Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Fall 2018 @ OASIS Albuquerque

Great Courses of Jewish Interest
Abq Jew is pleased to inform you that
OASIS Albuquerque has just announced
their Fall 2018 line-up of classes!
Registration opens on
Wednesday September 5
but you can Wish List your selections now.

OASIS Albuquerque Executive Director Kathleen Raskob continues (as always) to bring you new and interesting class offerings, and continues to make sure there are plenty of courses of Jewish interest.

This session's courses and instructors include but are by no means limited to:

Walking Bazaars: Arab Peddlers in New Mexico
Wednesday 26 September 2018 @ 1:00 pm - #133
Instructor: Monika Ghattas
What It Is: The first Arabic peddlers appeared in the territory of New Mexico in the late 1880s. They were young men who started out on foot and became wagon peddlers. Monika Ghattas shares accounts of their colorful appearance, unusual merchandise, and assimilation into New Mexico history and culture that were recorded as folktales, personal reminiscences, and official records.

The Creation of the American Jewish Community
Mondays 22 & 29 October 2018 @ 1:00 pm - #62
Instructor: Noel Pugach
What It Is: In this two-session course, Noel Pugach investigates how the American Jewish community was formed over a period of 350 years. He discusses the various elements that constituted the community, including post-World War II immigrants. He explores its nature, distinctiveness, challenges, and remarkable success.

The Rabbinic Imagination Runs Wild: An Introduction to Midrash
Thursday 25 October 2018 @ 10:30 am - #108
Instructor: Michael Nutkiewicz
What It Is: Midrash (Hebrew for "drawing out") is a type of literature that flourished from 3rd and 4th century Palestine to Europe in the Middle Ages. Its stories and parables imaginatively fill in what the Hebrew Scriptures leave out: the contradictions and paradoxes of biblical stories and the motives of biblical characters. Midrash can be innovative, charming, funny, and sometimes quite wild. We study some midrashim (plural of midrash) for enjoyment and insight.

The Travels of Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela
Wednesday 31 October 2018 @ 1:00 pm - #65
Instructor: Norma Libman
What It Is: Benjamin of Tudela was a 12th century Spanish rabbi who traveled most of the known world over an approximately ten-year period. He searched for and catalogued all the places where he found Jewish communities. His writings survive to this day, and it is possible that his work influenced Columbus. Examine his amazing life and the ways in which it may have intersected with and impacted the life of Columbus.

Hannah Arendt on Totalitarianism & the Banality of Evil
Tuesday 06 November 2018 @ 1:00 pm - #66
Instructor: George Ovitt
What It Is: Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was one of the most profound political thinkers of the 20th century. Her analyses of political power, revolution, and the rise of totalitarian governments still have much to teach us, as does her remarkable discovery, while covering the trial of Adolf Eichmann, of the "banality of evil." In this lecture, George Ovitt presents and critiques Arendt's key ideas and their continuing meaning for us today.

Star of David on the Santa Fe Trail
Tuesday 20 November 2018 @ 10:30 am - #138
Instructor: Naomi Sandweiss
What It Is: Naomi Sandweiss presents an illustrated overview of the Jewish pioneers who came across the Santa Fe Trail and settled in New Mexico. "Meet"  Rebecca Mayer, the 15-year-old bride who spent her honeymoon on the Santa Fe trail, as well as other Jewish pioneer families, including the Spiegelbergs and the Seligmans. Through diary excerpts, photographs, and other primary materials, learn how their history intertwines with the rich history of New Mexico.

Maisel's Murals: Native American Art on Central
Monday 26 November 2018 @ 10:30 am - #139
Instructor: Paul Secord 
What It Is: The murals fronting the entrance of Skip Maisel's Indian Jewelry and Crafts store at 510 Central Avenue SW, Albuquerque, are a treasure of Native American painting and are of national importance. They represent some of the earliest and finest paintings by a seminal group of Southwestern native artists. Commissioned in 1939 by the store's founder, Maurice Maisel, the grandfather of the current owner, the murals are an extraordinary expression of fine arts, rarely seen on a commercial building.

Thessaloniki, Greece: The Burden of Memory
Monday 26 November 2018 @ 1:00 pm - #70
Instructor: Eleni Bastéa
What It Is: Thessaloniki is a city rich in history: Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and Jewish. Until the early 20th century, the city also had prominent Muslim and Jewish communities. Following the deportation of Muslims to Turkey (1923) and the annihilation of the Jewish community in WWII, the city acquired a single identity: Christian Greek. Recently, the municipality began showcasing the city's multicultural past. We examine how these efforts are finding support and resistance among residents and visitors.

The Book of Job in the Bible: Why DO Bad Things Happen to Good People?
Wednesday 28 November 2018 @ 10:30 am - #112
Instructor: Shlomo Karni
What It Is: The evidential problem of unjustified suffering and pain - the existence of evil - has been tackled since ancient times by prophets, sages, poets, philosophers, and scholars. An entire book in the Bible, Job, is dedicated to this issue, as well as to the related question of reward and punishment. Shlomo Karni presents and discusses Job’s approach and offers answers to this problem.

The Jewish Historian Josephus: Our Man in Rome
Thursday 06 December 2018 @ 10:30 am - #113
Instructor: Paul Citrin
What It Is: Josephus was both a traitor to and an advocate for the Jewish people back in the first century. Examine his approach to history, his axe-grinding, and what he had to say about the events of Hanukkah under the leadership of the Maccabees. Use his writings to understand the various religio-political philosophies among first century Judeans, including early Nazarenes and the Dead Sea sect. Look at how Josephus was influenced by other historians, and how he may have influenced them.

The Gender of God in the Bible
Friday 14 December 2018 @ 10:30 am - #114
Instructor: Hilary Lipka
What It Is: While most of us tend to think of God in masculine terms, in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, the gender of God is not so clear. In this session we explore the use of gendered imagery, both masculine and feminine, in relation to God in the Bible, and we also consider the possible implications of Genesis 1:27, which describes both male and female as created in God's image.

Regular OASIS Albuquerque instructor (and award-winning composer and recording artist) Jane Ellen also continues (as always) to bring you new and interesting class offerings, and continues to make sure there are plenty of courses of musical and Jewish interest.

Jane's courses this session include but are by no means limited to:

Day-O, Day-O! The Harry Belafonte Story
Thursday 27 September 2018 @ 1:00 pm - #78
What It Is: Beginning as a struggling actor singing in New York clubs and finishing as a globe-trotting social justice activist, the life and career of Harry Belafonte (1927- ) has been anything but dull. Although his first performances were in pop and jazz, it was his interpretation of calypso songs that sent him to the top of the charts. His legacy now includes a versatile music career, as well as civil rights, humanitarian, and political activism throughout the years.

Song Sung Blue: The Life and Times of Neil Diamond
Thursday 04 October 2018 @ 1:00 pm - #80
What It Is: Neil Diamond (1941- ) has managed to stay on the charts for over 50 years and is now among the most accomplished popular songwriters of our era. Diamond often brings a touch of the common man to anything he records; it's almost as if he wants to show us he's not doing anything we couldn't do. His recent revelation of a Parkinson's diagnosis has effectively ended his touring career, cancelling the third leg of his 2018 tour.

The Unimportance of Being Oscar: Oscar Levant Remembered
Thursday 25 October 2018 @ 1:00 pm - #84
What It Is: Concert pianist, best-selling author, songwriter, talk show host, radio personality, enfant terrible, serious composer, movie star, quiz show panelist, recording artist, America's favourite neurotic, or all of the above? By popular demand, Jane Ellen takes a fond look at Oscar Levant (1906-72), who was surely one of the most intriguing musical personalities of the 20th century. Levant's acerbic wit is amply displayed through words, music, and film, against the backdrop of his tragic childhood.

How African Americans Invented American Music
Part 1: Beginnings
Thursday 01 November 2018 @ 1:00 pm - #85
What It Is: The focus of this series is the contribution of African American composers, musicians, and entertainers to the tapestry of American Music. An infinite diversity of musical styles, ranging from blues to jazz to rock and roll to house (EDM, or electronic dance music), would not exist were it not for the phenomenal talents of African Americans. Part 1 (of three parts) examines the earliest beginnings of African American music in the United States through the 1860s.

Anticipation: Singer-Songwriter Carly Simon
Thursday 08 November 2018 @ 1:00 pm - #86
What It Is: Carly Simon (1945- ) has had an incredibly successful career which includes two dozen Billboard Hot 100 charting singles, 28 Billboard Adult Contemporary charting singles, and two Grammy Awards. William Ruhlmann of AllMusic has called the contralto "one of the quintessential singer-songwriters of the 70s." Now 73, Simon has all but retired from performing; she still lives in the rustic home she built in Martha's Vineyard with then-husband James Taylor, where they raised their two children.

Richard Strauss: Music & the Holocaust
Thursday 29 November 2018 @ 1:00 pm - #89
What It Is: Child prodigy Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was destined to write landmark works including romantic and revolutionary operas, tone poems, and a wide range of orchestral and chamber music. He was also destined to fall afoul of the rapidly changing political atmosphere, accepting a position as head of the Nazi's Reichsmusikkammer, with which he initially cooperated in a desperate attempt to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Several members of his family were later murdered in Theresienstadt.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Freedom Is A Verb

Songs Are Dangerous, Cont'd: Yes, it was just last week and the week before that Abq Jew quoted Ronnie Gilbert of The Weavers via Jane Ellen.

Songs are dangerous.

And  it was just last week that Abq Jew told you, his loyal readers, about the newest release by Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird.
Detroit-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter, polyglot poet, translator and activist Daniel Kahn concocts furious, tender, electrifying and revolutionary Alienation Klezmer. 
With the Painted Bird, he presents a variety of passionate songs inspired in part by the struggles of Jewish revolutionaries at the turn of the century, and in part by his own intense desire for a better world. 
The Painted Bird has brought “Yiddish Punk Cabaret” to rock clubs, festivals and shtetls, from Berlin to Boston, Leningrad to Louisiana. 

Here is a review from and Subversion News -
The album will be Daniel Kahn & Painted Bird’s first release in five years. 
There are thirteen tracks on the upcoming album (eleven plus two bonus tracks), and all thirteen of them contain some of the most relevant, provocative, intelligent lyricism I have ever heard in my life. 
The album is explicitly political in its message, yet even someone who is a stranger to leftist politics could easily digest this album’s message. 
Take for example “Arbeter Froyen” a song about the struggle of working women. 
It acknowledges that household labor is work in the line: “Women who labor in factories and homes”.  It gives the listener the message of an invitation to join in a movement for liberation. 
This song is a masterful expression of socialist feminism that is extremely hopeful and expiring, while also having a dark feel that is an acknowledgement of the brutality of class struggle, especially for women.
Let us all carry the red flag together,
Weathering storms in the dark of the night,
Building a temple of freedom forever,
Helping each other to carry the light. 
This is just one of the songs on the album, but rest assured, all of them are excellent thought provoking pieces of art. I would give the album a solid 10/10
 Here, from the new album, is Freedom Is A Verb.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Butcher's Share

Songs Are Dangerous, Cont'd: Yes, it was just last week that Abq Jew quoted Ronnie Gilbert of The Weavers via Jane Ellen.

Songs are dangerous.

Well, it's still true this week. And it's particularly true of the newest release by Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird (see Labor Day & The Painted Bird).
Detroit-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter, polyglot poet, translator and activist Daniel Kahn concocts furious, tender, electrifying and revolutionary Alienation Klezmer. 
With the Painted Bird, he presents a variety of passionate songs inspired in part by the struggles of Jewish revolutionaries at the turn of the century, and in part by his own intense desire for a better world. 
The Painted Bird has brought “Yiddish Punk Cabaret” to rock clubs, festivals and shtetls, from Berlin to Boston, Leningrad to Louisiana. 

George Robinson recently wrote in The Jewish Week -
Singing Political Songs In A Troubled Time 
Daniel Kahn’s newest album reminds the listener that the message his music tells is especially pertinent today. 
As the leader of the Painted Bird, his scintillating Berlin-based punk-klez-folk-Yiddish band, Kahn has been bringing the works of such politically astute songwriters, along with his own driving originals, to a new audience for almost a decade and a half. 
Although Kahn will firmly assert that the message of his music is timeless, a cursory reading of newspaper headlines will remind you that his music is especially pertinent today.
Miles Hoyle wrote in No Depression: The Journal of Roots Music -
These Berlin-Based Butchers Give You More Than Your Fair Share
The group is still firmly rooted in Klezmer and Eastern European folk, coupled with bursts of punk-like energy that is irresistible to fans old and new. Perhaps the best example of this lies within, “The Butcher’s Sher” with its intense use of dynamics and aggressive vocal delivery. 
Yet what lies at the core of, “The Butcher’s Share” is the showcase of a powerful and resourceful songwriter.
If a newcomer were to walk the trail of Kahn’s latest offering, they would be starting at what just might be a creative milestone in the growing discography of a productive and extraordinary artist. 
Whether you’re just getting your feet wet with this release, or already a fan and craving more of the Painted Bird’s material, “The Butcher’s Share” just might be the most unique folk record of 2017. 
Here is the title cut from the new album.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The President Sang Amazing Grace

Songs Are Dangerous, Cont'd: Surely you, Abq Jew's loyal readers, will remember (see The Little Red Hen) when Jane Ellen began her recent OASIS Albuquerque class Ronnie, Lee, Fred, & Pete: The Weavers by quoting Ronnie Gilbert:

Malvina Reynolds' The Little Red Hen was one example that Abq Jew thoughtfully provided. Judy Collins' version of Malvina's 'It Isn't Nice' was another.

Well, here is another great example: Joan Baez's version of Zoe Mulford's The President Sang Amazing Grace.
“I was driving when I heard ‘The President Sang Amazing Grace,’” Joan Baez told The Atlantic, “and I had to pull over to make sure I heard whose song it was because I knew I had to sing it.” 
Joan Baez recently released her first album in 10 years, “Whistle Down the Wind.”
She has also announced that this record, and her current tour, will be her last.

Credit: Ryan Shorosky for The New York Times

The Atlantic further tells us
The 77-year-old folk legend included the song in her final album, Whistle Down The Wind, released in early March. 
Originally written and performed by Zoe Mulford following the 2015 mass shooting in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, 
Baez’s rendition of The President Sang Amazing Grace has been animated in a powerful new video ... by Jeff Scher. 
It is part of The Atlantic Selects, an online showcase of short documentaries from independent creators, curated by The Atlantic.
“[When Barack] Obama sang ‘Amazing Grace’ at the service for the Charleston Church shooting victims, it was deeply moving,” Scher told The Atlantic. 
“Somehow Obama, with his humble singing voice, turned grief into grace. With humility, compassion, and a two-hundred-year-old hymn, he made us feel that the evil deeds of a sick individual could not shake the bonds of our common humanity.” 
For Scher, Obama’s performance expressed the emotions of “what it was like to be an American on that day— to have a great leader lift us up from despair.”

Baez’s performance lends the song a complex mix of emotions. “I love her voice at this stage in her career,” said Scher. “She still sings like an angel, but there is weather in her voice now, and it gives gravity to the sorrow.”

Scher approached the animation with careful attention to how the form would influence the substance of the song. 
“I wanted to give the animation a human, non-digital feel,” he said. “I used watercolor and pastel because they have the most emotion of any mediums. I wanted the scenes to feel like they were blooming from the white of the paper, like a photograph in a developer or a memory emerging from a cloud. I wanted it to feel as if the scenes were being remembered… which is really the grand goal of the song.”

This video was produced by Rick Litvin and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. It is the first of a 10-part visual album in collaboration with NYU that coincides with each of the 10 songs on Baez’s new album.

Rick Litvin, in case you didn't know, is the husband of the one and only singer-songwriter Lucy Kaplansky (see You've Got Hate Mail!), who this morning tweeted:
My husband Rick Litvin's video is featured in the NY Times
And sure enough -
What we’re reading (and watching) 
Lynda Richardson, an editor in Travel, recommends this video from The Atlantic: “I saw this on a friend’s Facebook feed — a powerful animated video that shows that grief can be turned into grace, lifting you from despair. 
The soundtrack is Joan Baez singing ‘The President Sang Amazing Grace,’ a meditation on the June 2015 mass shooting, a hate crime, at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C.”

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Yom Limmud Santa Fe 2018

A Day of Jewish Learning: Congregation Beit Tikva of Santa Fe, the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society, the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival, Gaon Web, and the Jewish Community Council of Northern New Mexico - phew! - are proud to present

This year's troika of talks by internationally-recognized Jewish scholars on the theme

"The Power of Words in Jewish Identity"

will take place
Sunday August 12 1-5 pm
Congregation Beit Tikva, Santa Fe

Avinoam J. Patt
“Heroes and Martyrs of the Warsaw Ghetto: Memory and Identity”

Ph.D. New York University. He is the Philip D. Feltman Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, where he is also director of the Museum of Jewish Civilization. Previously, he worked at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He has written extensively on Jews in post-Holocaust Europe. His recent anthology on American Jewish fiction was Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.

Vanessa Paloma Elbaz
“Encoded Messages in the Jewish Music of Morocco”

Ph.D. Sorbonne. She is the director of KHOYA: Jewish Morocco Sound Archive. She is a Broome and Allen Fellow of the American Sephardi Federation and a member of the Center for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Studies of the Sorbonne. Her publications have been with Cambridge University Press, Routledge, CSIC among others. In 2018 she was honored for her contribution to Moroccan cultural life by the Foundation of the Hassan II Mosque and by the Association Marocains Pluriels.

Joseph Skibell
“Family Matters: Joseph Skibell Reads from his Fiction and Nonfiction”

University of Texas, Yale University. He is the Winship Distinguished Research Professor in the Humanities and Tam Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University. He is the author of leading books, both fiction and non-fiction in Jewish Studies. His awards include the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Sami Rohr Award in Jewish Literature, and the Turner Prize. His work has been described as “daring in its … honesty” (New York Times); “witty and profound” (Jerusalem Report); and “laugh-outloud humorous” (Forward).

Click below for tickets