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LABA Fellow Doron Perk leaps into his piece Grandfather Visit in October 2021Photo by Basil Rodericks

LABA NY, the first and longest-running LABA hub, is based at the 14th street Y,  in the East Village of New York City. This location is rich in history, from Yiddish theater houses that used to dominate the neighborhood a century ago, to the avant-garde punk rock halls that were popular around 50 years ago. LABA helps keep that spirit of artistic innovation and rebellion alive in this century,

LABA NY was founded in 2007 by Stephen Hazan Arnoff, the former Executive Director of the 14th Street Y in the East Village, writer and teacher Basmat Hazan, and artist Anat Litwin. In 2010 LABA became more formalized under the helm of Ronit Muszkatblit, Elissa Strauss, and Becky Skoff with a curriculum, application, DRUNK night of study and wine flights, the LABAlive performance season, and an artists-based Tikkun for Shavuot which eventually morphed into “Into the Night,” the most popular downtown Tikkun in New York City. In 2019, Laura Beatrix Newmark took over as Artistic Director of LABA NY.

LABA NY gives culture-makers in one of the most fast-paced cities in the world a chance to stop and immerse themselves in a rich source of inspiration and a tight-knit community. Yes, New York is one of the most creative, and Jewish, cities in the world. Still, LABA scratches an itch. There are few other opportunities for culture-makers with any background to go this deep into the ancient Jewish canon and to be told that these texts belong to them as much as anyone else. When LABA NY gets together in a classroom at the 14th Street Y and becomes absorbed in a passage from the Torah or Talmud, it’s as if all the lights of New York have dimmed, if only for an hour, and all they can see, all they can feel, is the page in front of them and the people around the table wrestling with the words.

The 14th Street Y, a Jewish community center in the East Village, is a vital neighborhood resource that welcomes people of all backgrounds. We provide a variety of programs with a distinctive downtown point of view, emphasizing excellence, innovation, creativity, and a questioning spirit. We are inspired by Tikkun Olam, or repair of the world, in all that we do — a value that represents and renews the vitality of our Jewish heritage and its place in our diverse and vibrant community. The 14th Street Y is a proud part of Educational Alliance’s network of programs throughout downtown Manhattan.





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    Theme

    LABA Fellow Dvir Cahana shows images drawn by child prodigy Milo that would go on to grace Dvir’s album cover, “Bacchurs Can’t Be Choosers” created during LABA.Photo by Basil Rodericks

    Drumroll please… or maybe, more appropriate – a whisper. we’re excited to announce that the next LABA theme is NIGHT.
    NIGHT, in the Jewish imagination, is both a matter of time and a state of mind. Our days begin at night, the arrival of three stars is our first sign of tomorrow. Our calendar is lunar, our months and years obsessively coordinated with the waxing and waning of the moon. Our festivals are backlit by the orb at its fullest.
    Night is more than a time marker, however. It is also a paradoxical psychological state, when urges too messy, too irrational, and too wild for the day emerge, whether through dreams or behaviors or habits or the thoughts that only voice themselves at 3 am. Night is obscurity, but it is also clarity. Night is freedom, but it is also sometimes cruelty. Only in darkness can some truths be revealed. The cosmos began with night, and from night the very atoms humming our bodies came. We can never know ourselves fully, as a person or a people, without a deep understanding of night.
    This year at LABA we will explore the theme of NIGHT in the ancient Jewish canon. We will look at how and why NIGHT anchors us, liberates us, terrifies us through a study of evocative stories from the Torah, Talmud, Mishnah, Zohar and more. We will consider the role of NIGHT in the life of culture-makers, and the ways in which culture-makers are the “NIGHTS” of people — truth-tellers, tricksters, beauty-makers, and deep sea subconscious divers. Most importantly, we’ll have a great time talking, eating, drinking, learning, and laughing in the lush, fertile, free-flowing, romantic, super-serious, and endlessly playful environment of LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture.

    We invite you to point your flashlight towards uncharted territories–places you might cherish, wish to destroy, or both– and propose new work inspired by what night brings up in you. All mediums accepted, and the strange and unconventional are always welcome.

    Fellows open section icon

    Playwright Jess Honovich presented charming excerpts from Super Play, a theater piece developed from her interviews with young children about superheroes.Photo by Basil Rodericks

    News open section icon

    Theater-maker and scholar of contemporary performance Brandon Woolf presented excerpts from his clever adaptation of Jewish texts, Mud and Mashiach.Photo by Basil Rodericks
    • A Visual Journey: Redefining LABA’s Brand.

      After 14 years, LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture has embarked on a dynamic visual transformation. A new visual identity, the product of a process that isn’t just about a new look, but a reflection of the profound growth and expanding vision of the 14 year-old program.  From one New York City location, we have

      Read more

    Events open section icon

    Composer Tal Gur developed Patterns of a Parachute Path, a theater piece about his father’s real experiences with the Israeli Air Force.Photo by Basil Rodericks

    Comming Soon

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    FELLOWS
    Malena Dayen
    Laba Process/Project

    Malena Dayen is an Argentinian opera singer and directorShe directed Firesongs at Chelsea Factory, Romeo et Juliette and Carmen with Opera Naples, Aida and La Medium with Forth Worth Opera and Dialogue des Carmélites at MSUAs creative director of Bare Opera she directed Maria de Buenos Aires, Don Giovanni, Heroes of NY and The Late Walk, which was inducted into The Library of Congress. 

    Aya Goshen
    Laba Process/Project
    Aya Goshen is an independent art curator based in New York City, originally from Israel. She initiates, curates, and produces contemporary art projects celebrating art and bringing people together. Goshen is particularly interested in exploring immigrant experiences and underrepresented or forgotten voices.
    Noam Cohen
    Laba Process/Project
    Noam Cohen is a Brooklyn-based journalist who reports on the digital information ecosystem – in other words, how we know what we know about the world and how this has changed because of the Internet.
    Alan Jinich
    Laba Process/Project

    Alan Jinich is a multimedia storyteller interested in the extraordinary tales of everyday people, particularly emerging adults. He is the co-founder of the oral history project, Generation Pandemic, and has reported stories for national news outlets. Alan also enjoys experimenting in the world of sound. 

    Zhenya Lopatnik
    Laba Process/Project

    Zhenya Lopatnik is a composer, artist, vocalist, and educator based in NYC. Originally from Ukraine, Zhenya connect to the audience by utilizing her cultural heritage combining knowledge of Yiddish, storytelling, and sand art. The song from her last project, Heim and Veg, in collaboration with the guitarist Oren Neiman recently won the 2022 Bubbe Award.  

    www.zhenyalopatnik.org

    Yael Magnes
    Laba Process/Project

    Yael Magnes is an award-winning metalsmith, artist, and designer. After being exposed to the art metalsmithing, she pursued her degree in jewelry design. In 2005 Yael moved to NYC and since 2010 has pursued her independent conceptual jewelry brand. She consistently questions the definitions of a jewel in her work, and explores a place where function and imagination collides.

    yaelmagnes.com

    Nechama Winston
    Laba Process/Project

    Nechama Winston is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in NYC. Working within photography, video, and archival media, her work has been nationally and internationally. Winston is also the co-founder of New Poetics Publishing, an artist-run independent publishing house based between Bogotá and New York.  

    https://www.nechamawinston.com/

     

    kori koolman  
    Laba Process/Project

    Kori Koolman is a multidisciplinary artist, performer, and art educator living and working in Brooklyn. Koolman graduated from the photography department at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem and holds a master’s degree in fine art from Rutgers University

    Ben Freeman
    Laba Process/Project
    Ben Freeman (he/him) is a theater maker, musician, writer, and ritualist who is drawn to the interplay of large and small, the big hurts and quiet joys of being alive. He makes work about longing and the myriad ways in which we move around inside separate universes and deeply yearn to understand one another.
    Rachel Cantor
    Laba Process/Project

    Rachel Cantor is the author of the novels Half-Life of a Stolen Sister (Soho Press 2023), Good on Paper (Melville House 2016), and A Highly Unlikely Scenario (Melville House 2014). Two dozen of her stories have been published in the Paris Review, and New England Review, among others. She has written about fiction for National Public Radio, The Guardian, Publishers Weekly, and others. She lives in Brooklyn where she is writing a series of speculative novels set in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. 

    Adi Eshman
    Laba Process/Project

    Adi Eshman is a playwright, screenwriter and Jewish educator based in Brooklyn, NY. Originally from Venice Beach, CA, his plays have been produced or workshopped at USC, Columbia University, NYU Gallatin, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, the Braid, Cherry Lane Theatre and The Tank. In May 2023, he earned his MFA in Dramatic Writing from the USC School for Dramatic Arts.

    adieshman.net

    Elisheva Gavra
    Laba Process/Project

    Elisheva Gavra is an artist, photographer and writer based in New York. Her work has been exhibited at the Jewish Museum (New York), and The Broad Art Center (Los Angeles), among others. She is a recent MFA graduate in photography from Columbia University, and a 2023-24 participant of the Interdisciplinary Art and Theory Program in Manhattan.

    https://www.elishevagavra.com/

    Ye’ela Wilschanski
    Laba Process/Project

    Ye’ela Wilschanski’s primary medium is sculpture, layered with performance and video.She creates transformative wearable items the artist enters into, suggesting structural shifts in both the artist’s body and the garments. Through her choreography and combination of mediums, Wilschanski examines the notion of functionality and corporeality in an environment she creates. 

    https://www.yeelawilschanski.com/

    New York

    adieshman.net

     

    yaelmagnes.com