Guide to the Arts
Art at the JCC, Jewish Community Center, Santa Barbara (805-957-1115; www.jewishsantabarbara.org)
Pioneer Jews and Contemporary Western and Historic Art The history of the Western Jewish community is told alongside early and contemporary Western art in this unique exhibit. Central to the exhibition is the question: Could Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo, discoverer of California, have been a Spanish Jew? Through October 29.
Echoes and Fragments Rene’e Powell and Carolyn Manosevitz employ ceramics, painting and mixed-media works in their exploration of the difficult legacy of loss and the aftermath of the Holocaust. Through August 27.
Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco (www.thecjm.org)
As It Is Written: Project 304,805 Scribe Julie Seltzer sits with parchment, ink and a hand-sharpened feather quill, writing a Torah scroll. In public view, she will complete the entire text of the Torah over the course of a full year. Through Fall 2010.
Orthodox in Meah Shearim: Photography by Michael Cohen Israeli-born photographer Cohen uses the camera as a way to tell visual stories, helping the viewer relate to a world that is usually hidden. This exhibit reveals the ultra-Orthodox enclave of Meah Shearim, Jerusalem, in all its religious festivity and everyday humanity. Through September 19.
Friedkin Art Gallery, Contra Costa Jewish Community Center, Walnut Creek (925-938-7800; www.ccjcc.org)
Ketubot One of the most popular forms of Jewish ceremonial art, a decorated marriage contract is often displayed prominently in a Jewish home. Members of the community have lent their own ketubot to this exhibit. Through September 17.
Wise Guys: Mobsters in the Mishpacha Graphic designer Pat Hamou drew this series of Jewish American gangsters. Without glorifying their crimes, Hamou tells the stories of some of the most colorful characters in the Jewish mob—“Bugsy” Siegel, “Lepke” Buchalter and Meyer Lansky. Through September 5.
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Los Angeles (323-651-3704; www.lamoth.org)
The Erich Lichtblau (Eli Lasky) Collection The artist, a survivor of Terezin, depicts everyday chores and errands of the ghetto, rather than barbed wire or prison uniforms, in his watercolors. Cut into fragments and hidden during the war, these reconstructed works reveal defiance, satire and indifference to the madness of the Nazi regime. Long-running.
Animals of the Bible Tamar Assaf has spent years researching and painting this series, exploring through painting and text the complex role played by animals in the Bible. Through August 31.
Phyllis and Harvey Koch Art Gallery, Schultz Jewish Community Center, Palo Alto (650-223-8600;www.paloaltojcc.org)
The Spirit of Spring Five local artists, Paz Bar Am, Rechl Tirosh, Lionel Chapitel, Richard Small and Alexandra Barilko, present recent works reflecting the vibrancy of nature and the wonders of the natural world. Through August.
Home Sweet Home In this interactive performance installation, participants are asked to collaborate on a miniature cardboard community, developing property, making civic decisions and getting to know the neighbors. This exercise in imagination is also a way to look at the ties that bind and the problems that threaten a real community. September 24 – October 3.
Faces of a Nation Lena Stein’s photographs chronicle the many ethnicities and cultures that live together in Israel, but since there are no captions telling the visitor the religious or ethnic background of the subject, the visitor can only see the subject as a fellow human being. Through September 25.
Human Rites This ambitious exhibit attempts to analyze the role of art in ritual, and of ritual in art, by comparing ancient art to more contemporary works. The role of ritual art in Judaism is not ignored; one artwork features rings used in Jewish wedding ceremonies. Through October 3.
Jewish Museum of Florida, Miami Beach (305-672-5044; www.jewishmuseum.com)
Excellent Hostess: Paintings and Works on Paper Lorraine Peltz’s most recent series of paintings include chandeliers and serve as homage to her mother’s survival of the Nazi invasion of Eastern Europe. Through December 28.
Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education CenterDeadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race This exhibit provides some insight on a questions with no answer: How did so many individuals in professions traditionally concerned with helping and healing people collaborate with the Nazis to legitimize persecution and genocide in the name of science? Through January 2.
Spertus Museum, Chicago (312-322-1700; www.spertus.edu)
Eva Kor survived Auschwitz as a child and dedicated her life to Holocaust education, primarily through this museum and through educational advocacy.
Mengele’s Twins This permanent exhibit tells the horrifying story of the thousands of twins who were experimented upon by Joseph Mengele, of whom museum founder Eva Kor is one.MARYLANDThe Jewish Museum of MarylandVoice of Lombard Street: A Century of Change in East Baltimore This long-term exhibit chronicles the area that was once the center of Jewish life in Baltimore in the early 1900s.
The Synagogue Speaks (Downstairs Lloyd Street Synagogue). This new long-term exhibit celebrates and explores the history of the landmark Lloyd Street Synagogue in Baltimore, built in 1845 and today the third-oldest standing synagogue in the United States.
Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges Hundreds of Jewish intellectuals fled Nazi Germany; many of them ended up at colleges with a largely African-American student body. Somehow, these two disenfranchised groups came together to form a special bond in the early years of the Civil Rights movement. Through September 26.
Transcending History: Moving Beyond the Legacy of Slavery and the Holocaust Works of art from both the African-American and Jewish communities reflect on the horrors that both communities have lived through, and the transformative effect survival can have on the collective psyche. Through September 26.
Boston Center for Jewish Culture, Boston (617-523-2324; www.vilnashul.org)
Reconnect the Tapestry Between 1850 and 1950, Boston’s Jewish community grew and flourished, primarily in seven neighborhoods. Boston’s Jews created a new American identity that balanced Old World with New, obligation with opportunity. This exhibit helps visitors learn about and reconnect with their Bostonian heritage. Long-running.
National Yiddish Book Center, Amherst (413-256-4900; www.yiddishbookcenter.org)
A Journey to Jewish Cuba An exhibit about the Jewish community in Cuba based on stories by anthropologist Ruth Behar and featuring black-and-white photograph by Havana-based Humberto Mayol.
They Called Me Mayer July Featuring words and images of a Jewish childhood in prewar Poland by Mayer Kirshenblatt. Through August.
Essen! Jewish Food in the New World This exhibition includes restaurant signs from New York City’s Lower East Side, menus, cookbooks and recipes exploring the world of Eastern European Jewish food. Through the end of October.
Castle Museum, Saginaw (989-752-2861; www.castlemuseum.org)
Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings On loan from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., this exhibit looks at the American reaction to the rise of Nazism in Germany in 1933, specifically after groups of German university students organized burnings of books by American and Jewish writers. Through October 4.
Desire and Deliverance: Drama in the Old Testament Throughout history, artists have interpreted biblical narratives into scenes of passion, morality and nationalistic pride. This show includes several Rembrandts and the famous DurerAdam and Eve. Through September 5.
The Dead Sea Scrolls: Words That Changed the World Since their discovery in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have prompted discovery and debate, and become one of Israel’s greatest national treasures. This is a rare opportunity to see the Scrolls outside of Israel. Through October 24.
Natural Conflict: Video and Photography from Israel The work of seven Israeli artists–Shelly Federman, Ori Gersht, Sharon Glazberg, Avi Holtzman, Roi Kuper, Elyasaf Kowner and Shai Kremer–reveal the various environmental strains, such as real estate development and constant military presence, has impacted the Israeli landscape both physically and metaphorically. Using both common symbols of Israeli culture and glimpses at unfamiliar hidden places, these works assess both the real and potential beauty of this endangered region. Through December 5.
Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County, Freehold (732-252-6990; www.jhmomc.org)
Living Voices: A Tribute to Monmouth County’s Jewish World War II Veterans Monmouth County has been home to a Jewish community since 1720, and many of its members served in the US Armed Forces in World War II. This exhibit tells their story. Through September.
CENTER FOR JEWISH HISTORY, New York
The American Sephardi Federation (212-294-8350; www.americansephardifederation.org)
Jerusalem and the Jews of Spain: Longing and Reality Artistically designed textual displays, poetry, lithographs, engravings and historic photos reveal the longing for and arrival of Spanish Jewry in Jerusalem. Through Summer.
Yeshiva University Museum (212-294-8330; www.yumuseum.org)
A Journey Through Jewish Worlds: Highlights from the Braginsky Collection of Hebrew Manuscripts and Printed Books Selections from the collection of renowned Swiss Judaica collector Rene Braginsky include Moses Nahmanides’ commentaries, illustrated marriage contracts from countries as diverse as Italy and India, and the Charlotte von Rothschild Haggadah, the only premodern Hebrew manuscript known to have been illuminated by a woman. Through August.
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (212-246-6080; www.yivo.org)
In honor of Israel’s 60th anniversary, the exhibition chronicles the Zionist movement in Eastern Europe.
Derfner Judaica Museum at The Hebrew Home at Riverdale (718-581-1596;www.hebrewhome.org/art.asp).
Tradition and Remembrance:
Museum at Eldridge Street, New York (212-219-0302; www.eldridgestreet.com)
Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey
The permanent exhibition tells the unfolding story of Jewish culture and identity.
The Monayer Family: Three Videos by Dor Guez In this series of videos, the acclaimed filmmaker presents perspectives on ethnic identity, prejudice and citizenship through the interwoven stories of three generations of a family of Israeli Christian Arabs. Through September 7.
The Morgenthaus: A Legacy of Service This exhibition tells the story of three generations of the Morgenthau family and explores the fascinating ways in which their service to others changed world events, American politics and Jewish history. Long-running.
Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum, New York (212-431-1619; www.kkjsm.org)
Janina Project: Celestial Structures Hanging crystal structures by Judy Moonelis. Permanent display.
Something Old, Something New Weddings in Greece and within the Greek Jewish communities of New York celebrate a time long gone.
Genocide Among the the Flowers: Seymour Kaftan’s Ponary Paintings
Hipsters, Hustlers and Handball Players In one photograph, an elderly Jewish man pores over his beloved Yiddish newspaper. In another, a young woman in bellbottom pants lies on the ground to protest a war. Photographer Leon Levinstein’s candid photographs span 30 years of New York City history, capturing the life of the city and its people. Through October 17.
Museum as Hub: The Bidoun Library Project This exhibit tries to represent the many ongoing conflicts in the Middle East through every format of written word—guidebooks, propaganda, magazines—without distinguishing good from bad, presenting the range of opinions and perspectives on these complicated topics as they choose to present themselves. Through September 26.
P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City (718-784-2084; www.ps1.org)
Greater New York This exhibit presents a wide variety of avant-garde artworks by New Yorkers, including several born in Israel, such as Deville Cohen and Zipora Fried. Additionally, works by Dani Leventhal incorporate phrases from the Rosh Hashana liturgy into an endlessly looping video installation; a journey with no foreseeable destination. Through October 18.
North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh (919-807-7900; www.ncmuseumofhistory.org)
Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina One part of a multimedia historical exploration and educational effort, this exhibit chronicles the nearly 400 years of Jewish life in North Carolina, through photographs, artifacts and film. Through March 2011.
The Casting Israeli artist Omar Fast tries to bridge the gap between narrative and the lived experiences upon which it was based in this new video installation. An interview with an Israeli Army sergeant becomes background noise as the process of creating a story out of his words, and the stories that do emerge, are layered on top of his voice. Through September 5.
Skirball Museum at the Hebrew Union College of Cincinatti (513-221-1875; www.huc.edu)
An Eternal People: The Jewish Experience This permanent exhibit is comprised of seven galleries that portray the cultural, historic and religious heritage of the Jewish people.
Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, Tulsa (918-492-1818; www.jewishmuseum.net)
Touchstones of the Diaspora This exhibit of coins from the collection of Rabbi Leonard Helman marks the many kingdoms and nations that have served as a home to the Jewish nation in exile. Through September 20.
Oregon Jewish Museum, Portland (503-226-3600; www.ojm.org)
Andy Warhol-Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century Warhol referred to this collection as “my Jewish geniuses” which seems like a fitting title for paintings of Louis Brandeis, Sigmund Freud, Golda Meir and of course, Albert Einstein. Through September 5.
Traces of the Jewish Lower East Side Legendary photographer Lewis Hine documented Jewish life in New York’s Lower East Side in its early-20th-century heyday; now contemporary photographer Phil Decker has retraced his steps to create a portrait of a neighborhood then and now. Through September.
American Jewish Museum, Pittsburgh (412-521-8010; www.jccpgh.org)
Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Centennial Showcase As part of this venerable artists’ organization’s centennial celebration, twelve local artists are displaying a wide variety of paintings, photographs, and other works of art. Through August 28.
Curious George: Let’s Get Curious!
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia (215-236-3300; www.easternstate.org)
Alfred W. Fleisher Memorial Synagogue
Completed around 1924 and used continuously until the Eastern State Penitentiary closed in 1970, the synagogue has been faithfully restored with dark wooden benches, a beautiful Ark, reader’s table, ornate plaster Star of David and an eternal flame. An exhibit describes Jewish life in the 180-year-old institution. Permanent exhibit.
The Gershman Y. Galleries, Philadelphia (215-446-3001; www.gershmany.org)
Mapping: Inside/Outside Four artists use maps to bend our understanding of the outside world, including Leila Daw, Joyce Kozloff, Eve Laramee and Nikolas Schiller. Through August 15.
Capturing Sky Large-scale pinhole photographs by Masaki Koboyashi. Through August 15.
National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia (215-923-3811; www.nmajh.org)
Shaping Space, Making Meaning
Visitors can learn how a museum creates a major exhibition and at the same time have input into developing a show prior to opening in 2010.
Flight: Chagall, Miro and the Plight of Refugees Twelve works by 20th century masters represent the struggle of the refugee, in a series organized by the International Rescue Committee. (Some of the artists were themselves rescued by the IRC.) In one haunting painting by Eugene Berman, a figure of a man can be seen carrying his two children through a burning, smoky ghetto. Through August 22.
Deutser Art Gallery, Jewish Community Center, Houston (713-729-3200; www.jcchouston.org)
Showcase Houston Seven Houston artists exhibit works on a variety of mediums—including paper, fabric, and even needlepoint—on the themes and issues brought to mind by the approaching High Holy Days. August 22 – September 1.
Bearing Witness: A Community Remember
Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives, Richmond (804-353-2668; www.bethahabah.org)
Minding the Store: Richmond’s Jewish Merchants Telling the story of Richmond’s Jewish merchants as they progressed from street carts to small shops to malls, this long-running exhibit links names from an earlier era with modern-day businesses.
Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsburg 79 photographs trace the arc of Ginsburg’s career, from the now-famous snapshots of Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs to self-portraits taken just as Ginsburg began to achieve literary fame. But these photos are more than just a personal album; they express the same attention and intensity as Ginsburg’s poetry. Through September 16.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (866-998-7466; www.ushmm.org)
State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda This long-term exhibit reveals how the Nazi Party used modern techniques as well as new technologies to carefully craft messages to sway millions with its vision for a new Germany.
Jewish Museum, Milwaukee (414-390-5730; www.jewishmuseummilwaukee.org)
Growing Up Milwaukee Summer camp has always played an integral role in the Jewish American childhood experience—this exhibit includes photos and memorabilia from summer camps throughout the Milwaukee region that celebrate the camp “ruach” (spirit) while serving as a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Through November 28.
The Storyteller A wide variety of mediums engage a number of narrative strategies to explore the narrative powers of art; in Israeli artist Omer Fast’s video Spielberg’s List, the relationship between the experience of the past and the retelling in the present is brought to life through the experiences of extras on the set of Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. Through August 29.
Real Life, with Ron Mueck and Guy Ben-Ner Israeli artist Ben-Ner’s video interpretations of this exhibit’s theme star himself and his family, as they mock and question our perceptions of social norms and the role of art. In one, his family steals famous bicycle sculptures and rides off into the city, transforming art into real life. In another, they playact family life in an Ikea model apartment, changing real life into a consumer product. Through September 5.
St. John Historical Jewish Museum, New Brunswick (506-633-1833; www3.personal.nbnet.nb.ca/sjjhm/)
The museum opens for its summer season with five new exhibits, covering everything from the history of the Jewish community of St. John to one of the museum’s most popular—Under the Chuppah: Jewish Weddings in St. John, a celebration of the elegance and festivity of the traditional Jewish wedding. Through October 29.
Etz Chayim Gallery, London (01923-822-592; www.npls.org.uk)
Testimony and Memory Textile artist Carole Smollen muses on the role of tradition in modern life in her series of miniature Torah mantles and ceramics. August 31 – October 17.
Jewish Museum, London (+44 (0)-20-7284-7384; www.jewishmuseum.org.uk)
Illumination: Hebrew treasures from the Vatican and Major British Collections This exhibition explores how together Jews, Christians and Muslims have contributed to the development of the book. Bringing together, for the first time, a range of rare and exquisitely beautiful Hebrew manuscripts from The Vatican Library, The Bodleian Library, and other notable libraries, the exhibition will cast new light on the study of sacred texts by all three Abrahamic faiths. One notable inclusion is the prayerbook considered to be the oldest surviving Hebrew book. Through October 10.
The London Jewish Museum of Art, London (020-7604-3991; www.benuri.org.uk)
Manchester Jewish Museum, Manchester (0161-834-9879; www.manchesterjewishmuseum.com)
Red Bank: A Seedbed of Modernity Red Bank, a disease-ridden slum that housed many poor Jewish immigrants in the latter half of the nineteenth century, was the birthplace of both the Manchester Jewish community and of working class radicalism. This exhibit traces the birth of both of these intertwined traditions. Through September 29.
Second Annual Yiddish Theatre and Klezmer Music Festival, Truro (508-487-5400; ppactruro.org)
This celebration of all things Yiddish includes films (Yiddish Theatre: A Love Story), lectures, readings and performances by many beloved Yiddish and Klezmer artists, including the Andy Statman Trio, Tony Award nomineeEleanor Reissa, and a capella sextet The Western Wind. August 14 – 18.
Ashkenaz Festival, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto (416-979-9901; www.ashkenazfestival.com)
This weeklong festival includes a dizzying variety of performances: live theater, concerts, films, and dance, as well as exhibitions, workshops and lectures. Highlights include a performance and discussion by klezmer band The Other Europeans; a performance of Frank London’s A Night in The Old Marketplace; an exhibit titled “Isaac Bashevis Singer and His Artists”; and a lecture by Aaron Lansky, founder of the Yiddish Book Center. August 31 – September 6.
Montreal Jewish Music Festival, Montreal (514-826-8962; www.montrealjewishmusicfest.com)
A project of KlezKanada, this festival will bring a mix of Klezmer, Sephardic and other Jewish music to the streets and various venues of downtown Montreal. Highlights include the Middle Eastern rockers Moshav Band, the Klezmer-Roma group The Other Europeans, and Montreal legend SoCalled, a genre-bending performer who fuses hip-hop, klezmer, funk and classical music. August 29 – September 2.
Point of View Documentary Series Several upcoming documentaries in this long-running PBS series have Jewish themes:
Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles (310-208-5454; www.geffenplayhouse.com)
Greenway Court Theatre, Los Angeles (310-285-9476; www.jewtopiaplay.com)
Jewtopia After a best-selling run in New York, this play returns to L.A. to tell the story of Chris O’Connell and Adam Lipschitz, two men in search of a nice Jewish girl. Stereotypes collide and cultures clash in this critically-praised
Actor’s Temple Theater at Congregation Ezrath Israel, New York (212-2445-6975; www.actorstempletheatre.com)
Zero Hour In this new play by Jim Brochu, a naïve reporter attempts to interview theater legend and New York Jew Zero Mostel, prompting an explosion of memory, humor, outrage and backstage lore. Although Mostel is remembered for his comedic genius and iconic roles such as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof”, in the 1950’s he was equally known for his place on the Hollywood blacklist. Open run.,New York (212-279-4488; www.fringenyc.org)
Jew Wish Single Jewish Female navigates the world of online dating, while dealing with her nosy parents, and continues to dream about meeting Prince Charming, or at least a mensch., August 14 – 20 at the Players Theater.
The Mad 7 – A Mystical Comedy with Ecstatic Dance Inspired by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov’s “The Seven Beggars,” a San Francisco office drone takes a coffee break and unexpectedly meets seven mystics who will change his life. August 13 – 29 at the Fourth Street Theatre.Omarys Concepcion Lopez Perez Goes to Israel A Persian/Puerto Rican Catholic girl heads to the Western Wall to speak to God in this solo comedy. August 13 – 29 at the Players Loft.
Danny and Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical How did David Daniel Kaminsky from Brooklyn become Danny Kaye, beloved American comedian? The secret is his mentor/manager/wife, Sylvia Fine. This play features some of Kaye’s best-known songs, such as “Tchaikovsky” and “Minnie the Moocher.” Brian Childers stars as Kaye in an award-winning performance. Open run.
2010 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival – Philly Fringe, Philadelphia (215-413-9006; www.livearts-fringe.org)
Etty A Holocaust survivor offers a new kind of resistance—engaging with the horror of her past, rather than shrinking from it, refusing to abandon her writing and her sense of humor. September 2-17.
Judith/Dresses/Zoe Fusing together three modernist plays—Samuel Beckett’s Eh Joe, Gertrude Stein’s Counting Her Dresses, and Bertolt Brecht’s The Jewish Wife—this experimental work deals with marriage and history in the 20th century. September 10 – 11.
Marx in Soho Bob Weick is Karl Marx, risen from the grave to clear his name and explain himself a little better. After 180 performances across the country, the moving but funny show returns to Philadelphia. September 8 – 18.
Something You Did Playwright Willy Holtzman is known for his dramatic reinterpretations of real historical events. In his latest work, a student has been imprisoned for 30 years for an anti-war bombing. Now, she is visited by the daughter of the police officer killed by her bomb, and by a former comrade who has now turned against her. August 28 – October 3.