The Jew Without Memory

by LABA Rabbinic Fellow Kendell Pinkney Several years ago, I was fortunate to travel to Stockholm with a group of young American and European Jewish lay leaders and entrepreneurs to take part in a Jewish life program. The program was described as a week-long intensive where we would discuss “big Jewish ideas,” study with renowned

State of the Jews

Former LABA Fellow Alex Weiser writes about Zionist leader Theodor Herzl’s legacy–and about using this legacy as the basis for a new opera. Early one evening last Spring, I entered a classroom on the 4th floor at the 14th Street Y to find a big table in the center filled with all sorts of my

Saving Lives with Haifa’s New Underground ER

LABA alum and journal Contributing Editor Amy Handelsman on her recent trip to Haifa’s Bnai Zion Medical Center. Tuesday, April 2, 2019, Haifa. “Only the mothers knew what to do,” said Dr. Amnon Rofe, CEO of Bnai Zion Medical Center (BZMC) in Israel’s northern city of Haifa.  “They grabbed their children and babies and ran.” We

Three Jews in a Bar Discussing Death

Yonatan Gutfeld is a current LABA fellow composing a song cycle based on the poems of Ori Bernstein. Misha Shulman is a LABA fellow, playwright and educator studying to be a rabbi. LABA Journal editor Gordon Haber met with Gutfeld and Shulman in a Brooklyn bar to discuss life, death, and vodka. (Gutfeld will perform

Rereading the Whole Megillah

A lot of Jewish kids get incredibly excited about Purim. But in my own household growing up it wasn’t a big deal. My strongest — and indeed my only — childhood memory of Purim is when Rabbi Frishman of blessed memory read the scroll to us in Hebrew school. As you probably know, Haman is

Gender Fluidity from Day One

The story of Adam and Eve conjures up so many dichotomies, so many grounds for sexism and for feminism, as well as awareness of the fallibility of all humans. It also gives us the first taste of transgender or gender fluidity when the Torah speaks both “male and female” as created in God’s image: So

The Forbidden Conversation

Created by Gili Getz Actor and Photographer Gili Getz presents a deeply personal one-man performance that explores the difficulty with the Israel conversation in the American Jewish community. While visiting Israel during the last Gaza war in 2014, Gili experienced difficulty talking about the path Israel is on with his father for the first time

“In Touch with My Place in the Universe”: an Interview with Yehuda Hyman

Yehuda Hyman is a dancer, choreographer, actor, writer and LABA fellow (2013-14). He talked to Amy Handelsman, writer and LABA Fellow (2017-18) about his immigrant parents, growing up gay and Jewish, his career as an artist, and his new play, The Mar Vista: In Search of My Mother’s Love Life. Hyman wrote, directed, choreographed, and


On Thursday, May 31st, LABALive Two will present an evening of subversive art and teachings on this year’s theme, WAR & PEACE. The evening will feature LABA teacher Liel Leibovitz and works-in-progress by LABA Fellows Tal Gur, Jacob Siegel and Amy Handelsman. For those looking for a taste right now, here is 2016-2017 LABA alumna Laura Beatrix

Making Holes in the Torah

2013-2014 LABA alumna Yael Kanarek is an Israeli-American artist. Kanarek spoke to 2016-2017 LABA alumnus Gordon Haber about her female-centric adaption of the Book of Genesis and her upcoming program at the 14th Street Y’s dusk-to-dawn Shavuot celebration on May 19th. The interview has been edited for clarity. I have been adapting Genesis in Hebrew and English.