Before I start, I want to tell you all just how much I have missed you, dear readers.
For those of you who follow my blog each month, you may have wondered where I went. To be frank, I was busy. Sometimes when we say the word “busy,” we think of something burdensome, but I was busy with things I like, that I love, that mean a lot to me.
To clarify, I’m talking about The Season of Jewish Culture and my Shlichut.
When I first came to New York, I took baby steps familiarizing myself with the Big Apple, focusing primarily on the best chunk of it—Downtown Manhattan. After meeting many of you during lunches and learning sessions, meeting your children in Afterschool and Preschool, and those of you who attend the multiple congregations in the area, I asked myself: How do I bring a different sense of Judaism to our community? The word that came to mind was Mimouna.
Mimouna was originally a Muslim-Jewish holiday which involved sharing flour-based foods together on the last day of Passover, foods that Jews were not able to eat because they otherwise violated the laws of keeping kosher during Passover. This Year, the 14th Street Y decided to re-embrace that lost tradition, and connected with another group of Jews from Israel—Moroccan Jews—and gave a voice to the Muslim-Moroccan community. In our Mimouna event back in March, we dove into interfaith dialogue, an unforgettable Moroccan music party, and delicious food. It was a chance to celebrate and do what often does not happen in Israeli—bring Jews and Muslims together.
This interfaith experience made me think that for every happy cultural occasion, such as this one, they also bring a particular challenge. There will always be an elephant in that room, and to air it out, the elephant must be dealt with.
I’m talking about what we at the 14Y refer to as the “Yoms.” In Hebrew, the word “yom” means “day”, present in Israeli holidays like Yom HaZikaron, a day to honor fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism (or the Israeli Memorial day if you’d like), Yom Hazikaron LaShoah U’Leg’vura (Holocaust Memorial Day), and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day). I identified the need to analyze themes not only of loss and memory, but also of joy and independence. While I wanted to celebrate Israeli Independence, I also wanted to help people think and talk about disputes. I also wanted to help people by creating a space for dialogue and discussion. I believe that by doing so, people are able to understand and appreciate Israel.
In order to balance those needs, I created a diverse program in May that the 14Y refers to as PAUSE/PLAY. During PAUSE/PLAY, people were able to dance to Israeli folk music, participate in a moderated discussion on the Jewish and democratic values of Israel, watch the Israeli play “Sof Tov,” and experience Israeli arts & crafts.
This is the Israel I come from—an Israel that provided plenty of fun in my childhood, and many difficult questions at the beginning of my adulthood. I found that the perfect way to be grateful for all of that was to dance to the sounds of Hatikva 6, an Israeli band that rocked the music venue SOB’s, in a joint production of The 14th Street Y, UJA Federation, The Jewish Agency for Israel, and Liat Berko Productions.
Nine months have passed since I came to New York. Nine months is also about the time needed to carry a baby to term. In a sense, my adaptation to New York, and more specifically to the 14th Street Y, was about taking baby steps, ones that have made me more of an adult on a personal level, and allowed me to grow into the community. But we’re not done yet! This Sunday, June 9, is our wonderful Tikkun. What is Tikkun, you ask?
In Hebrew, the word “tikkun” has two meanings: one is to make a law (takana), the other is to repair something. Our Tikkun is a new interpretation of the Shavuot celebration. It is a gathering of LABA artists, educators from BINA, the Secular Yeshiva, and other various groups who explore text study in Hebrew and English, performances, and other installations of the very depths of the human soul.
This Sunday evening, I myself will co-host a session with my friend, Maia R. Farina, about sexuality and identity in sacred Jewish text. The session will be both Hebrew and English-friendly, and I invite you to come and learn what the Talmud, the Torah, and Kate Bush have to say on human sexuality and gender roles at 7:00 PM, in Room 201. Join me in studying mysteries and share this experience with like-minded people, into the night.
The day after Tikkun, while many of you head to work or catch those precious extra minutes of sleep, I am flying back to Israel for a two-week visit. I haven’t seen my father, my sister, and my friends in nine months, and it will be an opportunity both to reunite and to show them how I changed as a person.
My journey continues onto the next year, the second year of Shlichut, the second year of adventure.
Tikkun: INTO THE DUSK
Hosted by The 14th Street Y on Sunday, June 9, 2019 | 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Join for conversation, culture, and ritual.
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM – The Night World (Family Programming)
Join us for an interactive performance as your children travel together with Fantastical Puppeteer of MAPS, Rachel, as she ushers them from Mordicai Gerstein’s children’s book, The Night World, into their own magical dreamscape.
They will be helped along the way by celebrated animals including Sylvie the cat, from The Night World, as their imaginations run wild. Each performance is highly personal and roughly 15 minutes long. It will help each child explore the sublime and the nocturnal in an intimate setting of 10 kids at a time.
RSVP Times: 3:00pm, 3:45pm, and 4:25pm. Each performance is roughly 15 minutes long and will accommodate 10 kids. Parents can sit in theater if they’d like. While waiting, parents and children will be ushered into an adjacent room to be immersed in artwork from students at the 14th Street Y Preschools as they read The Night World and other wonderful PJ Library books.
Thank you to the Grinspoon Foundation and PJ Library for providing this exciting adventure.RSVP
6:00 PM – 10:00 PM – Celebration from Dusk Into the Night
Join a flow of inspirational encounters filled with intrigue, magic, angels, music, ghost images, ancient and contemporary text, Hebrew, English, Aramaic surrounded by the aromas of Ethiopian coffee on our downtown Tikkun. Create your own narrative, your own journey, learn and question and then dance it off on the roof.
Led by LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture artists and teachers, with Bina, The Israeli Artists Project, Dirty Laundry Theater Company and so much more. The evening will include art installations, performances on land and water, text study in Hebrew and English and music. The evening will end with a Rooftop Party brimming with cheesecake… and a little celebration of the last 10 years of LABA and the upcoming sabbatical of its artistic director Ronit Muszkatblit.
Let the mysteries begin and join us on the journey into the night.RSVP
Admission is free and there will be programs for all levels of observance.