The Feast of Memory: An Exceptional LABA Tradition

The Feast of Memory is an ancient LABA tradition, where everybody is asked to share a food, either tasty or nasty, connected with a personal memory or story.  At the end of the evening, a collective memory emerges, evoking a collective history. Having overcome a mighty hangover, here LABA alum Gordon Haber recalls this year’s feast.  “This

Text and Art and LABAlive

Counting the days until the first 2018 LABAlive on March 22nd, Ruby Namdar, celebrated author of the The Ruined House and former LABA teacher, muses over art inspired by ancient Jewish texts.  During my ten years tenure as LABA faculty, I had the privilege of teaching some of the most amazing texts ever written to

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

Against the Flow

The Seventh Day Literary Festival, curated by LABA Journal editor Hanan Elstein, celebrates its closing night with “A Wandering Language,” Thursday, December 7th, 7:00PM, at the American Jewish Historical Society and the Center for Jewish History. LABA’s resident scholar and expat Israeli novelist Ruby Namdar will be discussing his prize-winning new book, The Ruined House


LABA, the international incubator of Jewish art and culture, kicks off its tenth season with DRUNK 2018 —  an evening filled with art, performance, ancient Hebrew texts and wine tastings to match.  This Saturday, November 18th at 7:30PM, LABA current roster of fellows, LABA teachers, and the community will all join in at the Theater at

Can Peace be ever achieved in the Middle East?

The Seventh Day: Israeli Literature Fifty Years After the Six-Day War Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting each other over a small piece of land for almost a century. Despite many attempts to resolve this blood-soaked conflict, no one can see an end to it. What elements within Israeli society make a just peace for

What Will Our Future Look Like?

The Seventh Day: Israeli Literature Fifty Years After the Six-Day War To answer the question of our future, we need to look to the past. And this timeless question—grown even more urgent in these days of global insecurity—runs like a common thread through The Seventh Day Festival. Curated by LABA Journal Editor Hanan Elstein and featuring,

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

Words on Beauty

Words on Beauty

LABALive #1 Appreciating BEAUTY Is Not As Simple As It Seems. Next Thursday, LABA Fellows and the downtown community will join together for the first LABAlive event on BEAUTY. Join LABA Fellows Gon Ben Ari, Jessica Gross, and Gal Beckerman as they share new literary work based on their investigation of BEAUTY through Classical Jewish

This Book Can Change Lives

by RUBY NAMDAR If I were the one in charge of pairing ancient texts and Jewish holidays, I would have chosen the book of Kohelet (otherwise known by Greek name Ecclesiastes) as the perfect reading for Rosh HaShana – or better yet, for Yom Kippur. It is the ultimate book of self-examination, of accounting to