Jewish Women in Opera— Who Knew?
Jewish women have a long history as integral members of the opera world, especially in New York City—from the sewing table to the stage to the audience. This March, YIVO presents a free—and unusual—virtual event, “American Jewish Women and Opera Culture.” Historical Musicologist Dr. Samantha M. Cooper will lecture on this rich history and culture, followed by a talk-back with Judith Pinnolis, an Associate Director at Berklee College of Music/The Boston Conservatory. Register at yivo.org.
Can Jewish Teen Leaders Fight Oppression?
In spring 2023, the organization Moving Traditions offers a special opportunity for teens to learn anti-oppression practices. Kumi (“Wake Up!” in Hebrew), consists of a four-day retreat in Chicago, plus a series of virtual sessions, where teens will attend seminars and participate in conversations and activities on intersectional feminism, identity and power. They’ll learn how to take action for social justice, either as Jews of Color or as anti-racist allies. More information at movingtraditions.org.
Looking for Jewish entertainment that’s equal parts funny and thought-provoking? Chutzpod is a weekly podcast from Rabbi Shira Stutman and Joshua Malina that asks the biggest (and smallest) Jewish questions of our time. Recent episodes have explored everything from shame to jelly donuts and featured a wide range of guests, including author Letty Cottin Pogrebin, journalist Jodi Kantor, and filmmaker Ken Burns. Listen at chutzpod.com or wherever you get your podcasts.
“What Happened at the Veterans Home?”
Jewish musician Laura Wetzler’s first ever film, “What Happened at the Veterans Home?” is the fictional story of three women at a nursing home for veterans amidst the Covid Pandemic. The story, from Nervy Girl Films, follows a Vietnam veteran, her daugh- ter, and a staff member exposing the reali- ties of the pandemic in that facility. Original music by Wetzler. Laurawetzler.com.
A New Season of Salon Theater
The theater troupe The Braid is celebrating its 15th season of performance with something for everyone. Through February 5th, “Remembrance of Things Present” features descendants of Holocaust survivors and their stories of the “legacy the past imprints of pain…hope…and healing,” Then, the queer Jewish community takes center stage in “Out Loud,” March 12–April 2. The season ends with a May 7–June 11 celebration of the unknown and the unexpected in “What a Surprise!” Attend an in-person performance in Los Angeles or tune in via Zoom from anywhere. Tickets and more at the-braid.org.
Childbirth Fears and Superstitions in Russia’s Pale of Settlement
At the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA, Debra Olin casts an artistic spotlight on the experiences of pregnancy and childbirth in the Russian Pale of Settlement. In collages inspired by a 1912–1914 ethnographic questionnaire, Olin explores the “superstitions, precautions, and religious practices” surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. Viewers from all cultures can recognize and appreciate these! Images and more at yiddishbookcenter.org.
Songwriter and new parent Jenny Parrot has “delivered” a new work that explores pregnancy through eight minutes of musical poetry, performed almost entirely a capella, with just a touch of guitar. It is a genre that appear to transcend labels. At the same time contemplative and joyous, Parrott’s home-recorded vocals recount the voices of doctors, friends, and “literally ‘Joe Everyone’ [who] tries to give advice.” jennyparrott.bandcamp.com.
Nice Jewish Girls
Jewish writer, activist and self-proclaimed “Loudest women this town has ever seen,” Julia Jassey, hosts “Nice Jewish Girls,” a podcast about who’s making waves in journalism and publishing, politics, music, and more. Recent guests include sports entertainer Gabrielle Starr, Arizona state representative Alma Hernandez (featured on Lilith’s cover in Fall 2018), and Michelle Obama’s speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz, who wrote Here All Along. Listen wherever you get your podcasts.
Museum in a Box…for Teens!
Brooklyn’s Jewish Children’s Museum has a unique resource lending program about Jewish stories and history, available to any classroom! For no cost except shipping, teachers can rent Museum in a Box, containing audio, several artifacts, a timeline, and a teacher resource guide. It’s geared to students in 7th–10th grade and is available to rent for 2–3 weeks at a time. More at jcm.museum.
Feminist Resources for Gender and Women’s Studies
Resources for Gender and Women’s Studies: A Feminist Review is a journal about educational and cultural media of all kinds, including print, video, and digital content. Recent issues explore consent, trans health- care, dangerous ideologies surrounding Black women’s bodies, and more. University of Wisconsin-Madison publishes this “for students, teachers, and feminists of all professions.” Subscribe at library.wisc.edu.
Learn an Endangered Jewish Language
From The Jewish Language Project and HUC-JIR comes a rare opportunity: A 12-week online course in Jewish languages, presented with Judaism Unbound and Un- Yeshiva. HUC-JIR Program Director Sarah Bunin Benor will guide scholars at all levels of language expertise on a tour of lesser- spoken (and some nearly forgotten!) Jewish languages, including Ladino, Iranian-Jewish languages, Juhuri, Bukharian, and several others. There’s a sliding-scale fee to participate. jewishlanguages.org.
“Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsberg” is on view at the Capitol Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C. from March 1–November 2, 2023. This retrospective exhibit is inspired by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik’s bestselling book of the same name. Through multimedia art, historical artifacts, and interactive activities, viewers will be immersed in an entertain- ing, deeply researched array that explores RBG as a political figure, a cultural icon, and a mother. More at skirball.org.
Toronto’s Climate-Change Art
Multidisciplinary Jewish artist Nichola Feldman-Kiss has a new exhibit at Toronto’s Koffler Centre of the Arts. “Siren” is a large-scale video installation featuring underwater footage in Newfoundland which includes scenes from beneath a breaking iceberg. The images plus a vocal soundscape con- vey the haunting realities of humanitarian and climate crises past and present. More at kulturacollective.com, also check out the Ontario Jewish Archives’ exhibition Women+, a photographic celebration of Jewish women’s contributions to the Jewish community.
Linda Stein’s sculpture collection, “The Fluidity of Gender,” embodies the protective “armor” people use to ask viewers questions about bravery, identity, and the gender binary. The exhibit, now on view in New York City, has been seen in 24 museums and universities across the country. More at haveartwilltravel.org.
Jewish multidisciplinary artist Jessica Valoris has a new work, “Passage/way/s,” a mixed-media meditation on Black fugitive folklore. Through performance, painting, sketches, and sculpture, Valoris focuses an artistic, spiritual, and historical eye on enslaved Black folks’ “imagined liberation through escape, refusal, collective care, and resistance.” At VisArts in Maryland, January 18–March 5, 2023. visartscenter.org.
Compiled by Arielle Silver-Willner