In 1941, as the Nazis were rounding up Jews in occupied Bohemia* for deportation to the death camps, they established a “temporary holding camp” in Terezín, just north of Prague. Despite Nazi terror and the desperate conditions common to the ghetto, the Terezín internees produced for themselves a rich and creative cultural community, full of great music, art and educational activity.
This will include a panel discussion with Terezín survivors Zdenka Fantlová (seen in the video above) and Zuzana Justman on January 18. Along with Simon Broughton and Ruth Franklin, the panel will delve into one of the most moving and inspiring stories of the Holocaust era.
* Bohemia is the region now generally identified as the western part of the Czech Republic.
The Yosef (Joseph) story begins in Bereishit (Genesis) Chapter 37 and ends at the conclusion of the book of Bereishit. Yosef, the second youngest of Yaakov’s (Jacob’s) twelve sons, is hated by his ten older brothers. They hate him because their father favors Yosef and because of his dreams of becoming their leader. Eventually the dynamics between the brothers and Yosef become so negative that they throw him in a pit, after which he is sold into slavery and ends up in Egypt.
In Egypt, Yosef eventually rises from slavery to become the second most powerful person in Egypt, the Viceroy to the Pharaoh. In that capacity, he prepares Egypt to survive the impending famine he foretold. The famine reaches the land of Canaan and the brothers have to come to Yosef to get food for their family. The brothers do not know that Yosef is the Viceroy of Egypt. When they come before him they do not recognize him. He of course recognizes them.
Finally in Bereishit Chapter 45 Yosef reveals himself to his brothers. When he does this he says in line 3 “Ani Yosef, Ha’od Avi Chai”, “I am Yosef, is my father still alive?” It seems strange that this would be the first question that Yosef would ask his brothers upon revealing himself.
Yosef has been separated from his family for twenty-two years. For nine of those years he has been the Viceroy of Egypt with almost unlimited power. He had every resource in the world to contact his father and yet he made no effort to do so. Why now upon revealing his identity does he suddenly demonstrate such concern for his father in his opening line, “I am Yosef, is my father still alive?”
Elliott Carter and friends celebrate his 103rd birthday at 92Y
Did you miss Elliott Carter’s 103rd Birthday Concert at 92nd Street Y earlier this month? Head over to The New York Review of Books Blog to read Charles Rosen’s terrific review, which includes four audio clips from the concert. “Perhaps the flashiest piece on the program,” wrote Rosen, “was Hiyoku, a duet for two clarinets performed with astounding virtuosity by Ayako Oshima and Charles Neidich, which was dazzling and went by like a whirlwind.”
Dance has always been popular in Israel, but it’s taken different forms. Before independence in 1948, there was fervor among kibbutz artists and new city dwellers to find a way that the people could express their excitement about reviving the land and finding their pride of place. Israeli folk dancing became a signature phenomenon of the new culture and was such fun to perform that it spread internationally.
Today’s worldwide interest in contemporary Israeli dance is in watching it rather than participating. Its performers are astounding for their reckless, highly technical accomplishments: Choreographers are daring and relentless in the ways they capture an ennui, along with the frustration and abandonment of the older generations’ idyllic hopes. Their works are specific to Israel, but speak for many beyond its borders.
Is there a specific look to Israeli contemporary dance? Not exactly, because so many are creating it, though it’s noteworthy how easily dancers execute difficult technical moves and stops, sometimes perched on one leg with the other raised at an extreme angle, or suddenly drop to the floor backward, or snake their spines in a fluid ripple that might go sideways, or search behind their bodies like antennae. The performers are also acknowledged for their creativity, since many choreographers credit them as “co-creators,” in their printed programs.
Read the full piece here, where she offers a lengthy and enjoyable review of “International Exposure 2011,” the festival of contemporary Israeli dance.
Related, mark your calendars for Jan 6-8, when three nights of choreographed Israeli dance take place at 92nd Street Y, during APAP. Learn more here.
Chicago-based songwriter Daniel Knox will be at 92YTribeca on January 25 for the world premiere of his new long-form composition based on the photographs of fellow Chicagoan John Atwood. The pieces, titled John Atwood: Black & Whites, will be performed by piano, voice, bass, horns, strings, accordion and percussion, and set to projected images.
Read below to learn more about Knox, by way of his answers to the 92Y Culture Klatsch Questionnaire. For example, you’ll learn he’s skeptical of most news sources. “There’s no real source I trust,” he told us, “beyond the simple facts of who is dead, pregnant, or at war.” And he used to like hanging out in coffee shops when he wanted to “disconnect”. But now, “they’re more like weird singles clubs where you have to listen to some asshole’s indie-rock mixtape.”
Where do you go for news when you start your day? Slashfilm.com, Gawker.com, Jezebel.com and Dlisted.com. I only read gossip and entertainment news. The rest of the world’s happenings usually show up clogging my Twitter and Facebook pages. There’s no real source I trust for any of that beyond the simple facts of who is dead, pregnant, or at war.
What are your favorite websites? Vimeo, Twin Peaks Archive and Soundcloud. And I visit the University of California’s Wax Cylinder Archive a lot. I go there and type in random words and just see what comes up. It’s a massive archive and all the music on there is interesting for one reason or another. Mostly I love how excited everyone sounds to be hearing themselves at all.
How much do you use Twitter and Facebook (or other social networking services)?
More than I’d care to. Facebook is like a miserable human experiment that’s mostly made me feel worse about who my friends are. When you give people the chance to say shit to everyone they know at the same time you just get a lot of people posing and and acting like the person they want you to think they are.
As a performer it’s essential and really helpful because people always know what I’m up to, and it’s a good way to sort of test people’s interest in things and see how word spreads. But it’s also an easy way to find yourself giving a shit about things that aren’t important. Twitter is much more interesting because it’s instant and public and you aren’t given the space to ramble on. But I’m sure they’ll find a way to change that.
From the Poetry Center Archive: Four Irish Poets: More Than A Bit Of Craic
Today’s guest post on poetry readings at 92nd Street Y is by poet Erica Wright, author of Instructions for Killing the Jackal, poetry editor at Guernica Magazine and writing instructor at 92YTribeca. Wright visited the Unterberg Poetry Center on Monday, October 31, for Four Irish Poets, an evening of readings by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Leontia Flynn, Caitriona O’Reilly and Rita Ann Higgins. Today’s featured recording is of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin. You can download the MP3 here.
Exploring The Cultural Legacy Of The Terezín Ghetto
Drawing by Helga Weissova-Hoskova (b. 1932) showing a concert in the barracks.
The town of Terezín [pronounced tehr-eh-ZEEN] is located 38 miles northwest of Prague. From 1941 to 1945, it was a transition camp/ghetto that the Nazis used to hold Jews before deporting them to the death camps. The camp is widely known as the “show” camp where the Nazis staged performances by the Jewish internees to create the illusion of normalcy for Red Cross visitors in 1944 and for a propaganda film called The Führer Gives a City to the Jews.
But the Nazis’ use of Terezín as propaganda has obscured its remarkable and inspirational legacy. “The creativity and resourcefulness of those who passed through Terezín is astonishing,” says Hanna Arie-Gaifman, director of 92Y’s Tisch Center for the Arts and a Czech-born, Israeli-raised scholar of comparative literature and music who has been the driving force behind the series. “Despite inhumane conditions and constant deportations to Auschwitz, the internees of Terezín created a flourishing cultural life that would have been exceptional in a real town, never mind a Nazi ghetto.”
More than 2,400 lectures were offered on a wide variety of topics (more than one for each day of the camp’s existence). There were 55 performances of Hans Krása’s children’s opera, Brundibár. Composer Viktor Ullman wrote 20 musical works there, some still unfinished when he perished. The camp had not only orchestral and chamber concerts but a cabaret and a jazz band called “The Ghetto Swingers.” And the library was filled with 60,000 smuggled books. See posters and documents that provide some insight to broad range of performance activity, and a look at the daily life of the people interred in Terezín.
92nd Street Y presents a groundbreaking multidisciplinary series, Will to Create, Will to Live: The Culture of Terezín, from January 9 to February 16 to honor the people who passed through Terezín and explore the remarkable cultural legacy they left behind. The series features more than 20 events and educational programs; five free live webcasts; and one concert available via 92Y’s live satellite broadcast program.
In exploring the range of Terezín life, 92Y’s Will to Create, Will to Live: The Culture of Terezín draws from 92Y’s myriad specialties. The cornerstone of the program is a four-concert series with the Nash Ensemble of London, baritone Wolfgang Holzmair and pianists Shai Wosner and Russell Ryan performing music primarily played and written in Terezín itself.
For ten years, DanceTalk’s “Person of the Year” Lori Brizzi, recipient of the Hustle Hall of Fame’s Lifetime Achievement Award, hosts a monthly dance party in New York City, the Millennium Dance Party. And this New Year’s Eve, Brizzi is bringing the party to 92nd Street Y. Featuring Latin dance, swing dancing, and the Hustle, the dance party runs from 8pm until 2am, with hors d’oeuvres all night and complimentary champagne at midnight. A full cash bar will operate until 1am.
What’s more, if you show your ticket stub from A Champagne New Year’s Eve concert that ends at 10pm, you can purchase a ticket to the Millennium Dance Party for more than 50% off.
Our sought-after Jewelry Classes at 92nd Street Y use the most modern and fully equipped jewelry studios in New York City. What’s more, according to a comment on our Facebook page by Regina Rose Malone, they are the “best Jewelry Classes & teachers in NY!”
You can also consider purchasing a 92Y Gift Certificate for use at 92nd Street Y’s jewelry studios. That would make a fantastic holiday gift, because truth be told, a gift certificate to a 92Y Jewelry Class would be a fantastic gift any time of the year.
Watch a video filmed inside our Jewelry studios below, and learn more about the Jewelry Center here.
92Y Flashback: Newt Gingrich On Iran, North Korea, Israel And More
In a televised candidates’ debate late last month, The Wall Street Journalreported, “Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called for replacing the leadership of Iran and said that could be accomplished within a year, adopting a more aggressive posture toward the U.S. adversary than advocated by the rest of the Republican field or by President Barack Obama.”
The views expressed by Gingrich in that debate follow the same ideas he expressed at 92nd Street Y in 2007. During that appearance with Charlie Rose, Gingrich called the Iran dictatorship a “mortal threat” to The United States, and told Rose, “We have to be absolutely dedicated to replacing” the regime.
Watch the video clip below to hear those comments and more, including Gringrich’s comments on North Korea and the Israel/Palestinian relationship.
In this week’s Parsha (Torah Portion), Parshat Miketz, the story of Yoseph (Joseph) that began in last weeks Parsha, Parshat Vayeshev, continues, as does the theme of dreams.
A question that is often asked about the Yoseph stories in the Torah is: what is the nature of Yoseph’s ability to have dreams and interpret them? Are Yoseph’s dreams a message from God? Are they prophetic or just Yoseph’s mind at work? In Freudian terms, are the dreams a manifestation of Yoseph’s subconscious? When Yoseph interprets the dreams of Pharaoh, is this simply Yoseph interpreting a dream, perhaps using psychology or God giving over a revelation?
The readings of the stories of Yoseph in the Torah always come in close proximity to Chanukah. Perhaps by looking more closely at Chanukah, we can begin to answer questions about the nature of Yoseph’s dreams and his ability to interpret them. According to the way the story of Chanukah is told in the Talmud, Shabbat 21b, after the Jews were successful in their revolt against the Assyrian-Greeks, they went back to Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), to the Beit Hamikdash (The Temple), and they saw that the Beit Hamikdash had been defiled by the Assyrian-Greeks. They purified the Beit Hamikdash and then began to search to find oil to light the Menorah, seven-branched candelabra, which was used in the religious experience of the Beit Hamikdash. They eventually found one container of oil that still had the seal of the Kohain Gadol (High Priest) on it, but there was only enough oil in the flask that was found to last one day. As we know, a miracle happened and the amount of oil that was only supposed to last one day lasted for eight days. As a result, we celebrate Chanukah by lighting the Chanukiah (the special eight-branched Menorah used on Chanukah) for eight days.
The Beit Yosef, a commentator on the Tur, and Shulchan Aruch (two of the most important Jewish Legal Codes) asks an interesting question in Orech Chayim 670. Why is Chanukah eight days long? The miracle of the oil was really seven days, not eight. The Maccabees found one container of oil that was enough for one day. Therefore, Chanukah should be celebrated for seven days, not eight? Seven lights for seven nights, not eight?
Come To Our Annual Hanukkah Lighting Ceremony Today!
A reminder for our friends and neighbors: Join us in our lobby at 4:30pm today, tomorrow and next week for our Annual Hanukkah Lighting ceremony. It really is a great time and Karina and Rebecca know how to sing and have fun! AND… we end the celebration with Hanukkah chocolate gelt candies!
For more Hanukkah fun, you can come to our Hanukkah Dinner with Karina and Rebecca on December 23.
Related: How do re-emerging Jewish communities around the world celebrate Hanukkah? 92nd Street Y Resource Center for Jewish Diversity partner Shavei Israel made an awesome video to show you.
Video: Shavei Israel Celebrates Hanukkah Around The World
How do re-emerging Jewish communities around the world celebrate Hanukkah? 92nd Street Y Resource Center for Jewish Diversity partner Shavei Israel made the awesome video above to show you.
Shavei Israel works with Lost Tribes and Hidden Jewish communities around the world.” Join us now,” they wrote, “as Jews from Spain, Portugal, Russia, Poland, China and India all celebrate Hanukah together. Many faces, one song!”
And on January 10, Michael Freund, founder and chairman of Shavei Israel, will moderate an event at 92Y: The Hidden Jews of the Holocaust: Poland’s Re-emerging Jewish Community. After the fall of the Soviet empire and Poland’s transformation to democracy, a growing number of Poles are rediscovering their families’ concealed Jewish roots, with many choosing to live a full Jewish life and return to the Jewish people. Join members of this re-emerging Jewish community for a fascinating and inspiring account of young Polish Jews reclaiming the heritage that Hitler sought to extinguish.
Do you think a little Beethoven might help calm your nerves on your subway commute? Than you’ll like what 21C is reporting: today, as part of the Make Music Winter Festival, The Knights “will perform back-to-back renditions of the Prelude from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 on all the station platforms of the Coney Island-bound F-train. Riders will be able to listen to the music as they wait on the platform, and will then hear snippets of the same music from inside the train whenever the doors open at a station.”
Sound delightful? We think it does!
On New Year’s Eve, you can hear more from The Knights at 92nd Street Y. We’re making sure, writesThe New Yorker, “that the Upper East Side will not lack for music on the last night of the year, presenting the dynamic Brooklyn chamber orchestra the Knights in its house début.” The Knights will perform two seminal works: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Terry Riley’s In C.
Time Out New Yorkdeclared it one of the “Best New Year’s Eve concerts in NYC.”