Well Versed

Last Chance: Palestinian-Israeli Harmony … At The Metropolitan Room

Peace seemed not only possible, but was palpable this week at the Metropolitan Room as Mira Awad sang her own compositions in Arabic, Hebrew and English. Her words are earthy, her voice transcendent and the yearning for something better remains in the air.

Mira Awad is an Arab-Israeli performer. Nanni Fontana

A Rabbi And A Monk Walk Into A Courtyard

With the almost invisible strings of Fort Washington’s eruv stretching from pole to pole above us, we followed Rabbi Adam Mintz and Brother John Glasenapp, OSB up the hill where we found welcome refuge from Manhattan’s May heat inside the medieval walls of The Cloisters. An unlikely tag team, the rabbi and  the monk were leading  a group of 25 on a two hour walk and discussion sponsored by Yeshiva University Museum and The Cloisters museum to tease out the public/private nature of the eruv and Cloister, and how they create religious structures and community.

Rabbi Adam Mintz and Brother John Glasenapp. Angela Himsel

Was The Apple A Fig?

"EAT” is an irresistible imperative. Jews around the world are defined by our foods. So eager anticipation was tangible last Saturday night at the 14th St Y  where a supportive audience had come to encounter works by LABA fellows exploring texts centered on food.

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

A Photographer With An Ironic Eye

Vivid purple, yellow and green feathers grow out of his face, peacock feathers crown his head, and green feathers wrap around his neck.  A beard pokes through and a trenchcoat covers his body. An avian humanoid or a man in a Purim costume?

Pavel Wolberg, Bnei Brak, 2012. Courtesy the artist and Andrea Meislin Gallery

Jews And The Arts, Players And Pundits

The Jewish Studies Center at Baruch College hosted an ambitious and absorbing program, “Jewish Arts and Identity in the Contemporary World” on May 7th. Three panels – on theater, music and the visual arts - were the core of the conference complemented by a performance by Audrey Flack and the Art History Band.

A Tribute to Rabbi Neil Gillman

“Faith lasts for a moment and then you’re back in the desert again,” said Rabbi Neil Gillman, quoting Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

For more than half a century. the former dean of the Rabbinical School and current Professor Emeritus of Jewish Philosophy at The Jewish Theological Seminary has guided students of all ages and Jews of all denominations through the shifting sand of that theological Sinai.

Neil Gillman. Photo courtesy JTS

Two Israeli Painters To Watch

This year’s MFA exhibition at The New York Studio School, which opened on Wednesday night, includes two Israeli painters working with specifically Jewish or Israeli themes.  Leah Raab paints large-scale images of Jerusalem that are tender and intimate, but sometimes communicate a sense of foreboding. Shany Saar paints narrative works, often of biblical themes.  Both create strong images through an inventive sense of form and color, vigorous brushwork and an achieved sense of pictorial space.

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

Confronting Anti-Semitism, On Exhibit

Today, Germany is recognized as a leading industrialized nation with a stable democracy. But despite the country’s Holocaust memorials and reparations, anti-Semitism—along with racism and neo-Nazi ideology—has remained part of German society since 1945.These circumstances are at the heart of “Germany After 1945: A Society Confronts Anti-Semitism, Racism and Neo-Nazism,” a traveling exhibition that is making its U.S. debut at Baruch College of The City University of New York.

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