Excerpts from my thesis: My Shtreimel

April 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

My Shtreimel is a video blog that features my fiancée Loren, who is a reoccurring character in my work. Sitting in a dimly lit room, Loren shares a personal Sabbath ritual. Behind him is the large painting of the Rebbe that appears in  Obsessed with Frida Kahlo video. Although Loren is alone, he addresses the camera as if he were speaking directly with his eventual audience.

My Shtreimel, YouTube Video, 2006.

“I think it is very important for each of us to have an enjoyable Shabbos experience. And to be able to in some ways personally define what that Shabbos experience entails. There’s a lot of different minhags that I think a lot different people have that not every one has. And there are certain things that we develop not necessarily because they are passed down from our father, or our mother, or your mother’s father, just because it is something that makes your Shabbos experience a little bit more enjoyable a lot these personal minhags that we all have…”

Casually citing the Chofetz Hayim and the Talmud Yerushalmi, he acknowledges both his relationship to, and awareness of traditional Jewish texts; thereby, indirectly aligning himself with a more observant Jewish community. Using humor, he offsets the implied exclusivity of those ties, by adding that he is actually wearing a woman’s hat that was purchased at a thrift store.

eruv stl is “posted as a response” to My Shtreimel. eruv stl is intended to link Berlin’s Eruv to St. Louis. In this low quality thus “authentic video blog” Loren and I drive around the Washington University in St. Louis area, with a map in hand, trying to locate St. Louis’s eruv. In the background you can hear Guns and Roses famous song Welcome to the Jungle. Loren assumes a role similar to the one of Matisyahu, a halakically informed Jew, who does not the traditional model for the other and is thereby able to communicate with the secular world.

eruv stl, YouTube Video, 2009.

I ask Loren why he thinks the eruv extends as far as it does and if he thinks that there area lot of Orthodox Jewish families living in the area. Loren tell me that the eruv has extended this far because of the Hillel on campus, and that while there are not many Orthodox families living on the streets that we are driving, that the presence of the Hillel on campus is enough to create an eruv-worthy Jewish community.

Not only does it become clear that Loren familiar with Orthodox Jewish practices and the neighboring streets, but also he is still not sure exactly where the eruv is located. Meaning that even though the eruv is present, Loren is either a) so religious that he doesn’t abide by it, OR b) he doesn’t lead a Jewish life that would involve abiding by an eruv. As the conversation continues Loren continues to distance himself from vocabulary that you would expect to come from a more observant Jew, as he casually engages in humorous banter with me surrounding the eruv.

I ask him how it felt to finally “find” the eruv, he responds that he “feels pretty good” but he didn’t feel like “it was an actual wall” – which it isn’t, so this statement is made in jest. He continues, “its like finding Waldo, Waldo had curly hair and glasses, he might have been a frum Jew […] maybe it is a statement about jews begin such a small percentage of the population…


The Rebbe, Acrylic on Canvas, 2004.

more thesis excerpts coming soon…

Fractured Jewishness

April 18, 2012 § 1 Comment

Is being half-Jewish, like being half-pregnant? Yes.

Intrigued? Want to hear more?

I have the honor of being the keynote speaker at the Half Jewish?” The Heirs of Intermarriage conference at Northwestern University, which runs from 4/20-4/22. My Friday night talk will center around the construction and the perpetuation of fractured cultural identities. On Saturday my dear friend Yoni Sarason, aka The St. Lou Jew, aka Midwest Director of Birthright Next, will be speaking on a panel with Dan Libenson, moderated by Denise Handlarski.  Come check out the conference.  Meet some lefty Jews.  Learn and mingle.

Register here.

 

Schachter’s Pocket Tzedek

March 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

ATTN: transient digital native Jews, the ever so talented Ben Schachter has come up with another brilliant Jewish pop culture piece, Pocket Tzedek

Ben Schachter has entered a competition that asks, “Where do you give?”  Sponsored by the American Jewish World Service whose mission is “to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world.”  Support his design by voting for him here:  www.wheredoyougive.org

Charity and Philanthopy are major parts of many religions.  Judaism gives it a unique character.  As the contest describes, “The word tzedakah (Hebrew: צדקה) comes from the Hebrew word tzedek, meaning righteousness or justice. It refers to the Jewish practice of giving money in order to help those less fortunate—using our financial resources to create a more just and righteous world.”

Schachter’s design, “Pocket Tzedek,” combines wireless technology – a debit card reader – and a traditional “pushke,” or piggy bank. Instead of dropping in coins, the donor dips his card.

Find Schachter’s design under the web interactive category on the third page at www.wheredoyougive.org/voting and vote for him every day until April 1.

 

el es frida kahlo in the Jewish Women’s Archive Blog

July 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

el es frida kahlo featured on Jewesses with Attitude in honor of Frida Kahlo’s 104th birthday.

A Latina “Jewess with attitude,” Maya Escobar plays with the web as a platform for engaging in community dialogue around identity and multiple identities–how they are socially and culturally constructed. She often assumes multiple identities in her performances, drawing from various existing representations.

About “el es frida kahlo,” she writes:

Frida Kahlo played with the identity that she wanted to project and the identity that was placed on her by others. Kahlo used her clothing, political affiliations, sexual escapades, and personal traumas, to create a character that informed her body of work. She inscribed her identity, painting her image over and over, constructing a mythology around her persona.

In el es frida kahlo I confront the ambivalence I experience as a result of my simultaneous obsession with Frida Kahlo and weariness towards her commodification.

What is your reaction to this confrontational piece? Do you identify with Escobar’s ambivalence towards Kahlo, her work, and her commodification in our culture?

Andria, The Fat Free Elotera, and I are featured in JEWCY

February 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Maya Escobar in Jewcy
Jewcy Art: Maya Escobar
by Margarita Korol, February 24, 2011

In 2007 we dubbed her the Anti-Feminist Feminist Jewish Latina. We stumbled upon performance artist/ Internet curator/ editor Maya Escobar again at the GA in New Orleans where her video installations were making a Marina Abramovich-style scene near Jewcy’s booth. She uses the web as a platform for engaging in critical community dialogues that concern processes by which identities are socially and culturally constructed. She performs multiple identities, sampling widely from online representations of existing cultural discourses.

click here for full text

Shomer Negiah Panties HUGE SALE!!

January 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

For a limited time Shomer Negiah Panties will be available on Are You My Other? at 1 for $15 or 2 for $20.

choose from: S-XL in Black & Hot Pink, Black & White, or White & Hot Pink


Jewish Art as an Israeli Periphery

December 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

Acciones Plásticas in Fringes – Jewish Art as an Israeli Periphery

שוליים – אמנות יהודית כפריפריה ישראלית
by David Sperber

The publication “Fringes – Jewish Art as an Israeli Periphery” is a continuation of a series of publications published under the auspices of the Leiber Center of Bar-Ilan University. The series focuses on research and documentation of contemporary Jewish art discourse in Israel. The series in general, and the current volume in particular, aim at sketching broad guidelines for topics pertinent to the field of Jewish art within the Israeli sphere.

The basic hypothesis of the current edition is that Judaism is conceived as a “subterranean” element of Israeli culture. The discussion considers the viability and elasticity of distinctions between the religious and the secular. This perspective favors a harmonic understanding, by which religiosity and secularism are not opposites, but rather intertwined inseparable concepts. Alongside the discussion concerning canonical artists, this publication relates mainly to peripheral tendencies and non-mainstream artistic groups, aiming to reveal their qualities as well as their limitations.


Fringes — Jewish Art as an Israeli Periphery

published by Leiber Center of Bar-Ilan University

 

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