LABA Returns

By Laura Beatrix Newmark, Director LABA New York

“…like the strength of a blessing, as we go

 Quietly on with what we shall be doing, and sing

Thanks for being enabled, again, to begin this instant.”

-from At the New Year by John Hollander,

And so it goes, after 15 months of pivoting our LABA Fellowship from our 3 hour, libation-infused depths of classic Jewish text study to 2 hour Zoom boxes, we began anew. Arriving masked up to the black box theater at the 14th Street Y, LABA 2021 FELLOWS chose a seat, pulled off our masks, and engaged in falafel, hummus, bourbon and the Book of Exodus, and a little cheese cake for good measure in anticipation of the then upcoming Shavuot holiday. Our LABA Senior Scholar Ruby Namdar led a raucous and engaging study shifting our perceptions, questioning our convictions, challenging us to use to the anarchic texts of Talmud to rise to higher levels of art and performance. LABA Fellows opined after that the night was:

“A most nourishing, soothing meeting.”

“Amazing. Highlight of my year.”

“Incredible, really, really incredible.”

“So amazing, glorious, ordinary and weird all at the same time.”

“Beautiful night.”

As we slowly begin to re-open, take off our masks, gathering as a community, we are keenly aware of the traumas and tragedy of 2020 and carry heavy hearts, albeit ones full of love, hope and energy. This is LABA at its core.