The Heavens Opened: Notes on Seeing Angels

By Ben Nadler. I live in the United States, a place where people regularly encounter angels. If you spend any amount of time traveling through this country, you will meet plenty of folks who have seen one. These divine beings seem to appear just out of reach, beside hospital beds and car wrecks, outside windows,

For a (Forbidden) Fruitful Year

My name is Chanan Ben Simon, I am a vocalist, composer and a multimedia artist. Last year, I was a LABA ‘Broken’ fellow, and this year, I am thrilled to lead the new fabulous TABOO cohort, as the new Director of LABA NY. Last year, LABA mended the Broken pieces of me with golden glue.


Things were pretty quiet 14 billion years ago. This “quietus” was so peaceful for a literal eternity, that there was no way of even knowing that time was passing. And what is time but the possibility of it elapsing? So maybe there wasn’t even time. Which sounds quite restful. But also pretty tedious. At some

Broken Vessels: Presence of the Divine

I remember vividly, from a very early age, I felt broken and different from the community that surrounded me. I was emotionally separate from my own family that I was born into, I didn’t belong and didn’t feel aligned with the guided/conditioned behavior around me. I discovered at 3 years old, the only space I

Ex Libris in Yangon by Melissa Hacker

I am in Yangon, Myanmar, in an apartment carved out of an early 19th century teak house, shutters open on the veranda, catching a slight, slow, afternoon breeze, ipad in hand, looking at images of 1920’s woodcuts. For the past few years I have been dreaming up Ex Libris: A Life in Bookplates, a film about my Austrian Jewish

Meet the 2022 LABA Fellows

After two years of COVID-19 and its variants — Delta and most recently Omicron — we are decidedly feeling the heaviness of this new year. While this mix of fear, ennui, anger, and restlessness leaves us broken, it also leads us to create, to yearn for community, and to heal. We are thrilled to announce

LABA Fellow Ben Kaplan talks about Yiddish on NPR

“Yiddish culture has something to say about finding joy and ingenuity and creativity and resourcefulness in a time of crisis,” explains Ben Kaplan, LABA fellow and director of education at YIVO. Listen here: For some secular Jews, their pandemic hobby has been learning Yiddish : NPR  

A Year In Reflection from LABA NY

When I was CHOSEN to lead LABA NY for the 2019-2020 cycle, it was thrilling to have the opportunity with a fellowship that had been so deeply impactful to me for four years. From the first study session I came to in 2015 when “A Serious Man” was being discussed in the year of BEAUTY,