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March 29, 2015 / 9 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘art’

Which Are You?

Friday, October 5th, 2012

I watched them tear a building down;
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a mighty heave and a lusty yell,
They swung a boom and a side wall fell.

I said to the foreman, “Are these men skilled
As the men you’d hire if you had to build?”
He gave me a laugh and said, “No indeed!
Just a common laborer is all I need.
And I can wreck in a day or two
What it took the builder a year to do.”

And I thought to myself as I went my way,
“Just which of these roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder who works with care
Measuring life by the rule and square,
Or am I a wrecker as I walk the town
Content with the labor of tearing down?”

When I read this anonymously written poem, I immediately thought about self-confidence. Do you work brick by brick to build your own self-confidence and those of everyone around you or do you use a wrecking ball to knock it all down? Granted, it is a lot quicker to wreck things than it is to build them well.

But, self-confidence is essential to a healthy, happy life. Self-confidence is needed in order to create meaningful friendships, apply for competitive jobs, and parent our children with assurance and ease. Perhaps the most important reason we need to believe in ourselves is that if we do not, we will teach our children that it is okay to put themselves down as well. This can ultimately lead to a rejection of self.

First, let’s discuss how to build your own self-confidence.

Focus on the positive. Obviously, no one is perfect, but every one of us has positive qualities that we can build on. Even if overall you are not happy with who you are – you can definitely come up with qualities that you appreciate about yourself. Perhaps you are a wonderful organizer, a great listener or an excellent cook. Make a list of the things you like about yourself and schedule activities that bring out those qualities during your day.

Some examples:

If you are a wonderful organizer: Volunteer to run a fundraiser for your shul or school.

If you are a great listener: Visit the elderly and listen to their stories about the past.

If you are an excellent cook: Cook meals for the new mothers in your neighborhood or for the less fortunate.

Engaging in activities that you feel competent in (and that are additionally helpful to others) will help build your self-confidence.

Treat yourself. Every now and then, remind yourself that you are worth it. Depending on what you can afford (both time and money), give yourself something you love: a massage, an hour of babysitting to read your book quietly, a fast walk outside to clear your mind, or an extra two hours of sleep. Treating yourself will signal to your inner “wrecking ball” that you believe you have value.

Once you begin to work on your own self-confidence, it might be time to focus on your children as well. Do they say things like, “I am so stupid” or “I can’t do anything right”? If so, they could use some help figuring out how to build themselves up.

Child psychologists and educators often suggest the following steps:

Avoid labels. Instead of saying, “You are so smart.” Say, “When you figured out how to read that sign without any help, I was so impressed with how much you have learned.” Or, instead of “You are a kind and sweet girl” say, “Remember the time when your sister Faigy was crying and you went over and sang her a song to make her feel better? That was so nice of you.”

Engage in their strengths. Just as you should do for yourself, talk to your child about the things she feels she does well and then help her do those activities regularly. For instance, if your daughter is artistic, sign her up for an art class after school or on Sundays. If your budget does not allow for afterschool activities, consider investing in some art supplies that will be hers alone so that she can feel special.

Int’l Festival Brings Morocco’s Sacred Music to Jerusalem

Monday, September 10th, 2012

The Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival recently brought a new tradition to the holy city. For 24 consecutive hours, artists and musicians from Israel and abroad, shared a variety of musical traditions last Thursday, September 6, through the wee hours of the next morning.

Centered at Jerusalem’s Tower of David, the festival venues were chosen to reflect a message of inter-faith unity and sanctity at historical venues reflective of Jerusalem’s diverse faiths.

Musical events and shows were held at Zedekiah’s Cave in the Old City and Notre Dame across the road from the New Gate. In addition to taking part in a Slichot workshop, festival participants also had the opportunity to tour the Ethiopian, Franciscan and Armenian morning prayers at the Church of Holy Sepulcher.

The music festival featured esoteric, meditative and ceremonial music from Azerbaijan, Iran, Africa, Morocco, Iraq, Brazil, and India as well as a Sufi dance workshop. The festival opened with Persian music and chants performed by two Iranian musicians based in Canada, the brothers Kiya and Zia Tabassian who played and sang together with Israeli percussionist Zohar Fresco.

Other international artists included Morocco’s Hassan Hakmoun and his New York-based ensemble, who performed ancient African Islamic folk music of the Islamic Gnawa sect, descendants of West African slaves brought to North Africa several hundred years ago.

Speaking with Tazpit News Agency, Hakmoun described his childhood growing up in Marrakesh, Morocco. “I grew up in a musical family in Morocco. My mother is mystic music healer and I learned the Gnawan musical traditions from a young age.”

“This is my second time in Israel,” added Hakmoun, who performed in Tel Aviv in 1994. Hakmoun, who is Muslim, believes that people can live as one. “When you come to Jerusalem, you see churches, mosques and synagogues, next to each other. There is a peacefulness here that you never see on TV.”

“The most amazing part of this city, is seeing how the footsteps of all the world’s major religions have passed through here—the prophets actually walked through these neighborhoods,” said Hakmoun.

Hakmoun moved to the United States in his early twenties with his family and made his first U.S. musical debut at the Lincoln Center in 1987. He has since then performed widely across the U.S. and internationally, and produced several albums, fusing traditional Gnawan music with American sounds, and making the Gnawan musical and dance tradition a popular element in the American music scene.

“In Morocco, Gnawa music wasn’t so popular when I was growing up, but thanks to the major Gnawa World Music Festival that was spear-headed by the senior adviser to Morocco’s King Mohammed, André Azoulay, who is also Jewish, our traditional music has become much more appreciated in my home country” explained Hakmoun.

Playing the sintir, a three-stringed lute with a body made of camel skin stretched over nutwood, Hakmoun sang soulful and spiritual Gnawan rhythms with his ensemble, to a mostly Israeli audience at the Tower of David on Thursday night. Of the many chants, and songs that were played, Hakmoun also included a prayer for peace for the region.

After School With Highland Lakes-Chabad Chayil

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

The new school year has started and Highland Lakes Jewish Center-Chabad Chayil is again offering its award-winning after-school program for students from public schools in the area. Children who attend Highland Oaks Elementary School, Ojus and Aventura Charter School must register this week to guarantee their spot.

Chabad Chayil sponsors Miami-Dade County’s number-one rated after-school program. The program is open Monday through Friday for boys and girls ages 5-12 and offers Hebrew, Jewish holidays, traditions, art, ceramics, martial arts, music, drama, tikun olam, homework help and more. There is also a chess club, bar/bat mitzvah classes and occasional trips.

To register, apply for a position or to learn more about CHS, go to wwwHebrewSchool.info or call (305) 770-1919.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/equus-opportunity/2012/06/26/

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