Talking About Orchard Street

October 31, 2009 § 1 Comment

photo by Julian Voloj

Maya and Gonzalo Escobar create Talking about Orchard Street, a multi-sensory interactive installation that explores the generational transmission of Jewish life through dialog.  The father-daughter duo traveled from Chicago to New Haven to conduct interviews with former members and friends of Orchard Street Shul and to record locals’ stories of growing up in New Haven during the 1920s and 30s. These stories of everyday life include tales of flirting on the front steps of the shul, eating herring and kichel, speaking Jewish, finding first jobs, going on first dates, learning bar mitzvah portions, and hearing (or having) loud conversations in the women’s section.  In Talking about Orchard Street, visitors are invited to sit in comfortable armchairs, sample herring and kichel, listen to excerpts from interviews and engage in dialog with each other.

click here for more information about the Orchard Street Shul Artist Cultural Heritage Project

SHOMER NEGIAH PANTIES ON ESTY

October 25, 2009 § 1 Comment

Shomer Negiah Panties have finally arrived!!  Get a them on ShomerNegiahPanties.com and Etsy

Shomer Negiah is a concept in Jewish law halacha that prohibits any degree of physical contact with, or touching of, a member of the opposite sex, except for one’s spouse and immediate family. Shomer means “guards”, but due to its common use in phrases relating to religious practice, it has come to mean: “adhere to” as well. Negiah is the Hebrew word for “touch”, and thus Shomer Negiah is a term used to describe one who “guards the touch” or simply “adheres to restrictions of touch”. Although the feminine form of the term is technically Shomeret Negiah, it is almost always used in the masculine, even when in reference to women. Shomer Negiah Panties allow a woman to abide by the halacha, but still be individual and sexy at the same time.

No Sos Frida Kahlo

October 20, 2009 § Leave a comment

from obsessed with frida kahlo

no sos frida kahlo, 2007

puppets, 2007

Orchard Street Artist Cultural Heritage Project

October 13, 2009 § 1 Comment

During the months of December 2009 and January 2010, The John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art in New Haven, Connecticut will come alive with memories, recollections, and recreations of an important community heritage site,  in an innovative group installation designed to both stimulate reflection on the legacies of past generations and engage the public in dreams for the future.

The Orchard Street Shul Cultural Heritage Artists Project is an art exhibition, a history lesson,  a point of cultural exchange, and meeting place for dreamers, both nostalgic and visionary.  Artists, researchers, and scholars have joined together to celebrate an important historic New Haven landmark which was once central to the life of a large Jewish immigrant population in the Oak Street neighborhood.

Urban changes in the last 50 years have all but erased evidence illustrating the importance of the Oak Street neighborhood in the lives of the newly arrived immigrants and migrants who populated much of the area now known as the “Oak Street Connector”, Route 34.  Where some see open space, or a new hospital, or a school, or a parking lot, others with longer memories see shops bustling with activity, voices shouting in Yiddish and Italian, sprinkled with a variety of accents from elsewhere, including near and distant regions within the USA.

Contributions to the installation offer a range of approaches.  Some artists researched the history of the Orchard Street Shul and its neighborhood, uncovering multiple stories of this community: stories of women working together to aid refugees, stories of hard-working fathers and mothers who dedicated themselves to making a better life for their children, and stories of teenagers who giggled and mingled on the steps of the Shul.   Others built on their own experiences, reaching into their hearts to create depictions of the Shul that are evocative of deeper connections with history and community.  Still others focused on the issues of urban renewal, making real the shifts in our urban landscape that are difficult to imagine as we visit the site today.

Included in the Project are presentations by researchers from Yale University who developed innovative ways to document the building, including  virtual reconstructions exploring new digital methods, ground-breaking research by computer scientists that promises to change the ways that cultural heritage sites will be documented in the future.  Some contributing artists used this digital data in their creative work.

The Orchard Street Shul Cultural Heritage Project is organized by Cynthia Beth Rubin, a New Haven based artist, in collaboration with participating artists and researchers: Nancy Austin, Meg Bloom, DonnaMaria BrutonJeanne Criscola, Roslyn Z. Croog, Linda Drazen, Paul Duda, Gonzalo EscobarMaya Escobar, Alan Falk, Greg Garvey, Shalom Gorewitz, Jaime Kriksciun, Leslie J. Klein, Beth Krensky, Seth Lamberton, Mary Lesser, Lisa Link, David Ottenstein, Bruce Oren, Robert Rattner, Cynthia Beth Rubin, Holly Rushmeier, Janet Shafner, Frank Shifreen, Suzan Shutan, Sharon Siskin, Christina Spiesel, Yona Verwer, Julian Voloj, Laurie Wohl, Chen Xu, and Howard el-Yasin.  The group includes artists from California, Florida, Utah, Missouri, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York, who traveled to New Haven to contribute to the project alongside artists from the region.

A Project Book is being published in conjunction with the exhibition, including essays by Haisia Diner, the eminent scholar of Jewish immigration history,  Walter Cahn, renowned historian of art and and architecture, and Hana Iverson, known for her remarkable multi-media installation “View from the Balcony”  that was instrumental in helping attract attention to the renovation project of the Eldridge Street Shul.  The book will also feature photographs of the works in the exhibition and memories of the Orchard Street Shul, with commentary by Karen Schiff.  The innovative book design is by Criscola Design.

The Public is Invited to the Opening Reception for the Participating Artists,  on Sunday, December 6, from 12:00 Noon to 5:00 pm.    To set the mood for the launch of “The Orchard Street Shul Artists Cultural Heritage Project”, the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale for Jewish Life at Yale will host a Jazz jam session on December 5 at 7:30, celebrating the swing dance music of 1924 and beyond, when the cornerstone of this Synagogue was put in place in a ceremony attended by Mayor Fitzgerald and much of the entire New Haven community.

The John Slade Ely House Center for Contemporary Art is open W-F, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, and weekends 2:00 pm  to 5:00 pm.  Schools and other organizations who would like to arrange a group visit outside of regular hours may do so by sending an email to: arts@orchardstreetshul-artistsproject.org.

Lady Gaga at the LGBT National Equality March

October 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

“Obama, I know you are listening… ARE YOU LISTENING… We will continue to push you and your administration to bring your words of promise to a reality.”

Mercedes Sosa y Shakira

October 9, 2009 § 3 Comments

Mercedes Sosa y Shakira grabando La Maza

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