The emBODYment of Jewish Femininity
“I didn’t like me. A huge part of my healing was learning to be compassionate with myself, and kind to my body, to know that it is a home for my soul, and not an envelope for pain,” says Yali, 31, one of the women featured in an exhibition of the photographs of Aviva Braun-Finkler, combining her work as a photographer and as a psychotherapist who works with women with eating disorders. First shown at the JOFA conference in January, it’s now available for travel. See the photos here.
Is the Holocaust Funny?
“If I was standing in line naked for the gas chambers, would I hold my stomach in?” Filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein (Sumo East and West, Imelda) asks what is and what is not comedically off limits in her documentary, “The Last Laugh.” It includes a portrait of Auschwitz survivor Renee Firestone, rare archival footage of cabarets in concentration camps, clips from films, performances and interviews with comedians, including Sarah Silverman, Joan Rivers, Mel Brooks and Shalom Auslander. What is taboo? The answers are as diverse as the subjects she interviews. thefilmcollaborative.org/films/ thelastlaugh
The Yiddish Celluloid Closet
Eve Sicular, drummer/leader with the Isle of Klezbos band, offers a concert featur- ing loving, live reinterpretations of Yiddish music from vintage soundtracks, including classics and lesser-known gems from mov- ies like “The Dybbuk,” “Mamele,” “Uncle Moses” and rarities such as newsreel footage from the Moscow Soviet Yiddish Theater. Wednesday, May 24 at the Center for Jewish History, NYC. Klezbos.com
Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom
In 2010, a trip to Poland spurred Sheryl Olitzky to figure out one way to halt inter- group stereotyping and hatreds. That year, in central N.J, she and attorney Atiya Aftab co-founded the first chapter of the Sister- hood of Salaam Shalom to bring together Jewish and Muslim women who’d had little, if any, prior contact with one another. They enjoy regular get togethers, join in one another’s life cycle events and holiday celebrations, and share in public advocacy. In November there were 50 groups across the U.S.; there are now 150 including ones in formation. Says Olitsky “The relation- ships that are built…are life-changing and can help put an end to anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish sentiment. We build bridges… one Muslim and one Jewish woman at a time.” sosspeace.org
Artist Florine Stettheimer (1871–1944), an icon of Jazz Age New York, was born to a wealthy Jewish family in Rochester, NY, and studied at the Art Students League in New York City and in Europe, where she encountered two profound influences: the Symbol- ist painters and poets, and the Ballets Russes. Returning to Manhattan, she hosted an elite salon with her sisters Carrie and Ettie and their mother, Rosetta, attracting the artistic vanguard, including Alfred Stieglitz, Carl Van Vechten, Georgia O’Keeffe, Elie Nadelman and Gaston Lachaise. Among her intimate friends was Marcel Duchamp. (A painting of hers was featured on the cover of Lilith in 2005 introducing the Lilith salons.) Now more than 50 paintings and drawings, ephemera, and poems are featured in an exhibition that reconsiders Stettheimer’s singular and often satiric vision and her significant role in American modern art. May 5 to September 24 at the Jewish Museum in New York. thejewishmuseum.org
Israeli artist Efrat Galnoor is inspired by Claude Monet’s murals (for which two oval rooms were created in the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris) and his late-in-life obsession with painting water lilies. Fascinated both by the French impressionist’s philosophy of painting, and by the relationship between the paintings and the site where they’re shown, Galnoor’s water lilies at first sight look like pop-art, and a wall shot through with holes. You can see this homage until May 3 at the Ein Harod Museum in Israel. museumeinharod.org.il
Fertility Help in Atlanta
One in seven couples have difficulty conceiving, or bringing a pregnancy to term. Each year almost 30,000 couples undergo I.V.F., at an average cost in the US of $12,400 per cycle. The Jewish Fertility Foundation provides financial assistance, educational awareness, and emotional sup- port to Atlanta Jews facing medical fertility challenges. Jewishfertilityfoundation.org
Antiques Roadshow Holocaust Memorial
The popular BBC program hosted by Fiona Bruce offered something different for Holocaust Memorial Day in January — a show dedicated to examining objects Holocaust survivors owned that recalled their experiences during WWII. Among the interviewees was Judith Kerr, author of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, a fictionalized autobiography for young readers about her childhood experience as a refugee from Germany. In getting ready for the family’s sudden escape in 1933, her mother packed, along with valuables and necessities, a couple of Kerr’s childhood drawings. On the program, no monetary value was assigned for these priceless objects. youtu.be/AGkPNKkw6U0
This Is Hunger
A 32-foot-long expandable trailer is travel- ing to 30 U.S. cities with a mission to end hunger in America. The 10-month tour is a community engagement project that houses a free, interactive multimedia exhibit showing the reality of food insecurity in the lives of the nearly one in eight Americans. For this project, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger hired documentarian Barbara Grover to travel across the country taking photos and recording first-person accounts. To find out when the trailer might be coming to your town visit thisishunger.org.