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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘art’

Balabasta Nutty Summer Festival

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Just in time for its 100th birthday, the ever-evolving Machane Yehuda market has transformed itself once again, this time into one of Jerusalem’s hottest summer cultural venues. On Monday nights throughout August, the shuk hosts “Balabasta” (literally, “come to the shop-stall”), a centennial carnival of sorts, complete with street performances, a collaborative wall-of-origami project, live video art projections, watermelon giveaways, chili eating contests, concerts, giant puppets, sets by DJs and bands, produce carving workshops and the first-ever “Shuk Olympics.”

It’s a veritable cacophony of music, art and food – with many of the cafes and restaurants staying open late to serve the crowds and culinary tours of the shuk’s hottest kitchens. The Hagigit collective, which strives to bring art to a wider public audience, is organizing production-set photo shoots (pictured, with white backdrop) and walking around in costume throughout the Balabasta events.

Read and see more.

Colorado Shooter Was Camp Counselor for Jewish Big Brothers and Sisters

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

James Holmes, the Colorado graduate student who is suspected of killing 12 moviegoers and wounding 58 others on Friday during the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises,”  worked as a camp counselor in Los Angeles County in 2008 that was run by Jewish Big Brothers and Sisters (JBBBS), the group’s CEO told NBC4 on Saturday.

James Holmes, 24, worked as cabin counselor at Camp Max Straus in the summer of 2008, according to Randy Schwab, the CEO of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Schwab’s statement read: “It is with shock and sorrow that we learned of the incident in Aurora. Our hearts and prayers go out to all the families and friends of those involved in this horrible tragedy. On behalf of Camp Max Straus I want to offer our deepest sympathies and condolences.”

Schwab said that, as cabin counselor, Holmes was in charge of the care and guidance of about 10 children. His role was to ensure that the children had a “wonderful camp experience.”

According to Schwab, Holmes helped the children in his care “learn confidence, self esteem and how to work in small teams to effect positive outcomes.”

His statement continued: “These skills are learned through activities such as archery, horseback riding, swimming, art, sports and high ropes course.”

Camp Max Straus is a nonsectarian program for children ages 7-14, which is run by Jewish Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Los Angeles.

Holmes is not Jewish.

Koren Publishers Introduces New English Talmud

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Koren Publishers Jerusalem has launched the first volume of a new English edition of the Talmud with commentary by renowned Talmud scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. The Koren Talmud Bavlioffers a variety of features never seen before in an English edition of the Talmud: Vilna pages with vowels and punctuation, text presented in individual learning units, a clear, concise English translation, background information on history, the sciences and nature, and color photographs and illustrations for the first time since the Talmud appeared in print nearly 500 years ago.

The Koren Talmud Bavli also has been designed as a state-of-the-art iPad app that will enable people to interact with the Talmud as never before. The Koren Talmud App will include in-sync, side-by-side translation, a text-hide function for single language viewing, text zoom and re-sizing, continuous scrolling, vibrant color images designed for Retina display, and more.

According to Publisher Matthew Miller, the Koren Talmud Bavli achieves a balance between tradition and innovation that no other English edition of the Talmud achieves. “The Koren Talmud Bavli preserves the traditional Vilna page, and enables people to engage deeply in the traditional process of Talmud study at the same time that it embraces contemporary scholarship and technology.”

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, who has been on a life-long mission to popularize Talmud study, says, “The Talmud expresses the deepest Jewish spirit. My hope is that the Koren Talmud Bavli will render the Talmud accessible to millions of Jews, allowing them to study it, approach it, and perhaps even become one with it.”

The first volume of the Koren Talmud Bavli, Berakhot, is available online and at bookstores everywhere in Standard and Daf Yomi Editions. Consecutive volumes will be available ahead of the Daf Yomi schedule. The complete set will comprise 41 volumes. Version 1.0 of the Koren Talmud App will be available in the summer from the App Store.

Equus Opportunity

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Now, only months after the artist’s death, is no time to be coy. Moshe Givati’s work is a revelation: dynamic, throbbing with life, pulsating with meaning. The exhibition “Equus Ambiguity – The Emergence of Maturity,” is up for only a few more days but I urge you to hurry to the Jadite Gallery and familiarize yourself with this under-recognized artist.

Givati was born in 1934 in Hadera to Romanian speaking parents months after his father’s death—a traumatic event that his mother never talked to him about and about which he died knowing almost nothing. Although Givati was associated with several Israeli, European and American artistic movements such as New Horizons and its successor, Tazpit, in Israel and associated with Lyrical Abstract painters in France, Givati resisted such categorization and was even hostile to names and labels. To that end, he did not title his works or publicly interpret them, claiming in an interview, “If art lovers find ideas in the paintings, they are experiencing their own discovery. My touch on the canvas is my story.” Promotional material, as well as the exhibition catalogue from his 2006 retrospective in Tel Aviv note Givati’s insecurity and desire for acceptance. I suspect, however, that Givati, a lifetime manic-depressive, craved recognition more than acceptance and by this I mean recognition in the true sense—instead of accolades, Givati wanted people to recognize and validate the journey laid bare on his diptychs.

Givati provided clues. His final exhibit is named for the 1974 play in which a psychotic boy blinds six horses in a work that explores themes of religion, sacrifice and mental illness—themes Givati was intimately acquainted with. He was not, however, that boy. In the second half of the exhibition’s title, Givati claimed a banner, an “emergence” of maturity. A term that often evokes equanimity and serenity, maturity is just as much a meditation on loss. Growing into an identity involves peeling and discarding other identities. Only once you reach maturity do you realize that you cannot be a fireman, a world leader and an artist.

Givati’s career was long and uneven. While at times Givati associated with collectives—he spent many of his early years on a Kibbutz—he never felt fully integrated into collectives, whether an artistic, religious or a nationalistic movement. Givati was both celebrated as an up and coming artist and fell into homelessness. He associated for a time with the Lubavitch community in Crown Heights and even met with the Lubavitcher Rebbe a few times. Givati spent years living outside of Israel, feeling at home nowhere but always with a drive to create, to search, to explore. His was a journey, an odyssey even, and despite reaching maturity, Givati was not able to shake off the pathos of Equus, the torture of ambiguity. Givati was like the man who longs for the security of belonging to a group but is unable to cling to a group to which he feels anything less than complete solidarity for. Givati was a journeyman and, while still at the kibbutz in name, left for long periods of time to travel in Europe—Rome, Toledo and especially Paris. In 1974, Givati moved to New York City, lived in the Chelsea Hotel—famous for its artist residents at the time, and operated a screen-printing workshop.

In the beautifully displayed exhibition, Givati’s history is all but transcribed on the walls. As the title informs, the theme is Equus—based on the 1973 play by Peter Schaffer, and almost every work in the exhibit features horses, usually lightly rendered on a deeply saturated and colored canvas. Givati’s background in screen-printing, for example, is apparent in a delicately rendered textile of the image of a horse, or more precisely, a model of a horse. In the painting, the horse seems more like a mannequin, there to hold a textile of some sort that reads like a Native American blanket. Underneath the blanket is another black and white covering on the horse. It could be a tallit. Or it could be a shroud.

We the viewers, the reviewers, the curators and the collectors are left to sort through the material remains of that process. We are left to draw comparisons between Givati and New York artists, especially Givati’s fellow residents at the Chelsea Hotel of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s: Larry Rivers, whose influence was acknowledged by Givati and other artists who played with the role of narrative in art such as Jean Michel Basquiat, Donald Baechler and even Francis Bacon who used triptychs the way Givati uses diptychs, investigating the fragmentations, the dichotomies of the soul while referencing religious imagery. Givati recalls in his memoirs that when he visited in the early sixties, he “found London inundated with Francis Bacon’s works. Nouvelle figuration had already infiltrated the world of abstract, and later influenced my work as well, which in essence was not lyrical abstract at all, as it was often described.”1  It wouldn’t be the only time that Givati borrowed imagery from a religion that was not his own.

Neytz HaChochma’s Unique Summer Camp

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Children look forward to summer camp and Camp Neytz is a favorite with many who return year after year.

International food festivals each week, award-winning ceramic art creations, visits by a baby alligator, a giant toad and a talking parrot, and edible art creations each week are only part of the activities at Camp Neytz.

Kids all over North Miami Beach are envious of the camp’s monster water slide. Parents like knowing all meals and snacks are under strict kosher supervision. Field trips, sports and computer games are also part of the fun-filled summer at Camp Neytz.

The Neytz haChochma summer camp runs for six weeks, starting July 2. Camp Neytz is funded by The Children’s Trust, a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County. There are 50 funded slots available on a first come, first served basis and they are filling fast. There is a minimal co-pay. Camp finishes on August 10th.

Neytz haChochma, a 12-year-old nonprofit Orthodox Jewish organization for Exceptional Student Education (ESE), operates a day school with a gifted cohort, an out-of-school program and the summer camp.

Applications are available for summer camp online at www.aaceschool.org, and may be submitted online or printed out and sent by mail.

My Jewish Art Criticism Dénouement

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

It all started at an art and education conference at the Yeshiva University Museum in November 2003. I was a junior at Yeshiva College, and I was covering the conference, which was sponsored by the Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions (ATID), for the Yeshiva University Commentator, where I edited the arts section. When one of the speakers (who happens to be a prominent rabbi) misidentified a Goya painting at the Frick Collection, both the gentleman sitting next to me and I turned to each other and corrected the error simultaneously.

Next thing I knew, I was meeting Richard McBee, and he was giving a young kid the biggest break he’d ever received. I’ve come to value Richard so much as a friend—and co-writing this column with him for nearly eight-and-a-half years has felt so like a chavrutah—that I sometimes forget how much of a mentor and teacher he has been to me.

Starting in December 2003, Richard took me on as a guest columnist once a month (my first title? “Kneidlach And Machine Guns: G.I. Joseph” on an exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park). I took over the column on a weekly basis for some time, and then, happily, Richard came back and we have alternated weeks for years now. I’ve often wondered how you, the readers, have tolerated such differences in perspective and art historical insight between Richard and I; Richard is far wiser and more articulate, and the amount of time he puts into thinking each review through from every angle is staggering. But now I need to wonder no longer, as this will be my final column in these pages.

It’s bittersweet to announce that and to say goodbye, particularly as I grew up reading The Jewish Press (my dad, a lifelong Jewish educator and school administrator, is a longtime subscriber). I used to pore over the Golem comic strip and the wonderful chess column on Shabbat afternoons, and I’m proud to report that I even figured some of the chess puzzles out. But all good things must come to an end, even if I had started thinking forward to and planning for my bar mitzvah as a Jewish Press columnist.

I hope, and know, you will continue to read Richard’s work in these pages, and I know I will do the same. It’s rare to find a forum where either faith or art is taken completely seriously, let alone a venue where the intersection of the two is examined in a manner that treats both pieces with maturity and critically. From working alongside Richard, from reading Richard’s columns, and by having to carve out regular time to ask myself difficult questions about Jewish art, I learned of an entire new world—one which, sadly, is foreign to most people.

I wanted to publicly express my sincerest gratitude to Naomi Klass Mauer, associate publisher of The Jewish Press; Sheila Abrams, my former editor of several years; and Chumi Friedman, my current editor, for bringing me on as surely one of the youngest regular columnists the newspaper has ever had. Thank you to three of them for wrestling with my immature prose while I cut my teeth in my first paid gig as an undergraduate student. I’ve learned a lot, and it’s been magical to get a regular paycheck in a role whose only job description is to learn something new every article.

As I think back on the hundreds of stories I’ve covered in these pages over the years, several stand out in my mind. Early on, I covered an exhibit of Edward Hopper’s work I saw in London and compared Hopper’s (what I called gentile) view of loneliness and longing with the “Jewish” sentiment of Amedeo Modigliani, whose works were then at The Jewish Museum. And on a totally different front, I got to cover two of the books that remain among my favorites in the same column: Between Worlds: Dybbuks, Exorcists, and Early Modern Judaism by J.H. Chajes and Saracens, Demons, and Jews: Making Monsters in Medieval Art by Deborah Higgs Strickland.

I can still remember R. B. Kitaj’s work, which was on exhibit in How to Reach 72 in Jewish Art in 2005 at Marlborough Gallery, as well as the hauntingly beautiful play, “The Puppetmaster of Lodz” by Gilles Segal. But if I am forced to choose one of my pieces a favorite—which is surely like selecting a favorite child—I have to say it was also one of my saddest pieces. In high school, I came across the bitingly witty yet masterfully drawn caricatures of David Levine. I copied hundreds and hundreds of them with my Rapidograph pens and my nose inches from the paper.

New Yoga Course Has Jewish Women Striking Kosher Pose

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Women who seek the opportunity to do Asanas in an environment which is more Hoshannah than Ganesha – and teach other women to do the same – can now sign up for a special course designed especially for Jewish Yoga aficionadas who want to teach the healing art to others.

The Kinneret Yoga school, founded by yoga instructor and Master’s degree holder in Dance Movement Therapy Kinneret Dubowitz-Feuer, is specifically designed to enable Jewish women to incorporate the healing, strengthening, and meditative aspects of Yoga into their lives without the traditional influences of Hinduism or Buddhism which many – religious and non-religious – find inappropriate for them.

Kinneret Yoga’s Yoga Alliance certified teachers’ training programs in Israel, New York, Toronto, and Montreal, are powered by Kinneret and her partner Sarede Switzer – her very first trainee – to impart the knowledge which will certify “kosher” yoga teachers throughout the world, so that yoga will become accessible to all Jewish women.

“Jewish women do not have to join an Eastern-based spiritual yoga world, but rather they can connect to its health benefits and nurture their spirituality from a Torah perspective,” Kinneret told The Jewish Press.  “We have women on the program who are orthodox but also not orthodox… women from across the spectrum.”

In an interview with South African Jewish Association of Canada (SAJAC) Tracy Seider, Kinneret explained that her special brand of yoga “has an aspect of mind-body unity, which we are supposed to bring into everything we do as a Jew”, yet is in no way intended to be a substitute for the Jewish lifestyle set out in the Torah.  “You cannot replace mitzvot with just a feeling of spirituality,” Kinneret said.  “Practicing a yoga pose, feeling a connection to your soul and therefore to your Creator, and getting enlightened by that – something one can certainly experience through yoga – is not a replacement for mitzvot.”

Kinneret and Sarede’s special take on yoga has even attracted women of other faiths who look to infuse the unique art with their own brand of spirituality.  “I even had a religious muslim woman contact me in Toronto to see if she could join the program because in her community there is no such program for women,” Kinneret said.  “We have a coffee date next week to talk about what it means to be religious women who love yoga but want to stay within our own religious observance.”

A series of courses on becoming a “kosher” yoga instructor are beginning in several locations.  In July, spots are still open for the Jerusalem course, with another course being offered in Toronto in August, and one in New York in December.

Those interested in taking part in the courses can visit the website www.kinneretyoga.com for more information, or visit the KinneretYoga group on Facebook.

Women in the New York area who are interested in learning about “kosher” yoga, can visit Sarede’s fitness center, Crown Heights Yoga & Fitness, with 12 weekly courses in yoga, pilates, Zumba, and toning.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/new-yoga-course-has-jewish-women-striking-kosher-pose/2012/05/16/

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