York. A slew of shows are planned during 2013 in celebration. 
 

A Painter’s Meditation on Sinai


My painting of the giving of the Torah on Sinai appears on the book jacket of a terrific new book that’s said to be secular. I’ve been wondering about this.

And I Will Write on These Tablets, Exodus 34:1 (from Seeing Sinai), Jill Nathanson 2005. Malcolm Varon

Crowning Lena Dunham

Esther as Eloise?  Makes sense when Lena Dunham channels the parentless and precocious Eloise - “I am Lena and I am six” -- for a modern retelling of the Purim spiel.

Lena Dunham. Photo by Matthew Carasella/The Jewish Museum

The Eruv: Staying within Bounds

An exhibit at the Yeshiva University Museum, “It’s a Thin Line,” describes the history of the eruv and its evolution both nationally and across the globe, but it is the story of the Manhattan eruv, established in 1907 -- and a source of controversy since its inception -- which makes up the core of the exhibit.

"Tightrope" by Yona Verwer. Photo courtesy Yeshiva University Museum
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