A Day of Reinventing Ritual

Sunday, November 15, 2009
9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m. at:
The Jewish Theological Seminary
3080 Broadway (at West 122nd St.)
New York City

The Jewish Theological Seminary presents a day of exciting, hands-on workshops, performance, and commentary in collaboration with The Jewish Museum and its groundbreaking exhibit, Reinventing Ritual: Contemporary Art and Design for Jewish Life. Participants will have an opportunity to learn about Jewish rituals, reinterpret them, and express themselves by creating objects and through movement, music, and other activities.

The program will also feature a concert by Middle Eastern vocal innovator Galeet Dardashti and a summary session in which Dr. Vanessa L. Ochs, associate professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, presents an anthropological analysis of the day's activities.


Register Now

Program registration fee: $36. (includes box lunch); free for children 7 through high school age, and for JTS students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Children 7 and older are welcome to attend accompanied by a parent or adult guardian as appropriate.

Admission to the Jack and Lewis Rudin Lecture only (includes Ms. Dardashti's concert and Dr. Ochs's session) at 2:30 p.m. is free.

Advance registration is now closed, but on-site registration will be available beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 15 on a first-come, first-served basis. Please bring photo ID. If you will be registering on-site, we would appreciate it if you would send an email in advance to publicevents@jtsa.edu informing us of your attendance.

For general information or to register for the Jack and Lewis Rudin Lecture only, email us or call (212) 280-6093.

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Program Schedule

Time

Program Details

9:30 a.m.

Registration

10:00 a.m.

Welcome and Introduction

10:30 a.m.

Concurrent Workshops I
1. "Creating One's Own Ritual Object"—Tobi Kahn
2. "Making a Tallit from Tyvek"—Rachel Kanter
3. "The System of Blessings"—Dr. David Kraemer
4. "On the Art of Ritual"—Allan Wexler

11:30 a.m.

Concurrent Workshops II
1. "Trope Aerobics: A Musical Workshop"—Cantor Sharon Brown-Levy
2. "Creating One's Own Ritual Object"—Tobi Kahn
3. "Making a Tallit from Tyvek"—Rachel Kanter
4. "On the Art of Ritual"—Allan Wexler

12:30 p.m.

Lunch (included in registration fee)

1:30 p.m.

Concurrent Workshops III
1. "Trope Aerobics: A Musical Workshop"—Cantor Sharon Brown-Levy
2. "The System of Blessings"—Dr. David Kraemer
3. "Hands-On Electricity and Prayer"—LoVid (Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus)
4. "DIY Kippah"—Studio Armadillo (Hadas Kruk and Anat Stein)

2:30 p.m.

Galeet Dardashti in Concert

3:30–4:00 p.m.

Wrapping Up A Day of Reinventing Ritual with Dr. Vanessa L. Ochs

Click here to view session descriptions and presenter bios.

The Concert

For A Day of Reinventing Ritual, Galeet Dardashti will present an adaptation of her powerful and provocative performance "The Naming." She draws on the Persian music deep in her bones to transform the ghostly outlines of biblical women into full-blown, flesh-and-blood personalities, combining emotional Middle Eastern–inflected musical delivery with powerful storytelling.

For Dardashti, the stories of these women intertwine with her own Iranian family's tales of women breaking the rules, as well as those of women in the Middle East today fighting to have their voices heard.

Learn more at GaleetDardashti.com.


Dr. Vanessa L. Ochs' Session

Dr. Vanessa L. Ochs will present an impromptu anthropological analysis of the day's activities based on her own participation and observations. Among the questions she will be considering:

  • How do those who introduce new twists on rituals allay the anxieties many feel about Jewish innovation?
  • Why are innovations attractive to some people and not others?
  • How can novel approaches be made to feel "real" and "holy" in a short time?

Dr. Ochs is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. An anthropologist of Jewish life, Dr. Ochs is particularly interested in the study of Jewish rituals. She is the author of numerous works, including Inventing Jewish Ritual, winner of a 2007 National Jewish Book Award; Sarah Laughed; The Jewish Dream Book (with Elizabeth Ochs); and Words on Fire. For her writing, Dr. Ochs was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently a research fellow at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan.


The Jewish Museum Exhibit

Reinventing Ritual: Contemporary Art and Design for Jewish Life surveys the explosion of new Jewish rituals, art, and objects that has occurred since the mid-1990s. Outstanding works of industrial design, metalwork, ceramics, video, drawing, comics, sculpture, installation, and textiles from Europe, Israel, and North America reveal the diversity within Judaism.

The exhibition will present works in thematic groups and environments that suggest the spaces and situations in which ritual is performed. —Text courtesy of The Jewish Museum

The exhibit runs from September 13, 2009–February 7, 2010.

View The Jewish Museum's online exhibit gallery.