Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Hosted by the Young Friends of the Museum, the party is an annual favorite. What's that you say? It takes more than a mere party to motivate you? What if I added in costumes (the best of which will win a prize)? A Pour’em for Purim Drink Special Menu...clever huh? ($3 Bud/Bud Light, $4 Cosmos/Appletinis, $5 Cocktails, and special Purim-themed drinks) Dancing? Raffle prizes (including a one night’s stay at the Thompson Hotel LES, Philosophy & Bliss Spa Gift Baskets, a 3-Month Equinox Membership, private lesson with “the Liquid Chef," celebrity Mixologist Junior Merino, and much more)?
Young Friends Members get the best deal, of course with $35 tickets. Non-member tickets are $40. For $85, you can get a ticket to the program AND a year of Young Friend Membership, which in and of itself is a $50 value. If you can, buy your tickets now, since all tickets purchased at the door will cost an additional $5.
All proceeds go to benefit Museum programs.
For more information contact Rachel Weiss at 646.437.4321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Rather than comment on this article myself, I direct you to Museum director David Marwell's blog; he speaks more eloquently and with deeper insight on the subject than I could.
Everyone enjoy your Oscar weekend! And I feel it bears mentioning that while we do not play favorites here at MJH, many of us are indeed rooting for The Reader and the divine Ms. Winslet.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
"I was going to begin this column with a 13-year-old Chadian boy crippled by a bullet in his left knee," begins Nicholas Kristof in today's New York Times op-ed, "but my hunch is that you might be more interested in hearing about another person on the river bank beside the boy: George Clooney."
Kristof's piece is both informative and bitterly sardonic. He highlights the tragic events that haven taken place in Darfur over the past six years (longer, he notes, than WWII raged in Europe) and the expected warrant for Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir from the International Criminal Court, but implies that many readers would prefer to read "the juicy truth about all of Mr. Clooney’s wild romances and motorcycle accidents." (Clooney - like Angelina Jolie and other celebrities- is a UN Goodwill Ambassador, though he is travelling with Kristof in an unofficial capacity.)
This is no easy subject to absorb much less continue to read about; indeed, Kristof himself sarcastically refers to his op-ed as "another hand-wringing column about Darfur." But the fact remains: approximately 400,000 people have died in this genocide. Refugees - men, women, and children - are still in danger in their own homes and in camps across the region (approximately the size of France). Maimonides wrote "Anyone who is able to save a life, but fails to do so, violates the command: And you shalt not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor." It is vital to remain educated about what is going on and ways that we can help. "And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world." -Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:8 (37a).
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Fortunately, there’s a new, delicious neighbor in Battery Park City. Inatteso Pizza Bar, located at 28 West Street not a block from the Museum just opened a cafe two doors down. Since we had been to the pizza bar and loved it, our expectations were high: I am pleased to say we were not disappointed. The coffee and lattes were delicious and the pastries were divine. Lisa got a sfogliatelle frolla that tasted like summertime at my grandparents house (think Krisy Kreme times a billion with sweet ricotta filling). I have bought, but not yet tasted, a Nutella brownie. They also had sandwiches, soups, cakes, bagels, and other goodies. I think I can speak for the group when I say we highly recommend Inatteso's cafe for the late-coming Museum-goer.
(Pictured: Lisa and Betsy gaze longingly at Inatteso's delicious baked goods.)
Friday, February 13, 2009
Two weeks ago, I wasn’t anyone’s “sister from the North.” I didn’t smile at strangers or try to speak a language I don’t know to small children. I definitely didn’t borrow the horse of a man I met two days previous to go cantering up a hill towards a cemetery. But in Nicaragua, as the men and women of Jinocuao called us their “brothers and sisters from the North” day after day, it quickly went from being something that made me wince uncomfortably to a phrase that made me grin in ways you simply don’t in New York. An enormous, cheek splitting grin is not the way to communicate with people who don’t speak my language here. But in Jinocuao, when I didn’t speak Spanish and I needed to tell the 14 year old girl next to me who is the woman of her house that I appreciate her slowing down in her own work to teach me how to strip a mountain of dried corn of its kernels, the only way is to smile hugely and say “gracias.”
At the beginning of February, I spent a week in Nicaragua with a group of alumni from my college through a group called Bridges to Community. We spent five nights in the community of Jinocuao, which is near the Honduran border, working with local families to help Bridges establish construction, health, and environmental micro-finance projects. Bridges works in towns like Jinocuao one across Nicaragua to help the communities establish basic self-sufficiencies and standards of living.
There is a lot of poverty in Nicaragua; malnutrition, disease, homelessness, and unemployment are very real problems. However, in our time in Jinocuao, these weren’t what we felt. The families we worked with welcomed us with open arms into their homes, fields, kitchens, and children’s lives. They showed us the joys of their lives and wanted to learn about all aspects of ours, including politics, music, careers, and our families. Their goal in working with us wasn’t to have us build for them or do projects for them, but to work side by side to learn from us and to teach us. They taught us about their lives, their work, and their history.
After a hot day laying irrigation in a tomato field supplied by the only motorized pump in the village, we joined a large family in the dirt yard in front of their home. Three generations sat in plastic chairs around their patriarch, lit just as much by the moon as by the light bulbs. Don Valentin, the father, brother, and grandfather of the assembled and the owner of the field, told the story of the murder of his brother in his own home during the Nicaraguan Civil War of the 1980’s. In my job at MJH, I hear a lot of atrocity testimony. I’ve never heard someone point to the door five feet away from me and describe what she heard the murderers say when they knocked on it.
It is easy to look at a village like Jinocuao and see only the poverty and the terrible history. It’s just as easy, especially after a week in the villagers’ open arms, to see only the smiles, the kindnesses, and the family love. Life there, like anywhere, is complicated by the people, land, and opportunities. Relationships in an isolated place are complicated; the land has been stripped by American economic development and there is no work. However, the family relationships are so important that one hard working 24 year-old told us that he can’t bear to stay too long where there is work because he knows his grandmother is alone in Jinocuao. The land, which has dried and lost nutrients after decades of exploitation, is heartbreakingly beautiful and the people are proud of it. There may not be work, but half the members of the council working with Bridges were girls in their teens.
After the work, the laying irrigation and making fuel for manure-powered bio-digesters, we experienced the other side of Jinocuao. I borrowed a horse from a man I barely knew, called hello to a woman whose garden I’d worked in the day before, and cantered up a hill to join children in a game of soccer. And it was beautiful.
Miep Gies, the last surviving and best known helper of Anne Frank and the people in hiding with her in an Amsterdam canal side house, will be 100 years old on 15 February 2009. She will be celebrating the day quietly with family and friends. Miep is in reasonably good health, and remains deeply involved with the remembrance of Anne Frank and spreading the message of her story. She still receives letters from all over the world with questions about her relationship with Anne Frank and her role as a helper. “I’m not a hero’, she has said, “It wasn’t something I planned in advance, I simply did what I could to help.”
Immediately after the arrest of the people in hiding, on August 4, 1944, Miep took Anne’s diary and other writings into safekeeping. When Otto returned from
As the diary became better known, Miep’s brave role in the story received world wide attention. She received many honors, among them the Yad Vashem medal and the Bundesverdienst Kreuz, a Knighthood from the German government. In 1995 she was Knighted in the
Thursday, February 12, 2009
English Bishop Richard Williamson was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church in 1988 for being ordained as a bishop without papal permission. This January, Pope Benedict XVI revoked the excommunication. So what makes this a problematic issue in regard to Catholic-Jewish relations? Williamson is a Holocaust denier. In fact, on the day his excommunication was lifted, he gave an interview to Swedish television saying "I believe there were no gas chambers ... I think that two to three hundred thousand Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps ... but none of them by gas chambers."
Pope Benedict spoke today with American Jewish leaders at the Vatican and issued strong and unequivocal condemnations of Holocaust denial, and reiterated the church's commitment to "profoundly and irrevocably... reject all anti-Semitism." The Pope plans to travel to Israel in May, marking the first visit to the Jewish state by a Pope since John Paul II's historic trip in 2000.
A piece on this story will appear tonight at 6 p.m. on ABC's Eyewitness News with N.J. Burkett and Museum Director David Marwell in the MJH galleries. So be sure to set your TiVos/DVRs/VCRs... or just watch it at 6 (imagine).
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
After the meeting, I furtively Googled "matzabrei." "Do you mean matzo brei?" Google asked. Yes; yes I did.
Since then, I've had sweet, I've had savory, I've had it multiple days in a row, and I'm still not sick of it. I am counting down the days I get to have it again. So you can imagine that I am looking forward to our April 1 program Manischewitz: The Matzo Family with cookbook author and TV host Joan Nathan and Laura Manischewitz Alpern. An added perk to this program is that audience members will receive a complimentary box of matzo! Think of all the matzo brei!
This program has got me to thinking: what else can one make with matzo? An internet search yielded a couple of good ideas, but I put it to you, the readers: what recipes can you make with matzo? Do you have a particularly great one for matzo brei? We'd love to hear from you: post your recipes in the comments below and share in the unleavened goodness.
*Once again, Betsy's puns inspire me.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
Last night, Captain Sullenberger appeared on 60 Minutes. In the segment below, he and his family read from the boxes of thank you letters he's received. Their favorite comes from a the son of a Holocaust survivor, whose apartment overlooked the site of the landing.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Heads up to performers, artists, performance artists, singers, dancers, comedians and anyone else who likes to be on stage! This summer, the Museum will hold its annual New York's Best Emerging Jewish Artists. While we don't have our official performer guidelines just yet, if you want a chance to be part of this year's show, now would be an excellent time for you up-and-coming Jewish artists to start emerging by putting together samples of your work/audition tapes/etc.
Traditionally, most of our featured artists have been comedians and musicians. However, we have had a great many performers whose presentations have been as unique as their talents--storytellers, fashion designers, poets, even beatboxers.One of my favorite acts was from the second year of the show. Human beatbox Yuri Lane gave an amazing performance. He was played in by DJ Diwon and I think it took the audience a moment to realize that once Yuri started, Diwon had stopped playing and everything they were hearing was coming from Yuri.
We're always looking for original new acts, so think about how you want to wow us! We'll be posting more information as it becomes available.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Museum visitors have been enjoyed our special exhibitions Woman of Letters and Holocaust by Bullets since September and November respectively. Reviews and articles on these exhibits have appeared from New York to the San Francisco Chronicle and everywhere in between. We have been thrilled at the visitor response we have received on these fascinating stories.
And so, it is with great pleasure that I announce that both exhibitions will be extended. Holocaust by Bullets will be on view through March 23. Woman of Letters has been extended to August 30, 2009.
So if you haven't seen it yet, there's still time! If you've already seen it, bring a friend and come down for another look.
Also, I know we have spoken a lot about Felix Mendelssohn lately, but we would be remiss if we did not mention him today: it is his 200th birthday! Music from the world premiere of his recently discovered work (performed last week at the Museum of Jewish Heritage) was featured on public radio this morning, click here to listen: Museum recordings can be found on "Hour 2." I also discovered that, in spite of being born in 1809, he has an extensive imdb.com page, usually reserved for actors and directors. Apparently his music has been featured in 397 films since 1913. Who'd have guessed?
*I'd like to thank T.S. Elliot for the title of this post...