Our 2023 theme is TABOO

In 2023, LABA hubs around the world will dive into the theme of TABOO.

Clean. Dirty. Sacred. Profane. Okay. Not okay. We moderns like to think we are better than this. That we see beyond these moral categories and inhabit a muddied middle ground, an infinite gray area, in which life, people, things, are complicated. But the reality is we are no less a stranger to the concept of taboo than our ancient ancestors, whose understanding of life took shape through an articulation of boundaries. We are, always and forever, people who do and people who don’t.

From the moment Eve bit into the forbidden fruit, there has never been, and never will be, human psychology or collective existence without taboos. We need them to know what to say yes to and no to. And, equally important, we need them to have something to transgress. Taboos are a central component of the Jewish psyche and the artist’s psyche. These boundaries and borders illuminate truths, foment desire, and articulate fear and shame. They are the bridges between the subconscious and conscious, which make them some of the sharpest tools we have in our meaning-making toolkits.

This year at LABA we will dive into the mysteries and power of TABOO in the ancient Jewish canon, unpacking and debating this human impulse and tapping into the ways in which it can fuel our creativity. Most importantly, we’ll have a great time talking, eating, drinking, learning, and laughing in the lush, fertile, free-flowing, romantic, super-serious, and endlessly playful environment of LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture.