What’s Interesting Right Now
Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait
English singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse (1983–2011) is known for her deep vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul, rhythm and blues, jazz and reggae. Before her death from a drug overdose, she’d achieved worldwide critical acclaim for her albums and live performances. An exhibition that includes the singer’s guitar, record collection and iconic outfits was curated by the Jewish Museum London with help from her brother, Alex Winehouse, who says, “Amy was someone who was incredibly proud of her Jewish-London roots. We weren’t religious, but we were traditional. I hope that the world gets to see this other side not just of Amy, but of our typical Jewish family.” A related exhibit presents the story of the great Jewish migration to London from Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 19th century, which included the Winehouse family. Through May 1 at Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv. bh.org.il
Flory Jagoda Sings
Born in Sarajevo to a musical family whose roots stretch back to Spain prior to 1492 — and who then lived in small Jewish communities in Bosnia and Croatia over the centuries — Flory Jagoda is one of the few members of her family to survive the Holocaust. Her career has been preserving and sharing her family’s traditional songs and lyrics — composing, recording and performing worldwide that musical culture. A one-hour documentary, “Flory’s Flame,” weaves her life story together with the 2013 Library of Congress concert celebrating her becoming a National Heritage Fellow, the highest honor given by the U.S. to traditional artists. florysflamemovie.com
Cancer Survivors Need a Holiday
Refanah is an Israeli nonprofit organization that provides a free donated holiday for cancer survivors and those living with cancer, together with supporting family or friends, so that they can take time out from this disease and rejuvenate physically and mentally. People in Israel who own “holiday units” — like timeshares — can donate this resource that they do not always fully utilize for the benefit of people touched by cancer. The donors benefit too, says founder Robyn Schames; they get to experience “community giving and social responsibility.” Eligibility details at refanah.org.
Women Dressed as Dolls
In the “Doll Girls” subculture, women alter themselves to look like Barbie, baby dolls, and Japanese anime characters through makeup, dress, and even cosmetic surgery. New photographs by artist Laurie Simmons go beyond the disturbing questions raised by the “Doll Girls” community to explore notions of beauty, identity, and persona. The exhibition, “How We See,” is at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan through August 9, 2015. thejewishmuseum.org
After the Army…
After their military service, tens of thousands of Israeli 20-somethings opt to trek the wildest, most inhospitable places in the world. These trips are a rite of passage after they have experienced war, terrorism, and the rigors of the army — a break between uniform and adult life, including college and careers. A new organization, Fighters for Life, aims to combine altruism with this tradition of post-army travel, arranging for these young but mature Israelis to offer English and hygiene instruction, make art, renovate orphanages and more. Teams are planned now for Bombay for September 2015, and Buenos Aires for December 2015. By contributing their energy and skills to emergency or humanitarian efforts around the world, they’re also hoping for good PR for Israel. ffl.org.il
Trying to have a baby? Hasida is a nonprofit Jewish fertility support organization, created to raise awareness of infertility in the Jewish community and to reduce financial barriers to treatment. Founded by Rabbi Idit Solomon and her husband, Steven, and based in Berkeley, California, Hasidah is the Hebrew word for stork. It also has the same linguistic root, HSD, as hesed, loving-kindness. Solomon says the organization’s core is the belief that “one of the greatest gifts of loving-kindness is helping people struggling with infertility to become parents.” Hasidah.org, Idit@hasidah.org
Mobility in Israel
Tourists with mobility problems who have difficulty getting around in Israel now have help. Yad Sarah lends medical/rehab equipment free (for a refundable deposit) and will even deliver it to your hotel or apartment. It is the largest voluntary organization in Israel, and provides free or nominal-cost services designed to make life easier for sick, disabled or elderly people and their families in Israel — and this includes tourists. For a modest fee, wheelchair-locking vans can take you everywhere. The organization also recommends guides who specialize in guiding tourists with limited mobility and special needs and are experts in the accessibility of sites and hotels. Tourism@yadsarah.org.il 972-2-644-4618
Nicole Eisenman’s Seder
Director Claudia Gould of New York’s Jewish Museum has been inviting artists to explore the museum’s vast holdings that are not often on display, creating exhibitions from what has caught their attention. The latest installment of the museum’s Masterpieces & Curiosities exhibition series, Nicole Eisenman’s painting “Seder” (2010), is presented along with portraits and objects from the institution’s vaults. Eisenman infuses her work with dark humor, contemporary fears and desires, and sly critiques of pop culture and art history. The viewer is the seder leader, with attendees both bored and enthuisiastic at this meal, reminiscent of luncheons and dinners painted by Renoir, Bonnard and Rockwell. Through August 9, 2015. thejewishmuseum.org/exhibitions/masterpieces-curiosities-nicole-eisenmans
Humble Jewish Tailors to Top Fashion Designers
“Dream Weavers” is a group exhibition featuring dresses, jewelry and accessories from an international dream-team of 20 Jewish fashion designers, including Donna Karan, Sonia Rykiel, Diane von Furstenberg, Nicole Farhi, Ilana Goor, Sarah Moon, Natalie Capell and Inbar Spector. Items represent some of the fashion world’s greatest success stories along with the trajectories of traditional Jewish tailors as they immigrated to New York to become workers in early-20th-century sweatshops, founded large clothing companies like Levi Strauss, and went on to establish international fashion empires. Through May 17 at Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv. bh.org.il
The Writing Shelter
On Monday nights in St. Louis, women of all backgrounds congregate at the Women’s Safe House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence, where student volunteers from Washington University and shelter residents write in journals, share life stories and discuss poetry and prose. Louise Kornblatt, an undergraduate when she founded the ongoing program at the shelter, says, “The program provides a safe space where women can develop their own voices, and it offers transformation for women who have suppressed their narratives of abuse in order to survive.” Each session includes an examination of a text and a writing activity. Mentors are active writers and trained in the sensitive topic of domestic violence. twsh.org, www.facebook.com/washuwritingshelter.
Literature of Storms
Imagine footage of Hurricane Sandy projected onto original 1920s interior design magazine pages. By superimposing references to a North American storm over symbols of European modernist ideals — associated with the development of the young State of Israel — Israeli artist Dana Levy grapples with the environmental and political aftermath of local and global “progress.” The 2014 video installation is entitled “Literature of Storms.” In another large video-art piece, Levy samples sounds of recent oil drilling technologies over phosphoric close-ups of shrubbery in the endangered Everglades National Park in Florida. Her work in video, video installation, and photography explores memory, identity, and nature. One of 6 Artists/6 Projects, this exhibit is part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, through August 29, 2015. http://www.imj.org.il/.
Compiled by Naomi Danis. For more, follow Lilith on Facebook and Twitter, and check out Lilith.org, where you can sign up for Lilith’s free email newsletter. Send ideas for this section to info@Lilith.org.