On the coldest day this month, I stepped onto Brighton Beach and contemplated my identity. I am not a member of the Polar Bear Club. I hate being cold! Rather, I was participating in a “Casual Conversation” in the warmth of the lobby of the JCC in Manhattan.
The Book of Genesis’ account of Jacob’s dream is one of the defining elements of artist Ya’akov Boussidan’s conceptual design for a synagogue in the village of Tzur Haddassah, some 7.5 miles west of Jerusalem. For the artist, the simple stones that Jacob gathered at nightfall represent the fusion of the varied elements of the Jewish people. Boussidan’s synagogue design, intended for a congregation of Ashkenazic and Sephardic worshippers from varied walks of life, includes a bima (podium) that is an original composition of twelve stones, symbolizing the twelve tribes of Israel.
Cranberry sauce is left untouched on the Thanksgiving table. A mullah proposes a temporary marriage to a Jewess on a flight. A Southern woman who looks like she comes from generations of country club members is actually the daughter of an Iranian Jew.
What is beautifully presented in “Art Spiegelman’s Co-Mix: A Retrospective” at The Jewish Museum, in addition to original drawings from the “Maus” series, is the enormous range of work that Spiegelman produced beyond those volumes. Included are comic books, magazine illustrations, children’s books illustrations, political satire, trading cards and stickers, New Yorker covers, and even a collaboration with the dance group Pilobolus and a stained glass window for The High School of Art & Design, just to name a few.
The majestic Bartos Forum at the New York Public Library was nearly packed on November 6th for The Yiddish Heart, directed by Target Margin Theater’s David Herskovits, the first in a series of evenings aimed at bringing to life the collections of the Library’s Dorot Jewish Division. The crowd was interested and enthusiastic, but unless they read their programs carefully, they were at first a bit confused. This was because before the formal program, there was an informal one and this first program was, essentially, a three ring circus.
The effect of personal history in an artist’s oeuvre, the role of metaphor, the extent to which an artist can decipher or explain her own work – these are all questions that come to mind when viewing Yudith Schreiber’s photographs in “Blind Impress,” currently on exhibit at The Jewish Theological Seminary.
The gap year in Israel is a phenomenon that has sprung up in recent decades in most Modern Orthodox communities. The idea is simple: 18-year old boys and girls who have just graduated high school spend a year of intensive study in yeshiva or seminary in Israel before they return to attend college. It is intended to be a year of reflection and growth, and it is not uncommon for many participants to return more religiously connected and observant than when they left.
For over sixty years, readers of the Sunday New York Times bent over the first page of the Arts & Entertainment section, looking for the Ninas – the name of Al Hirschfeld's daughter, which he worked into his drawings. The triumph in solving those simple puzzles was addictive; once you knew to look for them, you could never turn away. An exhibit of his drawings and many objects from his own collection,“The Line King’s Library,” is now on view at the Library for the Performing Arts in Lincoln Center.