By Laura Beatrix Newmark, Director of LABA NY Hillel said many things in his lifetime but a particular few lines has gotten more air time in recent years than many other Rabbinic scholars. “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I’m only for myself, who am I? If not now,

Every Minute Matters

by, Ronit Muszkatblit, Director of Arts & Culture, Artistic Director of LABA These days, when I watch a movie, or a video of a dance or theater piece, the first thing that strikes me is that I am watching a world from the past: the people are in crowded rooms together, they are hugging, touching

An Election Day Remembrance

Current LABA fellow Mark Katz describes his time working on Michael Dukakis’s 1988 presidential campaign. Election Day. November 1, 1988.  A crisp sunny Boston day, maybe 45 degrees. If memory serves, it was a Tuesday.  And because I has spend the previous twelve months as a campaign staffer who set an alarm clock for 5 am and

Boozy Jews!

LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture is a program of the 14th Street Y that uses classic Jewish texts to inspire the creation of art. Every year we celebrate our new fellows with DRUNK, an evening of wine and performance inspired by Jewish texts. This year the teachers were the redoubtable Ruby Namdar, author of The

Jew vs. Jew, or the Festival of Fights: Gordon Haber on the Secret Contentious History of Hanukkah

There are a lot of different ways of thinking about Hanukkah, but we tend to forget that the holiday is very much about intra-Jewish conflict. The Festival of Lights, as you know, commemorates the restoration of the Temple in 164 BCE. After kicking out the Seleucids — whom we might call today “culturally Greek Syrians”


Happy Thanksgiving from LABA, the international incubator of Jewish arts and culture! Today, on the American holiday dedicated to fressing (aka gluttony), we’d like to share some words of wisdom about stuffing yourself. You may know that the great Moses Ben Maimon, or Maimonides, was renowned both as a rabbi and a doctor, and his

Romeo and Juliet face Israeli Reality

Dr. Shirli Sela-Levavi, a literary scholar, returned from our The Seventh Day Festival for Israeli Literature with illuminating insights into the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Jewish-Israeli relations to its Other. Romeo and Juliet face Israeli Reality Last week, as part of the ongoing festival for Israeli literature, The Seventh Day (curated by LABA’s

Forever DRUNK by Liel Leibovitz

Kicking-off LABA’s 10th anniversary with our celebration, DRUNK: an evening filled with feasting, sipping and studying. Throughout the night, this year’s LABA fellows will be giving us an intoxicating  taste of their projects, and LABA’s lead teacher Liel Leibovitz and LABA’s resident scholar Ruby Namdar will be enticing the guests into the mysterious eternal fermentation

Ascending the Tower of Babel

A Word From the Divine Ruby Namdar and Hanan Elstein for the LABA Journal A few weeks past LABA’s session on the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), LABA Scholar Ruby Namdar and LABA Journal Editor Hanan Elstein, both still in awe of this remarkably condensed yet multilayered biblical short story, sat down over some fine