Jewish resources to occupy your family during social distancing – part 15

By Reporter staff 

A variety of Jewish groups are offering online resources – educational and recreational – for those who are not allowed out of the house. Below is a sampling of those. The Reporter will publish additional listings as they become available. 

  • The American-Israel Friendship League will hold a “Philharmonic Collaboration – U.S. Independence Day Celebration” on Sunday, July 5, from noon-1 pm. For more details, visit https://aifl.org/events/philharmonic-collaboration-webinar.
  • The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion will offer the virtual course “The Archaeology of Hallucinogenic Substances in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean” with Dr. David Ilan on Wednesday, July 8, at noon. Ilan is the director of Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem. The texts of the ancient Near East and eastern Mediterranean Bronze and Iron Ages hint at the use of psychotropic substances (“hallucinogens”) in religious and shamanistic rituals. But the archaeological evidence for this is thin on the ground. The talk will itemize the available hallucinogens and re-examine a series of artifacts that are believed to be related to the consumption of psychotropic substances. To register, visit http://huc.edu/archaeology-hallucinogenic-substances-in-ancient-eastern-mediterranean-dr-david-ilan.
  • The Museum of Jewish Heritage will hold the virtual program “Exploring New York’s Jewish LGBT History” on Tuesday, July 7, at 2 pm. The program will talk about the impact LGBT Jewish New Yorkers made on the American arts scene, LGBT activism and American religious life. These include composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, poet Allen Ginsberg, archivist and activist Joan Nestle, PFLAG co-founder Jeanne Manford, leaders and community members of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, and more. New York has also hosted Jewish LGBT visitors who have made global impacts like Magnus Hirschfeld. The discussion will feature Andrew Dolkart, Ken Lustbader and Jay Shockley, co-founders of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project. To register, visit https://mjhnyc.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_W--cb3RDRwCdNx_M0sTXzQ.
  • Jewish Women Archives is continuing its Quarantine(ish) Book Talks in July. On Thursday, July 9, at 8 pm, Lizzie Skurnick, editor of “Pretty Bitches” and founder of Lizzie Skurnick Books, an imprint devoted to reissuing “the very best of young adult literature,” including the “All-of-a-Kind Family series,” will speak. On Thursday, July 16, at 8 pm, Natasha Diaz, author of “Color Me In,” will talk about her coming-of-age story about a half Black, half Jewish girl trying to find her place in the world. On Thursday, July 23, at 8 pm, Chavi Karkowsky, maternal-fetal medicine physician and author of “High Risk: Stories of Pregnancy, Birth, and the Unexpected,” will speak. On Thursday, July 30, at 8 pm, Jennifer Rosner, the author of “The Yellow Bird Sings,” will talk about her World War II tale concerning a mother, a child and an impossible choice. To register for the programs, visit https://jwa.org/events. To watch videos of past programs, visit https://jwa.org/programs/bookclub/quarantine-book-club.
  • The Yiddish Book Center will offer “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah: Andy Sweet’s Summer Camp 1977,” with Brett Sokol on Zoom and Facebook on Thursday, July 9, at 7 pm. Sokol, journalist and editor of “Shtetl in the Sun: Andy Sweet’s South Beach 1977-1980,” will speak about his newest book, “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah: Andy Sweet’s Summer Camp 1977.” “Hello Muddah” chronicles the summer of 1977 at Camp Mountain Lake – from the parade of trunks as 300 predominantly Jewish campers arrive at Mountain Lake’s rural North Carolina setting to the end-of-August Dionysian frenzy of “Color War.” To reserve a virtual seat in the Zoom audience, which allows people to submit questions, registration is required. For registration links, visit www.yiddishbookcenter.org/visit/calendar-events.
  • The Orthodox Union offers a weekly lesson on “The Way of Hashem, The Path of Man: An Introduction to the World According to Ramchal” at www.ou.org/ramchalseries. Rabbi Moshe Hauer, incoming executive vice president, gives a weekly shuir “on the way of Hashem and the path of man, through the deep and sophisticated lens of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato, the Ramchal.” The lessons are available and past lessons can also be viewed on that page.
  • The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion will offer the virtual class “Rebirth After the Holocaust: The Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons Camp, 1945-1950” with Jean Bloch Rosensaft on Wednesday, July 15, at 3 pm. Rosensaft is the director of the Dr. Bernard Heller Museum at HUC-JIR/New York. The Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons Camp was the largest Jewish refugee camp in post-war Germany. The self-governed community’s political, cultural, religious, educational and social activities renewed the survivors’ return to life and played a role in the struggle for the creation of the state of Israel. The case will use archival film, photographs and documents to teach about that time. To register, visit http://huc.edu/rebirth-after-holocaust-bergen-belsen-displaced-persons-camp-1945-1950-jean-bloch-rosensaft.
  • The Center for Jewish History will hold “Being Heumann with Judy Heumann – Live on Zoom” on Wednesday, July 15, at 4 pm. Judy Heumann is an internationally recognized leader in the disability community and a lifelong civil rights advocate. From fighting to attend grade school to winning a lawsuit against the New York City school system for denying her a teachers license, her actions throughout her life set a precedent that have fundamentally improved rights for disabled people, sparking a national movement that led to the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. She has worked with a wide range of activist organizations, NGOs and governments since the 1970s, serving in the Clinton and Obama administrations, and as the World Bank’s first adviser on disability and development. In “Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist,” she recounts her lifelong battle to achieve respect, acceptance and inclusion in society. Ticket costs are on a sliding scale. For more information, or to register, visit https://heumann.bpt.me/.
  • The Yiddish Book Center will offer “Jews in Hollywood, with Kenneth Turan” on Zoom and Facebook on Thursday, July 16, at 7 pm. Kenneth Turan is a retired film critic for the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” a former staff writer for The Washington Post and director of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. In this program, he will touch on aspects of some of the movies that speak to the Jewish-American experience. To reserve a virtual seat in the Zoom audience, which allow people to submit questions, registration is required. For registration links, visit www.yiddishbookcenter.org/visit/calendar-events.
  • The Lower East Side Jewish Conservatory will hold the “Congregation Shearith Israel – A Virtual Presentation of the First Congregation in North America” on Thursday, July 16, from 7-8:15 pm. Congregation Shearith Israel, commonly known as the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, was the first Jewish congregation in North America founded in 1654. Janet R. Kirchheimer, a licensed New York City tour guide and longtime member of the synagogue, will talk about the founding of the congregation, the Spanish Inquisition, pirates and the struggles with Peter Stuyvesant. She will also discuss Jews’ efforts to create a community, as well as contributions by members to American Jewish history, from Asser Levy to Gershom Mendes Seixas, Emma Lazarus and more. Janet will also discuss other members who were founders of important institutions such as Columbia University, Yeshiva University and the New York Stock Exchange. Tickets are a minimum of $5 each or a donation of $10 or $18. For more information, or to purchase a ticket, visit https://www.nycjewishtours.org/event-log/shearith-israel-thurs-july-16.
  • The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion will offer the virtual class “The Book of Job in Art: From Byzantium to Blake and Beyond” with Abby Schwartz on Wednesday, July 22, at 3 pm. Schwartz is the director of Skirball Museum at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati. From Byzantine manuscripts of the ninth century to paintings by Albrecht Dürer and Georges de la Tour, the Book of Job has inspired artists through the ages. Most notable is the cycle of illustrations produced by the 19th-century English poet, painter and printmaker William Blake. Also included will be representations of the Job story in works from the Skirball Museum’s collections and temporary exhibitions. To register, visit http://huc.edu/book-job-in-art-byzantium-blake-and-beyond-abby-schwartz.
  • The Yiddish Book Center will hold a multi-media talk “America’s Jewish Lower East Side, with Annie Polland” on Zoom and Facebook on Thursday, July 23, at 7 pm. Dr. Annie Polland – executive director of the American Jewish Historical Society, former vice president for programs and education at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and co-author, with Daniel Soyer, of the award-winning “Emerging Metropolis: New York Jews in the Age of Immigration” – will talk about the early days of the Lower East Side through the shifts that have occurred there over time, including the new generation of Jewish food purveyors who are re-imagining and carrying on the tradition. To reserve a virtual seat in the Zoom audience, which allows people to submit questions, registration is required. For registration links, visit www.yiddishbookcenter.org/visit/calendar-events.
  • The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion will offer the virtual class “Curating Cantorial Education: Breadth and Depth in Jewish Musical Life” with Cantor Richard Cohn on Wednesday, July 29, at noon. Cohn is the director of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR/New York. The class will look at the what music cantors learn while studying at HUC-JIR, and how those repertoires influence their leadership of contemporary communities. The class will explore emerging musical forms, while viewing and listening to selected examples in representative styles. To register, visit http://huc.edu/curating-cantorial-education-breadth-and-depth-in-jewish-musical-life-cantor-richard-cohn.
  • The Yiddish Book Center will hold a multi-media talk ‘Bertha Kling’s Yiddish Bronx Neighborhood, with David Mazower” on Zoom and Facebook on Thursday, August 13, at 7 pm. The program will feature a virtual tour of Yiddish life in the Bronx in the early-to-mid-20th century and include archival photos and a conversation with David Mazower, Yiddish Book Center bibliographer and editorial director, and Dr. Steven Payne, library archivist at the Bronx Historical Society. To reserve a virtual seat in the Zoom audience, which allows people to submit questions, registration is required. For registration links, visit www.yiddishbookcenter.org/visit/calendar-events.
  • Friends of the IDF will hold a 2020 National Virtual Gala on Sunday, September 13, at 7 pm. This year, the gala will seek to bring together thousands of FIDF supporters representing all chapters from across the United States, to express their appreciation for the young soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces. Registration is now open for the event at https://www.fidf.org/events/2020-national-gala.

For additional resources, see previous issues of The Reporter on its website, www.thereportergroup.org.