Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
In reading a lovely story, one on CNN about his personal interest in Soviet Jewry, especially in the plight of one little girl in one family, I figured it out. He really got to know individuals and listen to them and care about their lives. He always remembered that political issues were really about real people. On JTA, there is a really nice article about his commitment to Jewish issues and to justice, a core Jewish value.
I think a fitting tribute to him is that Jessica Katz, the little Soviet girl that he saved, has now in turn dedicated her life to public service. As CNN says “She says she has no choice but to look after those less fortunate than she is, because Kennedy proved to her how much it means, and that it can work.” This puts me in mind of one of the first things I learned in synagogue as a child,“mitzvah goreret mitzvah” One good deed brings another. Though Senator Kennedy is no longer with us, his legacy will live on through the good deeds of the many people whose lives he has touched. May his memory be a blessing.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
In another life, Ken was a chaplain, so when he said that he felt his was not a job, but a calling, he knew what he was talking about. What else do you call it when a man as knowledgeable, as passionate, as devoted as Ken, returned day after day to a sacred space to spread the gospel? His demeanor? One of patience and forgiveness. In his daily exchanges, he was a man of peace, and conveyed to others his deep love and respect.
Ken’s dedication to his students was legendary. He led one of the only education programs where the teacher and students continue to interact long beyond classes, beyond practicums, beyond graduation, but years into docent-hood. What a spectacular learning environment the Gallery Education program became under his tutelage. He knew and genuinely cared about each and every Gallery Educator. From their names and the health of all their family members to their former professions and personal hobbies and interests. Ken would know who had just become a grandmother or whose grandchild was just bar mitzvahed. And the relationship was entirely reciprocal. If you have ever attended a Gallery Educator graduation, or a volunteer recognition event, you know that his students cared just as deeply about Ken.
Photo: Ken with our Deputy Director Ivy Barksy’s son Harry, Nov. 1999
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Activities on this neighboring isle cover a number of different interests. Touch the history of Governors Island with an amazing archaeological site, open to the public daily through Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. The island is the oldest European settlement in New York (it is recognized as the birthplace of the state) and was inhabited even earlier by American Indians, so you could wind up finding something quite remarkable. Admission is free.
If you’re more interested in the natural world, try birding on Governors Island every Saturday at 11:30 a.m. convening at Fort Jay. Learn the foundations of birding and how you can apply this new skill at home. A limited supply of binoculars will be available to borrow or you can use your own. Children can even earn an official Governors Island Junior Ranger Badge upon completion! (Please note that this program is based on the availability of the volunteer so do call the park at 212-825-3045 or ask a Park Ranger if the program will be offered on the day of your visit.) This program is also free.
But if culture and the arts are more up your alley, and you just can’t get enough of museums, you may want to check out the Children's Museum of the Arts. Every weekend through October, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Museum teaching artists will lead workshops in painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, installation and much more! Each weekend has a different theme, new projects, and new experiences. Other CMA programs on Governors Island include Dress Up Theater, Art Kit Rentals (which are filled with watercolors, brushes, colored pencils, Craypas, and other art materials which visitors can borrow and take around the island for a couple hours), Music Time (musician Tom Burnett will lead participants in drumming, stories, and singing), and more. Admission is (can you guess by now?) free.
For a complete list of events on Governors Island, visit their website here. Of course, while you are downtown visiting Governors Island, please note that the Museum of Jewish Heritage is just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Maritime Building. Make a whole day of it!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Jordana Horn’s article on the Inglourious Basterds preview held at the Museum can be found in today’s edition of The Wall Street Journal. In it, she discusses the different reactions from audience members, which ranged from “unfortunately happy” to “wickedly entertained” to completely unsatisfied. She also examines the film’s premise from a theological perspective.
We know we’ve thrown a lot of Inglourious Basterds news your way in the past week or so, but this should be the last one: the movie comes out today and then you can decide for yourselves what you think!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Here’s the publisher’s description:
“From the internationally acclaimed Israeli writer Meir Shalev comes a mesmerizing novel of two love stories, separated by half a century but connected by one enchanting act of devotion.
During the 1948 War of Independence–a time when pigeons are still used to deliver battlefield messages–a gifted young pigeon handler is mortally wounded. In the moments before his death, he dispatches one last pigeon. The bird is carrying his extraordinary gift to the girl he has loved since adolescence. Intertwined with this story is the contemporary tale of Yair Mendelsohn, who has his own legacy from the 1948 war. Yair is a tour guide specializing in bird-watching trips who, in middle age, falls in love again with a childhood girlfriend. His growing passion for her, along with a gift from his mother on her deathbed, becomes the key to a life he thought no longer possible.
Unforgettable in both its particulars and its sweep, A Pigeon and A Boy is a tale of lovers then and now–of how deeply we love, of what home is, and why we, like pigeons trained to fly in one direction only, must eventually return to it. In a voice that is at once playful, wise, and altogether beguiling, Meir Shalev tells a story as universal as war and as intimate as a winged declaration of love.”
Please feel free to read along with us or to recommend more books. Our Museum staff book club is always looking for new books to read.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
While Jamie filled you in on last Thursday's special screening and Q&A with Quentin Tarantino and friends, we thought you would be interested in our director's take on the film. As an historian and someone who just appreciates a good film, David Marwell had some interesting things to say.
Let us know what you think of the film next week. It opens on Friday.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Magavern will be speaking with Adam Kirsch tomorrow at 7 p.m. about his fascinating quest to understand Levi's life and work. The event is free with suggested donation. Please join us.
Monday, August 17, 2009
This contemporary drama follows three generations of a Jewish family whose secrets threaten to destroy its future. After losing touch with his father, Zak Pikler, and his girlfriend Delphina, travel to visit him in the Catskills where he lives in solitude and declining health. As Zak copes with his father's dementia, Delphina uncovers a secret the Piklers have kept hidden since WWII: a sacrifice they made to join Rudolph Kasztner's controversial train out of Hungary.
Though tickets are free, you should still reserve your spot, which can be done by following the link here or by calling the Museum box office at 646.437.4202.
Friday, August 14, 2009
I would like, if I may, to begin this blog with a quote from my mother.
I sent her an email this morning, wherein I told her that, last night, I was able to attend a special screening of the new movie Inglourious Basterds here at the Museum. She said:
“Wow! That's great! But Inglourious Basterds? Really Jamie? I didn’t raise you to spell like that.”
But, as David Marwell said in his opening remarks, “the spelling of the title will set off your spell check and anger your English teacher.”
Inglourious Basterds follows a group of Jewish-American soldiers chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by brutally killing Nazis. The film is not at all historically accurate, nor does it claim to be. Rather, it is a fantastical story that asks “What if…?”
The audience, made up of members of the Museum family and the Weinstein Company, gathered in (a full) Edmond J. Safra Hall to get a sneak peek at Basterds before it comes to theaters on August 21. Cast member Eli Roth, who played Capt. Donny Donowitz, introduced the film, sharing stories of the camaraderie forged between the Jewish-American and German actors during filming. After the screening, Mélanie Laurent, who played Shosanna Dreyfus, and director Quentin Tarantino came to the stage for a riveting Q&A. Both expressed how honored they were to be able to show the movie at the Museum. (Mélanie even got a little varklempt.) Mr. Tarantino seemed more than pleased to address audience observations, accolades, and even criticisms. I won’t give away any of the movie just yet (sorry—you’ll have to wait until it comes out) but I will say that I believe our audience appreciated the rare opportunity to engage in such a cinematic evening.