The LABA Fellows Have Been CHOSE-N!

By, Laura Beatrix Newmark, Director of LABA NY

Welcome to a new year of LABA.

A new year of ancient questions and modern realities. A new year of investigating the core tenet of much of Judaism, to ask questions, and that very elusive concept of choice and chosenness. This is a year like no other, and we look forward to taking off the proverbial masks and deep diving into the guidebook of our past, to inspire and teach, scare and challenge, as we leap forward into the continued unknown.

I look forward to introducing our 2021 LABA fellows: Sivan Battat, Annie Berman, Dvir Cahana, Rebecca S’manga Frank, Abel Goldfarb, Rachel Joravsky, Ben Kaplan, Doron PerkMindy PfefferSam Sussman, and visiting fellow Samantha Lish. They include inspiring filmmakers and a rapper, a writer and an opera librettist, a dancer, playwright, actor, puppeteer, comedian, artist/physicist — all thinkers, and makers of new Jewish culture. By sharing their paths and the works they are creating, they will explore and expand our notions of what it means to be chosen or not, and what’s actually in the act of choice.

On these new days of 2021, amidst a global pandemic and instability, strife and division, we look to our ancestors who lived through plagues and wars, harmony and brutality, and take refuge in their prescient teachings, humanity, and discord. We can’t help but recognize the beautiful correlation to Tu B’Shevat that is approaching and think about these precious seeds we are planting. 

Take a look at the Fellows’ work and their upcoming projects and join us in plumbing the depths of our imaginations as we engage with chosenness and choice, one of the most sustaining and time-tested aspects of Jewish identity; as Groucho Marx opined, “I refuse to join any club that would [choose] me as a member.”