Rachel Coles' use of science fiction and fantasy in Pazuzu's Girl allows her to creatively convey a contemporary version of the immigrant family's teen-parent cultural divide: the agility of youth in adapting, prejudices encountered, and the parental frustrations and foibles. Written in the action language and imagery style of a teen movie, the literally alien father, daughter and her peers also suffer the horrific overreaction of the single parent father with his super-temper and super-powers. Another theme is the daughter's learning to respect and love a human student who isn't so much hot and hip as genuinely supportive and caring. Pazuzu's Girl raises a fundamental question for teens: when to obey a parent, and when parental commands must be set aside for the sake of survival.
I and other residents of the Main Line have been in lack of books since the bankruptcy of the Borders bookstore chain in July 2011, and the renovations of the Ludington and Bala Cynwyd branch libraries, the latter closing in December 2011. For a few months, we were bereft of all three resources, until Ludington reopened last September, and Bala Cynwyd reopened last month. Another pleasure awaits us at the newly opened Main Point Books, an independent bookstore in Bryn Mawr, run by local resident Cathy Fiebach.
Main Point Books stocks a broad range of books, with a particular emphasis on literary fiction. Fiebach is eager to hear from customers about the kinds of books they like, and especially about books they do not, because it helps her develop her inventory. (When was the last time you had fun chatting books with the staff at a chain store?)
One of the charming books available in the store is My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop, a collection of essays by writers on their favorite bookstores. Some of those stores are in the writers' communities, and others are their stops along a book tour. I have my own copy, and I told Fiebach that it is "armchair traveling" for me to read about lovely bookstores across the country. Her store could easily join their ranks.
Last year, local talent Michael Bihovsky knocked our hypoallergenic socks off with his music parody video One Grain More. Now, he is launching a "fresh" new project.
Bihovsky is putting his collegiate experiences to music into "Fresh!" This musical follows Michael from the suburbs of Philadelphia to his new life as a freshman in New York City. Michael sings about his challenges and struggles, and shares the transformation he experiences.
This is a show everyone can relate to, as it empathizes with the daily struggles many of us endure. In the end, both Michael and we emerge stronger.
Aleeza Ben Shalom has always happily served as a networker or a "connector," bringing together people whether it was about housing, cars or furniture. Her successful connections, made through her Shabbat hospitality at her family's table and her volunteer work for the SawYouAtSinai dating website, have led her to launch her business, "Marriage Minded Mentor," in February 2012. To date, she has brought 14 clients to the wedding chuppah and another eight are engaged.
Her 132-page book, Get Real Get Married, hit the stores today (Tuesday). With clients from the observant community, her shortest match took four months from introduction to marriage (Those two really knew what they wanted!), while the longest match took about nine months. Her clients in the general public need more time.
In a year of acclaimed documentary films about the Middle East, Yael Melamede has achieved an unusual distinction: she is the first Israeli in the history of the Academy Awards to produce an Oscar-winning movie: Inocenete. The movie, which won the Oscar for best documentary short last February, is not about the Middle East. Its subject is a homeless teenager from San Diego with an outsize personality and an extraordinary artistic talent.
We've seen such extraordinary work out of Israel in the past few years, films like Footnote, The Gatekeepers and Five Broken Cameras, which attest to the creativity and urgency of artistic voices in the region. I'm honored to be the first Israeli producer of an Oscar-winning movie, but I know I won't be the last.
ComedySportz players Jason Stockdale, Olivia Ciacci, Julia Frey and Matt Lydon competing for the Red Team.
— by David Dritsas
It may be cliché to say that laughter brings people together but if the cliché fits, well, I say you might as well wear it and wear it proudly.
When I was recently asked to write a an article for The Philadelphia Jewish Voice, I struggled a bit with what to say that didn't seem to be too much of a pitch for ComedySportz Philadelphia, the local improv comedy company I worked at for 12 years. But then I thought, "Talk about the community. That's a nice hook."
After all, the Jewish community has been a strong supporter of ComedySportz throughout its 20-year history, something for which both our Jewish and non-Jewish cast members and staff have been extremely grateful.
Judging from the titles in the general and academic press, you would surmise that American Jewish women were not active in the biggest social movements of the 20th century. And you would be wrong. The paucity of scholarship in this area led Melissa Klapper, a historian at Rowan University, to a six-year odyssey that culminated with her latest book, Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace: American Jewish Women's Activism, 1890-1940 which highlights the role of American Jewish women in three social movements for suffrage, birth control, and peace.
Cooking with the Calamari Sisters Through: May 19, 2013.
At: Society Hill Playhouse, 507 S. Eighth St.
Information: 215-923-0210 or ComcastTIX.
— by Lisa Grunberger
Cooking with the Calamari Sisters has two weeks left of a long run at Society Hill Playhouse, and if you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and "Screw the Gym, Pass the Lasagna," as the Calamari Sisters say and go to this fabulously entertaining show.
This campy, irreverent show stars Jay Falzone as Delphine Calamari, and Stephen Smith as his sister Carmela Calamari. Yes, this is a tour-de-force drag show, complete with audience participation, improvisation, risqué humor, song and dance, and real cooking. From sausage jokes to Jesus jokes, the Calamari Sisters strikes the right balance of campy irreverence and edginess — it's difficult not to laugh out loud, and laugh you will.
I had the opportunity to interview Jennifer Childs, Artistic Director of 1812 Productions, Philadelphia's All Comedy Theatre Company, about her new comedy, which she wrote and directed, It's My Party: The Women and Comedy Project. It's My Party began in 2010 with two questions: how do women use comedy and how does the usage change as they age. Through collage, cabaret, and stand-up Childs investigates gender stereotypes that lock women into certain roles, such as the ditz, the vamp, and the old maid.
In some ways, the play responds to Christopher Hitchens' provocative comment in a Vanity Fair article years ago, claiming that women aren't funny. The first act of this compelling show had the audience laughing on the opening night last Wedensday. The all-woman ensemble includes comedic veterans of the Philadelphia theatre. The play incorporates original and devised music by the cast and the musical director Monica Stephenson, and features a set by 1812 Productions' designer Lance Kniskern.
John Everett Millais' The Boyhood of Raleigh (1870)
— by Marta Fuchs, MLS, MFT
Recently I had the pleasure to speak to a group of fourth and fifth graders at a San Francisco public elementary school for their annual Writers Faire. Since my new book is about my family's Holocaust experiences, I was not intending to talk about its content but rather the process of doing family research and writing stories, something I was encouraging each one of them to do.
To provide some context, I held up my book and asked the students what they thought the title Legacy of Rescue: A Daughter's Tribute meant. "Legacy," I began," is something you inherit. What do you think it includes?" Hands shot up and a student asked, "Traditions?" "Yes!" These kids are really sharp, I thought. "What does 'rescue' mean?" A bunch of boys yelled out "saving someone!" Indeed. When I got to "tribute" I suddenly realized I would not be able to easily explain it since the term evokes so much for me. A shy little fourth grade girl slowly raised her hand and quietly but confidently stated, "Thank you and remember."
Who doesn't seek family harmony? What I found compelling about Bruce Feiler's The Secrets of Happy Families was that the author did not seek out therapists, happiness researchers, or self-help gurus. Instead, he explored different disciplines, learning how to successfully apply their results to family management. I appreciate the affirmation from outside the social sciences.
The first chapter dealt with how to deal with stress points. Two of the techniques discussed were the use of a family flowchart/checklist (children love making checkmarks) and a weekly family meeting to discuss problems. These strategies were developed in the software industry and are now used in practically all forms of product development. Two startling strategies suggest involving the children, both in devising rewards and in assigning punishment, because they then become invested in the follow-through. The author wrote about the marvelous results that led to his sharing in his children's emotional inner life, as our children often do not open up to us in this way.
Nashirah, the Jewish chorale of Philadelphia, under the artistic direction of Jonathan Coopersmith, will hold its annual Spring Concert at Society Hill Synagogue on Sunday, April 21, 2013.
Nashirah is the only auditioned community-based chorale in the Greater Philadelphia area that performs exclusively Jewish and Jewish-themed music. The 90-minute program, "Sabbath Variations," will celebrate the Jewish Sabbath service as performed from the seventeenth century through today, and from Yemen to Israel to the United States.
When you hear the phrase "a witch trial," you probably think of 17th-century villagers in Salem, Massachusetts or Samlesbury, England deciding a local woman is a witch, capturing her, and inventing hopeless tests for her to try and prove herself otherwise in order to save her own life. The persecution of witches and other societal outsiders has cast a dark shadow on cultural history around much of the world. But have you ever heard of a trial where the witch was the plaintiff?
In rural France in 1850, only some 160 years ago, a priest blamed a local male witch — part of a group called les rebouteux, or "bonesetters", who acted as nurse-practitioners in the neighborhood — for causing unexplained loud noises that had started in the priest's parsonage. The priest was living with a poltergeist, and this one was loud: some reports said it could be heard from two kilometers — over a mile — away.
Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, yesterday announced that a 15th Century Renaissance painting, lost from one of Germany's most important commercial art galleries in the 1930s as a result of Nazi persecution, has been restored to the estate of the late German-Jewish art dealer who owned the gallery.
The painting of the Virgin and Child, formerly attributed to an artist known as the Master of Flémalle, was restored to the estate of the late Dr. Max Stern on Tuesday during a ceremony at the Canadian Embassy in Berlin. Superintendent Lawsky said:
The murders and persecution of millions of innocent people can never be erased, but the return of this artwork represents a small but important step in obtaining justice. The Department of Financial Services is proud of its work in securing the return of this painting to the Stern estate.
Sen. Constance Williams (left), Museum chair of the board, happily greeted Mary Hurtig (center) & Judge Phyllis Beck (right)
— article and all photos by Bonnie Squires, Society Editor
The Philadelphia Museum of Art held the opening reception for the Great and Mighty Things: Outsider Art from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection exhibit, but a lot of "insiders" were there. The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz fabulous collection of self-taught artists attracted lawyers, politicians, corporate leaders and art-lovers. The Bonovitzes have pledged the collection as a gift to the art museum, making this one of the pre-eminent outsider art collections in the country. More than two dozen artists, from painters to carvers to ceramicists, are represented in the exhibition, and 200 pieces are on display. The Bonovitzes have spent thirty years collecting pieces of outsider art and Black folk art.
As the daughter of a classically trained pianist, I was extremely skeptical when my children told me they wanted to learn to play musical instruments at the Philadelphia School of Rock. I could just hear my grandmother snorting, "Feh, what kind of teaching is that?"
Much to my surprise, the system is outstanding. At the School of Rock, the students immediately begin to learn to play whatever they want. The instructors break down the songs, and the kids learn how to play them. No time is spent on tedious tasks like practicing scales.
As someone who lived in Tehran, Iran back in the 1970's, I especially enjoyed seeing the movie Argo win the Best Picture Oscar. It's a great story, with compelling characters and lots of suspense. The fact that the story is true makes it even more incredible because the plot is like something that would spring from the mind of Tom Clancy. Imagine sneaking US embassy personnel out of Iran right under the noses of militants using the far-fetched story that they were there to scout movie locations? I had no idea the CIA was so creative. The film also serves as a reacquainting of how America got where we are in our relationship with Iran.
No, the award-winning actor and star of Broadway and film, Hugh Jackman, is not Jewish, as far as we know, but we could not resist including him, backed up by maestro Yannick Nezet-Seguin, on the stage of the Academy of Music.
— article and all photos by Bonnie Squires
When the Academy of Music and The Philadelphia Orchestra held their annual Concert and Ball on Saturday, January 26, 2013, Jewish philanthropists and supporters of the arts were prominent on the scene. Their businesses, corporations, and family foundations were listed and depicted in the gorgeous program journal, where charities, schools, colleges, and other worthwhile community endeavors are photographed and sponsored.
The volunteers and executives in charge of the mammoth event were far-seeing enough to have booked Hugh Jackman as the main talent far in advance of his nominations for his role in "Les Miserables," for the Golden Globe award (which he won), the SAG award and the Academy Award. Jackman's energy and passion in rendering numbers from shows he has performed in, like "Carousel," as well as his role as Jean Valjean, inspired maestroYannick Nezet-Seguin and the orchestra to match Jackman's verve.
The Open Lens Gallery of the Gershman Y, Broad and Pine Streets in Philadelphia, has on display a series of photographs from the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project, from now until February 14, 2013, on the drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania.
Photographs by photographers Noah Addis, Nina Berman, Brian Cohen, Scott Goldsmith, Lynn Johnson, and Martha Rial, displayed in the lobby of the Gershman Y, show the effects of Hydraulic fracturing, or "Fracking," on communities and residents where it takes place.
The Territory explores the experience of settling in the West Bank from the perspective of Russian immigrants to Israel. This film is the creation of Dmitry Khavin. A native of Ukraine, he debuted his cinematographic work in the Odessa Film Studios. Mr. Khavin is an independent film maker, who now lives in New York. His work focuses on the Jewish Russian experience. You can watch the trailer here.
This film will be screened on Tuesday, Jan 15th at 7:30 PM at JCC of Manhattan. Participants will have an opportunity to meet Khavin and the actors who made this film.
Treasure: "Livro de Embezar las linguas Ingleza i Yudish," a guidebook for Sephardic immigrants by Moise Gadol
Livro de Embezar las linguas Ingleza i Yudish, published in 1916 in New York, essentially served as a guidebook for Sephardic immigrants in America
Place of Publication: New York
From the Collection of: Isaac Azose
— by Professor Devin Naar
Imagine that it is the height of the First World War and you are a young Sephardic Jew weighing the options for your future. Whether due to economic motives, the desire to avoid military service or to evade increased anti-Jewish sentiment, you decide to leave your native town of Istanbul, Tekirdag, Rhodes, or Salonica, traverse the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and voyage to America, the storied land of opportunity. In all likelihood, you know very little about America and, while you speak your native Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) language fluently and might know some Turkish or Greek and maybe even French, you do not speak a word of English. How will you find your way in such a strange, new land?
The National Museum of American Jewish History kicks off an exciting January-February programs calendar with the upcoming special exhibition, opening January 15 — Beyond Swastika and Jim Crow: Jewish Refugee Scholars at Black Colleges.
This moving exhibition tells the little-known story of Jewish academics who came to America in the 1930s as refugees and found homes, work, and community at historically black colleges in the segregated South.
The following public programs held in conjunction with this exhibition provide an opportunity to further explore the themes found in the exhibition such as mentorship, leadership, identity, and cross-cultural understanding through music, film, theater, and great conversation. The season begins with our annual free Martin Luther King Family Day on Monday, January 21.
I've never attended the first showing of a blockbuster movie, but I saw the premiere showing of Les Misérables at noon on the 25th, along with the other Jews in the area. By the time the credits were over (I always stay for the credits to show respect for the crew), the lobby was mobbed and the line outside was down the block.
Fascinating reading and learning surprises await those who dive into the vividly depicted world of Babylonian Jewry in Rav Hisda's Daughter, Book I: Apprentice: A Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery by Maggie Anton who earlier brought us the remarkable historical fiction series Rashi's Daughters. Anton succeeds brilliantly in drawing us into the formative period leading up to the Talmud. This was a time when most in the third century Persian culture — men, women and children, sages and commoners, Jews and gentiles - wore amulets, incantation bowls and spells for protection from demons and disease, and in hopes of fertility, healing and good fortune. Yes, this is all well documented right in the Talmud, a typically 37 volume work that emerges after the time of this story, aspects of which are elegantly embroidered into the Rav Hisda's Daughter's narrative. Anton also incorporates Jewish ownership of slaves during this time, rabbinic laws and customs re menstruation, along with betrothal and marriage law by means of the engaging tools of good fiction.
At least there is the music, I tell myself. Despite all of Christianity's distortions and extreme misappropriations of Jewish concepts and traditions of mashiach ("messiah) — and we know with what often murderous consequences for Jews and Judaism, there is still (some of) the music inspired by the midrash. For, yes, Virginia, the 'Story of the Birth of Jesus' is a kind of midrash — certainly composed in midrashic style, its narrative components selected from the Torah and Nevi'im.
Fugitive Colors by Lisa Barr offers a sensuous and stunning entry into the art scene in Europe during World War II. This work of profoundly engaging historical fiction delves into the passion and peril of those artists who were then in the thrall of creating a wide array of modern art genres. Entartete Kunste — "degenerate art" is the term the Nazi spin doctors created to justify prohibiting, destroying and also secretly hoarding some of the works of emerging avant garde masters such as Klee, Mondrian, Munch, Chagall, Kandinsky, Nolde and over one hundred more.
As a single young man in 1977, I once found myself in a science museum where I viewed a just released short film that — there's really no other way to put it — expanded my consciousness. It apparently did the same for many others and remains to this day, despite powerful advances in special effects, an impressive work.
It is important to understand World War One's effect on Americans and on Europeans. At the time people in America thought that the war was Europe's problem and that the U.S. should remain neutral. However even after the U.S. entered the war and helped win it, when Americans look back now they generally forget the importance of the war. American ignorance and disregard for World War I might be due to the lack of involvement in the war compared to the European countries that fought in the war for more years. Perhaps America's sense of itself as a country where military service and manliness go hand in hand with citizenship also began to take form as a result of the country's role in WWI. Though Americans have generally reaped the benefits that the 'Great War,' such as victory, industrial expansion, prestige, and manliness, the country often forget that the war was such a great and terrible wound to so much of the world.
On May thirtieth, nineteen eighty three, CBS ran a short Charlie Brown special entitled "What Have we Learned Charlie Brown?" It was a sequel to a Peanuts special called "Bon Voyage Charlie Brown" where Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty, and Marcy go to France to visit friends. "What Have We Learned Charlie Brown?" unlike the other light-hearted Charlie Brown films, teaches children about the devastation and real affect that the First World War had on Europeans. "What Have We Learned Charlie Brown?", written by Charles M. Shultz and directed by Bill Melendez, is a Peanuts special that aired right before the 39th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy. The film's basic plot is that the characters, Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty, and Marcy go to France and while there learn about the world wars and visit sites of battles. The film begins when their car breaks down in Frnace and so they spend the rest of the movie in France visiting different sites that were significant to both world wars. First they meet a woman who recognizes Snoopy's World War I flying ace costumes and reminisces about how it was called the "Great War." The gang then camp out on a beach and Linus, realizing that its Omaha beach, tells the story of D-Day interspersed with clips from the actual invasion of the beach.
In another part of the movie the gang goes to Ypers, a town that sustained battles between the Germans and the Allied forces during World War I. Linus, the most sensitive of the group, alone realizes the significance of the site he and his friends are on. During that sequence of the movie he is alone watching different clips of actual footage of battles just as actual clips were used to show the Omaha beach invasion. By putting the loveable cartoon character of Linus which children can connect to, beside images from World War I children nowadays can actually get a picture of how devastating, scary, and real these wars were to those who lived through them.
In the last part of the movie Linus takes Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Marcy, and Snoopy to Flanders Fields. There are poppies growing in the fields and graves that mark where the battles were fought during the war. Linus then recites the poem 'Flanders Fields' as everyone looks at the images of the poppies and crosses that surround the field.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... In the very last bit, after the poem, Linus asks the question 'What have we learned, Charlie Brown?' Charlie Brown does not give an answer and but that the question and the answer are both very important. Children who watch this movie, though they have seen much footage of both wars might still not understand the significance and perhaps people are all still wondering what they learned from these two wars and from all the wars that America takes part in. Children then can ask their parents, after seeing this film, about the two wars so that older generation will pass on their knowledge to their children so people can continue asking and learning even if they do not know the answer.
During the Cold War the Iron Curtain was shut, leaving the people of the USSR hidden and isolated from the world. Many wanted to escape from this isolation but their rights and liberty had been taken away. The feature documentary "Next Year In Jerusalem" tells the story of a group of 15 Soviet civilians, mostly Jewish, who in 1970 had the courage to stand up and fight for their freedom. They plotted to charter a plane, throw out the pilots before takeoff, and fly it to Sweden, knowing they faced a huge risk of being captured or shot down. They proceeded in the hopes that this action would give them a platform to inform the world of the conditions behind the Iron Curtain. They were arrested near Leningrad, imprisoned in Siberian work camps and two of them where sentenced to death. However, their message got out and as a direct result of their bravery, world pressure forced the USSR to open its curtain and throughout the 1970's 163,000 Jews were liberated from the USSR. It started with the action of a few, the few became many, and the echoes of their bravery have reverberated through history. This documentary, directed by the daughter of the group's leaders, will tell the whole story for the first time.
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