Virtual Arts + Culture

Virtual LABA Arts + Culture


Presented by the Hendel Center for Ethics and Justice at JTS in Partnership with Marin Theatre Company and Round House Theatre

Wednesday, July 14 | 8:00 PM
Register here.

Join JTS in conversation with the team behind the acclaimed virtual drama “The Catastrophist.” It’s the story of real-life virus hunter Nathan Wolfe—who just happens to be the playwright’s husband—and a stirring meditation on scientific discovery, Judaism, family, life, and loss.

They’ll welcome playwright Lauren Gunderson, virologist Nathan Wolfe, actor William DeMeritt, director Jasson Minadakis, and JTS rabbinical student and theatre maker Kendell Pinkney (14Y/LABA Rabbinic Fellow) for an expansive discussion about this new work and its surprising intersections with issues of justice and racial equity. Learn more here. 

LABA Arts + Culture Reignited

For months, the 14Y’s LABA Arts + Culture Department was on pause while our theater remained closed. Now, thanks to the generosity of our community, we are relaunching the 14Y Theater with a new Artist Residency program. Learn more and support our artists in residence here.

And thanks to the generous support we received in recent weeks we’re excited to launch a new virtual Arts + Culture series, Fridays@5!

Take an hour before the week comes to an end, and the weekend begins, to laugh, cry and everything in between with our artists as they share how this year has affected them and shaped their work.

This new series will feature developing work and talkbacks with our 2021 LABA fellows, work-in-progress from our LABA 2nd stage artists in residency, and local artists looking for space to share their art.

Please check back periodically for more Fridays@5 events!

Previous Events
Chosen For #Nastiness – A Night of LABA Comedy

Friday, June 25 | 7:00 PM
Join us for a night of comedy headlined by LABA Chosen Fellow Rachel Joravsky. We will watch the short film “Rachel Joravsky is Thriving Off the Government” and laugh along with a showcase of LABA Humor Fellows.

Please note that the content of this comedy will not be appropriate for children.

LABA Presents…Between Two Midwestern Jewesses

Friday, June 18 | Watch the recording here. 
LABA Fellow Rachel Joravsky will show an excerpt from her short film “Rachel Joravsky is Thriving Off the Government” and will then be in conversation with Laura Beatrix Newmark, LABA NY Director and Producer, #NastyWomen: A Night of Female Resistance Comedy at the 14Y, about comedy, LABA and midwestern Jewish values.

In the Studio with Jody Sperling/Time Lapse Dance: The Making of Bunhead’s Back!

Friday, June 11 | Watch the recording here.

Get a “behind the mask” view of the creative process with choreographer Jody Sperling and her Time Lapse Dance company during their residency at the 14th Street Y. Sperling shares clips from her film-in-progress “Bunhead’s Back!,” the story of a Degas ballerina whose head is screwed on backwards. The presentation includes a conversation with the film’s star, Maki Kitahara, about what it’s like to turn oneself around–literally and figuratively–and on the contortions of conformity. Included in the conversation are mask artist Erin Or and pianist Jeffrey Middleton, who recorded the score. Sperling will also share teasers of other upcoming works.

Rising Sun Performance Company

Friday, May 21 | Watch the recording here.

Dive into play development with Rising Sun Performance Company, an award-winning indie theater company. Friday at 5pm EST, we chat with five Rising Sun Company Playwrights to discuss their original plays developing through Rising Sun Performance Company’s Lab at the Theater at the 14th Street Y.

LABA Presents… Screening: 3 Questions

Friday, February 26 | Watch the recording here.
Fridays@5 kicks off with LABA Fellow Rebecca S’manga Frank sharing her short documentary 3 Questions, which asks a group of Black men their thoughts and feelings about where they are today and their responses to the events of January 6th. There will be a discussion following the film with participants from the documentary and including the intriguing parallels to the holiday of Purim.

Preview: UN-PLAGUED Artist Residencies

Friday, March 5 | Watch the recording here. 

Please join us for an online preview of four dynamic and humorous new works being developed by artists in our newly launched residency program. Artists will take you on a “Behind the Zoom” journey of their work and perform excerpts from DEAD + ALIVE, NAME GAME, VAYNBERG, and SUPPOSE THEY GAVE HYMIE WILHELM A SHOW AND NOBODY CAME.

COVID-19 YAHRZEIT with Site: Yizkor

Participatory performance and writing workshop to reflect and commemorate the last year of COVID-19 and all that has changed, led by Maya Ciarrocchi with music by Andrew Conklin.
Friday, March 12 | Watch the recording here.

Who honors the spaces left by the dead? How and why do people and cultures disappear?

These questions animate Site: Yizkor, an in-process interdisciplinary project created collaboratively by Maya Ciarrocchi and composer Andrew Conklin. Site: Yizkor explores the physical and emotional manifestation of loss through text, drawing, video, and music. Its source material includes architectural renderings of demolished buildings, memory maps of vanished places, field recordings of folk music, and prose remembrances obtained from historical Yizkor books and from project participants.

To commemorate the anniversary of the 14Y closing its doors, Join LABA artist Maya Ciarrocchi for a participatory performance where we will read selections from Yizkor books and writing generated during previous workshops accompanied by live video and music. Following the reading, attendees will be invited to create their own Yizkor pages as a way to mourn lost people and places and the transformative last year.

The Notorious Matriarchs

Friday, March 19 | Watch the recording here.

LABA Fellows Mindy Pfeffer and Dvir Cahana celebrate Women’s History Month with a one-woman show about Mindy’s quest to find her power, and complete a triathalon, and Dvir performing a trio of raps on feminism, RBG, and the matriarch of his family, his grandma, who survived the death marches.

LABA Presents: Grandfather Visit

A dance testimony piece in the memory of Prof. Kalman Perk
Friday, April 9 | 5:00 PM | Watch the recording here. 
LABA Fellow Doron Perk talks about his grandfather Kalman and shares fragments of his solo dance performance inspired by his many visits with him, the stories he told, the things they talked about, and the way they sat and had tea.

In July of 1944, in a crowded cattle wagon headed to the death camps, 14-year-old Kalman was chosen by his family to survive by escaping through the narrow window. As his grandchild, Doron chooses to keep his memory alive by using his moving body as a vessel for feelings and sensations he remembers having while being together.


Dwelling in a Time of Plagues

Dwelling in a Time of Plagues is a Jewish Artist collaboration funded by CANVAS a Jewish Funders Network that spans six cities: New York City, Baltimore, Toronto, Boston, Charlotte and Detroit. Seven Jewish artists have created original pieces that represent a current plague of our time, echoing the plagues of Passover: COVID, Food Insecurity, Darkness, Housing Insecurity, Single Use Plastic, Grief & Loss and Binary Thinking.

In an ambitious, multi-layered series of new works that push us out of our comfort zone and make us reflect on the present and past, these seven Artists shine light on the pain, loss, gravity and inequity of our time and ask us to look straight at it, without shying away, and ultimately, these artists create beauty out of darkness that lifts and inspires. Join us as we ask more than four crucial questions dwelled on by our artists, writers and collaborators this Passover. We are so proud that the work of two LABA alumni, Tal Beery and Maya Ciarrocchi, is featured in this series.

In addition to the many virtual events we have upcoming, we invite you to experience these works in person by walking by “This Place has a Body” Mural on 13th street or on the ZAZ Corner Billboard (South East Corner of 41st Street and 7th Avenue) and concurrently on the ZAZ10Ts Gallery Wall in the lobby of 10 Times Square, or by adding this thoughtful supplement on the 10 modern plagues to your seder.

To see all the works on display, visit

Opening Event: Dwelling in a Time of Plagues
Thursday, March 25 | 8:00 EST

Before Passover begins, join us for the opening of “Dwelling in a Time of Plagues,” a Jewish Artist response to contemporary plagues that spans six cities, seven artists, five arts organizations and many national partners.

This Place Has a Body
Opening Friday, March 26
14th Street Y building, façade of 13th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue
Video Installation: ZAZ10TS Times Square Billboard
New York City is a city in constant flux and a place of ghosts. We live in apartments that housed countless generations of individuals and families, new buildings rise on top of the foundations of what came before, and long-familiar businesses open and close overnight. Now during the COVID-19 pandemic, this flux is more rapid and the scale of loss so immense we barely have time to comprehend its breadth. Combining decorative details that adorned the walls and ceilings of now-vanished wooden synagogues with her dancing body and the Unicorn, an ancient symbol of death and rebirth, Maya’s mural project and video installation This Place Has a Body creates new fantastical spaces out of the residue of loss.

A video installation of This Place Has a Body will be showcased on the ZAZ Corner Billboard (South East Corner of 41st Street and 7th Avenues) and will concurrently be projected on the ZAZ10Ts Gallery Wall in the lobby of 10 Times Square. For more information, visit

Artist Talks: Contemporary Plagues
Wednesday, March 31 | 7:30 – 8:15 PM EST

Join us view the five murals and hear from the artists about their work, and the plague theme behind their projects. This event is part of is part of Dwelling in a Time of Plagues, a coast-to-coast Jewish artistic response to contemporary plagues. Each artist will share their project and inspiration and answer your questions about their work.

Virtual Opening Event: in the absence of a proper mourning
Thursday, April 1 | 7:00 PM

Join us virtually at the Jewish Museum of Maryland for the official opening of in the absence of a proper mourning. This installation asks us to confront numerous difficult questions related to our connections to one another and transforms the Jewish Museum of Maryland’s public-facing facade into a site for collective mourning and communal care. In this event we will hear from the artist, Tal Beery, on his inspiration and process in creating the piece. The event will offer a unique opportunity to hear the voices of participants of the project.

These projects were created in collaboration with Asylum Arts, The Jewish Book council, ZAZ10 and the Maryland Jewish Museum and funded by Canvas a Jewish Funders Network.

Artist Insights

Artist Insight: Queerly Contemporary 
PRIDE 365 Edition
Director of Arts + Culture David Stallings is joined by 14Y’s PRIDE Fest Founder Larry Daniels to chat with John Zullo. For the second time John Zullo’s Queerly Contemporary Dance Festival was to be a highlight of 14Y’s PRIDE programming. John will be joined by multiple artist featured in this year’s online version.
Click here to watch.

BIPOC Voices: Johari Mayfield 
Arts Activism Onstage and Outside: A conversation with Johari Mayfield
Johari Mayfield is a fitness instructor at 14Y, an artist featured in our 2019/2020 Theater Season, and in recovery. Johari joins us to discuss how she has taken the message of her art into her work, how that has changed since NYC went “on pause” due to COVID-19, and how it feels to be Black Female Artist during a time of social unrest.
Click here to watch.

Artist Insight: Nitsan Margaliot  
PRIDE 365 Edition 
Nitsan has spent quarantine in Berlin working on a poetic diary that follows trajectories from his grandfather escaping Europe during the Holocaust, his perspective on diaspora, queer ancestors, romantic relationships, and most boldly the idea of art making as love making especially during this time. Join us for a preview of this work.
Click here to watch.

LABA Launch 
Director of Arts + Culture David Stallings interviews Ronit Muszkatblit (currently on sabbatical, Senior Director of Arts + Culture) and Laura Beatrix Newmark (Director of LABA/Culture Producer) to discuss how we came to LABA, our LABA projects, where LABA is, where we hope to go, and announce the THEME for the new season. Also featuring Mirta Kupferminc, LABA alum and Creator/Artistic Director of our first LABA Hub, LABA BA – aka: LABA Buenos Aires.
Click here to watch. 

Meet The Theater at the 14th Street Y: Part 2
Join our Arts + Culture staff once again for a look into our backgrounds and stories!
Click here to watch.

Other Virtual Arts + Culture Events
Tikkun: Into the Night

The 14th Street Y and Downtown Jewish Life partners are proud to end our Season of Jewish Culture as we celebrate Shavuot on Thursday, May 28 at 6:00 PM via the Virtual 14th Street Y, with our own digital re-interpretation of a Tikkun.

Led by the Downtown Jewish Life Community, the evening will include artistic engagement, performances, and text study in Hebrew and English. Let the mysteries begin and join us on the journey into the night.
Click here to watch. 

Meet the Theater at the 14th Street Y

You might walk into 14Y’s theater and expect to see some small amateur production, but did you know we are actually an AEA approved 125-seat black box?  Did you know that we’ve showcased international dance companies and award-winning playwrights? Join the staff of the Arts+Culture department for a look into our theater backgrounds, what we do when we are not at work, and the unusual ways we all came to be running a theater together.
Cick here to watch.


‘What would you do if you were alone, left to raise five hungry children? What can I tell them? Stop eating?’
Chicago. 1925. Or maybe it’s 1905. Or 1955. Grandma Goldy has a hardware store, five children, no money and a dead husband. She also has a story about getting involved with Prohibition, rum-running and the mob. And a slide show. (Even if her own family doesn’t remember.)

Stills is an excerpt from a developmental preview performance of a one-woman show written by LABA London Fellow Sarah Sigal, directed by Adam Lenson and performed by Debbie Chazen. To be followed by a Q&A with the creative team.
Click here to watch.

Pause/Play: The BEST of the 14th Street Y
Shabbaton Atzmaut Edition

The 14th Street Y is launching a new Virtual Membership starting May 1 and what better way to kick it off than with a digital reinterpretation of Pause/Play!

Join us for a fun-filled day of live-streaming classes, workshops, and entertainment via Facebook Live. this virtual event will feature everything from fitness classes to sing-alongs the whole family can enjoy, and even a cocktail making class! There will truly be something for everyone!

PAUSE/PLAY, which is also part of our Season of Jewish Culture, we will be celebrating Israel’s birthday with special cultural lectures and artistic delights.
Click here to watch. 

Yom Haatzmaut

We will be celebrating this year’s Yom Haatzmaut with an online lecture by award winning Israeli Journalist Amir Tibob on the impact of the coronavirus over Israeli politics, briefing the risks and opportunities it possesses.  Ahead of Israel’s Independence Day, join award-winning Israeli journalist  Amir Tibon for an online briefing on these crucial times in Israel. Amir, currently the Washington Correspondent for Haaretz newspaper, will discuss the recent events and answer questions on the subject.
Click here to watch.

Behind the Scenes with Shtumer Shabes (Silent Sabbath) 

Join us as we go behind the scenes and back in time with the creative team from Shtumer Shabes (Silent Sabbath), the new play by LABA Fellow Rokhl Kafrissen. It’s a show about Yiddish theater, human experimentation, and making art in the most difficult times. In other words, a comedy.

Cast members Caraid O’Brien, Dylan Seders Hoffman and Max Roll will perform short excerpts from the play, set in the early 2000s East Village and 1930s Warsaw. Then Rokhl and director Aaron Beall will join special guests in conversation about the unique people and places which inspired the show.
Click here to watch.

Zabar & Vaynberg: You’ll Say You Heard Us When 

Zabar & Vaynberg: You’ll Say You Heard Us When written by writer and actor Liba Vaynberg and stand-up and character comedian Willie Zabar (both LABA Humor Fellows). Two bored Jews who refuse to show their faces make their voices heard through specious news stories, dated commercials and inaccurate commentary. A good old-fashioned audio collaboration full of telephone calls, jingles and errors in judgment!
Click here to watch.


During Passover, Jews are forbidden to eat all bread and leaven.  In Morocco, Jews open their homes on the last day of Passover to their Muslim neighbors to celebrate the end of those restrictions.  Join us for an online Mimouna musical show, featuring enchanting Moroccan tunes played by the musician Jawad Bouhssina, followed by a Talkback that will shed light on the holiday’s origin and in importance if interfaith initiatives in 2020.
Click here to watch.

Yom Hashoah

The Downtown Jewish Life community will gather in remembrance of the many lives lost in the Holocaust.  Through song, stories and prayer, community leaders will create a space to ensure that future generations never forget the past while paving a future with unity and hope.
Click here to watch.

The Jewnight Show: A Pandemic Passover

When we saw the lamb’s blood on the theater door, we knew we needed a Plan B. Welcome to The Jewnight Show: Pandemic Passover, a live late-night talk show sheltering in place on your personal computer. The show’s guests include biblical Hebrews and feature the 2019-2020 LABA Fellows.

As LABA Fellow and The Jewnight Show creator Mark Katz notes, we are actually “in a Laboratory for Jewish Culture” taking one of our LABA Fest live shows and pivoting to the land beyond, the high-speed internet.
Click here to watch.

Making Matzoh Balls with My Mommy

Laura Beatrix Newmark, Director of LABA and Culture Producer, joins her mother Susan to show viewers how to make matzoh balls using a special recipe handed down from grandmother to mother.
See her cooking demonstration here.
Check out the full recipe here!

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Partner Programs
WonderSpark Puppets

Founded in 2009 by husband and wife duo Z. Briggs and Chad Williams, WonderSpark Puppets performs for New York City audiences of all ages. Together with Jenny Hann, Christina Stone and Julia Darden, they perform over 400 shows per year and have toured internationally.

​WonderSpark is proud to continue the tradition of non-moving-mouth hand puppets, aka “Mister Rogers style”. From theaters to libraries, NYC shops and school classrooms, WonderSpark’s flexibility allows them to perform in any space.

Live Puppet Shows:
Every Friday at 11:00 am EST
Live DIY Workshops
4:00 pm Monday – Friday, 10:00 am Saturday – Sunday

Archive of DIY Puppet Workshops

Google Calendar: subscribe here

PJ Library

PJ Library sends free Jewish children’s books to families across the world every month. They know that something magical happens when parents sit down together to read with their children. PJ Library shares Jewish stories that can help your family talk together about values and traditions that are important to you.

A program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library is made possible through partnerships with philanthropists and local Jewish organizations. Families with kids ages 6 months through 8 years old with Judaism as part of their lives, are welcome to sign up. PJ Library welcomes all Jewish families, whatever your background, knowledge, or family make-up, or observance may be.

Free Resources for Quarantined Families
As communities seek to lower the impact of COVID-19, many families are spending a lot of time at home with their kids. One great way to pass time with your little ones is to read PJ Library books! Click below for ideas on ways to stay busy and have fun at home. Learn more here. 

Storyline Online

The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s award-winning children’s literacy website, Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more. Learn more here.


Arts + Culture Blogs

Inspiration from our artists on how to stay connected with Arts + Culture at home

LABA Arts + Culture presents: Clamor in the Desert (Kol Koreh Bamidbar)

Mirta Kupferminc, Argentinean Multidisciplinary Artist and Director of LABA Buenos Aires | FRI, OCT 09, 2020

In 2020, COVID-19 arrived, which locked us all in our homes, in our cities and countries. In Argentina, where I live, even today, since March, it is not possible to…

read more

The Fantastical World of Books

Jacob Waltuck, Marketing Assistant | THU, SEP 03, 2020

Sometimes, life gets complicated and we all need an escape. Each generation has its share of magical tales that help us do exactly that. Part of what makes the fantasy…

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How Mimouna Can Provide an Antidote to Social Distancing

Ophir Tal, Cultural Educator from Israel | Emissary of the Jewish Agency and the UJA Federation of New York at the 14th Street Y | SAT, APR 18, 2020

Mimouna is the traditional North African Jewish celebration of eating chametz to mark the end of Passover. Ophir Tal, Israeli Emissary on behalf of The UJA Federation to The 14th…

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Finding New Ways to Connect

Jordan Brackett, Executive Director | THU, APR 16, 2020

During these challenging times, I have tried to find “happy moments” where I can find them. This has often taken the form of reading a book with my son or…

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