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

Is Shavuot the Redheaded Stepchild of Jewish Holidays?

Three times a year—on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the Feast of Weeks, and on the Feast of Booths—all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place that He will choose. They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed, but each with his own gift, according to the blessing that

“I Want to Unearth How This Queer Woman Influenced Freud.”

LABA fellow Dmitri Barcomi describes his work-in-progress, Necrophoresis, a collaboration with writer-choreographer Seth Majnoon, as “a cross-medium dance-theater piece exploring the death rituals of ants and the life of Anna Freud.” LABA Contributing Editor Amy Handelsman discussed the work with Barcomi. You can see the theater piece at LABAlive III: LIFE + DEATH at the

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

“That Person Could Be Dead. It’ll Be Hilarious.”

LABA fellow Richard F Saudek (clown) talks to Brian Dailey (juggler) about their theater piece, DEAD and ALIVE. In the piece, after finding a dead body, a man feels obligated to perform the Jewish rites of shemira, or “guarding” the body. But the body has other ideas. Dailey and Saudek will perform it at LABAlive

When the Wounds Want to Stay Healed

LABA fellow Ilana Sichel contemplates life and death and writing. In the past half hour, I have gotten up from my desk to get cookies, decided they weren’t the right type of cookie, then got up a minute later to get another kind. I have felt a slight chill and decided that I can’t sit

Aliyah and Insults: on Rising Up and Put-Downs

Current LABA fellow Yochai Greenfeld on the witty comments of the Talmudic sages, and why Jews around the world must learn to laugh at themselves more. In our last sessions at LABA, we studied a fascinating passage from the Babylonian Talmud: What is the interpretation of the word Babylonia? Rabbi Yoḥanan says it means mixed,

“People Want Meaning and Good Visuals”: an Interview with Jessica Tamar Deutsch

LABA fellow Jessica Tamar Deutsch is a New York-based artist and creator of the Illustrated Pirkei Avot. Her work explores the intersection of ancient tradition and contemporary culture. Here she discusses her life and work with Amy Handelsman. Deutsch will be presenting animation and drawings at LABAlive III on Thursday, May 23rd at 7:30pm. Click

It’s Time to Bring Back a Jewish-Muslim Tradition

Ophir Tal is the 14th Street Y’s shaliach, or “emissary,” tasked with bringing Israeli culture to New York. Here, he discusses why he decided to bring Mimouna, a traditional North African post-Passover interfaith gathering, to the 14th Street Y. For tickets to this year’s Mimouna, click here. The year: 2014. The place: Ashdod, Israel. My

Alone Together for the Big Bang

Current LABA fellow Ari Brand reflects on LABAlive, when he performed excerpts from SCENES FROM CHILDHOOD, a play based on his discovery that his father, the renowned pianist Natan Brand, lived much of his life as a gay man. Natan Brand died of AIDS in 1990. It was a warmer than usual night in the beginning