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.
Matti Friedman was awarded the largest Jewish literary prize, the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, for "The Aleppo Codex” (Algonquin). His book, published in 2012, traces the unusual history and complicated provenance of the precious manuscript, considered to be the authoritative text of the Bible. The codex was hand-written about a thousand years ago.
Chanukah begins early this year but you can get a jump on the festivities by attending what promises to be an eclectic and interesting day at the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy Fifth Jewish Heritage Festival on Sunday, November 3. The all-day festival features events that will please a range of tastes: walking tours exploring neighborhood synagogues, including three of the oldest synagogues in New York City; a vintage goods benefit sale and a special presentation, "Gals From the Hood."
Tribeca’s Synagogue for the Arts, which is an architectural masterwork itself, is hosting a new exhibit in its downstairs gallery space, featuring work by Yona Verwer, a Dutch-born, New York-based artist and Heather Stoltz, also a New York artist. Each looks to the topic of vulnerability in New York City.
The “YH” in the name of the swanky YH4 Architects’ Gallery is for Yad Harutzim (loosely translated as “Striver’s Row’’), the name of the Jerusalem street where the Gallery established itself this past year. YH4 is a leader in the budding revival of the city’s dowdy Talpiot industrial district. The neighborhood’s car dealerships, retail and wholesale enterprises and fast-food restaurants are conspicuous, but some of the city’s premier cultural and business start-ups are hidden from the eye. One of YH4’s neighbors on the fourth floor of an aging grey-cement building is the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School.
Don’t go to this exhibition in a hurry; and don’t go with children; but if you have the slightest interest in mathematics or Jewish history of the twentieth century, then go. Seeing “Transcending Tradition: Jewish Mathematicians in German-Speaking Academic Culture” at the Center for Jewish History is like reading a short illustrated book mounted on plywood, but your patience will be rewarded. Where does the interest lie for the non-mathematician? In the characters of the people whose histories it tells; and for the glimpses of people at work on fundamental problems.
At one point in “Crazy Glue,” a short film by Elizabeth Orne, a young wife who has been involved in an extramarital affair returns home to find that her husband has crazy glued every movable object in their small apartment. The chairs won’t budge, the receiver will not lift off the phone, the fridge won’t open. When she looks up, she finds that her husband has even glued himself to the ceiling, hanging down, waiting for her to return to him.